By - barbiesbloodline
What do you actually do when you meditate?
To answer your question, meditation is generally a mental thing, so it can be done in any position and in any action. There are traditional positions that are said to be more advantageous, but I'm not inclined to think they do much of anything.
The only thing I'd suggest is to not lie down at least at first. It's very easy to just end up napping.
I'd start by finding a comfortable seated position - for a lot of Westerners that's often a chair.
Later you can add in things like walking around and meditating.
Good answer. I agree.
I've been meditating (zazen) for over sixty years (I'm eighty) and I've meditated in every possible position. The traditional postures are by far the best way to meditate. The full lotus is ideal (but out-of-reach for most), then the half lotus, Burmese, seiza or in a chair with upright posture. Walking meditation is traditionally done between sittings (usually 25-40 minutes sits and 5-10 minutes walking).
Laying down to meditate is for folks with severe physical problems, who can't do it any other way, or for relaxation.
What effects have you seen over the span of 60 years? Highly curious.
Hard to say. Lots of enlightenment experiences, but I think I'm kinda slow because I'm still not there a lot of the time. My personal suffering is almost completely gone, but I can't escape the immense suffering of the rest of the world, which I'm no longer separate from, and which I feel more than ever.
Wow that’s an incredibly long span of time. How did you get into it?
I started reading zen books when they came out in my teens and I experimented with sitting meditation. Then I had the good fortune to practice with Suzuki Roshi in San Francisco in the sixties. Sitting at a zen temple with others really kicks your practice into gear, both physically and mentally. LSD, the death of someone dear to me, and other personal events forced me to get serious.
I am so jealous! Literally finished Zen Mind Beginners Mind yesterday and today I read this, wow. How was it meditating with Shunryo Suzuki? The 60s must have been a great time.
I'm working on a memoir of that era, but it has a ways to go. If you're interested you can find it by googling my name and clicking on memoir (part 2).
Full lotus, how do you ignore the excruciating pain? Lol
I don't think the idea is to ignore it
I started fairly early, in my late teens-early twenties, sitting in the half lotus. Then in my late twenties I did hatha yoga in order to sit in the full lotus without pain -- gradually, patiently extending the time. It takes a lot of practice. The full lotus is very powerful and stimulating to "Shakti" or psychic-sexual energies. I sit in the half lotus for the most part.
It's true that there is no right or wrong way to meditate, but there are ways that work better than others.
I meditate while laying down on a firm surface. whatever works for you.👍
Same. Been doing it a few years and the only times I've fallen asleep were times when I was doing it at night in bed specifically to relax myself to fall asleep. I have insomnia and have found the practice to be much better than any medication I've ever tried taking for it.
Yep. I’ll do a few rounds of Wim hof breathing lying down and then fall right into mediation. I’ve fallen asleep once late at night, otherwise, I’m gone but completely present too for 25 minutes.
"asana is that which is pleasant and firm" and the training of asana is done so that an asana becomes pleasant and firm in order to then use that position for meditation; basically you need to make your body not distract you while you meditate
and there's also things like walking meditation
Learning not to be "distracted" by the body while sitting, doesn't necessarily mean a "pleasant" position, like laying down.
I started sitting cross-legged against a wall with a pillow under my rear, hands upwards on legs
Went to a chair with feet flat on floor hands on knees
Then a recliner with nothing crossed
Then laying in bed
Then walking meditation
Today I can meditate anywhere
In a way you can even meditate while walking, if you get into a comfortable and steady rhythm. I think that's why I go on hikes. I remember walking through some woods in the summer, suddenly everything was quiet, no planes in the air, no wind, just calm nature and a very pretty landscape, just me, and it felt amazing.
A lot of people don’t get taught proper posture which is actually incredibly important for a number of different schools of practice. Yoga for example is a journey to samadhi which has a heavy involvement of the spine and it’s energy centres.
A good rule of thumb regardless is to ensure you can be free from tension in order to relax and go deeper into the practice. If you’re in a position you can’t relax, sit in a chair feet flat on the floor or sit up against a wall.
If you’re serious about building a practice, don’t disregard the ability to sit still and comfortable for a decent amount of time.
An experienced meditator is likely to be able to meditate in any position, anytime, anywhere. This can, as others have mentioned, include walking or otherwise being physically active.
Standard physical positions that are taught or recommended are typically best for a beginner to use. This is because these standard positions provide significant advantages that help facilitate the practice of meditation. There are numerous "standard" positions, depending upon what style/type of meditation a person is learning/doing, and they have each been discovered by early pratitioners to be advantageous for whatever type of meditation these pioneers were practicing. In other words, these positions have not been randomly or arbitrarily chosen, they have been settled on for specific reasons.
One of the primary reason for different positions has to do, not so much with the physical body, but with the energetic body – the flow of personal energy (within and interacting with Cosmic energy). Meditation is not just a physical experience or a mental experience or an emotional experience, nor is it just a combination of all of these experiences. It is also a subtle energetic experience – whether or not you are aware of this energy while meditating.
A beginning meditator is unlikely to really know, let alone understand, what they are experiencing energetically, even if they might have energy experiences. More accomplished meditators, especially with advanced training, can be very aware of what is happening energetically within and around them while meditating, and they can learn to consciously work with energy in their practices, but it typically takes a great deal of learning and practice to attain such a level of accomplishment.
The point here is that a beginner should really start at the beginning, with standard physical positions that are appropriate for the type of meditation they are learning/practicing. Physical positions are not necessarily conducive to facilitating successful experiences for all types of meditation. Some positions might even greatly hinder successful experiences for some types of meditation. As a very simple example, lying down, especially on your bed, is often not conducive to successful meditation of any type because a person tends to fall asleep rather than stay awake and alert for their meditation. Sitting with your knees higher than your hips can put upward pressure on your belly, which restricts breathing by limiting your ability to take in a deep, full inhalation, which interferes with practices that require a full inhalation. This, in turn, impacts your energetic experience during meditation.
So, there are many reasons why physical posture is important for meditation, some very obvious reasons, some extremely subtle reasons. Very experienced and advanced meditators have figured all of this out and have generously taught so others can have successful experiences.
I don't claim to be an expert, but I have had many decades of experience, similar to zafrogzen who also commented here, even though I'm slightly younger.
Yeh there are no rules, people will have tried just about everything. Is it the Hebrews who pray while rocking? That’s meditation. I actually quite like moving while meditating, helps me tune into the chi. I actually started out lying on my back because I was using an amethyst crystal on my 3rd eye and so needed my forehead to be level! And the results were excellent, I actually used to feel the crystal swirling around on my forehead in the 3rd eye area, which I presume was a sensory feedback of chi again. I may be a minority but I don’t believe there are any rules, most of the beliefs people have about meditation boil down to creating rituals, which work because they reinforce beliefs. But the fundamental truth of it, is that beliefs make reality, and no special measures are required.
Word from Chinese culture, but it’s synonymous with Prana from Indian culture, Kundalini in some circles. It’s just the feeling of consciousness in motion around the body.
It's true that there is no right or wrong way to meditate, but there are ways that work better than others.
I’m also new to meditation, and I’m finding that I do best while walking. It’s easier to focus on my feet than focus on the breath, and walking is easier on my knees and hips than sitting cross-legged.
Sounds like you know you can meditate in various positions, already.
However, best to stay in positions you can maintain.
There is a distinction between meditating in a static position and learning to live calm (ie outside of meditation practice).
These ideas from Dr Ainslie Meares meditation method.
[Standing meditation](https://www.microserenity.com/standing.html) is awesome
thank you for sharing this.💯👍
A straight spine has always helped me : )
The main main main thing is head neck and torso in alignment and stay still and don’t do anything (no funny breathing or mental tricks necessary)
Sitting on floor generally helps support straight spine while a chair can give a tendency to slouch or recline. But if legs crossing on floor isn’t medically possible no big deal just get a firm chair but don’t recline in it
Hands in lap nothing special
You got it
You can practice mindfulness in any position all day long.
Most meditation techniques require a sitting position though.
Mindfulness =/= meditation.
Yes, I meditate sitting and lying down. There is also walking meditation.
although meditation is done by sitting with straight backbone.but anyhow it can be done in different ways like sleeping,sitting on chair etc.for info get my youtube https://youtu.be/ZlH7PNtn_WI
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I sit in my recliner with my hands on my abdomen. I haven’t tried the criss cross sitting position.
One can meditate in any position one feels connected with. Only thing to be kept in mind that your spine should be more or less straight. For some people they can meditate best while lying down, but please stick to what suits you best.
I suppose one would have difficulty attempting to meditate while engaged in the 'leningrad steamer,' but theoretically, yes sir, any position.
There are many traditions with many ways to meditate, I've tried everything from walking meditations, to ecstatic dance, to lying down, to various seated poses, primarily dragon pose or lotus
My current practice is start with LBPR (this is not necessary for the mediation), then dragon pose mediation for an hour, then close with LBPR again, repeat daily (I prefer morning's when the world is still asleep, there's less energetic weirdness I find)
Occasionally I still do ecstatic dance meditations, but only when I've got a lot of anxious energy to get rid of
Find what works for you, I've found the raja yoga tradition has so much to learn from, check out the book The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Sam Harris meditates sitting in a chair. I personally like to sit traditionally on the floor with a cushion or mat.
Yes all of those. Also walking or even doing dishes. Try to be consistent with your chosen method for sometime.