If you are interested in much of the literature and podcasts that I am, you’ve probably been bombarded with the idea of how beneficial and absolutely necessary meditation is to a well-balanced life.
This is overwhelming.
I understand that meditation helps one to connect with onesself and the surrounding world , but the idea of spending 20-40 minutes in quiet, contemplative form is not entirely realistic. I mean, heck, that’s the ideal time for a Powernap. Priorities.
I am an efficient person. Wait, let me rephrase this. I try my absolute hardest to be an efficient person. Since I am unable to multitask well, I have to skimp on things that waste too much time. So therefore, sitting still and simply “checking in” is not an alluring concept for me. And maybe this applies to you, too.
I listened to The Rich Roll Podcast episode from October 22 on my long run this past Friday, and often as it happens, Rich and Julie were discussing the power and need of meditation. The way in which it was being described made me realize something;
Meditation is individual. That’s the whole point.
Therefore, it extends past the traditional idea of sitting still for upwards of an hour concentrating all focus on inhaling and exhaling. Because that’s not attending to the individual.
The point of meditation is to check in with yourself, spend some time exploring your physical, emotional, mental, and intellectual psyches, see the state of the subconscious and conscious in your mind. Yes, for some people, this can only be explored upon a strict and unrelenting practice of observing the breath and visualizing the body in solitude and quiet. But for some, this can be achieved in different, more manageable, more appealing ways.
I realized on my run this week that I already have a meditation practice.
Every morning immediately following breakfast while I still have a steaming mug of dark roast, French press coffee entertaining my focus, I read a chapter in my Bible and then pull out my Moleskine journal. I spend upwards of 20 minutes writing about my previous day, what I’m grateful for, what went well yesterday, the upcoming day’s events, my goals, my disciplines, what makes me happy, people to pray for, my own prayers, etc. When I have to open at the coffee shop I work at, I don’t get to do this practice, and I have experienced a significant consequence of omitting this routine.
This is my individual form of mediation. I check in with my physical self–how did the morning run go? What upcoming races am I excited for? Am I ready for them?
I check in with my emotional self. Am I angry at anyone? Am I frustrated with anyone? Why am I experiencing the things I am experiencing? Have I experience closure with those who are leaving? How am I dealing with this?
I check in with my mental self. Am I feeling stressed about anything? How am I dealing with this stress? What do I need to do to manage this?
I check in with my intellectual self. What am I curious about? What do I want to learn more about? What do I need to explore more thoroughly? How do I become better?
Don’t be scared by “mediation”; it’s not about conforming to one specific practice, or adjusting your own practice to mirror something else. It’s entirely about you. It’s about your personal ability to connect with yourself and what’s around you. So get excited, because it can be journaling, swinging, sitting still, laying down, jumping rope…the possibilities are endless.
A couple of exceptions:
I have found that meditation does not work at it’s peak when one attempts to multitask. For instance, “meditative running” does not = meditation. You are unable to tap into your mental, emotional, and intellectual states because you are almost entirely consumed with feedback coming from the physical state.
Meditative eating does not = meditation. You miss out on the full pleasure of food because you are attempting to tap into too many other states, and not simply enjoying the sensation of the food you are eating.
Peace and Blessings,
Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.
-Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati