Sitting Position during Meditation
Journal Date: 1998
I found that meditation by sitting in a chair and putting my feet up on a table is the easiest way for me to relax. I feel no back/foot/leg pain and am able to lose myself in concentration on breath more easily. I also find that when I hear outside noises like fern moving about or the phone ringing that I seem to go into disassociating more easily and start immediately if I’ve been stuck in some thought process or emptiness up until that point. I am not attached to anything while I sit. I am just focused on breathing or else nothing at all.
I will continue to sit in a chair (the swivel one if possible) and put my feet up on the table with a sheet or towel under them for comfort. I don’t know that I believe that suffering while meditating must occur to progress through stages of meditation.
I’ve read that wisdom comes through two things: concentration of mind and awareness of attachment and labeling in wakefulness. For Ajarn Chah he felt his mind go inward and break apart his body, then come outward, then go back in and break apart the entire world! When he snapped out of that meditation he was in a changed state that appears to continue. It doesn’t reverse?
Since this time, I’ve realized that sitting in a classical full or half-lotus position isn’t necessary at all. I find my best position is had when I sit on a 15-inch high concrete step I found at one of the temples near our home. It’s the perfect height and there is no backrest. i also find that backrests work, so sitting on the floor with my back against a couch or futon or something can work well too.
I’m reminded of Western monks here in Thailand at temples who were taught to sit as if they are like cattails in a lake. Ramrod straight and hands placed artfully in their lap, but not relaxed at all.
If there’s one thing you learn today, it’s that the sitting position during meditation is best when you have minimal pain and can sit there for 20 minutes relaxed and yet stable, not swaying or constantly adjusting because of discomfort. 😛