By Trace Bonner
Loosely translated, meditation means bring to the center, specifically the mind. When we allow the mind to find a centered space it feels relaxed and easeful. The way we get the mind to center is usually not easy, due to the fact the mind is always thinking and commenting through an inner dialogue. This pulls the mind out of center and into personal perception, judging, comparing and identification. In order to bring the mind to center, a technique is used such as, concentration on the breath, uplifting word, mantra, walking…and running (just to name a few).
As one runs, and becomes aware of each step the foot makes to the pavement…concentrating on where the foot is stepping…the breath during the run…the response of the body as it runs, your mind can become focused, and thereby centered. As the mind stays centered, you might begin to feel less tied to the stress in life as well as your relationship to that stress. In other words, you might feel less emotionally tied to the effects of stress. This is the benefit to meditation. The mind steps into center and we have an opportunity to release the attachments of the way we think about our lives.
Meditation can be likened to the zone that many people have felt when doing something with steady concentration. As the mind becomes fully engaged in a single activity, we move out of thinking and into experiencing. The right brain activity increases, time slows down and we drop into BEING in the moment. Because we are usually dominant in left brain activity, which perceives, judges, compares and identifies, the balance of engaging the right brain brings the mind into a balanced and centered state. This has enormous benefits for physical and mental health, as well as our spiritual development.
While running can be meditative, it might be good to explore the traditional seated experience. For as much as active meditations can be beneficial, the deeper benefits of the practice can be felt when the body is still. For it is said when the body is still then the mind becomes steady and still. While the mind can never stop thinking (that its job), we can create pause between the thoughts of where less thinking is taking place. In the pause, which can be extended and expanded, a tremendous awareness of peace can be found, and a deeper connection to spirit experienced.
Trace Bonner is the director of Holy Cow Yoga Center in Charleston, SC. Thanks Trace for sharing your article.