Meditation on Meditations OFF the Mat

It dawned on me the other day, as I was on my way to the swings, that I have been meditating for years. Not in the traditional sense of a quiet, seated, intentional meditation, but in my own way. I have spent countless hours on a swing set, my wall, or laying on my bed with my head resting out the window watching stars move. As a person who strongly believes in chaos and living a messy life, even I had my limits. When life got too crazy, I’d check out. Walk to the park and hop on a swing, or my wall, or if it was late, I’d just hang my head out the window and watch the universe slowly roll by. I’d let my brain off it’s tracks and let it spin freely.

In what is possibly my favorite yogi quote, Rolf Gates says that meditation is like locking yourself in a closet with a lunatic. Well, a lot of the time, my life felt like being locked in a closet with that lunatic, and meditation was like unlocking that door and letting the crazy escape for a little while. I was free to let thoughts come and go, or to space out completely and lose all concept of words and time.

I was never focused on breath, or sitting or laying still, or on tuning out the sights and sounds around me. It all happened naturally. Loud, angry music would be blaring, and I’d barely hear it – save for the base line pounding through me. They were far from your typical quiet, seated meditation, but did they ever work.

It makes me wonder. I can’t be the only one to have done this. Most people out there are probably meditating in their own way, too. Runners when they find their pace and are just cruising, sailors when the sails are set just right to the wind, lifters when they hit that groove where its just breathe in, lift, breathe out, repeat. I’m sure we all do it, somehow, somewhere. And yet – why is meditation still so scary and mysterious? Its as though, the instant we put a label on it, formalizing it into something definable, we lose people. You want me to do what? Sit still and just be? Why? Forget it. I have things to do. Kids in soccer, bills to pay, groceries to do…. anything but stay here with my thoughts. I’m too busy.

I’m not sure where this leads to in teaching and coaching meditation, but its a question I’ve been toying with for some time. So my question to you – do you meditate?

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