I consider myself a novice, no make that a pre-novice, when it comes to sitting practice.
I am not very disciplined when it comes to sitting. Both my mind and body are acclimated towards moving.
I am neither proud nor humiliated by that fact. That is just the way it is. It is the current me as I appear in the now.
I like what sitting does for me. It benefits so many areas of my life: peace, calm, energy, wisdom, letting go, better sleep, increased compassion, kindness, better prioritizing, etc. I just don’t always make time for it because that initial breaking through mind is uncomfortable. And most of my life is dedicated to being comfortable.
Recently I rediscovered some practices that make sitting easier. Certain forms of breathing that engage kinesthetic movement help me. Like Thich Nhat Hahn’s walking meditation, “I breathe in, I move my right foot. I breath out, I move my left foot.” Only taking a step with each breath. (Even doing 10 breaths this way changes everything)
The most effective for me however, is a simple and uncomplicated Qi Gong or Tai Chi movement. For some reason there is nothing more effective for me than engaging my body:
in a specific stance
through specific (and uncomplicated) hand and arm movements (again, I’m a novice, this isn’t about a big routine)
through simple breathing
and through the movement of unseen energy (Qi)
Nothing quiets my mind quicker.
Increases awareness by letting both thoughts and body tension fall away.
Connects me to the Heavens and Earth
Allows whatever remains to appear less threatening (ah, there’s that comfort level-thing again)
Transitions me into sitting. (the mindfulness and the meditation have already begun with the movements)
Here is a passage that reminded me of why the above is so important:
It is not merely enthusiasm that erodes when practice declines. Your body and mind can go out of tune. You are no longer a vessel of insight. The cardinal can sing; the wind can move the ironwood trees delicately; a child can ask a wise question–and where is your center? How can you respond? It is time to put yourself back in tune, to be ready for experiences that make life fulfilling. Take up the advice for beginners. Put your zazen pad somewhere between your bathroom and your kitchen. Sit down there in the morning after you use the bathroom and before you cook breakfast. You are sitting with everyone in the world. If you sit only briefly, you will have at least settled your day.
-Robert Aitken, Encouraging Words
BTW (I follow a practice similar to this video “Bone Marrow Cleanse” – so easy to learn, you can quickly get the moves down and no longer have need to follow the video, and just follow your own rhythm: