In the beginning, many obstacles appeared. My legs hurt. My legs went to sleep. My lower back hurt. I was bored. The boredom tormented me. Dragging myself to the cushion seemed a chore. A burden.
Many people say they cannot sit. Some undoubtedly have a physical disability. But perhaps some of them are exactly as I was.
What happens now? My legs seldom hurt and almost never fall asleep. Boredom no longer plagues me. My back does not hurt. Going to the cushion is a pleasant event (not exactly joyful, but certainly nice).
I will tell you there are two great assets that have helped me: our sangha and our teacher. They have inspired me and encouraged me, not so much with words but by their strong practice. I sat as they sat. My bones and muscles adapted, gradually. I tried different sitting positions. I learned to keep my back very straight. I learned to release tension, to let go, to notice the tightness and open it. No one taught me these things. My own body taught me, right there, on the cushion.
The physical discomfort lessened gradually, very gradually. But finally, someone who could not sit for 20 minutes can easily sit for 45 minutes. It is nothing special. Maybe you can also learn. Be patient with yourself. Don’t be angry. Be still, and listen carefully to what your body tells you.
See also How to sit zazen (sitting meditation).