Meditation: Where do we do it?
Meditation isn’t mysterious, isn’t difficult, doesn’t require special equipment nor does it require a special place or a specific spot. You can meditate anywhere, if your intent is right.
Sitting meditation can be conducted on a comfy cushion, a hard bench, amoung the grasses on the ground, while a passenger in a car, on a train, a plane, or while sitting quietly in the Doctor’s office waiting for an appointment. Anywhere you can find five minutes to sit without talking or visiting with someone is a place you can meditate, as long as your intent is to meditate and not to show off how well you meditate.
Walking meditation, conducted by walking up and down a designated lane or path, in your house, garden or forest, focusing on one of the five body points and silently repeating a word of prayer or mantra with your eyes hooded and downcast, is part of the Samatha tradition, which was discussed in the second post of the “Meditation Cushion”.
You can designate a walking path in your living room, a garden or somewhere in the woods, a place where you can walk in quiet, peacefully concentrating on the point of focus and the word of prayer or mantra. You can walk with your shoes on, in your socks or your bare feet, depending on what is appropriate.
Walking meditation conducted while walking along the street, in a park or on a nature pathway, is part of mindfulness training and differs from Samatha meditation.
During mindfulness walking meditation, your eyes are fully open, you are aware of your surroundings. Your focus is the experience of the moment. What can you see, smell, or hear? Can you smell the trees, the flowers; can you hears, birds, dogs, squirrels, bells. Pay attention to one of these sensations. When you find your mind has wandered off, thinking unhappy thoughts, of work or about the shopping list, remind yourself to be in the moment – recapture the sensation you were focused on and enjoy the walk.
Take advantage of your schedule, meditate whenever you have the opportunity, conduct meditation wherever you are. Try mindfully washing the dishes, folding the laundry, gardening or washing the car. Be there, in the moment. Make an appointment with yourself to meditate in a more formal fashion, sit for five minutes when you wake up, another five minutes at lunch time and another five minutes before dinner. Nothing on TV? Do a half hour of walking meditation and half hour of sitting meditation instead of letting yourself become bored.
Whether you choose to practice Samatha or mindfulness walking, meditation provides your body with gentle exercise. It allows the mind and consciousness a moment to rest and connect with a bit of peace and calm.
Meditation is easy, its’ conduction depends on you. You reaps its’ rewards and its’ benefits, wherever you meditate.
By Cheryle L. Baker March 31, 2015