Ep. 208: The Sit Spot Practice – When It’s Hard to Meditate

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You know how you think, “If I had more time, I’d meditate more. Or do more yoga. Or Paint more?”


Yeah, me too.


But last year, I went through a period where I had the time, but I was really resisting doing any meditation. At all. 


I asked one of my dharma teachers about it, telling them that I had hit a wall and lost my mojo for practice. I was kind of embarrassed at this point because I hadn’t practiced in 2 months.


And you know what they said? Not “Do this meditation instead.” Or “Try sitting this way on your cushion” or “try to do metta meditation for yourself.”


What they said was, “Maybe you’ve been taking it too seriously. Maybe you need to have more fun. Maybe… you’re just supposed to play for a while.”


Say what?? 


I didn’t expect this, so I just stared at them. Seeing my blank face, they clarified that sometimes we can get too serious, and “the knot is too tight,” and we just need to loosen that knot a little.


So I realized that instead of stomping my feet and saying, “NO! I don’t feel like meditating,” I wanted to be much more intentional about loosening the knot, so I would say, “I’m just not meditating right now; my practice is to play and be in the present.”


While this was really fun at first, over time I noticed I was getting a bit bitchier and more impatient.


I knew I should pick up my practice again, but I could still feel some resistance.


I remembered this practice that I had been introduced to by Bill Plotkin, called the Sit Spot Practice, which is something many nature-connection approaches use.


So I started my sit spot practice again, and I would head outside, be present in nature while sitting in just one spot – the same spot each day – without journaling, painting, or drawing. I didn’t reflect or problem solve or even meditate. I just…sat and noticed what was going on around me.


And you know what? It was a game-changer


I felt so much more ease and freedom and JOY. I let in so much beauty and delight and MAGIC.


When we create our own sit spot practice, we are able to connect intimately with the land and the non-human world around us in ways no other practices do. Of course, this isn’t very easy to tap into in our modern industrialized society, but we can all do it.


In the episode, I dive into tips so you can feel confident doing this yourself.


The first step is to choose a sit spot. We’re not looking for the perfect place to take in a view or the sunset. Instead, we want to choose a spot that’s close and comfortable. “Close” as in walkable in 2-5 minutes max. For example, in Alaska, I have a spot on my deck that I can be at when the weather is nice, but I can also see it from inside if I don’t want to go outside for whatever reason.


You also want to make sure it’s safe so you can really drop in without worrying that something might happen.


Now, the purpose of the sit spot practice in this context is to deepen our own nature connection and help cultivate the capacity to be present with what is. It’s a way to step into what meditation and mindfulness practice can help us with – being present in the moment with all that is.


While visiting the spot daily isn’t necessary, you may want to visit your spot two or three times a week for 20 minutes or more. And if 20 minutes seems like a lot, just start with 10. No matter what, don’t beat yourself up for how long you can sit. Do the best you can.


When you are able to sit for longer times, you may begin to notice that the area around you returns to its natural rhythm. The critters are more accepting of your presence and they feel safer around you, which is so cool to experience.


At the end of our sit spot practice, we can offer gratitude through reciprocity, singing a song of praise or thanks to the land and more-than-human-others, whispering a poem, doing a dance, or simply putting our hand to the Earth and saying, “Thank you.”


However the sit spot practice takes shape for you, I want to offer it to you as a go-to for when you feel your mojo for regular meditation is waning, or when you feel inspired to connect more with your natural surroundings and the more-than-human others that live with and around you.

You will learn:

// Why we all have moments of difficulty in our meditation practices and what we can do to help

// What the sit spot practice is and how you can create your own

// The importance of connecting with the more-than-human world in our ongoing practice

// Other ways we can add to our practice to help us make it our own



// Episode 139: Nature and Reconnecting


// Episode 196: What it Means to Be in Reciprocal Relationship


// I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a review on the Rebel Buddhist Podcast on iTunes by clicking here  


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