Untraditional Methods of Meditation
The age old practice of meditation is a topic that most people know at least something about. Some may practice it on a regular or random basis, while others might dismiss it as something unattainable by them, and some just dismiss it all together. I have had limited success with meditating in the "traditional" ways (visualization methods, chanting mantras, focusing on an object, rhythmic breathing). While I haven't really worked at becoming better, my sessions typically last at the most a couple of minutes.
Although I have never gotten into a deep meditative trance, my experiences with meditation have led me to contemplate the different methods that all lead to the same result. All traditional methods deal with intense concentration, visually and/or mentally. But outside of the traditional methods, there are plenty of activities that people do which require intense mental and/or visual concentration. Wouldn't these activities be forms of meditation too?
The deepest forms of meditation may not be reached without years of determination and practice, but I believe that every single person meditates more frequently than they realize. The following list of activities will never be complete, as there are seemingly infinite ways at which a person can reach mild forms of meditation through intense concentration.
People that participate in any activity which requires rhythmic movements of the body can achieve mental meditation. An experienced swimmer doesn't think about each stroke and kick and movement and breath while swimming. Training and practice kick in and the swimmer glides through the water mindlessly. A swimmer described to me how she would mentally repeat the lap number over and over while swimming. The mantra-like chanting of numbers combined with the very rhythmic synchronization of the body makes swimming a quite meditative activity. Other activities such as running, jogging, walking, hiking, dancing, rowing, biking, and lifting weights can all allow a concentrated meditation. Just let your mind clear while doing these activities and concentrate on the rhythmic motion and breathing.
Driving a car or truck is an activity which is second nature to many of us. We drive to work, school, the store, a friends house, or to no particular destination. A driver who is relatively inexperienced or new at driving will likely dedicate a lot of mental processing to making sure they are not breaking any laws, that is, driving properly. Once one becomes more experienced and comfortable with driving, however, it almost becomes a habit.
From personal experience, after a few minutes of driving, I get into a mental state of "timelessness". Its the same concept as "zoning out" and not really consciously concentrating on driving. This doesn't mean you aren't driving safely, as a zoned out driver can still be alert and cautious. However, instead of constantly checking speed and mirrors, I allow my mind to wander. My body and mind know through experience how to operate a car and they continue to do so safely, while I daydream or listen to a podcast or two. Intimately knowing the route helps this process. Before I realize it, the drive is over and I have reached my destination. This is quite nice with a 90 minute daily commute. Certainly there are times where I am driving more consciously, such as in towns or when there is traffic. But the most enjoyable drives are the ones where I zone out and meditate while driving.
Whenever we are bored, preoccupied, or intrigued, daydreaming is a natural response. Whether it is avoiding paying attention in math class, mentally replaying an event, imagining what a future event might be like, or contemplating a theory/thought, everyone lets their mind wander. Whenever we forget our present state and get so caught up in our mental dreamscape, we are in essence meditating. A daydreamer loses track of time, space, sight, hearing, and the other senses. While it generally isn't difficult to return to a normal state of consciousness, the daydreamer is able to depart from consciousness at will and enter a world of meditative timelessness and senselessness. I often daydream about IGITY, and the notion of time. It is strange to consider, becoming timeless while thinking of time.
Anyone who has a job has likely experienced a slow work day. Sometimes time seems to drag on, perceived to be passing slower than usual. This is due to over-awareness. We want the work day to end, and so we constantly monitor the time, waiting for it to pass. This is counter-productive, however. To make time pass, we must become timeless. This is easily done for someone with a "mindless" job. Again, as mentioned above, you must zone out. I work on a computer all day long, doing data entry. While the work requires some thought, I have become quite used to it and skilled at it. This enables me to become timeless at work, and, in essence, meditate. It usually takes me some time before I really get into the groove, so to speak. When I first get to work, I focus on what I am doing. But eventually, I forget about where I am. My mind goes on autopilot and I continue to do work, but without the same degree of concentration. Before I know it, three hours have passed and it is time for lunch.
While some occupations might not allow much zoning out, many of them do. My mother is a rug weaver, and spends several hours a day weaving. She described to me how sometimes the time seems to pass much quicker. She gets into a rhythm, and meditates on weaving. The process is a very rhythmic one, beating the warp and switching pedals. The visual and auditory stimulation is also quite conducive to meditation, with periodic loud thumps and intricate patterns of interlocking warp and weft.
The better and more comfortable we are with an activity such as work, the more able we are to do it subconsciously. This is the key to becoming timeless while working. Hopefully, you work a job that doesn't require too much concentration. If so, you may find that zoning out and letting the subconscious take over is the best way to make the work day pass.
This could be included in the Athletics section above, but since it has its own name...
Tantric Sex is essentially meditating while having sex. You use soft sensual touch to relax you and your partner, and then clear your minds and meditate. This enhances sensitivity, duration, and orgasm.
More updates to come soon. Send your suggestions or experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them on the discussion forum.
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