Sunday, 6 May 2012

Living in this Moment

Today  I had a walk along the beach.
It was beautiful weather- a very mild autumn day.
As I walked I was thinking that I hadn't spent time meditating recently. I like to meditate, and I find it "grounds" me and unclutters my mind- makes me better! But I just hadn't made the time recently.
So I decided to meditate as I walked....
Over the years I have facilitated lots of meditation groups and a meditation technique that I think works well is a "living in the moment" meditation. This is not something I developed, I just give it that name.  I don't recall where or when I first heard of it- but I adapt it and use it often. I love it because you can use it anywhere for any duration. So you don't need to take yourself off to a quiet, darkened room.
"Living in the moment" is as simple as paying attention to every aspect of your surroundings. If you think about it life rarely allows us to do that!
 When you do take the time to pay attention you might notice aspects such as colour, texture, odour, sound, beauty, distinction, temperature.......the list is endless depending on your ability to observe, and the surroundings you are in. The point is you become absorbed in the process, which gives your mind a chance to slow down, stress levels to reduce, worries to subside. It doesn't take your worries away permanently, but I find at the end of time spent "living in the moment" I am more able to focus and more peaceful and effective when I resume "real life."
As I walked along the foreshore today I noticed so many aspects- the ways the grasses moved in the wind, the way the sunshine made the grass seeds sparkle, the wind on my face, the warmth of the sun on my body, the way my feet felt on the sand, on the water, on the grass, the temperature of each of those, the flocks of birds, their colours, their sounds, their movement in flight. The smell of the saltwater.  I touched some flowers and felt their moisture, the temperature, the texture, their colour. I noticed the change in my leg muscles as I walked uphill and then down. I sat on the beach for a few moments and felt the temperature of the sand under my legs,and noticed it's texture, it's dryness and how it fell through my fingers when I picked up a handful. As I walked I paid attention to everything around me. Really feeling I was there in both body and ( more importantly) mind. I walked for about an hour and, sure, at times my thoughts drifted away from the moment but when they did I just brought them back by being attentive to something nearby. Its such a simple way to meditate, and destress.
You can use this in any activity you are doing alone really- washing up, taking a bath, sitting in a garden, at a train station or bus stop, having a meal, lying in bed.  The things you notice will vary upon the activity, but the quality and usefulness of the meditation will still be wonderful.
In a class I conduct I have a bag of "living in the moment" objects. Small things of all shapes, sizes, colours, textures etc. I have attendees pass the bag around  and select one object. Then I talk them through a meditation that encourages them to look at every aspect of the object as they hold it in their hand. Try it just for 10 minutes. And, as with any meditation, if your mind wanders away, gently bring it back to the object. It takes some practise but it's so worth the time.

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