Ways To Meditate…Without Meditating
Confused? OK, hear me out.
In recent years, “meditation” has taken on a much broader meaning than the Sanskrit word, Dhyana, which originated as a yoga exercise meant to influence contemplation and self-knowledge.
It is well-documented meditation improves memory, attention, mood, immune system function, sleep, and creativity. All it takes is a few minutes a day to start reaping the benefits. Yet wrapping our minds around being able to “successfully” meditate still seems out of reach.
Sounds simple, right? Sit still (in your mindful pose), focus on your breath, and reflect. There! You are now meditating!
Well, if it was that easy I am fairly confident the idea of a “hectic day” or even road rage would be taboo.
There is good news!
Today, the idea of mediation has evolved into becoming an informal and transferrable practice. Meaning you don’t technically have to meditate to meditate.
While the origin history of the practice continues to remain highly-respected and sacred, the perception of how to meditate has evolved. The context has broadened to include, but not limited to, anything that creates calmness, positive feelings, contemplation, and of course, mindfulness. Once we can wrap our minds around meditation is a state-of-mind rather than a physical pose then we will start receiving the benefits without having to travel to Tibet or having to sit cross-legged, chanting “ommmm” with incense burning in the background.
If you can recognize the importance of being in the present moment, in the now, then you will find you can manifest meditation into your daily life. In fact, whether you are aware or not, you have probably already begun to practice bits of meditation. Now set your intention to be fully present during a few of these everyday activities and you will soon discover that any act can be a meditation.
Listen to Reflect
Good for your body and soul, music can rejuvenate your mind. Find music that promotes and evokes emotions and inner perspective. Allow yourself to reflect and feel while you take in the music. Don’t forget to breathe… deeply.
Take advantage of this soul feeding exercise and allow yourself to create without judgment. Free drawing and adult coloring, both are an easy means to de-stress and provides a low-stress way to unlock your creative potential.
This easy to pick-up, not so easy to put down activity has become my main form of meditation over the last few years. At times (most of the time) my love for adult coloring is a source of comic relief among my family and friends. Yet, there is a reason 8 of the 20 slots on Amazon’s Best-Seller list are Adult Coloring Books.
Cooking with Love
If you believe we are what we eat, then what better time to bring presence and love into your cooking? Use all your senses; feel, listen, look, smell, taste to bring a quality state of being mindful.
I remember the first time I met my mother-in-law, we were talking about her infamous cooking. And what resonated wasn’t what she cooked for, but the way she focuses and reflects on the loved ones she is cooking for as she chops the food and moves through each step of cooking. This unique practice allows her to be fully present. All the while, love is infused into her dishes, easily making it her secret ingredient. And I can confidently say, with traveling and eating in some wonderfully fancy restaurants over the past 20 years, her cooking is (hands-down) the tastiest of all.
Move to make Peace
Even if you only have time for a quick walk around the office, take this time to notice how your body feels, become aware of the way you are moving. Without judgment, simply observe and make peace with how you feel and notice your movement within your surroundings. Recognize that with each step, you are promoting healthy living.
Shower Your Mind
Away from distraction, this is probably the one place where you can easily observe your habitual patterns of thinking. And it’s the closest thing to a daily spa treatment. Enjoy your thoughts and allow for the sounds and sensations of the water to bring you back to the present moment.
Outside to Connect
Now that spring is here, it is the perfect time of year for hiking, boating, picnics, camping, and much more! Natures’ sounds are enlivening, and nothing is more invigorating quite like its beauty. When we become present in nature, we become alive; we become open to receive nature’s wisdom to teach us how to live. For centuries, meditators have discovered the human potential to awaken in nature; that’s why many monasteries and meditation centers are located in the depths of forests and jungles.
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