Friday, 23 April 2010

Let the meditation flow

Meditation is the art of stoping the mind from analyzing, and just experiencing what is. Most people are used to meditating in quiet, perhaps in a darkened room, maybe with a nice new-agey pan-pipe classicsy CD playing.

But meditation can be more than this.

Most people say, that you probably shouldn't meditate when driving.

But when you're driving, what are you doing: well, you're probably worrying about the day ahead, fuming about the driver who cut you up at the lights and listening to the music on the radio. The one thing you're not doing is actually experiencing the driving.

So today I tried an experiment. I decided just to drive. I decided to only pay attention to what was currently going on while I was driving. And it was an interesting experience.

Because it was much like meditation.

As I drove, I paid attention to the road. To the feeling of bumps, to what the other cars were doing around me. To everything I could experience about the present. I didn't worry about whether there might be a traffic jam in 10 minutes time, nor did I pay any attention to any driver who was no longer near me. There was just the driving. And the not driving (which is what happened at traffic lights).

And, while I was doing this, non-driving thoughts came into my head, and I let them go away (without much judgement), just like I do when I meditate. And then thoughts about the process of "there just being the driving" came into my head. And it took me a little more time to notice them, and a little more effort to let go of them - just like it does when I meditate.

The processes were the same. The behaviours were the same. It wasn't dangerous, because I was all about the driving - I was more aware and more able to react than usual.

And it was more fun than driving usually is, because I was all there. It was similar to how I feel when I get into the zone writing, or computer programming, or talking with friends. I was wholely there, in the present, doing one thing and one thing only with my mind.

This is what psychologists call flow.

But it was more than flow. It was meditation.

What parts of your life can you meditate on? Can you turn something boring into something all-absorbing because you put your complete attention onto it - after all, in meditation you put your attention onto breathing and repetative mantras, why shouldn't filling in a payroll or hoovering the carpet be just as valuable and flow just as well?

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