In the past, I've found that my most successful meditation is achieved on foot. It's when walking that I seem best able to sustain a rhythm and a point of focus that quiets thoughts for a minute or two.
But when I heard about a meditation retreat called "inner yoga," it sounded perfect for me. "Inner Yoga!" What could be more natural? My agile mind seems ever eager to engage in bends and twists and warrior pose. Maybe inner yoga would teach it to rest a bit longer in shavasana--the flat-on-your-back position that often ends a yoga class.
Alas, even after a lovely fall weekend at a rustic retreat center, shavasana still challenges me. But the brilliant swirl of my mental gyrations enlivened the process of trying.
We'd just completed a sequence of gentle yoga moves that ended with a guided meditation. We imagined a sequence of radiant colors flooding the body with light. I rested a moment in the warm glow of an inner rainbow, then rose to join other participants for a silent break in a meadow flanked with autumn hues.
As I strolled a path at the edge of a stream, I wanted to hold on to the beauty and peace that had flowed so freely in the meditation. Such a nice process for quieting and centering my mind and body….
Wouldn't it be cool to get colored glass beads or buttons in each of the colors used in the meditation? I could put them on my desk as a prompt to bring back this feeling of calm.
What about those colored crystal nuggets put in clear glass flower vases? That would work! Aren't they the same thing we used in that game we played with the kids last summer when we rented a vacation house at Black Butte?
What was the name of that game? We found it in a cupboard under the stool side of the kitchen counter. A sort of long wooden playing board with two rows of scooped out bowls into which we moved the glass pieces.
It might be fun to play that again when the kids come for Thanksgiving. They knew how to play it. I wonder if they have that same game at home. We'd have to play in the family room. The dining room table will be set for dinner. Maybe the trillium plates this year.
What will the kids do while we are finishing the gravy? Maybe they should bring a video. They could watch in the family room. Or take a walk with their dad. There's that little park two blocks away that would be nice if the weather is good.
It was about then, I think, that I stepped back into the present, laughing at myself and at the "inner yoga" flexions my mind had just performed--all of that in perhaps 60 seconds of rapid-fire free associations!
None of it helped me maintain the beauty or tranquility I had just experienced. But it reassured me that I could take myself lightly. Could stop the spin and restore balance anew. And so it is, in life as in meditation, so many chances to begin again.
If you're in the mood to try a walking meditation, these guidelines offer a helpful starting place. And, if you've noticed that my blog entries are slowing down, put the blame on the newspaper column I'm writing, Not the Retiring Type.