Meditation? Again? I can audibly hear the groans of those who are like, “Not this again. I’ve tried this and I just can’t. I can’t sit and clear my mind and wait for inspiration to descend. I don’t have the time”. For some, sitting still and clearing the mind works perfectly. For others, not so much. If you’re in the not so much crowd, give meditation another chance and try a moving meditation.
Have you ever heard of a moving meditation?
A moving meditation is basically, meditating while you are doing something else. “Shouldn’t I be mindful while I’m doing my tasks? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do, be present?” Yes. But, being present and moving meditation can go hand in hand. Being present in the moment, even if you’re moving, is a form of meditation.
For example, while you’re washing the dishes: instead of standing there thinking about what you have to do next, being upset that no one is helping you, or wondering why your family can’t scrape their own plates….take that time to meditate. Listen to the running water; feel it flow over your hands as you rinse the dishes off. Watch bubbles form in the soap. Allow your mind to wander. Don’t latch on to any one thought. Pretend that there is a bubble of space around your kitchen sink. When you step into that bubble it is your space to just be. Give yourself permission to stand there and think of nothing in particular as you do the dishes.
Another way you could do a moving meditation is to take a walk. Do this without any music playing in your ears. Just listen to the sounds around you. Smell the fresh cut grass. Feel the warmth of the sun, of the breeze if there is one. Look around you and take note of what you see. Again, don’t get attached to anything. Just use this time to let your mind wander.
Some other things you could try: doing TaiChi, Qigong, Yoga, or any other type of slow-moving exercise. Also, you could do the Jin Shin Jytsu finger holding that we describe here. All of these practices cause you to focus on what you’re doing physically so that you can give that mental chatter a break. They are all forms of moving meditation.
Meditating is good for you; mentally, physically, and spiritually. Moving meditation has the same benefits, without the stress that traditional meditation causes some people.
Meditation lowers your heart rate and your blood pressure.
It gives you more energy.
It relieves stress.
You have more awareness of both yourself and the things around you.
It reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
It allows you to be more in control of your emotions.
Meditating increases the gray matter in your brain. (What is the gray matter? “The grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.” (From Wikipedia) So all of these areas can be improved by meditating.)
It decreases your anger and fear responses, and helps you to be more in control of your responses in general.
It helps you to feel more connected to the people and the world around you. This despite the fact that we often meditate alone.
Meditating helps your immune system to be stronger.
It helps you to focus.
It helps you to release negative emotions.
You to be a better problem solver.
You’re more creative.
It allows you to deal with pain better.
It gives you the ability to keep a positive outlook on life, even when things around you aren’t so great.
These are just a few of the many benefits that meditation can have on your body, your mind, and your spirit. But if you don’t do it, it doesn’t help.
How often do we need to meditate to see the benefits?
Ideally, we meditate every day for at least 30 minutes.
Many people do it for an hour or more. It really depends on you. Everyone is different. Everyone’s life is different. Sometimes it’s harder to make it a straight 30 minutes when we are first getting started as well.
If you can’t quite make it 30 minutes, for whatever reason, honor where you are, and start with something. Even 5 minutes a day can be beneficial. Start small if you need to, and work your way up. Add time in 5- or 10-minute increments. You can meditate for 5 minutes, 6 times a day and you have your 30; or for 10 minutes, 3 times a day.
Don’t let the fear of not being able to meditate for 30 minutes plus, stop you from even trying. Start doing what you can, when you can, and you’ll see benefits.
“Do not wait until tomorrow to meditate. Do not wait until tomorrow to be good. Be good now. Be calm now. It will be the turning point of your life.” – Paramhansa Yogananda
Don’t worry if your mind wanders a lot at first. This is normal for everyone. Rare is the person that can sit down, clear their mind completely, and meditate for 30 minutes right off the bat. Those people that you see, who can sit in silence for 30 minutes or an hour without moving, have likely been practicing for months, or even years. It takes time.
To be clear, if traditional meditation works for you, then keep doing it. By no means am I knocking it. I simply want to offer alternatives for those who don’t like doing that style of meditation.
I personally enjoy doing traditional meditation, but I also like to mix it up. It depends on the day, my mood, and what I need in the moment. If I’ve been super busy, around people a lot, and moving around like crazy, then I’m more likely to do a traditional, sit in the floor cross legged and silently observe my thoughts kind of meditation. On the other hand, if I’ve been sitting a lot, driving, flying, writing, etc., then my body craves movement. In these times, I do a moving meditation. I walk or do a Qigong practice.
You don’t have to solely commit to doing one type or another. Do what I do and mix it up depending on what you intuitively know that you need each day.
In addition to the moving meditation, another style you can try, are guided meditations.
A guided meditation is one in which someone guides you through a meditation. These are often done while sitting in one place, in a comfortable position, but they can also be used as a form of moving meditation.
For some people, guided meditations are a great way to get started. Your thoughts are guided so they are slightly less likely to wander. I say slightly because your mind will still definitely wander at first. You will still have to make a conscious effort not to attach to any one thought. If this happens, simply bring your mind back to the awareness of what the guide is saying.
There are several free options for guided meditations on YouTube. Some of my favorites:
Melanie Beckler -of Ask-Angels.com. Her voice is very relaxing. Here are a few that I listen to a lot:
“5 Minute Abundance Meditation” 6:00 (with the intro and everything)
Chris Shelton with Shelton Qigong:
“Day #13 – Qigong Flow Meditation” 36:47 (This one is part of Shelton Qigong’s 30 Days of Qigong series. This series goes through all of the different organ cleansing exercises, along with other Qigong basics. I like doing this series when I need a total reset. The flow meditation goes through several of the movements in one video, whereas the other videos mainly concentrate on one movement. Each one of these videos benefits a different area of the body, and a different set of emotions. If you’d like to start at the beginning, start here “Day #1 – White Pearl Meditation”)
There is also a channel called “Meditative Mind” that has guided meditations.
They have music that is specifically designed to be played while you are meditating as well. It’s perfect for those who need to have some sort of background noise.
They have a “30 Day Healing Camp” in which each video targets a different chakra or system in the body. I’ve gone through this a few times. Each time it has benefited me in a different way. A few of my favorite individual videos include:
“Breath Awareness” – Guided Meditation for Beginners” 19:20
“Heal Neck and Cervical Pain” 35:19 (This is Healing Camp Day 18)
“Throat Chakra Healing Guided Meditation” 29:54 (This is Healing Camp Day 5)
Just remember, everyone is different.
If the thought of sitting still and trying to clear your mind of all thought just stresses you out, then you aren’t going to do it. If you don’t do it, then you won’t get any benefit from the practice. Find a way that works for you.
If you do this, you’ll be surprised at what starts to come up for you, what inspirations come your way, and how much better you feel. Our minds are full of good ideas, of simple solutions, that are waiting right there on the surface. We just need to quiet that daily chatter long enough to allow those thoughts to come through.