As your practice develops, here are some common steps people go through. First take responsibility and control. Take responsibility means that you realize that the answers are not out there; you stop searching so much and start looking more at your own mind. Take control is a deeper step where you stop sitting alone with yourself just waiting for answers to come to you; instead you might seek to understand why you do, say, and think the things that you do. Be careful here not to get too analytical; understanding requires observation but does not require analysis. Second, be mindful and be still in your meditation. This is the same thing I’ve been saying “pay attention and let go”. We do these things every day, but typically not at the same time. Here’s a handy chart:
|holding tight||letting go|
|not looking at yourself||hurt yourself?||to sleep?|
Third, consider what you are clinging to: life purpose/goals, personality drives, or biological needs. Here’s my own list of biological needs: a) to be social, perhaps with romance, b) wealth, which supports eating and sleeping, c) health and moreover comfort, d) safety and freedom to roam. For this audience, I’m guessing that unless you are facing a recent change you can probably let go of a) and b) pretty easily, and you probably don’t really worry about d) so much. But health and comfort are probably quite a challenge. When you meditate it’s not a matter of being so perfectly comfortable that you attain jhana, it that you let go of the ongoing discomfort, get jhana and then everything is exquisite even pain. So you have to decide that you are comfortable ENOUGH for now, then let it go. Here it’s important to make the distinction between good pain (that is letting you know somethings going on and maybe keeps you from falling asleep) and bad pain (that heralds a possible injury due to too much full lotus or something). Common sense: don’t injure yourself. So once everything is good ENOUGH, you let it all go and then jhana is simple: just breath with your whole body and mind.