In many entries, I’ve discussed meditation in the context of taking quiet time and learning how to still your mind, focus on the present moment, and become mindfully aware of yourself in the here and now.
That may seem a bit as if I’m saying meditation needs to occur in a sealed bank vault away from the larger world. Not so! Many things people do can invoke the benefits of meditation.
Walking, running, and jogging alone tend to have strong opportunities for meditation. Think about it. When you’re in movement, your mind isn’t splitting itself in a thousand directions.
You’re focused on your activity. There is a rhythm taking place with each footfall. Your breathing is regular and controlled. The body is in balance, even though it’s in movement. Many people who run, jog, and walk for exercise talk about how well it clears their mind, how mentally beneficial it is for them.
Can such an activity be considered meditation?
Remember, meditation isn’t any one activity. It’s a state of mind where the constant complaining of our busy, overactive mental identity quiets. We exist then in a tiny bubble of eternity—the Now.
We focus on ourselves in the Now. Meditation isn’t a process by which we become divorced from reality—quite the opposite.
We become more attuned to the universe when we meditate. During physical activity, we have the same mental structure as at any other time and place.
If someone’s mental focus is projected into the past during exercise, they’re no more meditating than if they were sitting in a lotus position.
So we’re not so much concerned about what the body is doing—as we are the awareness we bring to what we are doing in the present moment.
A very peaceful, tranquil lady I know has told me on many occasions that she finds her garden work to be “meditative” as she calls it. She finds herself so immediately in the present, feeling and experiencing her existence without reference to her past or future, that gardening indeed has become her meditation!
Can anything be meditation? I’d answer that question by asking how well the activity lends itself to mindful awareness.
There are so many things we do for fun that can do with mindfulness, but as a neighbour of mine told me, even the housework can be relaxing if you don’t try to contemplate getting it done with more than you’re mindful of actually doing the housework.
What do you all think about that? Let me know!