meditation by any other name

Words have power…and those with similar meanings can be interpreted differently by individuals. For example, what comes to mind when you hear the word meditation?

Depending upon where you heard or read about it and how it was described to you, your perspective or view of it may be very different. Often, the word can conjure a vision of someone sitting cross-legged, straight back, eyes closed. My foray into meditation started with a series of Oprah and Deepak 21-day meditations. They are free for 21-days and then you can purchase them, if you wish. A mantra along with emphasis on breathing keep you focused. I confess to having purchased a few of them over the years and I do have a favorite. I cannot say that I was living up to the vision of sitting cross-legged, straight back. Most often I sat in a comfortable chair, cross-legged with a cat or two on my lap. For me, this worked.

Then there is Walking Meditation .  Walking is certainly not sitting cross-legged, straight back and eyes closed! Yet walking intentionally, with a mantra can serve the same purpose of focus. I first heard about this from Thich Nhat Hahn. I have found that a slow, intentional walk in nature is as powerful and uplifting as sitting for a 20 or 30 minute (or longer) meditation.

My favorite yoga classes are gentle with meditation. The days of pushing my body hard to the point that all I am aware of is my heart beating, muscles aching and lots of perspiration, are behind me. Too many injuries and very little satisfaction, except as I listen to or read media about how important it is to “train hard”. Asana and breathing led by a gentle teacher can be a meditative and healing experience…and certainly is for me.

Recently I’ve been reading a book and series of posts which focus on contemplation which I interpret, contextually, as another form of meditation. In religious traditions, this can have different meaning. Of course, many of us were raised in traditions which only mentioned prayer.

As I have researched all of these, I discovered that splitting hairs over which is and which isn’t meditation is certainly a waste of energy and time. Each of us is different. We connect to our higher selves, our creator or whatever is calm within in very different ways. Whatever we choose which allows our bodies and minds to calm so that we touch our inner being is what works for us.

And then there is art. In the last two days, an author I follow has posted excerpts from a book which placed art in a different place than many people may consider as sacred. I offer the quotes here for your consideration.

Some sacred spaces bear none of the expected characteristics. The fact that we prefer stained glass windows, pomp and circumstance . . . has nothing to do with the sacred. It may seem as if the mysteries of divine-human reunion erupt in our lives when, in fact, the otherness of spiritual abiding is integral to human interiority. On occasion, we turn our attention to this abiding presence and are startled. But it was always there.

When you least expect it, during the most mundane daily tasks, a shift of focus occurs. This shift bends us toward the universe, a cosmos of soul and spirit, bone and flesh, which constantly reaches toward divinity. Ecclesial organizations want to control access to this milieu but cannot. The only divisions between the sacred and the secular are in the minds of those who believe in and reinforce the split. . . .

from Barbara A. Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, second edition (Fortress Press: 2017), 183-185.

 

We are all creators. Whether we paint, teach, sing, dance, write, interpret aspects of life and the cosmos, lead organizations, families; or whatever we choose to do in our lives, creativity is at the core and is the basis for what we choose and how we live. We lead our lives in many ways. When we feel connected to ourselves – our inner being – our doing has intention, grounded in the full and loving expression of who we are.

How do we connect to ourselves? Any form of going inward and listening…any way that you find quiet and deep connection to yourself. Meditation by any other name…connecting to the light within.

 

Sunshine on a cloudy day – by Lori Coleman @ Loco’s Photos.

 

If you enjoy the images which are included in blog posts here, I encourage you to check out the Images page on this site to learn more about the gifted photographer who captures them! Many of her images are available for purchase.

If you are looking for a brief note of inspiration, be sure to check the Drops of Wisdom page on this site. New quotes and inspired phrases are added all of the time.

10 thoughts on “meditation by any other name

  • A beautiful description of different forms of meditation that all can connect us to the light within, the God spirit where we come from. I came to learn about and practice meditation about 20 years ago when I first read Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain…and then, of course, bought countless books and CDs to learn more. Nowadays I do lost of walking meditations/walking prayers…and it all fits together perfectly.

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    • Thank you, Helen. There are so many ways we connect to the God spirit whence we come. My hope is that as more of us see ourselves in nature and nature in us, we will know, more intimately, our connections. Connection – our light within, the God spirit (I love that), all other beings. It’s all there.

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  • Beautiful post, Carrie. I listened to a talk once (Sally Kempton, I think) in which we were told that the Shiva taught 112 methods of meditation. I think the Buddhists have 108. So many ways to connect with that light within… and none of them have to be associated with anything. We can find our own way if we take the time to do so. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Robin. I appreciate what you added in your comment. Very early on, what I thought was mediation was just too hard. I wasn’t “doing it right.” Over time, I learned that there are many ways, as you said, “to connect with that light within.” So many, so simple; many ways. 🙂

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