Note: This post has been contributed.
There are countless benefits to meditation, and it is something which is becoming more and more popular as time goes on, especially in this culture. It is also the kind of thing which has so much varied meaning that you never quite know what someone is referring to when they say it. There are many ways in which you can meditate without having to sit on the cushion, and indeed a lot of them are pretty ordinary everyday activities to boot. In this article, we are going to take a look at a number of everyday activities which can be meditative. If you find yourself taking up any of these - or just paying more attention to them - you will find that you are introducing a lot more of a kind of meditation into your life. Let’s see what those activities are, and how to make them meditative.
If you have never really gone fishing, it is absolutely something that you might want to think about taking up. Not only is it incredibly calming and enjoyable as a way to spend time alone, it is also hugely valuable as a potential meditative experience. You don’t need much to go fishing. A rod, perhaps a boat and a look at some trolling motor battery top picks, and you can get on with it. With fishing, you are generally alone out in the natural world, and this - combined with the fact that you are doing something repetitive and calming - means that it is the perfect opportunity for some meditation. You don’t need to do anything in particular to make it a meditation - it’s just a case of doing it, as fully as you can and without allowing your thoughts to wander too much. You should find that, after a day of this kind of meditation, you feel very calm indeed.
A lot of people find gardening to be especially calm, and it’s no wonder that there are such things as Zen gardens! The truth is that simple garden activities are often perfect for a little quiet meditation, and that is worth thinking about next time you are in the garden pottering about. Whether you are just pulling out a few weeds, or whether you are doing something more physically exhaustive - in either case, you will still be able to make it a meditation. Again, it is something that lends itself well to this, so you don’t need to do much besides merely focus on what you are doing with the fullness of your being. You might even find that you enjoy the gardening much more as a result, and you will end up with a beautiful garden too - truly a win-win situation.
We have already seen that meditation can involve movement, and one of the best ways to see this in practice is to try some walking meditation. If you have never heard of walking meditation, you might well wonder how it can possibly work. But actually, it is quite straightforward. Walking meditation merely requires that you pay close attention to the movements of the feet as you walk, noticing the rising and falling of the feet as you move along. This can be a surprisingly powerful meditative experience, and you can even do it in groups if you prefer. If you don’t want to do it that way, you can instead simply engage in mindful walking. That means no music, no earphones, and keeping your attention on the present moment rather than letting the mind wander. A few hours of this can be invigorating and refreshing.
There is something joyous about making meditation out of an everyday activity that you have to do, something which is technically a chore of some kind or another. Cleaning the home is a great opportunity to meditate, and the next time you are doing so you might actually be grateful to know this, as it does have a way of making your cleaning much more enjoyable and less tedious or boring. Focusing on the body’s movements as you clean a floor or window can be a surprisingly calm experience, and it’s definitely a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You’ll find that you actually start to look forward to cleaning once you adopt a more meditative approach towards it.
Finally, it’s something you probably do three or more times a day, and it is a wonderful opportunity to get meditating. The whole process of eating - and, by extension the prior cooking - is a great act of meditation already. Turn the television off, and really pay attention to each bite as it happens. Discover again what it feels like to eat, and just be eating, without your mind being elsewhere. You might find the results to be strangely profound.