How do you define meditation? Some people say that in order to meditate correctly you must cross your legs in a certain way. Others say you have to breathe in a certain way or meditate for a specific period of time.
I have found that having strict rules about what to do and what not to do makes it hard for many of us to even consider meditating. Not everyone, for instance, can meditate with their legs crossed. If some people try to meditate that way, they will spend the entire meditation thinking to themselves, “Oh my gosh, my leg is killing me!” That’s counterproductive because the pain is bringing negative thoughts into their mind, making them feel uncomfortable and creating anxiety rather than peace.
I would like to introduce you to a different way of understanding what it means to meditate and how you can incorporate this beautiful practice into your life. To me, when you are totally engaged in the present moment and are at one with your real self, without extraneous thoughts entering in and disturbing you, you are meditating. You can achieve that state of oneness while in quiet meditation, but you can also achieve it when you are in the midst of any activity. That means you can be “meditating” anytime and anywhere.
If you are a ballet dancer and are completely engaged in your performance, you are meditating. If you are in the audience watching the ballet and are so captivated by it that you feel one with the cadence and rhythm of the performance, you, too, are meditating. You’re not thinking, “I’ve got to get home and pay my bills” or “I need to be sure and pick up those clothes from the dry cleaner tomorrow.” By this definition, you can be meditating while you are immersed in watching a spectacular sunset, taking in the beauty of a garden in full bloom, playing the piano, laughing with a child, cooking a special meal for a friend, or even playing a sport.
The truth is that any activity that you do with your body and mind as one in the present moment can be a moving meditation as you draw your thoughts and actions to a central focus.
Turning Daily Activities Into Moving Mediations
A good way to help you make your daily activities a moving meditation is to write down or say aloud (or silently to yourself) an affirmation that reflects how you will engage your mind and body as one as you carry out a specific activity. Here are a few examples so you get the idea.
While you are driving, you might say: “I am keeping a calm, attentive state of mind as I patiently and persistently move toward my destination.”
At work: “I am focusing on this particular project this morning and will not allow anything to distract me.”
Engaging in sports: “I am totally focused on the present moment and am aware of all my surroundings—the field, the other players, the ball.”
Cooking a meal: “I am expressing my love for the people who will receive this meal, including myself.”
Eating a meal: “I am focusing on loving myself as I nourish my body.”
Sharing affection with your significant other: “I am focusing completely on this moment together, on the beauty of who you are and the joy you bring to my life.”
Playing with your children: “I am giving all my attention to you at this moment and am expressing my gratitude to you because you remind me of how much joy there is in life.”
Singing or dancing: “I am one with the music as I send this loving message from my heart to the world.”
Reading a book: “I am learning all I can and becoming a better person in the process.”
So, any activity that brings you into deeper communion with your real self in the present moment, whatever gives you a sense of peaceful unity, is a moving meditation. With the right frame of mind, the right view, and the right attitude, you can move as one with your inner self at all times, thereby creating harmony, beauty, peace, right action, and love right where you are, right now.