– J.X. Mason’s Blog of 10-15-21
— J.X. Mason is the author of ContinuingCreation.org
Lovely Everyday Meditations
Some years ago, I attended meditation sessions at the Houston Zen Center which were led by an experienced Soto Zen Monk. She instructed us to sit facing a patch of interior wall about 18 inches from our faces. The idea was to look at the wall, and only at the wall. We were supposed to shoo away all other thoughts except “sight-of-the-wall.” This would teach the mental discipline needed for “correct” meditation.
However, the wall was just plain ugly! Why couldn’t we look at the floor, which was made of beautiful wood with interesting grain? Or look out one of the windows at a lovely tree in the garden? I never went back.
When I meditate today, I want to look at an object that renews and deepens my connectedness to Nature; an object that recharges my creative juices. A garden, a flowing brook, a beautiful crystal, a great windfarm of giant, slowly turning blades.
Things that are in motion are good objects of meditation when they have a steady rhythm that also has touches of variety.
Here are a few Lovely, Everyday Meditations:
Everyday Sitting Meditations
The Washing Machine Meditation. Put your dirty clothes in a front-loading washing machine that has a glass window in its door. Sit in front of it and watch your clothes go around and around in the sudsy water. They rise and then fall; rise and then fall. Sometimes your favorite blue shirt appears, sometimes it doesn’t. The machine’s steady background hum quiets your mind. The fragrance of the detergent is reassuring. Let go of your worries. The washing is happening, and cleanliness is good! Sit and watch. (A clothes dryer with a window works, too.)
The Persian Rug Meditation. Contemplate the elaborate pattern in your Persian Rug. Instead of seeing it as a whole (as you do day in and day out), take the time to slowly trace the pattern’s weave of branches and blossoms using your eyes. Don’t have a Persian Rug? How about a granite countertop or a picture on hanging on your wall?
The One Tree Meditation. Look at a single tree in the breeze. Watch how the leaves flutter and the boughs bend. If you’re outside, you can hear and smell the tree as the breeze passes through it. Meditate on the tree’s structural pattern. Appreciate how the branching pattern is an efficient way to gather sunlight. Branching also carries water and minerals up through the wood to the leaves, and then carries sugars back down to the roots. Can you live your life like a tree? Would you want to? Maybe you already do. Is your life the trunk, and your children like the branches? Keep meditating along these lines….
Everyday Action Meditations
The Play a Sport Meditation. Play golf, tennis, bocci ball, softball, basketball, you name it. Hike or ride a bike. In all these active meditations, let go of your cares and concerns. Join the game; then become one with it. Let the game solely occupy your mind; let the game play you. Let your muscle-memory play the game, not your analyzing and planning brain. Athletes call this “playing in the Zone.”
The Creation Meditation. Or paint canvasses, create sculptures, plant and tend a garden… now you are in the Flow! Dance or play a musical instrument – now you are in the Groove! Zone, Flow, Groove — You feel what I’m talking about!