The Sleepy Sit: Staying Awake While Meditating

meditate with tea

Staying Awake While Meditating When we lived in a Zen Center we started the day at 4 a.m. with a pucker-inducing dose of hot lemon tea, followed by almost an hour of chanting. Both tea and chanting helped keep everyone awake while meditating. Monks and nuns of all types get up before dawn to meditate and pray. And for millennia … Continue reading The Sleepy Sit: Staying Awake While Meditating

Create Your Meditation Space

meditation space

To sit still you need at minimum a couple of things: time and space. We recommend you take time for your meditation practice, and also that you think a little about the space. Do you have a dedicated meditation space? A little sanctuary you can retire to when you need it? How about a clear corner of your bedroom floor? Your Meditation Space … Continue reading Create Your Meditation Space

Samue Clothing

samue pottery

Samue is the traditional clothing worn during daily work by Japanese Buddhist monks. Samu refers to daily work that is done with mindfulness. This can include any work, such as gardening, cleaning or daily chores. Samue Clothing The pieces are typically made from cotton or linen in dark colors, such as brown or navy. The style is unisex with a kimono style … Continue reading Samue Clothing

The Benefits of Breathing Deeply

Breathe in, breathe out. You can’t help it of course, but you can bring consciousness to it -– and that in turn changes your breathing.  Breathing is one of the few activities that we do unconsciously but that we can affect consciously. Meditation can change the quality of our breathing, and breathing deeply can change the way we walk through life. Breathing Deeply in … Continue reading The Benefits of Breathing Deeply

The Gift of Lovingkindness Meditation

Lovingkindness meditation is a way of offering friendly kindness to yourself, to others or to the world. Lovingkindness is based on Buddhist teachings that emphasize compassion, love and kindness. This is also be referred to as Metta meditation. In Lovingkindness meditation, there are phrases to repeat to yourself throughout the meditation.  The phrases below are taken from Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by … Continue reading The Gift of Lovingkindness Meditation

A Look at the Earliest Buddhist Statues

This guest post by Robert Cain takes us on a tour of some of the earliest historical instances of Buddhist sculpture.  Sculpture is the visual art form most closely identified with Buddhism. The types of Buddhist statues that we see today took time to develop, and changed significantly along the way. This post will highlight some of the earliest portrayals of the … Continue reading A Look at the Earliest Buddhist Statues

Meditation Cushions: Choosing the Right Zabuton

The zabuton is a Japanese sitting cushion. It’s long been used as a meditation cushion in the Zen tradition, and you’ll see it in many places where mindfulness is practiced. The zabuton is humble yet essential, protecting your knees and ankles from the hard floor. Typically, you place it under your zafu, as such: Traditionally, you’ll form a tripod with your seat on … Continue reading Meditation Cushions: Choosing the Right Zabuton

Prison Sangha at Washington State Reformatory

A most gratifying aspect of our work at Still Sitting is creating products that serve people in meditation. We are honored to provide a comfortable seat to anyone engaged in this challenging, quieting work. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with a community leader who uses our cushions for a very special purpose. Amy Darling is a Seattle-based acupuncturist, … Continue reading Prison Sangha at Washington State Reformatory

Meditation Cushions: Choosing the Right Zafu

“By establishing a stable base of support, the body naturally comes into alignment with the directional flow of gravity. The deeply purifying process of meditation has no choice but to begin.”  – Will Johnson, The Posture of Meditation: A Practical Manual for Meditators of All Traditions Will Johnson’s book on the postures of meditation—one of our favorites—tells us the base of support … Continue reading Meditation Cushions: Choosing the Right Zafu

The Making of a Rakusu

Rakusu How To

This week in our Vashon Island workshop, Lidunn handcrafted a beautiful rakusu from a re-purposed Japanese obi. A shortened version of Buddha’s robe, the rakusu is a symbolic garment worn by Buddhist practitioners. Its form has evolved over centuries, incorporating elements from various traditions as it’s made its way across geography and time. History Each element of the rakusu has … Continue reading The Making of a Rakusu