Theravada Buddhist meditation is feeling more and more like the path for me. That is not to say anything negative against Mahayana, Vajrayana, or Zen Buddhism. I still enjoy several teachers from those schools and continue to learn a lot from them.
Next to Theravada I have the most affinity for Soto Zen, but overall I just feel most comfortable with Theravada, in particular Vipassana and Metta. All of this has been pretty confusing for a while, but I think it comes into focus when it’s supposed to and not a moment sooner.
“Be a lamp unto yourself.” – Buddha
I always sit half lotus which I find easier. I’m a big guy and my legs just won’t do full lotus yet. I’m sure yoga or stretching would improve this, but it doesn’t bother me like it might some purists.
After an extended sit last night, my legs were in a lot of pain which I really think is more numbness. I did find the pain to distract my sensation from feeling so bad with illness. It is incredibly easy to concentrate and be with your pain. Your mind doesn’t wander when you’re hurting, but eventually I had an itch that screamed for attention and made me forget even the pain in my legs.
I stretched to let blood flow but felt like sitting longer, so I tried kneeling with a zafu support. I actually really enjoyed it. My legs never went numb, and it was surprisingly comfortable.
The lesson I learned is that just as we shouldn’t judge ourselves for wandering minds and returning to the breath countless times, we shouldn’t judge ourselves for adjusting positions and beginning again.
- Recognizing that I am not separate from all that is.
- Being satisfied with what I have.
- Encountering all creations with respect and dignity.
- Listening and speaking from the heart.
- Cultivating a mind that sees clearly.
- Unconditionally accepting what each moment has to offer.
- Speaking what I perceive to be the truth without guilt or blame.
- Using all of the ingredients of my life.
- Transforming suffering into wisdom.
- Honoring my life as an instrument of peacemaking.
Taken from Jean Smith’s The Beginner’s Guide to Zen Buddhism