5 weird ways to meditate
You know you should meditate more. After all, this ancient contemplative practice has been shown to lower blood pressure, make you more empathic, increase your attention, and change the size and shape of your brain. And lord knows, you need ways to cope with stress.
And yet… It can feel so hard to find your way to the cushion and sit.
Some of the reasons I’ve heard from my clients why they don’t meditate more is that they have trouble sitting still, they don’t have 10-20 minutes to themselves to sit quietly, or they get bored. Which are all legitimate obstacles—I’ve faced each of them myself.
That’s when I remind them that there is no law written that says you must be sitting on a cushion in a quiet room to meditate. Getting creative with your meditation practice helps you get started, or keep going during those times when life seems to be conspiring to throw you off track.
To that end, here are 5 weird ways to meditate. May they help you slow down and get quiet even on your busiest days.
Legendary meditation teacher ThichNhatHanh writes about “washing the dishes to wash the dishes” in his classic meditation primer, The Miracle of Mindfulness. To transform your household duties into an exercise in mindfulness, let go of the need to “get it done” and instead let yourself become completely absorbed in the physicality of the task itself. If you’re washing dishes, that means savoring the feel of the water on your skin, the sound of dishes clunking in the sink, the lightness of the bubbles.
My favorite household meditation is sweeping—feeling my weight transfer back and forth as move around the room, hearing the swish of the broom on the floor, seeing the pile of crumbs I sweep up without thinking, “We are slobs!”
These meditative activities are multi-tasking at its best—you sweep the cobwebs out of the corners of your mind as you sweep up yesterday’s crumbs.
If you have a nightly glass of wine or beer to “take the edge off,” you can give this ritual even more stress-reducing oomph by choosing to consume your beverage mindfully. Feel the weight of the glass in your hands, breathe in the aroma before each sip, let the liquid sit in your mouth a moment before swallowing and notice the changes taking place in your body as you do. Stay with each sip, and don’t be surprised if you find you don’t need to chug the whole thing down to get a major shift in your stress levels.
Even if you don’t drink alcohol, you can apply the same approach to your coffee, tea, or other beverage of choice.
Opening your ears to the world around you can be quite meditative. The goal isn’t to listen in on any one conversation, but to notice every noise – no matter how big – that reaches your eardrums.
Taking a moment to place all your attention on your hearing is restful to the mind. It also helps you wake up to the richness of your immediate environment and pick up details you’d otherwise miss.
Best of all, you can do it anywhere – on the bus, in the office, on a walk, waiting in the car to pick up your child from school.
Albert Einstein said he did his best thinking while he was shaving. I’d argue that what he was doing in that moment wasn’t just removing the hairs from his face. With his utter absorption on what his hands were doing, Einstein was engaged in a mind-body practice.
You can transform a shave, shampoo, shower, or bath in to a mindfulness practice by again using your senses as a way to focus your attention on what you’re doing, not what you’re thinking. This shift in focus helps your mind get quiet so you can hear what your inner wisdom is whispering to you.
Walking meditation is a great alternative to seated meditation for anyone who feels too antsy or tired to sit up straight.
To turn any walk into a moving meditation, drop your attention in to your body and feel your weight transferring, your feet peeling off and then falling back down to the floor, your self moving through space. Walk slowly, staying present to every step, and drop the tendency to think about what will happen when you arrive.
You can even do a walking meditation down the hallways of your office. After all, no matter how busy you are, you’ll still need to walk to the bathroom a couple of times during the day.
Article courtesy of Beliefnet.com. Beliefnet offers daily inspiration with news articles on faith, religion, politics, health, family entertainment, sustainable living and more.