The Traditional Approach to Meditation
Meditation! What comes in your mind when you hear this word. Something similar to the above image. A person sitting in lotus position, closed eyes with beautiful background for inspiration. Well that is meditation is all about- Closing yourself to the outside world and contemplating with your inner self. It is the best way to get connected to your inner self, to discover who you really are and to find your purpose. There are thousands of way to practice meditation and the internet is filled with numerous ‘How to Meditate’ articles which promises to teach you the perfect way of meditating your way to heaven. What all these articles and methods miss is that most of us find it quite difficult to sit quietly for even ten minutes to gift ourselves the pleasure of Meditation. And even if we manage to do it for one or two days, eventually it loses to our crumbling work pressure and never ending deadlines. Most of us are unable to make it past a one week mark. Everyone knows meditation is vital and should be practiced, but we are too distracted to follow this sage advice. This is where “Distracted Meditation” comes into picture.
In this post, we are trying to unlearn our earlier approaches to mediation and learn an entirely different way to meditate. We call it “Distracted Meditation“. Instead of closing our eyes; we shall keep our eyes wide open, instead of stilling still; we shall constantly move and among all these activities we shall try to declutter our mind and achieve a Zen state.
One of the disadvantages of this ever connected life is that we are uncomfortable with stillness. We are habitual of looking at the small screens we have in our hands whenever we have a minute to spare- be it a checkout line at a store or our walk in the park. We are always connected and distracted. If our phone gets discharged, we get anxious; we start feeling left out and uncomfortable (read our take on mindless distraction here). So when we sit down for meditation, it feels like an alien thing to our ever connected brain. And humans as a species are known to repulse changes which are uncomfortable to them. So gradually we give up. This is where learning’The Art of Distracted Meditation’ helps us.
How to Practice “The Art of Distracted Meditation”?
In Distracted Meditation, we don’t sit still- in fact we are looking around letting our minds wander wherever we it wants. We also open our ears to the sounds nearby and are completely connected to the outside world. Then you must be wondering what are we doing differently. We are constantly writing. We are writing on a page whatever is coming to our mind. Everything, every word, every thought our mind jumps to. If it makes sense- jot it down. If it doesn’t make sense- even then jot it down. Vegetables from the shopping market, a familiar face, and work to do, a lyrics from a song, a random word, movie dialogue, book quote, coffee smell, wind on your face- write it down. Write everything that comes to your mind. This way, you will gradually start decluttering your mind. Once you write it down on a piece of paper (the good old pen and paper works best) it starts getting off from your mind.
Gradually, your mind starts emptying itself. Initially it may happen that you are filling more than five or even ten pages from these scribblings. Don’t be disheartened. Keep writing. Set an alarm for 10-15 minutes and start writing. Stop only when the alarm goes off. You will notice that as the days pass by, the amount of your scribblings gets lesser. Over time, you will have to write only a page and that’s it. However, it won’t be reduced to zero but that is not the goal here.
What you get from Practicing “the Art of Distracted Meditation”
Once you are done scribbling, you will realize that you feel much better- refreshed, unburdened, energetic and filled with hope and joy. Most of your problems are on that piece of paper. And it is quite possible that most of the solutions are also jotted down on that page. Also, looking over your writings over weekends, you can ascertain what bothers you most and take corrective actions accordingly. You will know what events in your life cause more mental agony and consciously try to avoid them altogether (if possible). This will have profound impact on the quality of your life. When your mind is decluttered, you will start aligning yourself to your life goals- away from mindless distractions.
The best thing about practicing this form of mediation is that – you can practically do it anywhere. Unlike the traditional meditation techniques, which requires you to sit still in a quiet surrounding, you can practice it almost anywhere. Be it on the way to your daily office commute, or while sipping your favourite latte. You also don’t need a beautiful set of fancy stationery. You just need a pen or pencil and you can practically scribble anywhere- a piece of old newspaper, a brochure, pamphlet (I won’t however recommend writing in any of the digital mediums for the obvious reasons). This flexibility give it an added advantage over the traditional meditation practice. You are not still and uncomfortable. You are just going on as usual, it is just mind is becoming decluttered and calm. Therefore, you are more likely to practice it for prolonged period and reap its benefits.
Start practicing this form of meditation and do let us know how “Distracted Meditation” helped you in your life. We shall be glad to hear your stories.
Also published on Medium.