What comes to mind when I say the word meditation? Monks? The word ‘om’? Most of us would conjure up the image of someone sitting cross-legged while pinching their fingers. But meditation is simpler than that. And no, you don’t have to sit cross-legged to experience the benefits.
As someone who’s dealt with anxiety thanks to a rampant mind, I know all too well the power of meditation. When my mind is sinking too deep, I know what to do. And that’s to simply not think.
A silent mind is the pure essence of meditation.
But I’ve never sat cross-legged going “om” to achieve a silent mind. My styles of meditation are a lot more natural than that. Sometimes I just go for a walk.
I bet most of you do this already. Throw on some headphones and just walk around the local park. The reason why it works for your mind is that you’re just not thinking anymore. Not in the critical sense. You are just in the moment, experiencing the world as you stroll the park.
Thinking while walking happens subconsciously, like knowing when to cross a road. Or perhaps how cute that dog is over there; his fluffy ears, and his all-too-happy owner. When walking, you are in the moment rather than in your mind.
But walking is not the only way to get out of your mind and back into reality. Retail therapy, for instance, is a real thing. And it really works! Spending an afternoon at the shops, buying things you want – rather than need – is an effective way to meditate and escape your negative mind.
According to researchers, the reason why it helps give people a mood boost is that we feel more in control when we shop. We can choose if we want something or not. And, let’s be honest, buying new things feels amazing!
Hell, even reading is a form of meditation. It’s not a way of returning to reality, but escaping to an unreality that does not affect our own. And, most of all, we don’t think about our lives when we read. We just read and understand.
In my opinion, the best reading is done in interesting locations…
In fact, experiencing any form of art is an effective meditation strategy. Going to an art museum, playing games, watching movies, binging TV shows – even solving a jigsaw puzzle! This goes to show that art is an important aspect in humanity. More so than accounting, in my humble opinion.
All you need to remember is that meditation is simply not thinking. To be precise, it’s not thinking about our lives, ourselves and all the problems within it. Most of them are not worth worrying about, but our minds are not equipped with switches. The only way to stop thinking about all your problems is to do something else. Substitute it with a walk or some retail therapy. Go play a game, browse a museum, watch a movie. Have promiscuous sex if that’s what it takes!
But all in moderation, please. You can’t stop thinking forever. You’ve always got washing to do, if you know what I mean…