Make a game of active meditation

The best advice I’ve gotten for practicing mindfulness meditation while not sitting in meditation – i.e., in active meditation – is to make something of a game of it. When I wash the dishes it’s like, “How deep can I get while I wash these dishes?” Or when talking to another person, you both put down the cellphones and think, “Okay, we’re both here right now, how much can we focus only on each other and be here in this moment while we talk? How deep can we go?”

I was reminded of this when I read this line recently: “Finally, I got it! The menial tasks I had been assigned to around the temple were meant to be an exercise in meditation. Whatever I was doing, my job was to try to stay in samadhi.”

(That quote comes from the book, The Science of Meditation.)

The day becomes something that happens within your meditation

“You can meditate while talking to someone, while washing the dishes, while driving. As your experience grows, you eventually come to a point where you are so present that there is a kind of merging of inside and outside. When that happens, ‘focus’ becomes more than an extremely interesting and pleasant experience; it becomes a transformative experience.”

“Eventually a delicious figure-ground reversal takes place. In the beginning, meditation is something that happens within your day. Eventually, the day becomes something that happens within your meditation.”

~ From “The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

Riding the wave of a natural, meditative state

Had one of those mornings where you want to wake up at a certain time so you can get some things done, but you wake up a minute before the alarm is going to go off and you’re already in a deep, meditative state, so you turn off the alarm and ride the wave for a few hours. Ahh ...

Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”

Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”

He replied, “Nothing!” Then he continued, “However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, and fear of old age an death.”

There are planes where beings exist other than the physical ~ Ram Dass

“One way to handle extraordinary experiences is to be neither horrified not intrigued by them. In the course of meditation you may meet them all: powers, beauty, deaths, angels, demons, all of it. These are just forms, the stuff of the universe. You confront them on the path just as you meet all manner of people when walking on a busy street.

There are planes where beings exist other than the physical. If in meditation you enter other states of consciousness, you may meet such beings who seemingly come to instruct or guide you. Because of the uniqueness of these beings you might put more value on their teachings than is merited. Beings on other planes are not necessarily wiser than those on this plane. They may be well-meaning, but they may not know any more than you. All they may have to teach you is their existence itself, which shows you the relative nature of reality.

Just as with teachers on the physical plane, be open. Experience each being you meet and sense in your heart – do we have work to do together, or not? If that teacher feels relevant to your journey, work with him or her until you have fully grasped the teaching. Then thank the teacher and proceed.”

~ Ram Dass, Journey of Awakening: A Meditator's Guidebook

Practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga to calm the mind

When I meet people who seem stressed out (stress/anxiety/worrying), I try to encourage them to practice mindfulness meditation or yoga. I find both of those practices to be a wonderful way to quiet the thoughts in the mind. (It may help to know that the basic practices are 100% non-religious.)

Personally, I enjoy living in the present moment, without thoughts about the past or future. I used to be an angry young man, and using these practices to calm my mind has made my life happier and more productive. A couple of times a year I still lose it, but these practices always help to re-quiet my mind.

(I think the image shown was created by Gemma Correll.)