Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Treat Your Life to a Meditation Infusion

Would you like to feel more alert, energized, happier and healthier? Well, who wouldn't!? If so, you might consider meditation.

You could be like me and know the benefits of regular meditation but just don't make the time for it. Or, you may feel resistant to meditation because of what you perceive about the practice.

If you can set aside the perceptions you may have of meditation and open up to infusing your life with this enriching practice, you could be pleasantly surprised at how great you feel...and how easy it can be.

If you aren't familiar with the benefits of regularly meditating, here are a few:

*relaxation and stress reduction
*lower blood pressure
*increased oxygen to cells
*improvement of chronic diseases such as allergies and arthritis
*greater mental clarity
*increased serotonin, a naturally-occurring mood enhancer

And these physical and psychological improvements come without any of the undesirable side effects you might find with prescription drugs!

If it's so great, why don't more of us meditate more of the time?

Maybe you can't seem to get the image out of your mind of the meditating yogi sitting with legs pretzel-ed, eyes closed, shut off from the “real world.”

Meditation might seem intimidating to you. It sounds or looks difficult and, after all, you might wonder how you can fit one more thing into your day.

Because of your religious beliefs you might feel averse to meditation. It is often associated with Eastern spiritual practices such as Buddhism or Hinduism and you may not want to veer from the path you've chosen.

It is true that meditation is core to many spiritual practices-- this includes Christianity, believe it or not. Meditation takes various forms and can be a way to connect with a higher sense of self or a divine power, depending on what you believe.

Meditation can also be practiced without any explicitly spiritual or religious dimension at all. It is completely up to you to decide why you meditate and how you will practices.

Meditation cushion not required....

There are many many ways to meditate. Some do involve more physically demanding postures, extended time frames for sitting and chants or mantras. But what I'm suggesting here is a bit different.

By infusing your life with meditation, you literally bring meditation into more areas of your everyday life-- the walking around, answering the phone, brushing your teeth sort of moments. And with this meditation infusion, you potentially revitalize each and every moment.

Zen Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh is one teacher who has proposed incorporating meditation into everyday activities. He leads others in walking meditation, for example. Learning how to meditate while walking is a great starting point for infusing your life with meditation.

Walk the meditative walk...

Walk with presence. Consciously take your attention out of your head and move it down to your feet. Notice how it feels as your feet or shoes connect with the ground. Breathe as you step. When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath and to that connecting between your body and the Earth.

You can do this when walking to your car, walking your dog, or even walking through your local grocery store. Walking meditation can be practiced indoors and outside.

The secret here is to keep your attention focused on this present moment. Really tune in to how your body feels as you take each step. As you breathe and step, watch as your body loosens and a greater sense of peace comes over you.

At its core, walking meditation is about breath, your focused awareness of your own body and a sense of openness.

There's no end to what you can do meditatively...

Take the walking meditation and expand it to other activities. You might set an intention that you will infuse a particular activity with meditation and then try it out.

For example, you might consciously decide to wash the dinner dishes in a meditative manner one evening. As you fill the sink with soap and water, breathe. While wiping down a plate, breathe and notice the connection between your hand, the soapy water and the dish.

The next evening, you could choose to wash the dishes as you might usually do-- which probably involves a less present mind and little or no attention to your breathing. What feels different about these two experiences?

Breathe deeply and step mindfully into meditation-- no matter what you are doing. The only thing you really need is a willingness to try this new way of living and an intention to keep returning to it.

For more information about Thich Nhat Hanh visit
For more detailed suggestions for walking meditation visit

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