Allen,  It sounds like you did very well.  Your body and your mind are not
separate.  Just as you sit to quiet-down your mind, you also sit to relax
your body; both are one.  As you continue sitting these things will happen
naturally and will not need to be forced.

However, this is not medieval Japan with its macho culture.  That culture
has nothing to do with zen, or at least is not the only, or even the most
effective way to express zen in your life.  My advice is to be easy on
yourself.  A little discomfort is okay.  New things are usually
uncomfortable at first for both your mind and your body, but pain is
unnecessary.  Pain is your body telling you something is wrong.  Listen to
your body and honor its warnings.

Be especially careful of your legs and back.  When you start lifting weights
you can overdo it and pull a muscle or tendon.  If you do you cannot
continue lifting weights until your body repairs itself.  You should also
start sitting gently.  If your leg falls asleep, stretch it out.  Next
session reverse your legs - instead of right over left try left over right. 
Sit on a sitting stool or even a chair if necessary.  Above all be careful
of your knees, especially if you're trying to sit in full or even half
lotus.

Go slow.  You've got no where to go anyway.  All you need to do is to
realize you're already there.

.Bill!  

Allen wrote:

    I attended my first Zen sitting this Sunday in Charlotte, NC. I could
not keep concentration, my right leg fell completely asleep, my arms and
back started to give me a fit and my butt ended up killing me. I could not
remember when to gasho or how to effectivly do Kinhin. However, amidst all
of that I had a wonderful time. The people were great and nice. We had a
very lovely dharma talk. And what is more: when I was most uncomfortable in
my sitting I found the strength to continue, even though it was so
distracting. I am a real quitter, but the atmosphere and the dedication of
the people kept me going. It has truly strengthened me in my endeavor to
realize true mind. I look forward to next Sunday's sitting. 

 

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