Over the weekend I was blessed to attend A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre. For those that aren’t aware of Dustin O’Halloran & Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie’s music it is a beautiful combination of ambient soundscapes with long sustained sounds layered with orchestral strings, piano, guitar and electronica. My kind of sacred soul musical heaven.
From the moment we sat down in the Melbourne Recital Centre I knew I was in for something special. The gig started with the room almost entirely in pitch black. My sense of hearing became heightened so the instant the music started to play I was immersed and enchanted totally in the moment. Rather than just listening to the music, I became intimately merged & connected WITH it, feeling each sound resonate through my being, listening to each note with absolute focus and clarity. I felt my heart chakra literally pulsing with love. As light was subtly introduced in time with the music my sense of sight became fascinated with the subtle shadows and illuminations across the stage. It wasn’t until near the end of the concert that I realised I had not had a single thought in around an hour. I was in a pure state of presence, of heart-embodied meditation.
The next day I found myself reflecting and recognising what a beautifully profound meditation experience the concert was. Just as powerful, if not more than any “traditional” form of meditation that I have done over the years.
It is so important on the journey of meditating to know that there are no “rules” or set methods that you have to follow. I find there is so many myth’s and misinformation out there about how to “do” meditation. Meditation isn’t something that you “do”, its something that you already are; it’s a state of being. An embodiment of Presence. There is a million ways to get to that state.
Often when I am working with my students (I run weekly meditation classes in Kensington and 1:1 meditation coaching sessions worldwide) and corporate groups one of the first things I will get them to recognise is that they already have been having moments of “meditation” throughout their whole life, yet because they weren’t sitting eyes closed, cross legged, chanting with mala beads and burning incense they didn’t realise they were actually in a meditative state.
I was having a lovely chat with one of my clients on Saturday and she shared how every morning when she gets up she makes her own nut milk. She admitted she often felt conflicted as she did so as she felt she should be “meditating”. She would find herself rush through the process of making the milk to then sit in “meditation”. As we chatted I suggested she turn her nut milk creating into her own unique morning meditation ritual. So instead of rushing through it, mind projecting to where she needed to be in the future, to use each step of the process as a space to engage all her senses and to ground her thoughts into the NOW.
Do you rush around your day to make space for meditation? Or do you always find you have ‘no time’ to meditate? You have missed the point of meditation – There are SO many ways you can bring a space of presence and mindfulness to everything you do during your day, one of the quickest and most powerful ways to do this is to engage and ground yourself into the now by becoming aware of all your physical senses. We use our senses to make “sense” of reality. To become present with what is. What can you SEE? What can you HEAR? What can you FEEL with your sense of TOUCH? What can you TASTE? With all your senses active, you become ALIVE. Engaged. Whole.
Here are 11 of the ways I love to meditate, without meditating.
1. Go to a concert.
For all the reasons I explained earlier. Music has enormous healing power. In particular listening to instruments being played live, or having a gorgeous human singing right in front of you is magic. Choose an artist you love, or explore a different style of music you haven’t really listened to. Immerse yourself & senses totally in the experience.
Again, combining the power of music with fun, joyful spontaneous movement is so grounding and healing for our souls. It will almost instantly get you out of over-thinking mode and centre you onto the earth and into your body. Pop on a track you love and dance around your house. Head out to an outdoor festival and dance in the dirt with a tribe of people around you. Or attend a sacred dance class such as Chakradance.
3. Spend some time in nature.
Human’s aren’t designed to be locked away in square buildings away from nature for days on end. We are nature, and are at our best when we are IN nature. Head outside and go for a walk somewhere beautiful in nature (keep your phone OFF!!). Lay on the grass, sit on top of a mountain, breathe in fresh air, squish dirt through your fingers, bath yourself in sunlight or moon light, watch a sunrise and/or sunset and anchor back into nature’s natural rhythms.
4. Float in the ocean or in a pool.
Find a gentle bay beach or pool and lay on the surface of the water. Let yourself be supported by the water and feel the gentle rise and fall of the water beneath you. I love floating on the water with my ears UNDER the water line, it helps to wash away my thoughts as all you can hear is your breath and heart beat. There is something so comforting and soothing being held by water in this way. Its like being back in the womb.
5. Have a bath (or sit at the bottom of a shower if you don’t have a bath)
Fill the bath with essential oils, salts or bubbles. (I love Lush bath bombs and the sacred oil blends by MK Wellbeing and Sacred Self.) Perhaps light a candle, play some beautiful music, create soft lightning. Lay in the water, with no other distractions and let yourself be.
6. Mindfully Cook & Eat.
Rather than cooking and eating with the TV on, or phone beside you, prepare your food in a state of presence. Eat your food really chewing and tasting each mouthful.
7. Journal Write.
Pick up a pen and write out your thoughts, feelings and whatever else comes non stop for 10 minutes. The physical process of actually writing (rather than typing) forces you to slow down and become present. You can’t write as quickly as you think, so it grounds you into the moment, and gives you a powerful space for release and reflection.
8. Spend time with an animal.
Animals live in the present moment ALL the time. Watch them, engage. Learn from them. Be with them. If you don’t have a pet yourself watch the birds outside, or visit a zoo.
9. Look at the night sky.
There is something so magical and expansive about looking up at the night sky. Seeing the moon, the planets, the stars. Engaging in the mystery and wonder of life.
10. Colour a colouring book.
Did you know you can get adult colouring books? There are some amazing mandala ones, or gorgeous image filled books that you can loose yourself in. Colouring activates your intuitive and creative mind and is just lots of fun.
11. Take a nap
Yes, that’s right. If all else fails, have a nap. If your mind is going a hundred miles an hour, your emotionally overwhelmed or if your physical body needs healing – get more sleep. It is the ultimate way to “get out of your mind” and the deepest healing for our physical body & brain occurs while we are sleeping. There is a reason why we commonly say “sleep on it” when you are trying to solve a problem, make an important decision or process emotional distress.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below, what do you love to do to bring a state of presence and “meditation” into your life? When was the last time you became so enmeshed in the moment you lost yourself?
PS. If your a lover of beautiful soundscape music check out A Winged Victory for the Sullen and if you ever get a chance to see them live – DO IT!! Amazing!!