The word meditation gets thrown around a lot these days. To some it is confusing, to others it is wonderful, and to most it means nothing at all. In the traditional sense of the word, meditation is the practice of clearing the mind. Sitting on a special pillow and burning incense is just one way some people help themselves to clear their mind. But the truth is, you can do it however you want. In the end, clearing your mind is just that… CLEARING your mind.
I think the reason for all the confusion surrounding the word is that most people don’t know how to clear their mind. The problem with this, however, is that it isn’t something you can know how to do. It is the neutral state of the mind, the nonthinking mind. So the error is believing that it was something to figure out. In reality, it requires giving up trying to figure it out to find it.
THE TAKEAWAY: Whenever the time feels right, go for a short walk. It could be around your neighborhood, work, or anywhere for that matter. The location of the walk is not important, but what you do is. While you walk, pretend that everything around you is happening in slow motion. The birds flap their wings slowly, leaves fall at half the speed, and sounds seem to flow in and out like small waves washing on shore. The key is to give all your attention to EVERY little detail around you. Sometimes, your mind may come in and try to get you to start thinking again. Instead of getting angry with the thought, just let it happen. Then, whenever possible, slowly move your attention back to the things around you. At any given moment in our lives there are enough things around us to overwhlem the thinking mind. Even right now while I’m typing this, there are birds chirping outside, wind blowing, people talking, clocks ticking, and lights and shadows shifting all around me. By telling our mind to “watch these things in slow motion,” we trick it into giving all of its energy and attention to the things happening around us. Since all of our attention is used up, there is little left for the thinking mind. Through the practice of meditation, it will start to interrupt less, and more and more you may feel a sense of limitless calm. The more you familiarize yourself with that “calm,” the easier it will be to find your way back when you get a flat tire on the freeway or when you stub your toe. That “calm” is always there, always present. Meditation is just the practice of finding it.
Here is a video I made to help illustrate this blog. Enjoy.