For the last post in this series about meditation (I will, of course, touch on it more in later posts), I’m going to leave you with one that you can do for active problem-solving. The prior meditation I talked about — the Zazen-like one — is very passive. You just sit and let the flow go. This one is something you do in a methodical way so that you can actively figure out something, work through an issue, break through a creative block, and so on. It’s also used as a walk for forgiveness, which I’ll also cover.
This is best done someplace where you can walk safely. You can listen to music as you do this if you wish if you’re some place that’s noisy—but make sure it’s a very gentle kind of music. Something that has relatively few distractions. I would suggest some kind of “yoga” or “meditation” music. Or an environmental track.
So no Led Zeppelin and, really, nothing with lyrics. You want your full focus for this.
Start some place — like an open field in a park, or a road, or a trail…something where you also don’t have to watch your feet. Something long and without obstacles. The last thing you want is to find yourself nose-down on the ground, feet tangled in the roots of a tree. You also do not write anything down as you do this; if you get a really tom-terrific ideas, let them go. They may seem super-spectacular…but, I guarantee, most of them aren’t. If there’s one — or some — you’re meant to remember and use…it will come back. (Same goes for a more passive meditation…you may get an awesome idea as you meditate, but if you start writing the ideas down, you’re no longer meditating.)
At the beginning of the walk, state your question very clearly in your mind. Maybe something like, Why do I have such an issue with _______. Or, How can I _______. I know someone who uses this method to find something that’s gotten misplaced in the house. It’s like literally retracing your steps.
Then, take a step. As your foot lands, come up with an idea. Let the ideas flow without force. Whatever comes up, let it come up. So let’s say you take a step and you’re working on the question How can I create more organization in my life?
Step one (stop — and make it a good, pointed stop): I could go through my closet and get rid of the clothes I no longer wear.
Step two (stop): I could put the dishes away every night.
Step three (stop): I could make my bed every morning.
Step four (stop): I could alphabetize the spices.
Step five (stop): I could clean out the attic.
Step six (stop): I could organize the items in my pantry using characters from Star Wars.
And so on.
An idea you come up with may generate another question of how. What you’re doing is generating action steps in your mind. You’re stepping around a block and you’re creating an exit through a wall. Again, the good ideas will really stick — they might disappear for awhile, but they will return if they’re really good. I have that happen all the time with ideas for stories I write — I’ll have a terrific conversation appear in my mind, or an idea for a plot hole, and then I’ll promptly forget it (even while I’m writing). Most of the time it comes back. Maybe not right then — but if does come back (I need to get a dry erase board for the shower as things come back all the time there.)
You can also use this method as a way to work with a mantra. It could be just one word:
Step 1 (stop): Peace
Step 2 (stop): Peace
Step 3 (stop): Peace
Step 4 (stop): Peace
Or you could do a multi-word mantra:
Step 1 (stop): Peace
Step 2 (stop): in
Step 3 (stop): mind
Step 4 (stop): Peace
Step 5 (stop): in
Step 6 (stop): heart
For that one, you don’t have to fully stop, but I would suggest making the steps slow and deliberate, allowing you to sink into the feeling of what those words mean to you.
Another option is to just say a different word that affirms something you want with each step (and make sure to pause; and when you pause, really sink into the feeling of the words and what it’s conjuring in you). Peace, joy, happiness, organization, time, abundance….
If you’re feeling (very) down, you can simply walk and affirm your feelings — accept them and allow them. Remember, if you try to get rid of them, they’ll become stubborn. And that’s rejection. One suggestion I give to people that really works for me when it comes to allowance is to pretend like I have no words to describe what I’m feeling. I’ve lost my vocabulary. All I have are the feelings, and, so, the only way I’ll have understanding is to allow them. Feel them. Let them reveal themselves to me. (This particular one may be better suited for a sitting/passive meditation).
As a forgiveness meditation, you simply take a step, and say, I forgive ______. And as you take the next step, picture yourself literally leaving the grievance behind you. This is also a wonderful exercise for self-forgiveness. I forgive myself for ______. Or affirmations for yourself. I am ______. I have _______.
Remember — just let it flow, let the thoughts come up. Let go of judgment, honoring all thoughts and phrases that come up. Just as with passive or other active meditations, some ugly stuff may come up here, too. But that’s okay, because you’re creating an opportunity for release. Anything that stays down and in that’s toxic to you will fester.
Don’t force the process, let it flow as it needs, and focus on the path — literally and figuratively. You’ll be pretty surprised at what comes up. But if you don’t get a solution, or you don’t feel like you’ve made progress…that’s okay. It’s still adding to the momentum of healing.
One step at a time.
Top image courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net.
Questions? Comments? Email me at heather (at) smallchangelife (dot) org or drop by my Facebook page and leave me a message, leave a comment below or feel free to start up a conversation in the discussion forum.