Mysticism surrounds the practice of meditation. Rightfully so, but sometimes mystery and complications step into the picture and makes meditation more perplexing than it needs to be. Simply put, meditation is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment. Any activity that helps you to do that qualifies. Sure, it can be a formal, austere practice, but in the beginning it’s more important to practice than it is to perfect it. That said, here are 5 activities that qualify as an easy meditation.
Cleaning is great if you’re very angry and you’re having trouble focusing. As you scrub the bathroom tub, anger miraculously gives way to peace. If you’re done scrubbing the tub and you’re still angry or having problems focusing, start sweeping or vacuuming. As you clean outside, you can feel your insides getting cleaner too. Soon you are lost in the activity. When you realize this, try bringing your attention back into the present.
Cleaning works as a meditation because it is repetitive motion that requires energy. From washing the dishes to mopping floors, to waxing your car, you can sink into the motion and concentrate on the actions you are taking. You can watch your movements and delve deeper and deeper into them.
Every step establishes your cadence. While you walk, you can meditate by paying attention internally and gradually moving it externally. You can start by paying attention to the pace of your breath and the movement of your bones and sinews. You can move your attention from one organ to the next, blessing it and seeing it whole. Then you can shift your thoughts to your surroundings. If you’re in a city, listen for the rhythm of the city amid the seeming chaotic noise. If you’re in the country or suburbs, take in the scents around you.
While you’re busy taking in every morsel of life, your mind will have a moment to rest. You interrupt the chatter for a moment. Novel ideas can then percolate into your awareness.
When I journal, the thoughts seem to flow out of my brain, down my arms, through my fingers and onto the page, until there is light streaming into my mind and following the same path. I continue writing then, but the pronoun changes from ‘I’ to ‘you’.
Stream of consciousness journaling is very cathartic. Writing out the jumble of random busy-ness in your mind gets it on the page and clears a space where there is no more jibber-jabber. From that moment, your being begins to speak to you. It’s not so much it beginning to speak, but that you can finally hear what it is saying.
Remember the scene in the movie Hero where Broken Sword is doing the calligraphy while there’s a battle going on outside? That’s meditation through painting. Following the strokes, watching the paint bleed into the paper, turning your wrist to control the flow of paint – it’s melodic and calming. It brings you to the canvas. You can paint your pain until you give way to the expression of Beauty within.
Sometimes I choose a word or phrase and repeat it for my meditation. This is called a mantra. They lull you into a melody as you chant them. when your mind is busy, but you want to do a quiet, light meditation, you can start off with a mantra, like Om or Let Go Let God, to get centered and still. You can also use the mantra for the duration of the meditation period. You will find that it pulls you deeper and deeper into yourSelf. Soon, it falls away and you are in silence.
Meditation can be done at any time. A friend of mine likes to meditate while driving. He’s in autopilot mode on his way to his destination, and he chants while driving. When he arrives, his Spirit precedes him. Another friend loves to do embroidery. As she stitches along, her chitter chatter is preoccupied with the motions and her mind goes blank. When I catch her in these moments, her face looks completely relaxed and bright as the sun.
What do you do for an easy meditation?