Have you found your perfect meditation cushion yet?

You know, a mediation cushion that lets you sit for hours at a time, staying focused and alert and concentrated, with no back pain or any numbness in your legs? The type of meditation cushion that gives you a straight spine with no effort at all?

Of course you haven’t. Such a magical cushion doesn’t exist.

I’ll always remember when I was invited to participate in a free meditation group taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal. I arrived a little early. The room was very small, maybe big enough to hold twenty students at the most. To my total amazement, however, about eighty students crammed their way into this space. Right when I was sure the room couldn’t hold one more person, one more meditator would squeeze in.

What was even more surprising to me than the sardine packing of students into the meditation room - not to mention how normal everybody thought this arrangement was - was the strange fact that none of these meditators sat on any kind of meditation cushion. While a few people sat on small, square pieces of carpet, everybody else just sat right on the ground.

I thought of my meditation space back home in America, where I had all these different meditation tools, meditation supplies, and other contraptions that I hoped would help my meditation practice. I owned a meditation shawl that would have been nice and warm on a winter day, but I only used it while I meditated. I had a whole pile of cushions, foam blocks and pillows I hoped would make my meditation practice easier.

Sitting in the tiny room in Nepal, I suddenly realized what a distraction all these meditation supplies were. None of them were necessary. They say that Buddha reached his enlightenment seated under a tree - he wasn’t kneeling on a precious, 500-year old rug blessed by the Dalai Lama or a Japanese kneeling bench of petrified wood, nor did he wrap his knees in the silk of virgin worms from India. He was just sitting under a tree.

It’s tempting to think that some new spiritual gadget, a better prayer rug, or some other fancy tool will inspire us to meditate longer, practice more, and move us more quickly down the spiritual path.

But the reality seems to be that lighter is better, just like on any other kind of long distance trip.

I don't actually keep a separate meditation space any more. Using a meditation cushion is a distant memory. My meditation happens on my sofa, in a kitchen chair, in the hot tub or anywhere else I happen to be sitting. Not only has this made it easier to incorporate meditation into my daily life, it’s saved me hundreds of dollars and all that worry about whether or not I had the perfect meditation cushion. I already have all of the meditation supplies I’ll ever need: my mind and my body.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Sashen began meditation when he was eight years old, was one of the first biofeedback pioneers, and researched cognition and perception at Duke University. In addition to a successful career as an entrepreneur and entertainer, Steven has taught transformational techniques around the world and developed the Instant Advanced Meditation Course, which Dr. Gay Hendricks calls, "Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to relax, expand awareness, and find deep inner-peace."

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Steven Sashen, the Official Guide To Meditation