I have back pain when I sit upright in an unsupported posture to meditate. Do I have to sit this way? Another related question: Why do you sit in a chair to meditate? I’ve always been taught to sit cross-legged on the floor.First, it is common to experience back pain when you initially sit in an upright, posture without back support. This is because of chronic tension along the spine, spinal misalignment, and weak spinal muscles. My suggestion is to sit forward in an unsupported posture for a minute or two and then move back in your seat against the seat back for the remainder of your meditation time. Gradually expand the time that you sit forward without back support.If, because of physical limitations, it is not possible for you to sit up, you can meditate with back support or lying down.If you are able to practice sitting upright without back support, you will strengthen your back muscles, release chronic tension, and your spine will come into alignment. This is great for your physical and psychological health, for energy flow and nerve conductivity through your spine, and for spiritual development. Living a purposeful, self-responsible, conscious life relates to having an upright, relaxed, aligned spine.Why do I suggest sitting in a chair instead of cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion?First, when the soles of your feet are flat on the ground, you are energetically grounded. Secondly, this posture encourages energy flow through your legs and into your lower abdominal energy center, the center of physical vitality. Third, having your feet aligned with your knees and hips is biomechanically healthier for the joints. Your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back will thank you. As a case in point, I once had a client who was a very advanced yogi who suffered lower back and joint pain because of prolonged sitting in the cross-legged seated position.Since your body is the vessel for your spiritual growth in this life, take good care of it.When I am meditating, I don’t feel what you are describing inside my body. For instance, I don’t feel my heart center or any positive feeling there. Why can’t I feel anything?Inner sensing is a skill. Depending on your background, you may not have practiced this skill much up to this point. I first came upon this skill when I was learning weight training and was told to feel each muscle that I was working. In my early twenties, I learned this skill on a more subtle level during T’ai Chi, as I was told to feel the inner space of my body and sense my “qi” or life energy in the soles of my feet, my lower abdomen, my palms, and the top of my head.Gradually, over time, my inner energetic senses awakened. I began to feel tingling at the top of my head, in my palms, in the soles of my feet, in my lower abdomen, in the center of my brain, and in my heart as my inner energetic senses awakened.To feel your inner body, use movement, feeling, and imagination together. For instance, you may breathe into the space of your heart, smile with appreciation for how your heart keeps you alive in this body, and imagine this moment of awareness as a great gift in your life. When you combine the physical, emotional, and mental elements with concentration on a particular place in your body, you will awaken your energetic senses there over time.Feeling may be shut down in a certain area because of chronic tension or past trauma that is stored in your cells or energy field around that space. Rest a gentle attention in these spaces for a period of time and listen for what they have to tell you. Accept whatever arises. Be present there. After a period of time, move on to the next focal point in your meditation sequence. You might also spend some extra time outside of your meditation practice focusing your attention into these areas, breathing into them, and listening to what they have to tell you.Over time, as you become comfortable with the skills and the process of energy meditation, your energy system will release stored tensions and traumas and your energy will flow more smoothly and strongly and you will feel this.Meditation just doesn’t work for me. My mind races more than ever when I sit down to do it. Otherwise, I just get really tired and want to fall asleep. How can I overcome these things?As I said in the last answer, meditation is a learned skill. It is a natural ability, but it needs to be cultivated. When you begin to meditate you may feel as if your mind is racing more than ever. What is happening is that you are becoming aware of how your mind is always racing. Meditation brings awareness of your mind and gives you a new way to relate to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations: you recognize them, accept them completely, let them go, and return to your meditation cues.You are not failing, if you have many wandering thoughts as you meditate. You are becoming aware of how your mind works. Recognize the activity of your mind without judgment, without being caught up in it or overly interested in following its contents. Let go of your thoughts and feelings and return to your meditation cues as often as you become aware of your mind wandering.Over time, your mind begins to clear when you deal with it in this way. Your thoughts quiet, your feelings calm, and your body relaxes because you have a different relationship with these aspects of your experience. You begin to experience yourself as a conscious presence that is inside, underneath, and beyond your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. You have thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences, but these do not define who you are. You are more than any experiences that you have.If you are frustrated with meditation, note that frustration, accept it, let it go, and return to your practice. If you feel back pain, note that pain, accept it, let it go, and return to your focal point. If you feel scared or overwhelmed by feelings, recognize those feelings, accept them, and return to your practice cues.When you are new to meditation, or if you are beginning to process deep subconscious feelings or traumas, it is common to get sleepy while meditating. When this happens, you may want to take a few deep breaths or several deep yawns to re-energize your attention. If, after that, you are still too tired to meditate, it may be better to take a short nap on that day instead.You can make your nap a consciousness-raising experience by feeling your body as a whole from the inside as you fall into a light sleep. Before your nap, set your intention to connect with inner guidance more deeply and set a time to wake up. Say to yourself, I’ll take a conscious nap for 20 minutes and wake up then. Feel the inner space of your body as you shift into a light sleep. When I do this, I wake up feeling refreshed and more deeply connected to the Core of who I am.What is the main technique of meditation and what are the benefits?First, let’s define meditation. Meditation is an active process of consciously focusing your attention for a period of time. The basic technique of meditation is a four-part skill. Because it is a skill, it is something that you get better at through consistent practice over time. The four steps are these: 1)focusing on your meditation cues; 2)recognizing when your mind has wandered from its focus; 3)releasing the thoughts, emotions, images, and sensations that captured your attention; 4)returning to your meditation cues.The benefits of meditating in this way include being able to:-observe your inner state with detachment-consciously relax and release tension-breathe deeply-release negative emotions and cultivate positive feelings-focus and clear your mind-be aware of yourself as a conscious presence at the Core of your being-be a clear channel for Life Energy to flow through youTo develop the skills of meditation does take consistent practice over a period of time. You will realize the benefits listed above in a gradual, natural, holistic way.How do I know if I’m meditating correctly? I don’t know that I ever get into what you call “a Core Energy State.” Can you explain what you mean by that? Also, I don’t get what you mean by “awareness of Awareness itself.” Can you explain that?First of all, if you are following the four-part meditation process above, you are meditating. Simply recognize when your mind wanders away from your cues, accept what has grabbed your attention, let it go, and return to your meditation sequence. It doesn’t matter how many times that your mind wanders, so long as you follow that process.A Core Energy State is when you experience a strong, positive, clear, and coherent inner state. In Core Energy Meditation you experience this as you open and clear your three main energy centers and connect them through the Central Channel. As this happens, you will feel a sense of deep relaxation and integration. You may feel the tingle of energy flow, or a sense of complete inner freedom, silence, and stillness.Though you may initially feel agitated when meditating, if you follow the meditation process over time, your body will relax, your emotions will calm, your busy mind will become quieter, and you will feel more connected to your deeper self and to Life itself.Meditation is a life-long path with many phases. Each meditation itself is a multi-layered experience. In energy meditation, you begin by preparing your body through upright posture, relaxing your muscles, and breathing deeply. You prepare your attitude and emotions by smiling inside. You prepare your mind by focusing on the cues of space, silence, and stillness. This is the concentration phase.Once you are deep in concentration, you “step back” to become aware of Awareness itself. You become aware of “the one who is observing.” In that way you become immersed in the whole field of Awareness. You experience non-dual awareness. At this point, you can go a step deeper by surrendering yourself to Life itself, to being an open channel through which Life flows. You completely let go of your individual sense of self and allow the Source of your Being to express through you.Finally, out of this transcendent state, you bring that higher consciousness into your life by listening, feeling, and discerning what you are here to do now. Allow Life to inform you with your purpose in being here now. Imagine and feel yourself expressing whatever that is fully and completely. I call this last stage of meditation the manifesting stage. We leave this part to the end, so that it is informed by our deeper awareness and the positive vibration that results from surrendering to the Source of our Being.Meditation is a journey. You begin by learning to relax yourself and move on to the succeeding phases. Be gentle and kind with yourself. Accept the process as it unfolds naturally. Do not be in a hurry to get anywhere. Allow your sincere intention to live the life you are meant to live to lead you deeper.I’ve been trying to think positively and imagine good things in my life, but nothing changes. What can I do?Imagining positive circumstances and good things in your life will become easier as you release yourself from limiting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Meditation as described above is designed to do just that. Over time, you will find that you release layers and layers of subconscious material. It’s common to have a stream of previous life events arise in your mind as you meditate.Over the years, I’ve experienced releasing successive layers of my life history through inner meditative practices. After meditating for almost three decades, I find that most of what I let go of now is pretty immediate stuff from the last 24 hours since I last practiced.I suggest that you allow meditation to work on releasing those deep subconscious layers of thoughts, feelings, traumas, and beliefs, and, at the same time, surround yourself with positive images, relationships, and input in all areas of your life. Work on the internal and the external simultaneously.Enjoy the journey. Remember that small consistent steps build great things over time. Commit to daily internal and external practices that support your personal and spiritual growth.I can’t seem to practice regularly. What can I do?My first suggestion here is to find practices that interest you. If you are doing something only because you think you should, it won’t stick. For example, find a style of meditation that interests your mind so that it draws you in deeper. Personally, I enjoy energy meditation because it is mentally active and it is filled with positive feelings and sensations on the way to deeper states.Second, begin with short practice sessions. If a minute or two is all you can do at the start, begin there. Close your eyes and take ten deep breaths. Feel your inner body. As it feels good to do this, you’ll want to expand your practice because it is enjoyable. You’ll begin to feel relaxation and more inner freedom. You’ll want to know more and to go deeper. A sincere devotion to fulfill your reason for being here will begin to draw you forward.So start simple, keep it short, and make it enjoyable. If you do that consistently, you’ll build something greater. You will come to know yourself as part of the One Life that we all share. You’ll experience the deeper presence that lives through you and you’ll desire to fulfill your purpose within the wholeness of Life.If you’d like to experience a comprehensive holistic meditation technique, visit the website below to try Core Energy Meditation at no charge:http://www.CoreEnergyMeditation.com
Summary: Mindful Meditation aids. In the following article we give you the definitive but brief guide to all considerations when choosing a Meditation Cushion or Meditation Chair (Meditation Stool). Below you will find 12 killer things you need to be armed with before buying or making a Meditation Chair, Stool or Cushion.Things to consider:
Purpose of the cushion/chair/stool when used for Mindful Meditation
Naming of products/Styles and Varieties of cushion/chair/stool
Sourcing of product
Quality of materials
Quality of design
Standard of finish
Material Source (e.g. Softwood, Hardwood, UK, USA, Asia)
Prices – Given in US Dollars and UK Pounds.
Bonus Tips: Based on my experience: Other things to consider: Storage, Handles, Carry Bag, Zipper/Press Studs, Ease of Washing/Cleaning, aftercare etc
Purpose: Beginning a Mindful Meditation without a Meditation Cushion or Meditation Chair or Meditation Stool is okay for about 10 minutes. If you are enjoying longer meditations sitting for a long time can become uncomfortable. You can experience better meditations with the use of a meditation aid such as a stool, chair or cushion.The Meditation Cushion is used to alleviate pressure on the bum/butt/botty. It will help make for a more comfortable meditation. It helps avoid strain on the ankles and knees. It will bring about greater flexibility of postures, by bringing the heels and knees closer to the body. It gives you more support to be able to tilt the pelvis and therefore a greater chance of improved posture and a straighter spine.The Meditation Chair or Meditation Stool is used to raise the meditation subject off the ground. The stool or chair is an alternative to the Meditation Cushion. With most Meditation stools and chairs the seating area is slightly inclined which helps tilt the pelvis and helps the spine adopt a more natural position. The result of this is great for internal organs around the stomach and you will enjoy a deeper more relaxed breathing technique.Styles and Varieties of chairs/stools: Meditation Stools come in the following formats: Toadstool (i.e. one central column, also called a T-Stool). Collapse-able (i.e. the two legs collapse for ease of storage/transport). Fixed Leg (typically two fixed legs either side). Occasionally called a Seiza stool (from Kendo).Naming of products: Meditation Cushions come in the following formats: Zafu, Zabuton, Mountain Seat, Seifu, Kabu, Travel Zafu, Moon Cushion, Mountain Cushion, Support Cushion and Travel Cushion.Sizes: Meditation stools are typically about 200mm off the floor at one side and 150mm on the other (a 50mm incline). The size of the seated area is typically 550mm x 150mm. Meditation Cushions such as the Zafu are typically 350mm diameter. Typically round but my analysis shows, and as the naming suggests above wedge shapes, crescent shapes and rectangle shapes are also common. Round cushions are typically 200mm deep. Rectangular cushions are typically 200mm deep and approx 750mm x 450mm (LxW)Colours: Timber products are produced largely in natural timber finishes of Oak, Ash, Wych Elm, Bamboo. Some benches are painted and finished with Om simples or other yoga/ken-do/Buddhist (or whatever spirituality) related signage/decals. Cushions are coloured in Black, Dark, Navy, Maroon, Brown, Cinnamon, Olive, Sand, Cream and Magnolia.Fillings:
Kapok (good filling, will not collapse after many, many uses) (Source: Typically harvested from a Tree native to Mexico and America. A light, bouncy/buoyant and resilient fibre.
Buckwheat (good filling, will not collapse after many, many uses) (Source: Comes from a plant, the hulls are used as the filling in a variety of upholstered products as they are durable, a natural product).
Visco Elastic Foam (Similar to the ‘memory foam’ we see advertised everywhere these days.
Half Buckwheat/Half Kapok
Organic Quallofil – Largely synthetic product.
Sourcing of product: If you are buying a stool or chair made from Timber, you may wish to consider a product that is sourced from sustainable woodland. Material Source (e.g. Softwood, Hardwood, UK, USA, Asia) Meditation stools and chairs can be made of Ash,Wych Elm, Oak, Radiata pine. Ash is a hardwood with a nice finish, Wych Elm has a beautiful appearance. You can also find stools made of Bamboo.Quality of materials: Quality of products vary considerably. Things to look for include: Double stitching of fabrics. Hardwood is a very durable material and as such will withstand knocks, bumps and scratches. If your on the heavier side, no problem here either. Brass Ironmongery (hinges, screws) on those with moving parts, will serve you well. Quality, durable fabrics such as a heavy grade cotton is a must for longevity.Quality of design: Quality of design varies, some designs such as the Seiza will suit smaller people although you can find custom made stools and cushions from a variety of vendors on the web (try eBay).Standard of finish: Meditation Stool: Stain, Caranuba, beeswax furniture polish or Varnish can be applied to a stool, however for a more rustic look you may wish to opt for no finish (apart from sanded that is, avoid those nasty splinters). With the trend for non lead products, you may wish to consider a finish that is of non-lead oil. From my experience I’d hedge around $70 for a decent cushion and approx $90 for a decent meditation chair or meditation stool. UK prices : approx £35 for the Cushion and £45 – £50 for the stool/chair.Prices: Prices vary considerably and there is a market starting from $20 for a basic cushion, $70 – $90 for a basic stool/seat/chair. Of course you can make your own and a quick search of the web will reveal some simple drawings, plans and kits to assemble or fabricate your own. (only advisable if you have carpentry/joinery/machine shop skills). This is just my opinion and from my research.Other things to consider: Storage, Handles, Carry Bag, Zipper/Press Studs, Ease of Washing/Cleaning, adding a cushion to your meditation stool for increased comfort. With a Meditation stool look for wide opening legs that don’t fold easily when in use (ouch). If you are to be carrying or moving the stool around alot, you may wish to consider a light-weight design. Consider if you get an instruction leaflet, a care and maintenance guide or a contact number for after sales support/care (should anything go wrong). The main thing to consider…Comfort!Other uses: Meditation Stools and Meditation Cushions are not only for meditators. You’ll find that anyone who kneels a lot may get some benefit. Calligraphers, Meditators, Musicians, Clergy, Craftspeople, Martial Arts/Ken-do specialists, Nurses, Health care professionals, administration support people and Rieki practitioners.