I first meditated almost fifteen years ago, starting with a ten-day no-reading no-writing, no-talking, diving in the deep end. It challenged me, but I went back periodically for more ten-day, five-day, three-day, and one-day sessions. I’ve written about the experiences here.
I never felt the tug to meditate regularly, despite my other sidchas. This year I started two days out of my five-day exercise cycle.
At the retreats, I usually sat on a stool. I couldn’t sit on my butt that long. These days I’m sitting more, cross-legged. After a while I started trying a half-lotus position, where I put one foot on top of the other thigh and the other foot below the other thigh.
I started working toward a full-lotus, putting each foot on the opposite thigh:
A few months ago I couldn’t get close. It hurt too much. But I kept at it. Each day I’d try more. My half-lotus became increasingly comfortable. I’d try to move the opposite foot up.
In a painful, panting, intense moment, maybe a month ago I got the other foot up for a second-or-two full-lotus. It hurt, but I knew I could do it. I felt the progress.
Last week, I held it for a few difficult breaths. This morning, I held the full-lotus comfortably for a minute or two. I couldn’t put my feet as far up as in the picture above (that’s not me, not would I wear pants like that), but I got it—probably my first semi-comfortable full-lotus since I was five years old or so.
Directed, steady practice
I’m not sure I see intrinsic value in the pose. I don’t think it contributes to meditation, though I hope to find it more comfortable for sitting longer for how it angles my back. We’ll see.
It shows the value of directed, steady practice. I couldn’t see my way to finishing when I started, only that I could keep progressing. It’s a nice milestone that shows I kept at it diligently.
Next step: the third-world squat
I’m working on my third-world squat, another position I probably did easily at five years old but not since. I’m getting close.
UPDATE: My next time meditating, two days later, I sat for twelve minutes in a full lotus and found it comfortable. I had loosened myself by sitting in a half lotus for ten minutes first.
UPDATE: My next time, three days after the twelve-minute full lotus, I meditated twenty minutes in a full lotus. Without loosening up with ten minutes of half lotus, it started uncomfortable, but comfort came. My feet can’t yet reach as high on my thighs as I think will feel most comfortable, like in the picture above, so I’ll keep working on my form.
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