One day last week, I was feeling some grumpiness about something or other, and felt like spending my lunch hour searching the internet for all manner of things meditation-related. I even found an Alberta-based website with info on meditation, and came across this lovely description there:
Well, let me tell you, this idea really woke me up because I have been a bit of a slacker in terms of the posture I use when I meditate. More and more I've been sitting on a chair and putting a pillow behind my back to keep myself upright, rather than sitting on the floor with the pillow under my butt and holding myself in the proper posture. It's more comfy that way, and I could sit longer.
We sit meditation upright and open. This develops the habit of being both steady and relaxed regardless of external circumstance. Sometimes it is difficult to find our true home of awakening in the midst of trying circumstances. Sometimes things around us might sway us into feelings of anger or misunderstanding. We need to have a strong back and an open heart to sit upright.
Our steadiness does not close us off from the reality of our interconnection with others. We only sit upright because we sit upright with others. We don’t hunch over or lean because we have nothing to protect. Our hearts are open and we welcome circumstances exactly as they appear.
It was one of those neat 'aha' moments -- I realized that the actual physical aspect of the sitting was just as important as taking the time to sit in the first place. That sitting that way isn't just for show or to make my back uncomfortable on purpose, but that it is the form-al representation of what meditation is supposed to be all about: simply opening oneself to and accepting what is. I found the unity of this form and function very profound. This merging of form and function makes my brain all tingly when I think about it.
Silly Theresa: it's not about how long I sit or how comfy I am! It's about genuinely cultivating a strong back and an open heart, both literally and metaphorically. (Just now, I'm thinking that the exact same thing applies to Tai Chi.)
May we all develop the habit of being both steady and relaxed regardless of external circumstances.
Picture courtesy this flickr site.