When I ask my youngest child to meditate with me, even at the ripe old age of 4, he sits cross-legged on the floor, back straight, his small hands creating little O’s with his fingers and thumbs. He then begins to hum something resembling, “Ohm.” HUH? Where in the world did he learn that about meditation? It wasn’t from me!
Meditation was the #1 most suggested activity when I embarked on this spiritual journey. I heard it at every reading I got, from every teacher and every mentor. “You need to meditate.” Even so, I just knew it wasn’t my thing. Like my son, I assumed meditation involved a yogi-like style of sitting, complete stillness, relentless silence and hours of non-stop deep breathing. Well, the only thing non-stop about me is my brain. Did I pack the icepack in my son’s lunchbox? Did I turn the dishwasher on? Is the recycling picked up today or tomorrow? NONSTOP. So the thought that I’d be able to meditate was well, plainly, laughable.
Early in my spiritual development, a spiritual friend, experiencing some medical problems, asked me to let her know if I “picked up” on anything related to her issues during my meditation. I told her I would; embarrassed to admit I didn’t meditate. Several hours later, I was absent-mindedly moving my laundry from the washer to the dryer. It was one of those rare moments when there was nothing in my head at all – just the peaceful, yet rote movement of clothing from one machine to the other. Suddenly, I heard “It’s her new vitamins.” It literally broke me out of my laundry trance and somewhat startled me, so much that I actually looked up to see if someone was there. There wasn’t of course.
What I realized was that I had heard my own inner voice, or my guides, or her decreased grandmother (who frequently showed up to other mediums). I wasn’t sure who or what but FINALLY something, someone had been able to get through to me.
In that moment, it dawned on me, meditation doesn’t have to involve painful posture, agonizing silence, or the constant struggle to maintain a clear head. It can simply be moments of peaceful quiet.
It was a transformative moment for me. I went from completely resisting meditation and ignoring its benefits to making those peaceful activities, those non-traditional meditative activities, a priority in my daily life. I began to like meditation!
My mind grew quieter and quieter. Now, I can now sit and be still for a much longer period of time than I ever thought I could. And I actually enjoy it! I still don’t do it yogi-style, but it is a much more traditional style of meditation. Often it’s still, my ways of stealing quiet moments that bring me inner peace and grounding. Here’s a list of some of my favorite non-traditional meditative activities:
- Laundry (yes – especially the folding!)
- Washing dishes – after years of avoiding it, I now use my dishwasher less and hand wash more!
- Showers, baths, or relaxing in the hot tub (sans children splashing in my face, of course!)
- The beach. Ah! The beach. So many people’s favorite place and for good reason. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feeling of my feet buried in cool sand. Everything about it grounds me, quiets me and brings me back to the present moment.
- Taking a walk. I live in a very busy area, so for me, it’s better if I’m listening to calming music as I do it. I can zone out then. But if I have access to the quiets of a wooded path, oh….heaven……
- Sitting in front of a roaring fire. I lose myself in the flame, the warmth and the crackling of the wood.
- Yoga. I wish I could tell you I practiced it every day, I don’t. But when I do, I feel so good and certain poses quiet my mind right away. I received my first communication from a Spirit guide in child’s pose – it’s one of my favorites!
- Coloring. Yes! – I have my own coloring books now! It’s amazing how lost in it you can become. I now know why kids are able to tune out parents while buried in the depths of their Doc McStuffins or Lightning McQueen coloring pages!
There are more, but you get the point. If you feel peaceful, less chaotic, even find yourself breathing deeper while doing an activity, no matter what it is– gardening, swimming, golf, whatever, guess what? You’ve just meditated!!! Keep doing it. Don’t get hung up on the stereotypes of meditation. It’s not a ‘once size fits all’ kind of thing!
Oh, and sure enough – it was my friend’s new vitamins causing her issues. 🙂