Some time ago, I purchased a set of meditation cushions. A zafu and a zabuton. The zafu is a small puff-shaped cushion to sit on. The zabuton is like a small futon on which the zafu sits so your legs and feet are off the floor for better circulation, and for cold seasons. This makes meditation much easier. These are used largely by Zen practitioners, but in the Western culture where there is a synthesis of Buddhist traditions creating what is often called the Fourth Wave or Engaged Buddhism, it is not uncommon to see them used by many practitioners whether or not they identify as Zen.
I got these from The Monastery Store, a Buddhist gift and supply company that sells mainly through a catalogue. The Zafu is half kapok, very soft, and half buckwheat hulls, formable but solid, separated side by side, one half each. I sit half the time cross legged, leaning against the solid side and my more tender parts over the soft portion. The other half of the time I sit seiza, on my knees, basically, supported by the zafu, the zabuton making a soft place for my knees and ankles.
That means I have sat each way twice.
Last year, for my birthday, I bought a burnt orange cover for it. It looks great. In my office, where I sit next to it working.
I live alone. I have no excuses. I do meditate. I just never go and sit on it. I never use it. But it isn’t like it sits unused, No.
My dog loves it and gets much more use out of it than I do.
This is not an unusual story. My dear friend Lisa has one too, given to her by a close friend. It is well used. Just never for meditation.
It sits in the corner of her bedroom. Her cat gets much more use out of it than she does.
It seems silly not to use the zafu and zabuton. And it is possible you may have one as well, so, since it is also possible, if you do, that yours isn’t being used for meditation either, here are some other great uses for that meditation cushion.
- It makes a great dog bed. Your cat might like it as well. I don’t know. It’s a cat.
- Do you play darts? Put it on the floor under the dart board. That way, if the darts fall, they won’t damage the floor. Or, if a tile floor, it protects the darts.
- GIANT PIN CUSHION.
- A great addition to the children’s table at holiday family dinners. No more phone-books.
- Couch bottomed out? Not any more.
- Those pesky winter drafts won’t be a problem anymore. Nothing will get under the door with a meditation cushion shoved under it.
- Cold floor? Don’t like slippers or socks? Put it in front of your chair to keep your tootsies warm.
- Likewise, if you are short, that is “concentrated,” like me, placing it in front of your chair may enable your feet to touch the floor. Wouldn’t that be nice?
- Lumbar support. Fold it over and place it behind you. This also might help your feet to reach the floor
- Bunch it up under your knees when lying on the couch, or in bed, to alleviate that pain in your lower back.
- For the ladies, fold it over and move it back a bit, under your backside or under your stomach for a bit of elevation. Might want an extra cover on it though. Bottoms up!
- Cuddle pillow. Just in case there isn’t anyone right now to try number 11 with.
- Pillow fight. It’s unfair, but one strike and done. Have aspirins available. And some ice.
- Massage bolster. Double it up, and get to work.
- Build a fort. Use it for a soft floor. You know you want to.
- Feel like life has you banging your head against the wall? Anger management classes not working? With a heavy duty stapler or double back tape, attach your zabuton to the wall and you have a perfect cushion for your kepi. Feel like punching it instead? No problem. Wail away, Rocky.
- Got some stairs? Lay this down and slide to the bottom. You can toboggan any time of the year now. Have a neck-brace handy.
- Eat curds and whey on it. You can finally show the kids what a tuffet looks like.
- Lap desk. Use it in bed to hold a tray or book on.
- Have a small car and little kids? Use it in the way-back for a tiny bed. No, not while you are driving. What, do you think this is the 60’s?
Or you could just use it for meditation. I know. Stop laughing.