Worrying is meditating on what we don’t want to happen.
Inspired active meditation is meditating on what we want to happen and embody.
Have you tried meditation just to find yourself overthinking and worrying about what needs to be done or worrying about not being able to meditate? Or, do you have a meditation approach that requires observation or focus, and neither is happening? You’re not alone. As a reformed worrier, I know how that feels.
Passive and Active Meditations
In my studies as a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, and minister of holistic theology I learned passive and active forms of meditations. Broadly speaking, passive meditation refers to observing the thought process, feeling, or breath without judgement. Active meditation is an advanced form of meditation where we inquire about a particular subject. Traditional inquiry-based meditations include Self-inquiry, inquiry into the Absolute, and inquiry into the origin of Prana. It’s clear that to inquire on such subtle subjects one needs a focused mind. As a devoted meditator who wanted to experience active meditation and as someone who appreciates the gifts of journaling, I put the practices of journaling and of active inquiry meditation together. In addition, I began my inquiries by choosing points of focus that felt more tangible. Gradually I developed the attention to experience this approach to meditation and I am happy to share that this inspiring approach to active meditation is accessible and integrative.
Inspired Active Meditation 101
Step One – Point of Focus: We choose a feeling we want to embody.
Step Two – Write It Out: We journal about the point of focus.
Step Three – Reflect: We contemplate, envision and embody the point of focus.
Step One – Point of Focus
Choose a positive feeling or quality you want to embody. For example, you could choose confidence, courage, or communicative, to start. The options are endless. Simply pick something that inspires you.
Step Two – Write It Out
In your journal, date your entry and write everything that comes to mind about the feeling or quality you want to embody. Define the word, its feeling, and its value.
Here is a list of journaling questions you could ask yourself. We will use confidence as an example:
- How do I define confidence?
- How do I behave when I am confident?
- What are the benefits of moving through life with confidence?
- How does confidence feel?
- What are things I can do to feed my confidence?
Develop an affirmation that supports the embodiment of the feeling you are seeking. For example, confidence is my true nature or I am confident. Choose something simple, direct, and positive.
The more we journal, the more the questions and answers reveal themselves.
Step Three – Reflect
Find a comfortable meditation seat. Close your eyes and reflect on what you wrote. Contemplate confidence as you did in your journal. Repeat your affirmation and see yourself embodying the feeling. Once you have the feeling of confidence, focus on the feeling, and if you lose the feeling, go back to the reflection or affirmation. If you start thinking about something else, say, “Thank you for sharing,” and go back to the contemplation of confidence. Envision yourself moving through your day feeling confident.
I recommend spending a little longer in meditation than you do journaling. If you’re new to meditation and journaling and feel overwhelmed with your to-do list, journal for three minutes and meditate for four minutes. If you have more time and experience, journal for seven minutes and meditate for eleven minutes.
We can journal and meditate on the same topic for as long as we like. I am intuitive. I pick a focus and when it’s time to move on, I feel it. If you prefer guidelines, choose one point of focus for seven days before switching or before choosing to spend another seven days with the same focus. The more we write and reflect the more we embody the feeling which means the reflection of choice becomes an expression of a direct experience instead of a concept and that is a very inspiring experience.
In Due Time
As we develop our attention we can gradually inquire into more subtle things such as the five elements, the nature of the mind and eventually the Self, Prana or the Absolute.
With active meditation, we can get lost in concepts. To avoid this we allow moments of passive meditation where we observe the feeling.
With practice we become more conscious of the thought process, and if we fall prey to unnecessary worrying we develop the habit to go back to the reflection and feeling we want to embody. This reflection can be done while in line at the grocery store, in the shower, and walking to a destination. Anytime we are aware of the thought process leading us into the unnecessary worrisome pattern, we switch the focus.
The Time is Now
If you’re still with me, chances are this approach to meditation is a good fit for you. So, I invite you to start today. Try it for seven consecutive days and see what happens.
Wishing you inspired active meditation experiences!