13 Mar
Posted in: Practice
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Where to Sit

It took me a long time to get this: meditation does not require sitting on the floor.

When I told my first teacher that I had trouble meditating because I kept getting painful “pins and needles” in my legs, she said I should try sitting in a chair. She said that she often sat on her living room couch, because it was comfortable and convenient. I was appalled. I didn’t want to sit in a chair — or a couch! I wanted to sit on the floor, with my legs crossed…like a real meditator!

So I struggled…for years….to sit on the floor. I was almost always in pain. But I thought that if I kept doing it, my legs would finally get used to it, and then the pain would go away, and then I’d be meditating.

I actually did sit in a chair quite a lot of that time…but I always felt like I was “cheating.” And then little by little I noticed that the ease of sitting in a chair allowed me to be more relaxed and open to my experience, and because of that, I was able to be more fully present, less resistant, more attentive…until finally it dawned on me that this was what I was supposed to be doing all along. Not fighting my body. Opening my mind!

So sit in a chair, if you want. Or on the floor. It really doesn’t matter. Just find a place where you can be at ease. Sit in a way that is alert, but relaxed. Don’t slump. If you’re in a chair, it helps to have the bottoms of your feet touching the floor. Drop your shoulders. Let your arms be comfortable and your hands relaxed. Close your eyes, if that feels right. Or keep them open, but with a soft, unfocused gaze. Let yourself settle for a few minutes. Maybe take a couple of deep breaths. Notice how it feels to be where you are.


You’re meditating!


Don’t know what to do next? Try the Virtual Retreat I posed here.

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