Most of my early meditation education happened in the shade of a tree. But in place of lotusly postures, I was sprawled, my legs some variety of akimbo. My body was emanating wavy lines in the summer heat, and I was covered in painful yellow cartoon lightning bolts.
I had just experienced my first yoga class. My car was a mile walk up a steep hill, and I was not going to make it.
I wouldn’t meditate in a serious way until a year later when I went to university, but the first day of laying in a destroyed heap was an underline beneath the lesson I would learn over the coming months: breathing mattered. Read more
I’m on day three of my third recovery from a meditation lapse this year, and by that I mean having fallen off of my daily meditation routine. This time around, I’ve decided to extend my meditation from thirty minutes to an hour every morning and night. The first obstacle this change brought was pain.
Pain is no news for me. I remember the excruciating pain from when I first meditated at temple. The abbot, Sayadaw U Kesava, placed me on a wood floor in front of a statue of Lord Buddha, we prostrated three times (Buddham pujemi – Dhammam pujemi – Sangham pujemi) and then he told me to sit and note the passing of my breaths. I suppose he wanted to sit for an hour, but after 40 minutes I was in so much pain that I had tears flowing down my cheeks. I whimpered. U Kesava laughed.
Many years later, I’m much less flexible and the pain is still just as real.
I begin by sitting down on a carpeted floor in Burmese position (maybe I should invest in zafu after all). After thirty minutes the numbness sets in, then the pain, then the extreme pain.