It’s taken me two years. I have finally made it to the floor.
When I started chanting mantra around two years ago I sat on the edge of the bed. Instinct told me to have a straight back and a right-angle at hips and knees, feet flat on the floor. I quickly realised the bed was too high for that so moved onto a little stool of just the right height.
I used that stool for about 15 months or so, after which time I felt ready to move onto something that would involve more of my body in the practice. I found a company called Calming Breath and bought one of their ‘toadstools’. Sitting on this, with my legs tucked under me, I was obliged to hold my body in a new way in order to keep my back straight.
Over the next few months I felt my core strength grow and a little while ago I ordered a crescent-shaped cushion from a company called Blue Banyan and now practice sitting on it cross-legged on the floor. The experience of chanting, meditating and breathing with attention in that posture is wonderful, but it means more to me than the experience itself.
I was told as a child that I was physically weak; there was a whole raft of stuff that I “couldn’t” and would never be able to do, so experiences were denied to me and I felt out on the edge of the rough and tumble of physical play. PE at school was dreadful.
We believe what our parents tell us when we are little. What we are told we are stays with us and can become us, especially if we want to please our parents, as most children do. My father, tall and thin, was not what you would call a strapping chap. My mother had been an unhappy child and because I reminded her of herself, some of her unhappiness became mine. Sometimes the line between protection and projection is difficult for parents to identify and navigate in the interests of their children.
So, getting to the point where I am able to sit cross-legged, holding my body straight, for an hour or so every day is a real achievement. It may not sound like much to many people but for me it represents the triumph of practice over prejudice.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha