When I think of meditation I think of it as a form of connecting and listening to one’s inner being. It allows for an inward focus.
Along with focused breathing and sitting meditation, there are various forms of meditation including repetitive physical activities, especially those that require focused or concentrated breathing, like yoga, hiking, walking, and running.
Whether sitting and meditating with focused breathing, or participating in physical activities, or doing household chores in a mindful way, the energy of breathing and focusing inward allows for the positive effects of meditation to occur. These all feel similar to me, they each bring me inward while simultaneously connecting me to the whole of the universe.
They allow for mindfulness within my singular perspective as well as an inner clarity that we are all connected; it’s like a spiritual figure/ground experience.
Over the years I have discovered that inward focus is the most useful way to center and get a clear perspective on a situation.
It is healing; it is rejuvenating.
Meditation and yoga require focused breathwork.
Bringing the concept of focused breathwork to an activity can create a mindful, inward focused, meditative form of activity. For me many physical activities (hiking, gardening, painting, singing, running, fly fishing, ice skating) allow me to center, bring my attention within, and focus my breath.
The act-ivity with mindfulness allows for me to breathe, center, connect, and let go simultaneously. Being mindful activates the action, shifts the energy of it, so that it becomes a process whereby I can focus inward.
Breathing in and breathing out in a mindful way allows for a centering and connecting energy to focus one’s attention inward. This in turn allows for our vision to change such that, what and how we see ourselves, or outside situations, has the opportunity to shift perspective and usually this shift is healing and rejuvenating.
Inward focus allows for the lens of our vision to change perspective.
This inward mindful focus allows for balance to infuse a situation.
I have used the activity of running as a meditative practice intermittently since my early twenties. I prefer to run with my dog, and sometimes with music, to allow my unconscious to bubble up that which requires my attention.
The mindless repetitive action of moving through space at a comfortable breathing pace allows my mind to process whatever issue is bothering me, it allows a space for mindfulness. It makes the running the ground so that the issues that require my attention can move to the fore as the figure. It allows for me to re-view situations, interactions, or problems that are unresolved. Allowing for an inner space to see the issues from a new perspective.
I think it is the reason that I don’t run in races and have a bit of a recoiling response to the thought of doing so.
I have a very dear friend who is top of her game at every physical activity she undertakes. She is awesome. She began running recently and knowing that I run daily invited me to join her in training for a race. I saw this as an opportunity to share in the running experience with a dear friend and so for a couple of weeks began to focus on training when I was running. I found it to be de-stabilizing and frustrating – gone were my healing moments in my busy day where I felt connected to the universe – now there was speed work and pacing myself; rather than feeling calmer after my run, I felt a bit anxious and somewhat defeated.
I discovered that I run for meditation not for training.
My dear friend ran in her first race recently and took first place in her age group – it brought her a lot of satisfaction. Me too for her.
My satisfaction for myself came outside the race, I had my daily meditative run and found my own inward focus to bring me the space to be at peace in my somewhat difficult world.
Knowing how to get to your center will help you to rejuvenate and deal effectively with stress.
And once you find those ways make sure you maintain your connection to them. Finding space and creating space for inward focus and re-balancing goes far to diminish the negative effects of stress.
You may already have an activity that does this for you. Something that you are drawn to do whenever you feel stressed. Something that after you do you feel more balanced or rejuvenated.
It may be spiritual or physical in nature, it may involve a talent that you have but do not promote. At any rate you will know it when you see/feel it. Because it will have the tell-tale effects of lowering your blood pressure, bringing to you a sense of calmness and balance or simply result in you feeling a positive change in perspective on things following the activity.
Spend some time on inward focus and see if you can’t discover for yourself what meditative activities you already undertake and then build them in as part of your every day ritual.
It’s funny how the mundane is often a way into the divine. Find your way in, and use it often.
See you tomorrow.