Today I’m grateful for the Burmese posture, and to Rav James for instructing me to finally find my seat in it. For years, I struggled in a sort of 1⁄3-lotus position (not a real thing), with my left foot up on my right calf — as high as it would go — the ankle rolled dangerously to the inside. This was the only way I could imitate the severe images I had in my mind of The Right Way to Meditate™.
When I came to Rav James for my first interview on this retreat and told him pain in my legs was distracting me constantly, he first tested whether I was just having trouble sitting with discomfort. I had thought of that, and I was “sitting with the pain” as long as I could stand it, but it was becoming overwhelming every sit. He then asked if I had ever tried Burmese posture. I had, I replied, but “I thought it was cheating.”
“Oh, no, I sit that way,” Rav James said.
He had been sitting in a chair this retreat because of an injury. Usually, this great teacher sits in a posture I had just described as “cheating.” We laughed, and then I realized I was free to sit in a posture I had only used as emergency relief before. My next sit was my most stable in years.
The stability and dignity of sitting on the floor with the knees down just feels right to me. But now I know how my body wants to find its seat. Instead of being attached to exotic ideals, I’m letting what is be what is.