Thanks for the encouragment Bill. I have a strong tendency to be too hard on 
myself and I end up discouraging myself. I will go easier. Thanks alot.

Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
                      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.
  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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