When starting meditation, begin with balancing and calming the body and breathing, but just getting it good enough. This is something that is gained through direct practice over time. Bring certain signs (nimita) to mind to aid in calming. The mind’s tendency is to focus on negative things. Practice bringing the beautiful to mind and make much of it.
Liberation requires clearing citta of its contracted state. We can learn to care for our citta, to know what lifts and steadies it to bring it out of contraction. In meditation we try to concentrate and feel even more constricted. Opening up the body and accessing the vitality that comes from mindfulness of breathing can have a calming effect.
This morning we experiment in using breathing as a meditation object. How do we know we are breathing? We find movement in the body, air element (vayo dhātu). We practise precision in our mindfulness of breathing by tracking its location, its length, its shape or form, its clarity, its beginnings and ends. This opens up issues regarding both the nature of breathing and our relationship to breathing.
In walking meditation, mental patterns are bound to well up. If you don’t go into decisive action around them, they will fade. Give attention instead to the fluidity of the body while walking. Let things work themselves out; it’s not up to us to claim or reject. Come back to the here of breathing and body; realizations occur in that process.