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Today Ill continue my discourse on the practical exercise of mindfulness meditation. Yesterday I dealt with how to practice walking meditation systematically and methodically. Even though you are treading on the right path leading to the cessation of all kinds of suffering, if your practice is not systematic and methodical your success will be delayed. So systematic practice is vitally needed for a meditator to achieve his goal.
In the same way sitting also should be systematic and methodical. If you can sit systematically then you can concentrate your mind very well in a short time. The Buddha prescribed a mode of sitting for meditation: sitting in a cross legged position, keeping the body erect, and also the neck and head in an upright position and the eyes should be closed. In that way the body is supported.
But for many westerners its difficult to sit in a cross legged position systematically, because they are not accustomed to sitting on the floor. They usually sit on chairs so they find it difficult to sit in a cross legged position on the floor comfortably. Thats why they have to use a cushion or something like that. So for westerners the mode of sitting mentioned by the Buddha in the discourse is not good for their comfortable and diligent mindfulness and deep concentration. However, if they try to sit in that cross legged position, gradually they can become accustomed to it and they can do it very well. Some of the meditators sit on their cushion and they bend their legs in a somewhat cross legged position. Its good for them to focus their mind on the abdominal movement because if they sit on the cushion they can keep their body in an upright position. The body rarely bends when they sit, say for some ten or twenty minutes, because of the support of their cushion.
But when they get painful sensations then unconsciously or consciously they change their position. When they change their position some of them sit with their knees upright. Its very awkward for them and also not suitable for practice of the Dhamma. They should not sit in a position with their knees keeping upright because it doesnt help them to concentrate their mind well on the object of meditation. Its not systematic sitting.