Meditation is an oft misunderstood concept and art. It has been popularized and demonized in a vast array of literature, myth and non-fictional sources. The truth is much simpler and yet it’s depth is endless.
The word ‘meditation’ means to ‘be in the middle’. Another word that is often used is the term, ‘centered’ and a person who is centered can be said to “be in the zone’.
People do many things to clear their mind, gain new perspectives from different vantage points, reset their thinking patterns or “check out” for awhile. Growing up in the Midwest, I used to wonder how a women of the area could sit around knitting all day, or weaving quilts, canning, baking, or sit in a Church reciting a prayer book for hours on end, essentially meditating on the verses, letting them flow through their being and then, later, at lunch or dinner, share some insights that everyone could contemplate. Looking back at that time, it is clear that this was their form of retreating from the challenges of the world, re-establishing their values and then jumping back in.
One of the things people tend to neglect though was getting enough exercise – taking long walks in the country was great when the weather permitted but that wasn’t always available. A great low impact aerobic exercise like Tai Chi or Qi Gung would have been great for all family members to share in and away for everyone to regain their center.
Tai Chi is considered “moving meditation” because as soon as you aren’t present, your mind drifts, you hold your breath, your mental tension stiffens your body – you lose your balance, your center, and you are reminded to be here, now, in this moment.
Here are a few tools to use regardless of what you do to center yourself:
1. Affirm that you are “letting go” for awhile. You might do something like this.
Take a deep breath and as you breathe out say, “I’m relaxing and letting go of my ego. I am connecting to the energy within and around me and I ask (God, the Spirit, my higher self, my guides) to give me new insight into the changing situations swirling around me.”
2. As you start whatever form you choose to use, remember to “relax and sink”. Periodically take a deep breath and let it lift
you up high as you breathe in and connect you to the earth as you breath out.
3. If you are doing movement as your meditation, periodically stretch up and out, roll your shoulders, bend your waist or squat. Stay within the comforts of your body and ability.
4. Remind yourself that you are here, the time is now and you are this moment, this action, this breath, this willful conscious intentional choice. As you do this more often, you will gain a broader perspective of your life, your energy and what you are painting on the canvas of forever.
5. As a fun video meditation/perspective, Google, “The Pale Blue Dot” featuring Carl Sagan’s commentary. It puts the Earth, time, space and your challenges all into a bigger perspective.
6. And when you are ready to try Tai Chi as a moving meditation, download any of the online Tai Chi video courses that jump out or speak to you – you will be drawn to what resonates with you.
Enjoy the journey and bliss of centering with movement, meditation and breath.