“Meditation: It’s Not What You Think”– I have always loved this quote. Do you get the double meaning? Of course you do. You’re smart like that.
But what I really want to tell you is that it’s really NOT what you think — if you think you could never meditate because you can’t sit still for more than 5 seconds, or you’re allergic to silence, or an open flame makes you nervous, or you aren’t flexible enough to get into that lotus position, or it’s boring or stupid or it just doesn’t work for you, or any other host of reasons you have why NOT to meditate — then I have good news for you.
Meditation doesn’t have to look like that at all.
In fact, I resisted meditation of any form for years, because I just wasn’t ever “good” at the traditional form of meditation (silence, lotus position, clear your mind). I couldn’t do it, and I couldn’t cut myself enough slack to even give it a shot. Then, when I could do it for a couple of minutes, it was as useless and unpleasant for me as my brief foray into Tai Chi.
Let’s face it, it’s just not for everyone.
At least, not in the classical sense.
But the fact of the matter remains, meditation has many, many benefits that everyone on the planet can benefit from. The good news is you don’t have to change who you are in order to benefit — and even enjoy it. No, you won’t have to change who you are, but you will have to change what you do. And THAT will change how you are.
Stay with me here….
Here are some non-traditional forms of meditation that even I can do — yes, even me! Who goes 90 miles an hour at all times and is forever working on 17 projects at once and flooded with ideas for planning my next 17 projects. So try these on for size and see if any of them resonate with you.
1. Walk. Not for the purpose of exercise, or walking the dog, or going to the store, or hiking to the top of a mountain, or getting fresh air, or anything. Just, a walk alone for no purpose whatsoever. You will be amazed at how clearer your mind is during and afterwards. Plan on an hour if your legs can swing it. I find it takes me about 15-20 minutes to get out of my head and just let my feet carry me and my mind wander. I get the most amazing ideas while walking, and many of my blog posts and much of my writing was borne of a solitary long walk.
2. Cook. No, I don’t mean bake a cake from a box mix, or prepare anything packaged. I mean COOK. There’s an old saying: if you’re not cutting, you’re not cooking. Real cooking requires washing, prepping, chopping, slicing, dicing, sauteeing, and many other activities that allow the mind to relax and the busy-ness of monkey chatter to subside. Pick something involved, like lasagna, or a complex soup or stew.
3. Shower. A long shower or bath is a truly relaxing way to meditate. Don’t take a book or your cell phone to your bubble bath — this is strictly offline time, so no reading or chatting or checking email. Just soak in the tub or let the hot water wash away those pesky thoughts. Give your mind permission to wander, with no agenda in store.
4. Drive. A long drive can clear the mind in unforetold ways. Absolutely, positively NO NPR or talk radio! Music, if you must, but no talking!
5. Create. A surprising form of meditation can occur while being creative. Making jewelry or doing beadwork; sewing, mending, knitting or needlework; gardening or flower arranging; singing or playing an instrument; drawing, doodling, painting; dancing; you choose your favorite activity. No agenda — you’re not looking to create a work of art here; focus on process, not product. What arises will most likely surprise you.
6. Organize. It’s amazing how, when we take time to clear our space, the mind also clears itself. Take some time to clean out that drawer, closet, attic, basement, shed, garage, space under the bed, etc. Organizing objects helps to organize thoughts and clear out the mental clutter. As a bonus, every time I clean out a space, money shows up. (That’s an old Feng Shui tip.)
7. Clean. Here’s the real secret why cleanliness is next to godliness: it’s not because God keeps an immaculate house; it’s because when you clean, your mind wanders and you can easily connect with source to resolve issues, clear out those mental cobwebs, and reconnect with source energy. So scrub away, wipe, sweep, mop, dust, to your heart’s content. And bonus: your space is now cleaner, too!
These are just a few ways that I am able to meditate in non-traditional format. Some call it conscious meditation, I call it delightful and totally do-able.