I walk almost everyday. My goal is to get the blood flowing through my body, stretch out my legs, get some fresh air, exercise, and think. Yes I said think.
When most people think of meditation they think of a buddhist monk sitting cross legged with their fingers touching their thumbs chanting the sound of “ohhmmmmmm”. But you may be surprised to realize that meditation is merely an attempt to clear the mind of excess garbage and stress.
The most common use of meditation is to stop the mind from thinking but there are other forms of meditation that have led me to believe that everyone not only meditates just about everyday but that they also have their own method of meditation.
For example, daydreaming is a form of meditation. Anytime you stop doing what you are doing and stop living in the moment to process things internally; you are beginning to clear your mind and sort out all of the things that cause you stress or bring you joy.
If you’ve ever seen anyone “space” or “zone” out these are forms of meditations. If you’ve ever seen anyone just stare at a wall for an extended period of time they are also meditating. This is a process where they have gone internally to think and sort things out in their own little parallel universe.
I find my meditation methods are normally when I am driving or even performing an exercise like walking, running, or biking. I am there physically and somehow the direction I am going and the movement necessary is all on autopilot, but I am not actually there at any real capacity.
When I go into my meditation mode I tend to ignore my surroundings completely except for the pre-programmed necessities like how to get to my destination. Once I have that locked in my mind I turn on auto-pilot and I’m essentially only present in a physical sense.
As I was walking through the woods today across the river near where I live I stopped suddenly. These are the same woods I had just walked through before but I realized I had tunnel vision each time I passed. These were not woods with living creatures or anything that was part of my world, it was merely a trail that was part of my route to complete the walking and exercise routine I had decided upon before I left my house..
In that sense I realized that my physical body was more like one of those drive through tubes at the bank. My mind was inside of the tube and my body was being transported along the only possible route to it’s destination. In this paradigm, there wasn’t anything to look at or see. It was similar to extended sleep while travelling to space that you see in movies where people are put in these sleep capsules for years and awake years later after they are nearing their destination.
It was today that I realized that the majority of my life is lived this way. As spiritually aware and as philosophical as I consider myself; I am living in a tube in a deep coma waiting to reach today’s destination so that I can come awake to look around and assess my next action.
I am part of my own alternate reality.
I am merely travelling through time. The only thing missing in my life to be considered “real” time travel was that I didn’t stop the aging process, but rest assured, I am drifting through time in my pod ignoring my surroundings.
As usual this intrigued me to go a step further and consider this concept at a larger level. How many people are actually time travelling on their way to work in the morning in the car? Or at work itself? Just sitting there zoned out until they’ve reached their pre-programmed end point, (maybe its 5pm when work is off) before they need to choose their next action.
How much time does the average person spend in their own alternate universe, caught up in deep thought thinking about all the things that they feel are important to them?
The world is full of useless mental garbage. I know my mind gets so bogged down with all the things I “think” I need to be thinking about that if I don’t shut down and go to my alternative universe I won’t be able to sort out what’s important. I know that there are things I hear where I know immediately I have no use for the information and just shut down to it so I don’t have to think about it later.
I don’t know how your meditation works but what I do when I drive or exercise, especially alone, is I start to play mental movies from start to finish of where things are now and where they could be. I have many alternative endings and things that I would like to see play out. I am driving but essentially watching a movie. It’s like a game of chess in my head. At any given moment I take something with possibilities and play movies in my head until all possibilities and scenarios I can come up with are exhausted.
What I do is choose the best movie for the scenario and try to act it out once I snap out of it. But there are so many decisions to be made on a daily basis that I realize I could spend 24 hours a day in “la la land” and never come out of it. There is enough stuff to think about right now that I could literally comatose myself from my own internal thought. Lost in my mind, in my own alternative reality, while ignoring the reality around me.
It was this day in the woods that I stopped and looked around snapping the routine and out of my daydream I emerged.
The first thing I realized was that I am in a forest, these things here are trees. I put my hand against a tree just to remember what it felt like, I don’t remember the last time I intentionally stopped to touch a tree beyond chopping them up for campfire wood. The warm pulsating blood running through my hand touched the bark of the tree, something else that was equally alive and pumping life of its own.
Interesting, there are other living things in this world besides me. Who would have thought such a thing?
My mind began to relax. I heard the sound of water. I turned to watch it flowing over rocks. “Did it know I was there?” Does water live? Do things live in the water?” The only time I interact with water is when I swim in it, drink it from a bottle or from the tap, but I never consider water anymore beyond my interaction with it and only what it can do for me.
I began to hear the birds chirping. I saw bugs flying in the distance. The leaves rattled in the wind. I looked up through them and into the sun. The sun! That’s just something that keeps me warm, I had forgotten about it entirely on this walk. The forest came to life right in front of me and all I had to do was stop and think of something other than myself.
Humans are resilient in tuning out things that they feel don’t concern them. This is the same forest I had walked through many times before and if you asked me about it I wouldn’t have heard the sound of water, the chirping of birds, the feeling of bark on my skin, or the sight of the sun blazing through tree tops. I had shut all these things off and was only concerned with my destination. Sure I probably heard these things but I didn’t process them.
Ever wake up in the morning partially to peace and quiet. The more you lay there in bed the louder things get. All of a sudden the TV is really loud and you can hear people talking. Do you realize that the TV was on when you were sleeping and that people were talking the entire time. When we sleep we are able to block out things and when we daydream, time travel, or go to our alternative reality, we are able to do the same things while awake.
The only question I have for you is this:
“Is the destination you’re pursuing right now really worth ignoring all the little things around you?”
And finally this quote from The Death of Ivan Ilych:
‘Maybe I did not live as I ought to have done,’ it suddenly occurred to him. ‘But how could that be, when I did everything properly?’ he replied, and immediately dismissed from his mind this, the sole solution of all the riddles of life and death, as something quite impossible.”
On his deathbed Ivan Ilych finally began to question as to whether or not he lived as he should have. If the things he had done that were important at the time were really that important in the end. He died with regrets and what a terrible way to leave this earth. We all must leave at some point, make sure you’re focusing on things that will matter in the end when all is said and done.