1. Walking Meditation - Bring Your Mind Back To Your Body
We never just walk. We are always thinking about where we are going next and what we are going to say and this can make us feel tired, overwhelmed and stressed. If we can cultivate presence and non-reactivity in our daily activities and learn to cultivate joy from doing so then we are already a step ahead when it comes to finding our happiness in all areas of life.
When we learn to be aware of our feet touching the ground, we become open to everything around us, to our environment and our friends. When we foster a little bit more awareness of our wandering minds we become less stuck in worry and fear and we bring more joy to the simple things. Something so simple like walking can bring so much happiness and can be a great tool to bring us back to the present moment.
When you can walk and just walk it is a liberating experience and because it is such a common thread in society there is no reason why walking can’t be a vital tool in bringing each of us some peace of mind in this hectic and fast paced world. Imagine if you can find peace and quiet every time you walk - your days will be filled with great happiness no matter where you are. Walking without letting your thoughts and emotions control you, just following your breath, feeling your feet on the ground and listening to the music of the birds is refreshing for our body and mind.
When we foster a little bit more awareness of our wandering minds we can start to observe things that we have never seen before. We become less stuck in our heads, less stuck in worry and anxiety and we become able to just enjoy a simple walk. Something so simple like walking can bring so much happiness and can be a powerful tool to bring us back to the present moment. We can choose to let our minds wander to the future and what we are doing next and make walking just another moment when we are asleep, or we can bring life back into every moment so we don't miss out on anything around us.
- To start your walking meditation practice just incorporate it into your daily walk to and from work, to the train or the bus, to the gym or cafe.
- Take the focus off the destination and put it back in that moment of life, before it disappears forever.
- Just try feeling your feet on the ground, putting your attention on how your body feels, how's your knees, how's your back? Can you hear any birds? Put the attention in your hearing. Any smells? Put your attention in your smell. Can you feel any wind on your face? Can you feel the fresh air cool your nostrils as you breathe in? Put your focus there.
- Just make sure your mind is with your body, and not further down the path, and you will bring life and presence to every single moment.
See our blog on Walking Meditation to find out more and get outside, or inside, one day this week and give it a try.
2. Eating Meditation - Let Us Be Alive At All Times
In the west we love to rush and the rushing tends to follow us through all aspects of our daily lives - we become accustomed to rushing through each and every meal we eat. We eat our lunch fast so we can rush off back to work or we eat our dinner quickly so we can race to get the train to meet friends. Not before long these habits become so well entrenched in our everyday lives that doing anything different is a big struggle.
A lot of the time we just eat because it’s the time we normally eat and we are so busy thinking of something else that we don’t even enjoy the flavours and the textures of what we are eating. We just race through it to get to the next more important part of our lives, and then race through the next more important part to get to the next more important part - ad infinitum. Bringing greater attention to things like eating helps us to bring more presence to all aspects of our lives. It is no point practising sitting meditation each morning if we then just rush through all the other parts of our lives.
Simple steps can help us with our practice of eating meditation and bring greater presence to our lives. If you're eating with a group wait for everyone to arrive at the table or ground before you commence eating. This helps slow us down, encourages patience and breaks our habit of always rushing. When you eat you should be aware of how fast you're eating, slow down, chew your food and actually taste the food. Try to increase your chews until all the food is broken down and it can't be broken down any further, this will help slow our eating and stop our habit of rushing to the next thing. This also has the added bonus of cutting our habits of over-eating, when we eat at a slower pace and become more conscious of how we are eating it prevents what is now a major problem in the western world.
Another practice you can implement is eating in silence for the first 10 minutes. If you're eating in a group, try 10 minutes of silence. This allows us to just focus on eating the food, the one and only thing we are doing in our lives at that stage, and just eat. We don't have to worry about uncomfortable silences or starting conversation with the person next to us. It’s refreshing to hear the crunch of a piece of lettuce or the snap of a carrot without the noise of a television, music or conversation. It’s another very useful tool to help quiet the mind, develop concentration, focus and presence in every moment.
- You can move and adapt this eating practice into a tea meditation. When you're having your morning cup of tea, just make sure that is all you are doing. It is strange at first as we have years and years of habit energy built up inside us all that never teaches us to actually enjoy these simple things.
- When we can finally drink a cup of tea or enjoy a meal without wanting to finish it or force conversation it is a liberating experience that brings us in greater touch with the present moment.
3. Chore Meditations - Bring Presence To All Areas Of Life
We tend to think about what happened in the past or what is coming next and most of the time we are just rushing through the task to get to the next thing. If we do this when we are brushing our teeth, showering or washing the dishes, where does this habit end? We create an unhealthy pattern that follows us into all areas of our lives and starts to tear all of our present moments away until we are nothing but a walking daydream trapped in the past or future.
- Pick one of your daily tasks (showering, brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc.) and vow to do that activity each day with full presence. It might seem silly at first but how many of us just brush our teeth when we are brushing our teeth?
- Starting with one simple task a day, completed in full presence, can help us be present in other areas of our lives as well.
- Pick your activity and try and keep your mind focused on that activity alone until it is done.
If you require further information or assistance of any kind you can contact us via our Facebook group, email, WhatsApp or Skype.