Here's what to do:Find yourself a bench in a public area to sit on. A public park is a great place to do this in, but you could also do this sitting meditation at a nature reserve, or try doing it at a shopping mall or bus station. The goal is to be still and remain non-active throughout this process. You merely sit and watch other people's activity as they pass you by for half an hour. Do not spend your half hour eating your lunch, reading a newspaper, text messaging your friends, or listening to your iPod. Turn off your cell phone. Also, do not take a friend along with you to converse with to help the time pass. You can wear a watch to keep track of the time, but if you find yourself checking your watch every couple of minutes then next time perhaps bring along a timer to avoid the distraction of looking at your watch throughout your meditation.
Slowing Down Your Energy and Honing in on Your Awareness SkillsThe idea behind this non-activity is to be silently sitting in one place while being watchful and alert. Notice things! Pay attention to the details. Notice the way some people scurry about and how others take a more leisurely pace. Notice the different hairstyles, clothing choices, facial gestures, etc. Hear different tones of voices spoken, also listen to outdoor sounds of the birds chirping, children playing, traffic noises, etc. This activity (non-activity really) is not about judging other people, focusing on other people's actions is meant to keep you from internalizing your energies while you sit. You don't want to be sitting there thinking about your own stuff. This exercise will help you find an energetic "still point" in which you will not be projecting your energy out into the world, nor will you be projecting your energy inwards.
Park Bench Meditation ExperimentI'd like to hear about your experiences trying this meditation. As an experiment I've created a submission form for readers to fill out so that they can share their feelings during and after doing this sitting meditation. Was it hard to be still? Did it help calm your energies or did you feel frustrated? Did you find that Still-Point I described? Please try it yourself and don't forget to return and tell your park bench sitting stories.
Hint: If you find it difficult to sit still for half an hour, try it for fifteen minutes the first few times.
Paul Simcock / Getty Image