SITTING ON A CHAIR AND IN A LOTUS POSITION
What is the difference between seated on a chair and in a lotus position when practicing sitting mediation?
— Janet, New Zealand
There are four modes of meditation, namely standing, sitting, moving and lying down. If all other things were equal, sitting mediation produces deep results but the results come slowly. Standing meditation brings results fast, but the results are not as deep. Moving meditation, like performing Taijiquan, stimulates energy flow. Lying down meditation is for those who are too weak or too sick to perform the other three modes of meditation.
But in reality other things are not equal. In our school we have become so skilful in meditation that our students often have better results in a short time performing standing meditation that many other people performing sitting meditation for a long time. It is ridiculous but true that many of our students attain spiritual expansion beyond their physical body in a course like Cosmic Breathing or Expanding into the Cosmos of a few hours, while only very few dedicated monks in a monastery take many years.
Sitting meditation refers to sitting in a lotus or a semi-lotus position. Sitting upright on a seat is an innovation for those who have difficulty sitting in a lotus or semi-lotus position but wish to practice sitting meditation. The results aimed at in sitting meditation on a seat are not as deep as those in sitting meditation in a lotus position, and are usually attaining relaxation and mental clarity.
To answer the question directly, practicing meditation seated upright on a seat is much easier than sitting meditation in a lotus position. Almost anyone can practice meditation seated upright on a seat. Those who want to practice sitting meditation in a lotus position may have to first practice exercises to loosen their leg muscles. I myself took two years to practice leg stretching exercises every night before I could sit in a lotus position.
The result is also different. For most people, the result of meditation sitting on a seat is to be relaxed. Because of their other skills, students in our school are able to attain high levels of mental clarity. The result of sitting meditation in a lotus position is spiritual cultivation, including high-level attainments like expanding into the Cosmos, though many meditation practitioners may not realize, theoretically and experientially, these noble aims. Nevertheless, many of our students can attain these noble aims like expanding into the Cosmos by performing standing meditation.
The above is taken from Question 4 December 2016 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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