I meditate. It’s not how you likely imagine.
Tradition, television, and many books and apps show us images of serene, silent people in lotus positions. We see that meditation is about cultivating stillness, a quiet mind, a union of body and spirit seeking to limit external distractions and internal dialogue.
To go further, meditation is an action that avoids self reference. Meditation voids Self. One exists within the moment, looking neither back nor forward, neither in nor out. Thoughts with self reference, such as “mulling over” ideas or events of the day, is not meditation. That is contemplation.
Meditation isn’t passive, although its goal is a kind of stillness. And yet, that stillness is not necessarily a physical or mental nonmovement. It’s a stillness of multiplicity. A stillness defined by stopping the splintering of the One into many. Most people likely find the experience works easier by not moving. They experience a greater sense of unity by reducing the movement of their thoughts and bodies; by holding still they reduce distractions. But that isn’t the only way.
Sometimes the best way to still the mind is to move the body. Gentle, joint-focused movements help focus the mind and the body, reducing distractions.
Sometimes the best way to still the mind is to exert the body. Intense, muscular movements help focus the mind and body, reducing distractions.
I’ve never felt stillness in being still, but I find bliss in exhaustion. I don’t find a place in Tai Chi. My meditation is CrossFit.
The hours I spend stepping into myself during these work outs provides a great sense of stillness. Each session is a ritual. I greet friends, plan the work out, warm up, then prep and set up. Then for 20-40 minutes the Many Things become only my body in motion, pushing through tasks.
Later in the evening I can sit and contemplate what I felt and learned. But at the box, in the moment, there Is.
If you’ve found it difficult to meditate because you’re trying to emulate what you see others doing, take some time to think about the process, not the style. You’ll likely find you’re already experiencing meditation somewhere in your life. Perhaps contemplate how it works for you. You may want to expand your experience or increase its frequency.