What is a Meditative Lifestyle?
First I’d really like to thank you for having participated til the very end.
Here I’d like to present my favorite methods to you.
I think a meditative way of life can mean a lot of things to different people. Depending on our character and our practice preferences we choose methods that suit us best.
After having lived and practiced full-time in retreat for seven years, my wish has been to continue retreat life in our normal everyday world. How can I maintain key elements while working and living in busy and distracting normal circumstances? By now I’ve been experimenting on this project for over four years.
In the beginning my pace in everything was quite slow and multitasking was nearly impossible. Every moment seemed to be very special to me and I was over-flooded by sensations. In the meantime I found my way back to a normal pace and am able to multitask again if need be.
Still I can find joy in nearly everything and my awareness likes to be open. Every experience, every situation and connection can be uniquely beautiful if I’m really present. But there are enough moments in which I’m so involved with something that no openness is left.
I’m writing this to give some insight into the way of meditative life that works for me. This is not right or wrong, it’s just my way. I hope it inspires you as an example. Take what you like and find your own way. I’m curious to learn more about what works for you 🙂
- No matter what is I can be aware of it.
- Whenever something gets complicated, disturbing, and exhausting, I’m focusing on the situation AND my own experience of it. If I’m just staying with my own reactions I feel tight and claustrophobic. I know that there is always the choice that I can notice and focus on the bigger picture.
- Whenever possible, I schedule my days with enough time (space) before, between, and after different appointments and activities. This prevents the (often unnecessary) stress of a shortage of time. It also means that I tend to leave too early when I’m on my way to an appointment. It enables me to be fine though something takes longer and to take a short break or even go for a little walk before the next thing starts. This prevents me from most avoidable stressful situations which otherwise could make me feel that life is too challenging.
- Whenever I remember it, I take one or a few deep and pleasurable breaths. Then I move on to the next task.
- In between activities I take tiny breaks (maybe nobody notices them). I stop doing anything and enjoy deeply what that feels like in the body to have finished another task. There is a short moment of accomplishment. In this way a mixture of gratitude, effectiveness, and contentment sinks into my being. No matter how small and banal the accomplished activities are, this creates positive tendencies, deepens satisfaction and counteracts tendencies of self-criticism and doubt.
- No matter what I’m doing in work or private life, I try to stay in focused and clear activities with natural concentration and engagement for some time. Especially these days it’s very easy to follow every idea and distraction. If I have a good idea while meditating or doing something else, I just write it down. If I’m interrupted in what I’m doing, I can maintain my focus and shift it briefly to the new concern, and then shift back. I might have some positive stress doing so, but it prevents me from falling into negative stress.
- It’s important to me to know there will be empty spaces in my calendar. If every day is filled with plans and appointments it feels tight to me. Free time allows for deeper breaths and a general feeling of openness, creativity, and freedom.
- The photo above is maybe more of an inner picture in this context than an outer one. If I view daily life as full of duties and things I need to get done, it feels like a burden. Maybe it really is a burden sometimes. But if I see it as spacious and the measured time just marks certain points, it can’t keep me caught in claustrophobic experiences. I see the many beautiful moments of space and time along the way and can take my timeless tiny breaks again and again.
This course officially ends now. If you’d like you can enjoy little inspirations until July 28th. Also I’ll keep the sign up open until then as some participants asked me to. So if you’d like to share this free course with anybody, feel free to spread this link.
All the best for all of you!
P.S: In case you would like to read more about these topics and practices you can find more here.