Sometimes, when you are quarreling with somebody, you might be persuaded: “ok, take a seat and let's talk slowly.” When the body is sitting down, the breathing and mind are more or less going to calm down, for a better clarification.
The Zen practice is for an even deeper calmness and clarification, and it is achieved not only by sitting. But we should maintain the state of sitting meditation inour mind, and involve it into everyday life. So when we say “just sitting”, it means the maintenance of a stable mind and the arising of wisdom.
When we are attacked by fever, we should “sit” with “neither resist against nor attach to”, which will protect us by “fever is just fever” not “fever is suffering”. When we are covered by emotions, we should “sit” by the river of mind flowing, when they are reflected as split flash currents, we will be uncovered by “the emotion is not emotion”. When the feeling of stress arises, we should “sit” with a “scale”, check what the weight of stress consists of. When the “ingredients” are clarified, we will find that the stress has no weight!
As it was said by the sixth patriarch of Chinese Chan Buddhism Venerable Hui-Neng: “the sitting is neither attaching to the mental forms nor calmness, nor no moving…but detaching from all phenomenawith stable mind of insight.”
“Just sitting” is beyond the form of sitting, it is the moment of penetrating through the suffering and transcending the afflictions.