July 5, 2016
8 Ways To Meditate Without Meditating, Part One (1-4)
So, if it’s true that meditation can be more than sitting with our eyes closed…what are some real-world possibilities and alternatives?
The great thing about walking is that there is a natural rhythm built into the activity itself, which can create a sort of lulling, quiet, and peaceful feeling. Set aside 10-15 minutes and go for a walk without a destination. Make the walk itself be the activity. Allow your natural stride to set the pace and, in the words of Thich Nath Hanh, let your feet “kiss the ground” with each step. Feel the earth under your feet each time you move. Count your steps and focus only on the rhythm of your walking. This is a great way to remain fully present in yourself while also doing something else.
Sit with your eyes open and tune into the sounds around you. Observe that your ears can hone in on specific noises and block out the rest and then shift over to the next sounds. For example, if you are in a room at home, you might hear nothing at first—then, you might tune into the sound of the refrigerator or A/C unit, behind that is the sound of the traffic outside or the leaves, then perhaps the sound of someone mowing their lawn, and then, suddenly, you might begin to hear the sound of your own pulse in your ears. It’s called scanning. And, it’s rare that we are ever in total silence, even if, for a moment, it may seem like we are, we can usually detect some noise from somewhere.
Sitting with a candle is a great way to narrow the world down to what is directly in front of us. Light a candle—any candle will work—and sit quietly as you stare at the flame. Allow each and every thought to rise in your mind, don’t try to control or add to what is there—just allow it. When your attention wanders and when you lose your focus, bring it back to the flame and simply observe its flickering. It can be interesting to note how much the seemingly still air moves the flame from side to side. It is like the mind: It can appear to be still, but it is always in motion.
Being present with what is—as opposed to what we want, wish, or fear—can be difficult, especially in the face of the mundane. However, the tasks of daily living can give us regular intervals to practice this skill. Instead of tuning out during these activities, we can learn to dive in to them with all of our being. Doing the dishes and being fully present is a concrete way to explore this idea. Take each dish, one at a time, and wash it with complete care. Soak it in the soapy water, scrub its surfaces, rinse it completely, and set it gently in the drying rack, or towel it dry. Repeat. Practice being totally present for each dish, cup, and piece of silverware. Take deep and long breaths while you do so.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.