Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, across many cultures, and in every locale. It is only natural then that the principles that have defined meditation have varied with the time and place. Even with a narrowly defined tradition like Japanese zen meditation, large variations in practice have arisen ranging from “just sitting” to focused attention on mental themes (“koans”).
We don’t stipulate a particular meditation practice at Reed. Rather, we simply “sit as quietly as we can,” a description that encompasses stillness in the body and a quiet presence. The main idea here is that a room that is still and quiet is easier for all to share.
And yet we shouldn’t overlook the fact that simply trying to “sit as quietly as we can” creates opportunities for deep exploration. By establishing a preference for the still and quiet, we guarantee that we will come face-to-face with our desire to move, to be busy, to talk and reach out. These are deep-seated desires and we usually respond to them without thinking. However, by sitting as quietly as we can, we can start to examine these desires without having to act on them. By noticing them each time they arise, we can ask, “are these desires real, enduring, or just another mental projection that, given enough time, burns itself out?”