All health seekers understand that meditation is good for us, but what image do we conjure up in our brain when we consider what it means?
I had a conversation with someone last night who suggested that it was good, sometimes, to be “forced” into stillness if you were an otherwise “busy” person. In other words, their concept of meditation is that it involves being physically still and their concept of “busy” was head stuff – or people that have a lot going on in their minds.
But actually, I would argue that most of us are incredibly busy in our heads these days but perhaps, not as naturally – or incidentally – physically active as we once were. Many workers – and even non-workers and kids – are chair or car bound and spend lots of time staring at devices, often caught up in things like second-guessing what is or isn’t going on elsewhere (where we are not!), and being targeted by advertisers and marketers bombarding us with stuff we don’t really need. So, our heads are often filled with irrelevant blah blah that stresses us out and leaves us in a state of mild but constant fight or flight (SNS activity which affects the immune system) while our bodies tend to move in natural ways less and less.
Chances are then, if you sit or lie down to “meditate” after a day spent like this, you will pretty much just be lying down thinking about stuff; again! When actually, for health reasons, including optimal blood circulation, your body really needs movement and your mind really needs to be still…
Essentially, that’s the definition of meditation. Attention (Not tension).
In other words, over-thinking and mental stimulation totally drains our energy and our adrenals and it’s why most of us go to bed to rest our head, not our body, but then wonder why we can’t sleep!
Disciplines like yoga, martial arts, qi gong, tai chi, dancing, drumming, singing and even simple stuff like walking, are far better ways to meditate for the mind”full” majority since they involve movement and mind/body awareness. Sure, some of those things require a period of effort. Patience. Time spent challenging the ego as we learn certain moves and concepts and try to let go of being goal orientated. But this focus and concentration enhances attention span and mind/body connection, coordination and balance – things that have been proven over and over again to enhance brain power and slow down age related brain illnesses such as dementia.
So maybe rethink what you imagine meditation to be and what it is your physical and emotional body really does need to be healthy. All forms of yoga and meditation are one and the same thing.