Do you cringe when you hear the word, “meditation”?
If you do, don’t worry. You are not the only one!
I often hear, “meditation isn’t my thing… I just can’t keep my mind still and free from thoughts.”
So, this is my attempt to break down the illusion that meditation looks like peaceful bliss all the time, much like the photo that accompanies this blog piece.
Certainly, the continual practice of meditation can get us to a state of bliss sometimes, but really, the continual practice of meditation helps us navigate an unpredictable and chaotic world with more presence and equanimity.
Bliss happens on occasion, but it’s not guaranteed.
Meditation doesn’t have to be serious. It can also be playful.
Think of meditation as an internal exploration and adventure.
Here are some things I do and teach others to do to add a little more playfulness into creating a meditation practice.
Move To The Groove
Get your dance tunes out and move. It’s ok if you think you aren’t a dancer type. Get your upbeat playlist out and move. It takes only a few minutes to do this. Then, put the playlist and earpods away and sit. Sit in silence. Breathe intentionally. Then, observe your thoughts. That’s it.
Don’t try to stop your thoughts. Just observe. Keep your breath intentional – long, slow, and deep. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. Then, notice how you feel. Notice what your mind was doing during the meditation. Notice what your mind was doing after the meditation. Notice what thoughts came and left.
Walk It Out
Is your energy way up with all those summer vibes? It’s ok you can’t sit still. Do a walking meditation instead. No phone. No company. No talking. Simply walk and be intentional with your breath. And, just like you did above, observe your thoughts. You get to decide the time for your mindful walk.
Take 5 minutes or more. The important thing is to make it work for you.
Read and Contemplate
Read a book with the intent of contemplation. This is different than reading for enjoyment or learning a new skill.
Do you have a favorite spiritual or religious text? A favorite poet? A favorite collection of essays?
Read an entry or passage, put the book down, and sit in silence to contemplate the message or meaning you glean from the words.
You can write the insights down or just mentally note them. Again, be intentional with your breath and savor the words.
Need help finding the right book?
I wrote my first book, Today’s Gonna Be Awesomesauce: Daily Meditations for Youth, Parents, & Families, which is entirely dedicated to this practice of meditation. If you don’t have it yet (it’s the best summertime companion that’s kid friendly, too!), you can purchase it here or on Amazon.
As I said in my book, “Examine why you do the things you do and get curious about how examining those things brings us to better insights about ourselves, our families, our friends, and ultimately, our world.”
Meditation doesn’t have to be boring, seemingly impossible, or just for those “other people” that seem to do it naturally.
It will take some work, commitment, and purposeful time.
The benefits will remind you that presence and equanimity, and playfulness, are always available to you.