|More people are using meditation as a way of calming, centering and focusing their minds. For most, getting to a place of peacefulness is easy. The place of quiet mind is a retreat and a refueling station. For others, the mind is too busy, the body is too restless and it seems more frustrating than anything else when they try to “calm down”. This often becomes their reason for not trying to do it at all.
But meditations need not be done only in the quiet of a retreat setting. Getting the body-mind-spirit to flow is possible with some of the most ordinary activities. Ordinary activities done with a different attitude and perspective, that is! Here are some suggestions from The Meditation Bible, by Madonna Gauding.
1. Sit quietly under a tree. Bring to mind any negative habits you may have (eg. bad temper, procrastination, controlling). Think of as many as you like. Visualize the weeds in the garden patch as your negative habits.
2. Get up from under the tree and approach the area you are planning to weed. See that whole area as your mind. See the flowers and plants as your positive traits and the weeds as those negative traits that you would like to eliminate.
3. As you begin to weed, try to stay very focused and mindful. When you pull out a weed by its roots, think that you are pulling out your own negative habit by the roots. Continue this way until all the weeds are gone.
4. Finish by cultivating, feeding and watering the plants and flowers. Think of them as your positive traits that you would like to nurture.
5. Give thanks to the weeds, flowers and plants for the opportunity to clear away negativity and promote positivity.
Think of any past negativity you would like to purify or any mental debris you would like to clear. Then proceed as follows:
1. Pick up your broom and stand in the area you plan to sweep (inside or outside your home).
2. Examine the floor for dust and dirt; may be quite noticeable or quite subtle. See that dirt and dust as negativity residing in your own mind and heart. The negativity could be in your thoughts, emotions, attitudes or behaviours. Imagine that as you sweep, the negativity will be swept away with the dirt.
3. Start sweeping. Focus only on the dirt/dust, the broom and the floor. As you sweep, see and feel your negativity leaving your mind and heart. You can sweep away your potential to commit negative acts in the future and your fears and doubts in the present. Get creative and sweep away whatever is bothering you!
4. End your meditation by sweeping the dirt into a bin and throwing it away. See your negativity going with it.
Some people find they can do this “clean sweep” when they vacuum, polish, scrub the floors and bathroom. Others find ironing, washing dishes or their vehicles is meditative. The idea is to be mindful while one is engaged in the activity.
Some other daily activities that can be used to help promote a meditative state of mind include: running, swimming, hiking, beach walking, dancing, listening to music, knitting, colouring, painting, soaking in a bath or hot tub (alone!), long-distance driving – in fact, practically anything that you do on your own, so that you can be completely focused on your activity, mind, body and spirit.
Another movement meditation that has proven itself over thousands of years is that of Walking the Labyrinth. As you walk meditatively along the Labyrinth, the paths cross, curve and cut back and forth. Eventually, you arrive in the centre. By walking the Labyrinth, you help connect your left and right brain hemispheres, which can encourage creative thought and problem solving. You may gain more insight into your life or a problem you are trying to solve. Such is the gift of the Labyrinth. If you can’t find a Labyrinth to walk, you can meditate by placing your finger on a printed labyrinth and mindfully tracing the pattern to the centre.
As you gain experience with moving meditations, you may find the confidence and calmness to try a sitting meditation. You just might surprise yourself!
Article written by Pat Antoniak Registered Nurse-Registered Aromatherapist and owner of the Natural Comfort Welllness Centre in Tsawwassen, BC.