Meditation is all the rave today, and for good reason! The benefits of meditating are plentiful. For most people, when they engage in meditation the intention is to still the mind, become aware of the presence of their being, connect with a source greater than themselves, oh, and the inner peace thing. While meditation is nothing new (it’s been practiced for thousands of years), today’s discussion of meditation is typically focused around the traditional concept of sit in a space of silence. This is wonderful! But for many people it is very difficult to calm the blabbering thoughts, that run like wild mustangs through the head. Especially when they are left with nothing but their thoughts, it can feel impossible to reach that yearned for state of bliss. 20 minutes can be agonizing when you are trying to be Zen, but instead feel like a crazy person. If you have seen the film Eat Pray Love, I’m sure you resonated with Julia Roberts attempting to meditate; constantly peeking open her eyes to see how long it had been since the last time she looked at the clock.
While some have great success with silent meditation, others have a challenging time not squirming out of their seat. Luckily, that is only 1 kind of meditation and the truth is that you can meditate while doing anything. Truly anything. The key is presence of awareness, being.
Sometimes the best way to still the mind is through a focused activity. This is an Active Meditation. You are physically active while focusing your attention on a specific activity. In this space, the mind is occupied and doesn’t have as much room to think. You are getting in your body and out of your thinking mind. Being focused on a task coupled with physical movement allows access to a lovely state of flow. Many creative activities open a space for this flow such as playing an instrument, painting or drawing, cooking, gardening, etc.You can choose any hobby you love, to do this with.
The trick is to open up your senses and to practice being. When drawing, you can focus on the value (shading) of colors, slowly moving your pencil while observing the shape being drawn. In this zone, you give yourself permission to observe the activity without judgment. With music, the focus can be to acutely hear each tone as you play it. When you feel, you have greater access to the present moment. While walking, hear the sounds around you, feel the earth beneath your feet, smell the air, and observe the space you occupy within the space you are in. Smaller tasks can also become meditative. For example, the next time you lift your glass to take a drink, bring it to your lips slowly and feel the temperature of the liquid, the thickness and texture of it. How does the glass feel on your lips? Be in the experience. Practice being.
Suddenly you may have a moment where you feel your own presence so intensely that you are stunned at the awesomeness of that moment. You have just gotten “In the Gap” as author Wayne Dyer would put it. And when you can access the gap, possibility feels endless, appreciation is unbounded and beauty feels abundant. There are so many ways to access this space of consciousness.
Find whatever works for you and have fun with it! Keep in mind for more traditional ways of meditation there are also many techniques to explore such as mantra meditation, breath work, muscle relaxation technique, guided meditation, feeling your body, and others. The key is to find what works for you! There may be many different modes that work for you.
Trying different ways to meditate can also activate different experiences for you. A dancing meditation could be invigorating while making bath time a meditation could feel soothing. Laughing can also be quite an experience. Have you ever fake laughed and then found it was infectious? Then before you knew it you couldn’t stop and you were authentically laughing and had just activated joy within yourself! There is a blessing in each of these experiences. Test out many different paths and see what facilitates you getting into the gap with the most ease, and joy. Being is a gift. Experience every moment of it fully. Enjoy your Active Meditating!