When people think of meditating, a stereotypical image of a ‘Hippie’ type figure, legs crossed and hands posed, is likely to come to mind. This image can put a lot of people off even entertaining the idea of meditating, for it can be seen as very ‘wishy washy.’ People might say things like; ‘I find it impossible to just sit in total silence, so how can I meditate?’
The good news is that meditation incorporates so much more than that ‘wishy washy’ image we see it portrayed as being in the media. It isn’t reserved solely for a select few people, it is for everyone, with its many different forms making it highly accessible.
Whilst meditation for some people does take the stereotypical form, for other people, it could take the form of gardening, or walking, art, or cooking. Anything that allows you to ‘escape’ from your thoughts for a little while, is meditation. For me, mindfulness took the form of a hike in the Peak District on Saturday morning.
To say the conditions ‘weren’t great’, would be the understatement of the century. Sub-zero temperatures, wind, ice, and snow, all certainly made our climb up Kinder Scout a hike to remember! The conditions meant that I was so focused on getting to the summit that no other thoughts were in my head other than; ‘are we nearly there?!’
It was only after the walk that I was able to appreciate what a meditative experience the hike had been for me, for it gave me some much-needed respite from my anxiety and overthinking, if only for a few hours. Such respite allowed me to recognise that there will come a day when I am no longer ruled by my mental health, and that, there will come a day when I can enjoy the little things again, rather than stressing about everything, even the mundane things like hoovering, and, what time I’ll be having my lunch, all the time...
Even after our walk I felt a greater sense of calm, for upon arriving home, I felt able, and did, just sit, without doing anything, or having anything to occupy my mind. I sat and I just relaxed– something that I usually find too difficult to do, a result of me always feeling as though I ought to be doing something ‘productive’ with my time.
The experience has led me to write this short blog post today, because I think its important that people remember that; you can practice mindfulness in many ways, even if you don’t find meditation in its simplest form ‘doable.’ I know that a lot of people find it impossible to clear their head of all thoughts and just sit with their pure consciousness, which is what the practice of ‘traditional’ meditation demands. Alternative meditation, however, is so much more inclusive, and so much easier to achieve your state of ‘Zen’ via.
It is important to note, however, that the state of ‘Zen’ that you long for might not be achieved straight away, and it might not work for you every time, but that just makes the moments when you do achieve that highly sought after ‘meditative’ state, even more special.
So, as this post comes to an end, why don’t you think about what activities you can, or perhaps even do engage in, in order to enter a meditative state? You might not intentionally be trying to meditate, or practice mindfulness via the activity, but if doing it;
- Makes time ‘run away with you’,
- Makes you forget to check your phone,
- Makes you solely focused on the task at hand, with any other thoughts being faded out,
then you have found your meditation.
Do it often, enjoy it, and never let it go.