At this point no one can deny the great benefits of some oriental disciplines such as hatha yoga, meditation, reiki, and many others. They are superb in order to provide us a better quality of life to deal better with the intense pace of the industrial societies of our time. However, it seems that not all the old systems to achieve physical and mental balance are suitable for the man of our days. Let us see what happens with the traditional systems of meditation.
Some authors argue that several popular systems of meditation based on breath, mantras, or concentration, were designed for the man of 2000 years ago, when in the world there was no noise. Today, our bodies have a heavy burden of stress from the environment, and that can not be avoided. This is why some people have a myriad of physical reactions when they close their eyes trying to concentrate on the object of meditation. Of course some people are comfortable with the traditional ways and they achieve tangible results on the physical and mental level.
Here are some alternatives for people who have a very large burden of stress on their bodies, or are too anxious to be seated.
Physical practices such as hatha yoga, tai chi, or martial arts are a great help to improve the bodily capacity of the individual. When you are performing these exercises you must be very attentive to what you are doing, so being focused on the movements constitutes a form of dynamic meditation. A very popular form of active concentration well known among the Buddhists is to walk with very lucid awareness of the movements of the feet when touching the ground.
Sing has been always recognized as a medicine for the mind, and that’s why all the civilizations have developed religious rituals based on very special and specific songs and tunes.
You can sing religious psalms, mantras or whatever you want, but always with close attention to what you are doing. Try to sing something that is positive to have your mind concentrated on pleasant object.
Reading with care is highly recommended if you feel that you are lacking attention, or you cannot maintain the concentration on a given task. Just take a page from a newspaper, book or magazine and read it several times but with great care, meditating on each word. Whenever you feel you lost the sense of the reading, you must start again from the beginning until the reading is fluid and concentrated.
The daily practice of silence is also a good substitute for meditation. If you’ve ever wondered the reason of some religious orders of silence, the answer is that the profound silence (no reading, no radio, television, music etc.), brings the mind to a very deep level of calm and power. There’s no need to sit and close your eyes, because you can practice the silence drinking a cup of coffee, at lunch, walking, or taking a shower. Try to do so for at least 30 minutes.
Finally, being aware of what we think, say or do is a powerful form of active meditation. In this way our behaviour is not longer into the realm of the unconscious and we can take the helm of our lives. If meditate in the traditional way is hard to you, I hope these simple attitudes will be of some help.