On Thursday I promised that if you read my previous post to the end I would tell you how to overcome the Obstacles to meditation. If you read to the end you noticed that I didn’t tell you jack squat because that was Part I. Just to clarify that I wasn’t lying.
A common misconception about meditation is that you’re supposed to sit in one position and not flinch, EVER. Not only can you flinch to, say, avoid blowing a wad of subtle energy out through the top of your crown, but if one of your body parts aches, change positions. Wasn’t that simple?
Any position “counts” providing your spine is straight. You can have as many positions as you like per session.
Try lying down on your back in the corpse posture. When I began meditating years ago I sat in a chair. In time I came to not like sitting in a chair. Switching to the corpse posture helped. Later I moved into the easy pose where I am now. It’s easy, but after an hour or so my knees hurt. If I want to go longer than an hour I change positions. I mix some simple yoga into this, too.
If you want to make your body more flexible take a yoga class, preferably one where the teacher recognizes physical yoga as part of the unity of mind, body, and soul, not as a substitute for going to the gym.
I know the Itch isn’t supposed to not be there but it is there. This is just your skin saying it’s time for breakfast, or making some other ridiculous request. Scratch the itch. It will feel oh-so good, and you’ll like yourself for it.
The thoughts aren’t supposed to be there, either, but they are. Welcome them in, think them, watch them. Some sages say the meditation is between the thoughts. Some sages, maybe the same ones, maybe not, say the thoughts are fine if you don’t engage them. I say the thoughts could be like a train in the distance going by on the fringes of your consciousness. If you try to push them away they most likely won’t go.
Sometimes the thoughts are so dang good you wouldn’t want to have missed them. And it’s likely you wouldn’t have had them if you weren’t meditating. You might as well enjoy them.
Bonus material (with still no offer to buy Tibetan bowls, beads, balms, incense, or refrigerator storage containers or cutlery): You might ask how long you should meditate. Ram Dass said 20 minutes a day wasn’t enough. Swami Rama could meditate from day into night and it would seem like several minutes. My yoga teacher said that one of his best meditations lasted 2 minutes.
I’d say, do it until you get bored.
The whole idea is to not fight with yourself. Be gentle and love yourself, and make things easy. You really are worth it, particularly when you’re meditating and not out shoplifting at the big box department store.
In summary then, scratch the itch, change positions, admit the thought, and don’t get bored. Isn’t that a lot easier than you thought it would be?