“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability
to sit quietly in a room alone.”
When I Googled "happy" sitting alone images, most of the photos were of people, indeed, sitting alone, but usually with a smart-looking piece of technology and a smile upon their face.
(I'm not quite sure how plastic dinosaurs on a bean bag get included in that search, but multiple are the mysteries of life...)
But an important note on sitting comfortably - ideally, if you are able to, sit with a straight spine (not leaning back against a chair). The energy flows up your spine better and practicing good posture is wonderful for the whole of your wellbeing. The most helpful instruction I read recently about this was to sit "with dignity".
The man in the picture will have a curved spine because his knees are higher than his hips. If he sat on a couple of pillows (maybe even one folded over) so his knees naturally came to rest on the bed, he'd probably have a much more comfortable meditation...
If you sit cross legged, lotus position is great if you're bendy enough, but kneeling, bent legs either side of several cushions or a beanbag is another alternative. You can sit on the edge of a chair, with a cushion tilting your hips downward, so they're higher than your knees, will help you keep an upright spine. Otherwise, if you have any physical limitations, choose the most comfortable sitting position, with dignity...
Lying down is just asking for trouble (well, sleep) unless you are like Ken Wilber and can stay awake and meditate even lying down. Most people tend to drift off to sleep.
There's so much scientific evidence about the numerous physiological, emotional and even financial (!) benefits of meditating, should you still need any convincing, but I think there's something more profound than the obvious; which is about why it's so important to develop the ability to sit quietly in a room alone.
I love that there are apparently countless benefits on every level coming from doing (or hardly doing) something so utterly simple, "easy" (be still, put your attention on awareness itself and let everything else pass by), and requiring no equipment. Of course cushions can be useful to help keep your spine straight (please see above), but, like so many other of the "simple things" in life like singing, dancing, making love, you only really need your body (and maybe someone else's too - but more on co-meditation in another blog!!)
Yet, given it's simplicity, excellent value-for-money and the minimal "effort" required, why is it that we resist practicing meditation on a daily basis? (And I include myself here. It has taken me a long time to get to the point where now I genuinely WANT to, and even look forward to!)
So why do we have so much resistance to being alone with ourselves that we seem to crave some kind of distraction or busyness? What is it that we feel so discomfited about facing? Is it the egoic self and all the contracted, uncomfortable, unwelcome feelings that we normally try to manage or just ignore or stuff down with food, a "good" (or not so good) book, frantic activity on social media or other tactics?
Or is Marianne Williamson correct when she suggests; "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not our darkness that most frightens us..."
Are we more daunted at the idea of sitting with the deeper/higher/greater "evolutionary" Self and beginning to realize it's limitless potential, and feel the power of our longing to respond?
I think it's a combination of these things. No wonder we prefer to keep busy.
It's the "voices" and the accompanying feelings that we are trying to avoid; both the berating, belittling, critical whine and destructiveness of the egoic voice, but also the whispered encouragement to reach beyond our "edge", to realize our potential, the mighty vision, the powerful truth of the authentic evolutionary higher/deeper Self that calls us to take bold steps, and to act outside of our comfort zones.
But imagine if we could come to a place of peace with the past and regard our egoic selves as just patterns or veils within, just personal and cultural conditioning that we can now SEE and then we could start to connect with and live out of our alignment with that limitless potential as the evolutionary Self... What might we then want to co-create in the world?
I have an audacious vision which is that we could, if we chose, co-create "Heaven on Earth". I'm not suggesting I know what it would "look like" and funnily enough, when you search for images of "heaven on earth", you mainly just get gorgeous images of the paradise we're already living in...!
If we could live from here, make our choices aligned with this part of the Self, rather than the egoic, contracted version, then we could transform our experience of life, not just for ourselves but for everyone on the planet.
And one way to begin is to be willing to sit with an open mind in that interior space and discover it to be equally (if not more) miraculous than the manifest world. This is the beginning of how the kosmos turns itself inside out and recognizes that if all minds are One mind and if all hearts are joined, then the big bang was not an "explosion" at all, but an implosion that just seems to have been projected outward so we can fool around in it....!
Wishing you the many joys and benefits of meditation..