Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Vow Hour

(Back from two and a half week retreat with Ruth Denison, at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center, I am devoting the next few weeks to sharing Ruth's wonderful teachings.)

This morning, sitting in the quiet house, I remembered Ruth's 'Vow Hour' instruction that she got from her zen training. 

It's very simple. You vow to sit perfectly still for the whole duration of the meditation. If one hour seems too daunting, you can shorten the duration. The main thing is to commit to the stillness for however long you chose to sit.

30', I sat, not moving at all. Body freed from the possibility of nervous restlessness, there was ample space for breath to come and go, and physical sensations to be felt, and sounds to be heard, and thoughts to be noticed.

Small vow, big reward . . . 


  1. Maybe I'm not understanding this, but I thought sitting meditation usually implies not moving. Is it the vow that is the point?

    At any rate, I have recently enjoyed your videos of Ruth Denison--I didn't know much about her before. Thank you!

  2. Well, as you probably know if you have sat in a group, there is quite a bit of restlessness going on for many folks doing sitting meditation - from coughing, to squirming, to swallowing, to changing position . . .

    Also when holding the posture becomes too painful, some teachers advise to change posture (mindfully of course!).

    So, here the practice is to being very deliberate if keeping perfectly still, and see what arises. For some people, it may be how they sit, always. In my case, there are some oh so slight movements sometimes.

  3. thank you . definitely will do this