There’s good sitting and bad sitting. I’ve been working on a post for Ladies of Mystery about the bad-for-you sitting that writers have to do and how to counteract it, but here, I’m talking about the good sitting. Meditators often use the word “sit” to mean meditate.
Sitting slows down the activity of the mind—a problem when you’re trying to be creative, a benefit when you’re practicing awareness. After I cool down and stretch at the end of a run, I sit in vajrasana, lightning bolt pose. I initially started doing it to stretch the muscles on the front of my shins and ankles, and realized that it had an effect on my state of mind. After all that movement, after the ever-changing visual input and the flow of creative thought, after the more active stretches, I sit on the ground in stillness. If I’m alone at the end of the trail, it becomes a moment of pure presence. Breeze on skin. Leaves scuttling on dirt. Blue sky. Buttes and mountains across the lake. The sharp shadows of every pebble and rock in the afternoon’s brilliant light as the sun rides low in the sky for the solstice. Sitting. The drop into inner silence.
If I were to get out of my chair now and sit in that same pose, I would have to work to empty my mind. The inner quiet comes naturally after asana practice as well. Moving my body is the prelude to quieting my mind.
Note: The image is an abstract overhead view of a person sitting in meditation. I didn’t see it right away, so I thought I should point it out for anyone else who saw only a blue design.