For most people, it's likely of a person sitting still, cross-legged, with hands resting on knees, palms up. That is certainly consistent with what many of us know and associate with classic meditation.
However, it may come as a surprise to you that you do not have to sit still for a long period of time, repeating the word 'om' or some other mantra while vainly trying to chase away your omnipresent thoughts. Don't get me wrong - despite my apparent sarcasm, I do not begrudge the people who are lucky enough to possess the discipline and capacity to achieve the consistency, stillness and zen state to which we all aspire. I simply don't happen to be one of them. And anyway, even if you do have the ability to meditate this way, you may not like or choose to. Because I have been able to meditate in the classic manner, on occasion (in the past), I do know how it feels and what a big difference it can make, and not only while you are meditating or immediately following it, but generally in your life.
The GOOD NEWS is that it's possible to meditate in other ways! It just does not need to be that complicated or rigid. (irony, huh?) ;-) Why not try what some call active meditation? Active mediation is simply focusing your mind on the activity you are performing, right at that moment and not thinking about anything else. Typically, meditation is intended to create a calm and peaceful mind, but some types of active meditation can help create a calm body as well. And in my personal experience, one often feeds the other. Here are some examples of active meditation:
- Walking, running, biking, or any form of activity that is repetitive and does not require thought about strategy (or anything else);
- Cleaning - the type that has you working on the same thing or set of things for a period of time (such as scrubbing, polishing or wiping);
- Many forms of gardening and in particular, weeding;
- Tai chi, qigong and dance;
- COLORING and other forms of art and creation!
If you do try any of these forms of meditation and you have good results or just want to share your experience, I would love to hear from you.
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