One perpetual point of issue for myself and many other meditators is the discomfort that can arise from being in the same position for an extended period of time. From pins and needles to subtle pain, it can be hard to maintain stillness when all you want to do is move. Thankfully, there are remedies to this, and as the body gets more used to seated meditation, it will acclimate to allow for an increased level of comfort.
Be Aware of Your Body’s Sensations but not Intolerant
Today was a good example for me of being aware of my body and it’s sensations, while not allowing them to be the central focus of my existence. It sounds and seems challenging to remember that, in fact, we are all something much more than our bodies, but this is another thing that meditation can teach us – how to now be so attached to our ideas about ourselves.
When I first began a meditation practice, I could barely sit for ten minutes, not just because my mind seemed like a chaotic land of non-stop chatter, but because it kind of hurt. With time, and persistence, and dedication, I noticed that the ‘hurt’ I was feeling was mostly mild discomfort, but I was reacting strongly – wanting to immediately leap out of my seated position and be done. This is a great lesson in itself for me.
When something becomes uncomfortable, can I sit with it?
Can I just notice my impulse to run away from it, sit with that, and return to stillness? My ability to carry this very same action over into my day-to-day life means that I don’t react immediately when something uncomfortable happens, which, as a human, is going to be often. This isn’t to say that when I start to feel discomfort, I continue sitting for three hours. I gauge myself, and can sit with ease now for lengthy periods, but I never force anything. The use of pillows, supportive blocks, and occasionally, a chair, are always available should I feel like I need extra comfort or support. For those with injuries or older bodies, these things are a blessing. Overall, it is most important to be able to be in stillness than it is to stay perfectly in a posture. Consistency over ‘perfection’ is the key.