The idea of meditation usually brings about imagery of a fat happy monk, bald, sitting cross legged with closed eyes and a blissful smile. While this is imagery holds true for certain eastern practices of philosophy and religion it is not the solitary means of practicing meditation. In fact, meditation doesn’t even have to include sitting, focusing, or being silent. The very definition of meditation suggests that it is about engagement. One definition reads meditation as a verb to mean “to engage in contemplation or reflection; to engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”. Contemplation and reflection do not come with a prerequisite of sitting silence. For hundreds of years poets, philosophers and authors have produced their “meditations” on various subjects.
How Do I Practice Meditation?
Meditation is any ‘mental exercise’ that helps you reach a ‘heightened level of spiritual awareness’. Focusing and being mindful will inherently be any part of a meditation practice. Not everyone is comfortable with stillness. Here are some different ways to approach meditation
Meditation? There’s an app for that. Dozens of meditation apps exist to help you center and focus. Some meditation apps just provide background noise and a timer. Others include whole libraries of guided meditations. A guided meditation could be a visualization process or it might involve body scanning for relaxation. Guided meditations can be chanting, repeating mantras, or the sound of someone breathing. If you have difficulty sitting with your own thoughts, it can be helpful to listen to the sound of someone else’s voice.
Walking in nature, or just around the block, can be a meditation. Monks in monasteries around the world practice walking meditations every day. Take the opportunity to notice the world around you. Concentrate on each footstep and how your body feels. Pay attention to the sounds, shapes, colors, and smells you experience. This sort of mindfulness might help you see things you never saw before.
Athletes from a variety of sports describe a feeling of meditation when they are in the flow of their favorite activity. Yoga, rock climbing, surfing, running, baseball, or ballet- physical activities require focus and a quiet mind. Physical activities are acts of spiritual worship, using your body in gratitude for its abilities. You might find that when you’re all in with an activity you realize more about yourself and your potential.
Coloring books are all the rage right now because they are relaxing. The repeated action of coloring in each outlined section is like repeating a mantra. Focusing on the task at hand and engaging in creativity can open your mind.