Thursday, March 26, 2009
Miko's new chair
Sitting in meditation has become increasingly more painful for my back. Now, the abbott of a monastery I once stayed at had told me, "When you become the pain, there is no pain", but the truth is, I've learned the lesson that phrase teaches, and now it's time to do things to ameliorate whatever pain I have. That isn't the same as running away from pain. If one steps on a nail, one pulls it out of the foot.
So, I went on a search to find an affordable back rest to supplement my zafu (round sitting cushion). In Japan, there are countless styles of zaisu or floor chairs, but here in America, this is truly a specialty item. I found about a half a dozen, ranging from $130 to $400 and up. And then, there is the Back Jack:
I've sat on a Back Jack before, and I remembered thinking it wasn't particularly comfortable. In spite of this, I ordered one. I saw I could get an additional pillow for it, and added that to my order, thinking that it might make a difference.
On Thursday, the Back Jack arrived. I set it up in my yoga/meditation room. I confess I didn't meditate on Thursday night or any time on Friday, so when Saturday morning rolled around, and I was to go to the Zendo, I hadn't tried the chair yet. I went into my room to get it, and saw that the seat was heavily covered in cat hair. I got a roll of tape, cleaned it up, and left the house.
The chair was a flop. It caused me to slump. It was too short, and I kept pushing the added cushion up the back until it fell off. I tried using it backwards, and that seemed a bit better. In the end, I decided that it was not only a dud for meditation, but a waste of money. I would return it and find something more suitable.
Nowadays, most companies have quite liberal return policies, but the company I bought it from does not. I have nothing against them, so I am not naming them here. But, I didn't read the fine print. A chair can be returned for a full refund if it's in perfect condition. If it's not, there's a re-stocking fee of up to 25% of the purchase price. I was surprised, but it was okay because I had only used it for an hour. All I had to do was work a little harder with the tape to remove the remaining cat hair. But no, after one use, it looked a little scuffed up. I got out a sponge and tried to remove what looked like dust, but it just spread around more. I felt fed up, stupid for buying something I had doubts about, so I put it aside.
This morning I noticed that Miko was sitting on the chair. She had wedged herself deep into the back angle and was fast asleep. I felt a pang of something akin to guilt. My cat loves this chair. How could I return it? Coming back to the reality of wasting my money, another thought quickly followed: Now I would have to work even harder to remove her Siamese silver fur.
When I came home this afternoon, there was Miko, again, sleeping in the crook of the chair. I put away the groceries and she stirred a little. She woke up, stretched, and then laid back down. Miko usually is hiding when I get home. I'm lucky if I get a glimpse of her. Now, she was happily sitting in the kitchen, content in her new spot. On her new black Back Jack.
I'm thinking of ways to make that chair work for me. I was thinking about it yesterday, too, but now I've just got to. I'm not taking that chair away from my cat. I once felt rather cool in relation to her, but those days are gone. If Miko has found a chair that makes her spend more time with us, I'm keeping it. As for my back, I'll figure something out.
Photo note: Read what Geekologie has to say about 2007's most expensive chair. I doubt Miko would like it. Nor would I, but at over a million dollars, I should hope not.
Friday night update: Miko sat on "her" chair all through dinner tonight. We even had a guest. She has never sat through an entire meal with us, and if someone is over, one minute of visiting is about all she can handle. That black Back Jack must have some kind of cat hoodoo.