Remove the Object Meditation

This “Remove the Object Meditation” comes from the Buckeye Sangha and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh from his book, Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child):

Meditation in Action

Remove the Object

Linji, the founder of Zen Buddhism in China, was fond of saying, “remove the object.”  The object is the person or situation we’re thinking about, the story.  So the practice is to remove the object and come back to the body and feelings.  Stay with the energy, let go of the thinking.  By following the energy back into our body and feelings, we can find the internal knots, embrace them tenderly, let the tension there unwind and release itself, and we can heal.  It’s a little like learning how to ride a bicycle.  You can sit on it, someone can push you a bit, but at a certain point you know you can ride. “I got it, I got it!”

The “Remove the Object Meditation” goes like this:

  1. Breathing in, I find my in-breath; breathing out, I find my out-breath
  2. Breathing in, I call to mind a charged issue (object); breathing out, I open to that issue
  3. Breathing in, I let go of the thinking about the issue (object); breathing out, I embrace that energy within my body.
  4. Breathing in, I am aware of my body and my feelings; breathing out, I embrace my body and feelings tenderly.
  5. Breathing in, I send my in-breath to my body and feelings; breathing out, I release the tension in my body and feelings
  6. Breathing in, I am aware of my in-breath; breathing out, I am aware of my out-breath.

Sometimes, the energy in the body and feelings can seem on the one hand impenetrable, or on the other hand overwhelming.  In that case, we can use a technique called “touch and rest.”   In meditation we “touch” the energy of the body and feelings for awhile, and then “rest” – open our eyes – to rest our attention on a pleasant something nearby in the world for awhile.  This provides a safe base outside, and gives space around the knot inside, until we are ready to “touch and rest” again, back and forth.

Please let me know how this works for you!

Books by Thich Nhat Hanh

Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child

Thich Nhat Hanh

An exciting contribution to the growing trend of applying Buddhist practices to encourage wellness and balance mental health. Reconciliation focuses on mindful awareness of our emotions and offers concrete practices to restore damaged relationships through meditations and exercises to he…

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