Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation, often known as “sitting,” comes in various forms - from simply sitting and noticing what is, to more elaborate visualization processes.  There are many avenues to learn more about meditation, check our Resources page and/or Google "meditation".

This writing is for all of you who, like me, have some difficulty with meditation. 

I know, I know - it “should” be “easy” – just sitting and observing. For many reasons, finding time in the day, quieting the mind, and “being” for 30 minutes, 20, or even 10 minutes, can be difficult.  Maybe I have too many rules about what it “should” look like.  However, my typical excuse is  that I can never “find the time” (more accurately get motivated) to meditate.  So I spoke with my friend (and Ayurvedic practictioner) Reenita Malhotra, about what I CAN do. 

I’ve learned that takes on many forms.  Meditation can be simply mindfulness, it can happen any time.  To me, mindfulness is focusing on what I am doing RIGHT NOW, and breathing.  This helps me to be in my body and to focus on myself and what I am doing – I can then quiet my mind and have more clarity.  Have you noticed how many times when you are in the shower, great ideas come to you?  Even this is a form of mindfulness.

To begin, chose some activities that you like to do or would like to learn how to do.  These activities should be simple, easy to do, maybe even monotonous.  For example, while I enjoy making jewelry and this provides a creative outlet, it is often intricate and can create tension. So I decided not to use this as one of my activities (unless it was a consistent, simple assembly task).  Instead, I decided to take up knitting, which requires much less concentration.   My list of “mindful tasks” include: walking, hiking in nature, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, poi dancing, and knitting. 

I’m able to slow down and perform these tasks in a mindful way. While I’m chopping or knitting, I’m breathing, consciously relaxing, and focusing only on the task at hand.  It’s wonderful, because as I’m doing the tasks, I’m accomplishing things that normally might otherwise add to my stress of unfinished chores.  I’m getting them done - and while at a slightly slower more mindful pace - I’m doing something beneficial for my mind and body at the same time.  Sometimes these tasks are “productive” and other times they are simply for the “creative process.”

I also enjoy adding an element of spiritually to it. I like to “infuse” my work with a positive energy, so while I’m chopping dinner, I’m intending to infuse the food with good energy that will nourish us as we eat.  While making a scarf, I infuse the piece with good intensions for the wearer – safety, health, love, etc.  I’ve found this enhances the meditative process for me and it feels really good.

Meditation helps us slow down our racing mind, provide moments of clarity, and get us in touch with our spiritual and energetic body.  For me, a mindfulness practice is meditation.

When your life feels overwhelming, take a chore and make it a meditation. 

-Julie Matthews

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