“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not an evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
The stillness of mediation may seem impossible in its concept and practice. When meditation looks challenging, consider an un-mediation practice. Un-meditation is movement while encountering your mind and inviting a peace of mind. The act is cultivation of a healthy head space much like sit down type of meditation practices. When an individual is active, the body increases oxygen production which boosts your mind-focus ability. This is empowering for those with mind focus struggles and empowering for the meditation doubter. Don’t take your meditation practice sitting down, get active.
There are a range of activity levels that work in creating a meditative mind. A minimal mind focus and enjoyable activity is mindful eating or drinking. When drinking a tea or coffee, walk through your sensory process. Consider temperature and how that makes you feel. Warmth can be a hug and cool an alert booster. Savor this a moment before moving onto taste. With your next sip, examine each flavor of sweet, bitter, or more. Is there hazelnut, cream, chocolate, cinnamon, tumeric, etc? The more time taken to explore each flavor, the more you invest in mind focus ability. As you work through taste senses, take in sights and sounds around you. Observe what you hear or, personal favorite, what you don’t hear. Note specific outside noises, sights, and sensations on your skin. Be immersed in your beverage experience. Additionally, sensory food meditation can be applied to a treasured candy or favorite meal. No set time limit or goal exist. The goal is to relish each bite with attention and time that works for you.
Beyond food, being creative allows meditation with ease. Coloring books or drawing engages your brain without complication. Open up that right brain to explore space and increase brain sensations. “Better learning through handwriting” discusses the effort of hand to pen to paper is a significant sensory act. When coloring or drawing your brain gains more stimulation than using a technological device. Any creative hand to object endeavor promotes greater brain function thus increasing the meditative process. Lego creation employs a child like innovation and imagination. Sewing, calligraphy, carpentry are hobbies that can encourage more mind focus and peace. Discover a favorite creative activity to find your focus and allow your brain to process the day, emotion, or thought.
Tasked oriented activities can stimulate a meditative state. Cleaning, car mechanics, any mechanic, or similar activities relies on semi-repetion may work for you. These tasks support ease in processing thoughts while not allowing them to over-ride your attention. As found in Helen Macpherson’s publication, past studies link healthy physical activity to improved brain function. The studies found that links are the strongest in childhood/adolescences and correlate to Alzheimer disease. However, Machpherson does share being active is highly recommended for a variety of reasons including brain function. Rock wall climbing, biking, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or walking are examples of total body activity that can promote a peaceful head space. It is a matter of picking a favorite activity and committing to a consistent practice. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong do have a specific goal to connect the physical body to the mind. In any physical activity you choose, focus on the activity which helps you connect to your mind.
No matter the choice of un-meditation, it is crucial to be present. Set down the phone or devices, turn off televisions, and limit music choices. Investing in that moment of mindful activity has the most impact without distractions. This might mean setting boundaries or extra creativity in time if you are a caregiver of any other living being. In un-meditating, you begin to relax by being present with the activity, nothing more. At times, in the active mindful process, emotions or thoughts rise. Notice those thoughts and feelings, then bring your attention back to what you are doing. Having thoughts or more does not lead you astray from the goal of mindfulness; however, staying there might. The exception is a particularly difficult thought or emotion that needs to be worked through. When this is the case, use the active process to mentally process. Un-meditation does not need solitude. As long as you achieve focusing on the activity at hand, share the experience with others.
Meditation can be a still moment to de-clutter your brain with incredible benefits. Yet, when stillness becomes a challenging, un-meditate. The physical act and concentration with another activity can allow more ease of mental focus and mental processes. Don’t let the meditation struggle to stop you from finding head space peace. With creativity and movement, make serenity at reality.
The University of Stavanger. “Better learning through handwriting.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm>.
Macpherson, Helen et al. “A Life-Long Approach to Physical Activity for Brain Health” Frontiers in aging neuroscience vol. 9 147. 23 May. 2017, doi:10.3389/fnagi.2017.00147