What do I really need to meditate?
Meditation cushions, the right music, incense sticks, a guide via app? These are often the things you associate with meditation. Maybe you do too. I admittedly did a few years ago for sure. What if I don't have the incense? Do I then not come into deepest relaxation and find my own centre?
After all, I can't draw a portrait with a ballpoint pen either. Artists like H. Matisse or G. Klimt didn't do it that way after all. This may sound like a banal comparison.
But when it comes to activities that are not commonplace in the West, such as meditation, it is often precisely these daunting ideas and prejudices that make it difficult to get started. I would like to debunk these here and help you put aside the obstacles on the path to meditation.
Concentration on the essentials: Less is more
In our modern fast-paced western world, we are confronted with challenges every day. The idea of efficiency in us is constantly nurtured. We are taught to be up to date with everything, including the gear for all kinds of popular activities. When walking in the woods, don't forget to track your steps with your smartwatch, and be sure to have the minutes spent in meditation confirmed in your meditation app.
Meditation, as such a simple activity, does not have to and should not keep up with this pressure. Meditation tries to pay little attention to precisely that, to external influences and inputs, by turning to the inner self.
So I don't need a meditation cushion after all? - Not at all, in my opinion. Just sit on a chair, on the floor - whether indoors or outdoors. And just begin and get into action.
Every day anew, start resting on your breath and not having to do anything else. Nothing. No, don't even think about the fact that your colleague at work said that the meditation cushion from the great brand Lotus was of such high quality and made a huge difference. If meditation requires anything at all, it is simply your full presence and exclusive awareness of the present moment.
What exactly does meditation mean then?
Meditation means to let thoughts be, not to enter into them, to watch them pass by, to feel the breath and to rest on it. Meditation means turning away from the outside and focusing entirely on the inside and thus reaching a thoughtless level of consciousness. Meditation means doing nothing in the moment of meditation. Only breathing and being.
You can make the following comparison: your head and your mind are like a blue sky where different clouds pass through again and again. Sometimes more, sometimes less. They symbolise your thoughts. In meditation you try to concentrate on the blue of the sky. You simply let the thoughts that keep coming into the picture in the form of the clouds pass by without paying much attention to them. The great thing about this is that you can know that the blue sky is always there.
Go outside and start practicing
Did you know that you have probably meditated more often than you ever intended to? I am quite sure that you have, for example, on the beach at sunset, in the park or forest, when you fully perceived the moment and all its facets without having planned it. Perhaps accompanied by a "wow, that's beautiful...". That is mindfulness. That is being. That is meditation.
So the next time you have such a moment of wonder and you are at awe, you can just try to consciously stay there a little longer. Be and stay in the situation with all your senses. Notice what is around you, what sounds you can hear, what you can see, smell and feel.
This may all sound simple, but as we know, our sky or our mind is not always blue, because thoughts and clouds are also there. Seeing the blue sky and being in the moment is just as much a skill as riding a bike. We have to learn both. And as we know, practice makes perfect.
If you would like to practise meditation in and with nature in a very concrete way, then take a look at this article including a video. It is an invitation to connect in a simple setting outside with the natural space and an object in it in a kind of meditation and to just be curious about what shows up.
Come outside with us
Meditation and mindfulness are basic building blocks that have become important in my life. When we are out and about with Kailo, we also lead various nature meditations. This helps to get into the moment, to immerse oneself in the landscape and to connect with oneself and the group. And all this without any frills, simply sitting in the meadow, on the forest floor, on the beach or in the desert.