Friday, April 30, 2010

Posture Matters

Most of the time I sit in Burmese posture. This is generally a more manageable posture for anyone with knee issues (and I certainly have my share). So when it's necessary, it's necessary.

More recently I've been training my body to adjust to half lotus. What's preferable about the lotus or half lotus position is that they're more stable and easier on the back. It takes less work on the part of the back musculature to keep yourself upright.

I highly recommend introducing your body to half lotus or if you can handle it, go for full lotus. Take care not to hurt yourself in the process but a slight amount of tightness in the knee at first isn't unusual as you adjust so give it some time.

Zen is primarily a physical practice and it isn't supposed to feel nice and easy all the time. Having said that, beware of the Zen Nazi's out there who claim that the only way to sit is in lotus or half lotus, and if you're not sitting that way you aren't truly doing Zen meditation.

That's hogwash.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere

Or so the song went something like that.

For me, sitting is the best thing I can do for my sense of sanity and well-being.

We're told not to expect anything or have any goals or agendas when it comes to practicing, and for the most part I do agree. But there is absolutely a tremendous benefit to meditating on a regular basis, even if it's just for 5-10 minutes a day. Better that than an hour once or twice a week, trust me.

What goes on when you're sitting goes on throughout your entire life, but you probably just don't realize it.

When we meditate the silence fosters a kind of self-awareness that isn't as readily available during the course of a normal distraction-packed day. However it's very easy to avoid the work of studying ourselves because it's much more fun and tempting to engage in fantasy, planning and speculation.

We don't meditate so we can excel at the art of meditation.

If you can sit and concentrate your mind long enough and regularly enough, you can bring that quality of stillness and clarity with you into the rest of your life.