Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be. We create roadblocks for ourselves, without even realizing that we are doing it. Parameters or arbitrary rules in order to do something “correctly” or “right”.
I’ve seen this in so many of my coaching clients around healthy eating. In their minds, they tell themselves that they have to buy a certain kitchen appliance in order to eat healthier. Whether that be a new blender to make smoothies or a food processor to chop veggies. When in reality all you need is the right mindset around food. Choosing food in a more natural state rather than things wrapped in plastic and packaging and so far removed from the original. A baked potato vs a bag of baked potato chips, for example.
The same thing is true with a meditation practice. We don’t need to purchase a certain type of cushion to sit on or have a special alter in place. Of course, if you want to purchase those things for yourself as a gift that’s totally fine! But don’t, under any circumstances, think that you HAVE to have those things in order to have a meditation practice. All you have to do is be intentional with the time.
Meditation is simply sitting (or standing or walking). But right now let’s talk about seated meditation. You’ll want to be able to sit in a way that is comfortable for your body and does not cause pain. For some that is sitting cross-legged on a pillow or cushion for others it’s sitting in a chair. The posture is where our attention should be directed towards, you want to make sure that you can sit with your spine long to bring in the most oxygen into your body. When we are slumped forward or sitting with a rounded back relaxing into a sofa, we aren’t physically able to bring as much air into our lungs as we would if we were sitting straight with good posture.
The place in which you decide to sit doesn’t have magical power, it doesn’t make meditation easier and it will not get you to a place of nirvana in your mind any faster. We give physical items power, in our own mind, to believe that they have some sort of healing capability. If we were to dive a bit deeper into the “why” of this habit, I would guess that it’s a way to distract ourselves from starting something new like a meditation practice or it creates an obstacle or reasoning in your mind of why you can’t do your meditation practice because you don’t have the special seat/crystal/alter, etc. with you.
This is a photo of where I practice my daily meditation. It’s a chair in the corner of my kitchen that faces the sliding glass door leading out into my backyard. I like the symbolism of opening my eyes from meditation and seeing nature. As you can imagine since this chair is in a communal place in the house it is not only used by me for meditation purposes only, I live with a wife and two teenagers and they sometimes sit in this chair at various times in the day or evening. My point is that you don’t need to have something solely for the use of meditation practice. Again, if you want something that is only used for your meditation practice that is fine. Personally, I prefer to live a minimalist lifestyle. Almost everything in my house needs to have more than one use or be used and enjoyed by more than one person. But the beautiful thing about meditation practice is that it can truly be done anywhere. In your kitchen, on the side of a cliff, in the driver seat of your car after you’ve parked. It is a practice that is available to you at any time. The hard part is actually setting aside the time to do it.
Start small and sit in a chair, that you already own, for two minutes every day. Set a timer and just sit with your eyes closed. Every day for one week sit at the same time each day. Allow your inner self to reveal it’s self to you. Pay special attention to how you feel, what you may have noticed about yourself. Do you feel calmer later in the day? Are you less likely to lash out or be snippy with your spouse? Once that feels comfortable in your body, increase your seated meditation to five minutes every day for one week. Think of this as a process of getting to know yourself. Your mind will not magically be a blank slate every time you close your eyes to meditate. Some days it will feel hard. Some days the five minutes will feel like an eternity and some days it will breeze by so fast. Simply sit in the seat of observation within yourself and breathe. Let go of your goal-oriented mind, there is nothing to achieve here other than sitting with your eyes closed and breathing for five minutes.
I’d love to hear where you have chosen to meditate and how it’s going for you in the comments!
Gosh…I think this one hit home! Thank you for sharing and for always providing perspective. I’ve been meditating sitting on my yoga mat because I need to feel like my shared living space is just mine for that moment, and using my mat creates that for me (a momentary break from the chaos of living, working, and doing yoga in the same space). Per your advice (thank you), I am now sitting on my yoga mat with a yoga block and throw pillow under my bum to relieve some knee pain and help with posture. Now it’s possible to “just sit and breathe for 5 min”. Thank you again!
So glad this post spoke to you, Spike. Looking forward to hearing how your 5-minute sit continues to go for you.