12 May Meditation Series: Active Meditation
I’ll never forget this! About 16 years ago I was speaking with a gentleman who was under a great deal of stress. Knowing the benefits of it, I asked him if he meditated. Well, when he heard that he threw his whole body backwards and laughed uproariously, as if it was the funniest, most ridiculous thing he had ever heard in his life.
When he could speak again, he said:
“Oh god no, I’m not into all the woowoo stuff!! No, no, not me! When I need peace, I go fly-fishing. I get out into the most incredible parts of Nature. I find my way into the middle of nowhere and stand hip deep in these beautiful streams. They don’t care what’s going on in the world, they just flow. No people. No phones. My mind goes blank and all I do is cast my line back and forth, back and forth. You know, it’s the funniest thing, it’s as if time stands still, everything I was bothered about disappears and all the stress leaves me.”
I was smiling ear to ear when I heard that. 🙂 and replied: “You may be surprised to hear that that’s meditating. It’s called Active Meditation.”
Where typical meditative practices would have you sitting or lying down in a state of stillness, with Active Meditation you are moving and experiencing an inner stillness within the activity. A common theme (though not essential) in Active Meditation is a rhythmic/repetitive movement such as you would see in Running, where your legs/torso/arms are performing a repetitive motion allowing you to simply focus on the cadence of your breathing, or not focus on anything at all, and let your mind be still.
Many people report being ‘in the zone’, losing themselves in what they’re doing, losing track of time, being completely absorbed in the activity and experiencing an effortless flow. Over the years, I have heard of so many different ways people have accessed this state: running, swimming, fly-fishing, cycling, race car driving (ayrton senna/monaco), climbing, sweeping, ironing, knitting, painting/creative activities, working on the car, gardening, dancing, puzzles…..the list is endless.
The truth is, you can make anything an Active Meditation by finding the peaceful moment in every moment of it.
If quieting your mind to do a traditional Meditation is challenging for you, Active Meditations are an excellent way to get the benefits of Meditation by bypassing the restless mind, and engaging the body. In doing so, the mind gets to have a ‘time out’ and can begin to quiet down.
A easy way to begin developing an Active Meditation practice, is by simply being fully present in the activity you’re engaging in. Focus on experiencing it through each of the senses, down to the subtlest of details.
Our inner intelligence knows what we need to do to maintain our well-being and will often guide us to those things without the rational mind having a logical reason for it. So, pay close attention to the things you ‘love to do’. You may be doing an Active Meditation already, without knowing it.
Access the Sacred
Personally, what I love about Active Meditation is that it brings my spiritual practice out of the meditation room and into everyday life. It allows me to connect with the heart and soul of whatever I’m doing in the present moment. It is profound Mindfulness. It is a way to experience the sacred in every moment, a way to live Heaven on Earth, where life itself becomes a living prayer.
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The beautiful photograph above was taken by the amazing landscape photographer Andrew Locking.
Thank you for taking time to read this post! The right information at the right time is a most powerful catalyst for change. For Coaching, Workshops or an Inspiring Talk on this valuable topic, please call me.
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