Hi Branches friends, Leslie here.
A major part of my meditation journey has included sitting for two 10-day silent meditation courses. Over the ten days, participants meditate roughly 100 hours, making it a powerfully challenging experience. I’m bringing it up because if you are a meditator, too, or want to start meditating, I have some advice to share that helped me persist wisely during the courses, and can help you too! Here it is:
How you sit for meditation doesn’t matter.
On one hand, no matter how you sit, if you’re at it for any length of time, your butt or your leg is going to fall asleep. You’re inevitably going to encounter back pain. And your neck and shoulder sensations will have you internally questioning if you need to get into physiotherapy ASAP. Speaking as someone who fussed around a lot with a mountain of cushions over my 100 hours, it’s gonna be at least a little uncomfortable no matter how perfect your seat.
And at the same time, how you sit for meditation does matter.
Because on the other hand, to even give yourself half a chance at meditating for a while, you need your mind and body to be as both alert and as relaxed as they can be. And the way you sit has a key impact on your alertness and ease.
So even though discomfort is probably inevitable, sitting with care and attention to detail will support your practice. I compiled my best ideas into this 12-minute video to share guiding principles and concrete suggestions for sitting. Check it out here:
I hope this helps you to find the sweet spot between perfecting your position and building equanimity towards any remaining discomfort.
If you’re looking to get some live guidance, we have two courses coming up this Fall. I’ll link them below.