Standing Meditation

อาจารย์ สุจิตโต

Standing Meditation

Standing on your own two feet.’

Think about it: stability, confidence, simple dignity. The phrase is used as a metaphor, but actually it’s more than that. If you want to get a break from a scattered mind and stressful moods, it could be as easy as literally standing on your own two feet.

Furthermore, if you’d like to meditate, but feel challenged by the idea of sitting still with nothing to do for more than five minutes … some standing could be a manageable way to get started on the road to inner balance. It gets you grounded.

And if you already do like to meditate, standing could be a way to relieve some bodily discomfort and widen your practice in unexpected but effective ways.

I’m certainly not against seated meditation – it’s just that the seated form presents issues in terms of discomfort and through its passivity. The discomfort in the knees and back for bodies that have become used to, and even shaped by, sitting in chairs commonly distracts attention from settling and clearing the mind.

On the other hand, if you do get comfortable, it’s easy then to drift into thoughts and daydreams. Then meditation becomes a tedious process of repeatedly trying to establish a focus. Also, with sitting, your weight rests on your bottom and your thighs – which are not designed to be sensitive to the ground, nor are they required to maintain balance.

When seated, the feet and the knees – those parts of your body that help you to feel grounded and balanced – are switched off. With standing, however, the body automatically focuses on establishing groundedness and balance: your feet and legs come into alignment with the spine in a relaxed but alert way.

And that of course affects your mind. It relaxes the mind while encouraging attentiveness to how the body stands as an interconnected system. Therefore, your mind comes out of its preoccupations and also isn’t easily invaded by what’s going on around you.

Because of all this, fifteen minutes or more of standing can be a useful prelude to a period of sitting meditation or a clarifying practice in its own right.

This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from the book, On Your Own Two Feet, “Take a Stand,” (pdf) pp. 8-9.