We tend to consider meditation a passive activity engaged in by sitting and closing our eyes while enacting some mental exercise designed to quiet the mind, or at least calm it down. This all done separate from our ordinary existence where we are “doing” beings. This is fine to start with, but what about our ordinary waking state? Is there a process that will enable us to attain inner stillness while performing the multitude mundane tasks which comprise our life?
In my thirst for Presence, I am constantly looking for ways to bring the meditative state into daily life. For me, the senses are the key. It’s all about what we do with our attention. When I am able to give up my addiction to thought, and concentrate full attention into the sensory experience of life, my mind goes still.
There are many ways to do this. One is walking meditation. Give all your attention to the simple task of stepping out, setting the heel down then consciously rolling the foot forward and pushing off with the toes in a definite rhythm. It gives a spring to the step, a lightness to the gait.
While you are walking this way, hold your peripheral vision wide open, taking in 180 degrees, or more. Refuse to be taken out of peripheral by any distraction, but keep an inner gaze simultaneously. When we tend to our inner world and outer world equally, we are less likely to become lost in identification with some external distraction.
Add to this a continuing awareness of auditory stimulation, again in a global way, not giving significance to one sound over another, and allowing the sound to be what it is without resistance or irritation. This way nothing gets in to disturb our inner stillness.
Another layer to this exercise would be to feel the air with our skin. The heat, the breeze, the coolness, whatever it happens to be, again without irritation or resistance.
Finally, sense the space around you, in front, behind and to the sides. Use your attention to reach out and sense the environment.
This turns a simple walk into a complex awareness exercise. Feel your feet walking, keep peripheral vision active, auditory awareness, feel the air and sense the space. Do all this and your mind will be filled with blissful stillness and deep Presence.