It will be found that the exercise of observing a single object of sitting posture is too easy and does not require much effort. In the circumstances Vigor (viriya) is less and Concentration is in excess, and one would generally feel lazy to carry on the noting as “Sitting” repeatedly for a considerable time. Laziness generally occurs when there is excess of Concentration and less Vigor. It is nothing but a state of Torpor (thina–midha). More Vigor should be developed, and for this purpose the number of objects for noting should be increased. After noting as “Sitting” the attention should be directed to a spot in the body where the sense of touch is felt and a note made as “touching.” Any spot in the leg or hand or hip where a sense of touch is distinctly felt will serve the purpose. For example, after noting the sitting posture of the body as “sitting” the spot where the sense of touch is felt should be noted as “Touching.” The noting should thus be repeated on these two objects of sitting posture and the place of touching alternately, as “Sitting, touching”.
The terms noting or observing or contemplating are used here to indicate the fixing of attention on an object. The exercise is simply to note or observe or contemplate as “Sitting, touching”. Those who already have experience in the practice of meditation may perhaps find this exercise easy to begin with, but those without any previous experience may find it rather difficult to begin with.
Therefore the usual procedure for one who practices Vipassana Insight Meditation (vipassana–yanika) is to begin the exercise by contemplating the material elements at the outset. As regards material elements, it may be mentioned here that Etheric Matter (upada–rupa) is subtle and less prominent while Dense Physical Matter (maha–buta), the four primary physical elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air are coarse and more prominent and should therefore have the priority of being placed first in the order of objects for contemplation. In the case of rising and falling the outstanding factor is the Air Element. The process of stiffening and the movements of abdomen noticed during the contemplation are nothing but the functions of this element. Thus it will be seen that the Air Element is perceptible at the beginning. According to the instructions of Satipathana Sutra, the discourse of the Buddha, dealing with the practice of awareness, one should be mindful of the activities of walking while walking, of those of standing, sitting, and lying down while standing, sitting, and lying down, respectively. One should also be aware of other bodily activities as each of them occurs. In this connection it is stated in the commentaries that one should be aware primarily of the Air Element in preference to the other three. As a matter of fact, all four elements of Dense Physical Matter are dominant in every action of the body, and it is essential to perceive any one of these. At the time of sitting, either of the two movements of rising and falling occurs conspicuously at every time of breathing, and a beginning should be made by noting one of these movements.