Tuesday, October 18, 2011

paradox-of-discomfort-in-meditation

Buddha heartfully stoned
Picture "Buddha heartfully stoned" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
Often we make ourselves too comfortable in meditation, so comfortable that we just relax and go to sleep.  This could actually be detrimental to you, I often did this and I started getting a lot of migraines...My spiritual mentor used to say that we get ourselves so comfortable sitting for meditation that we actually just prepare ourselves to go to sleep sitting up!

I thought this particular writing was quite interesting from the book "Meditation An Indepth Guide" (Gawler & Bedson):

The back needs to be stright "like a pile of coins balanced one atop the other".....

Ideally, your posture will support your practice better if it is a little uncomfortable.  Yes, uncomfortable.  This was one of the things that Dr. Meares explained:
If we get into a comfortable position, say by lying in or on a bed, then it is easy to relax. We relax our body, and the relaxation comes from our body. On the other hand, if we were to relax in a position that is slightly uncomfortable to begin with, we need to use our mind to relax through the discomfort. In this way, the relaxation comes from our mind,.  Therefore it is actually quite helpful to make sure we use a position that is just slightly uncomfortable for us.

Master Li advised in a class if we are sitting on a chair, then we should sit at the edge of the chair.  His "Awaking the Soul" Qi Gong Meditation embodies discomfort :) he says one must learn how to relax in discomfort :), I feel a certain amount of self control over the mind, body, senses is developed through this practice of discipline (Tapas) in Sanskrit.

The most comfortable uncomfortable posture I have found personally was from Paul Grilley the "Burmese Seated Meditation Posture".  The video below has the different postures available as well as the Burmese one about 1 minute in.  



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