By Carol Pollio for Elephant Journal.
If you’re like me, the word “meditate” is a major turn off.
It brings to mind “free love” and peasant dresses, Woodstock and flower power. But intellectually I know that science supports the benefits of meditation—decreasing stress and pain, improving our immune systems, expanding the grey matter in our brains and increasing our happiness and social connections.
That makes it difficult to reconcile for me—I can’t see myself sitting down motionless for 20 minutes a day, even though I know there are lots of benefits of doing so. The most important benefit yet to be proven by science, though, is a connection with a higher plane—an increase in creative ideas, solutions to complex problems, and—for those that believe as I do—heightened intuition and psychic awareness.
(Simple yoga steps to try on your lunch break. Post continues after video.)
So what is my solution? I like to call it un-meditating. The science supports the benefits of un-meditating just as it does meditating, and un-meditating is easily done “on the fly” during a regular day.
Here are the top five things I do when I can’t (or don’t want to) meditate:
Mow the lawn.
Yes, really. For years, I’ve called mowing the lawn a “mindless” activity—for a reason. When I’m mowing the lawn, I’m focused on making straight lines—getting the job done and little else. It’s at this time that my mind finally becomes quiet, and I find lots of information comes to me. It’s quiet, uninterrupted time that I find perfect for un-meditating.
Go for a drive.
It doesn’t need to be to a special destination, even a regular commute can work. I have found that the key is to drive without the radio or other distractions and just let my mind wander. I used to have an hour long commute where I picked up riders at the nearby commuter lot.