Active VS. Passive Meditations
We all know we need to meditate more! Whether you meditate a lot or a little, we all think we could do a little bit more! But maybe you don't have the time to devote to hours of meditation a day. I don't! This is where the distinction between active and passive meditation comes into play! What if I told you that you don't need to find endless hours sitting cross-legged on a cushion silently to add more meditation to your life? Well, it's true!
Passive meditation is the style you probably think of when people talk about meditation. Think, monks in a temple. You're still, silent, and probably struggling not to think about things. This type of meditation has many advantages! There's so much to learn from being able to sit silently by yourself. You can learn to self-soothe, how to slow your mind, how to identify your thoughts. Passive meditation is an important aspect of any spiritual practice, for sure! I do it every morning. But there's more to meditation than this!
Active meditation is when you enter a meditative state during activity. Maybe you're cooking, and you decide to do it meditatively. You can do it while running, or driving, or dancing, or working! There's hardly a limit when it comes to active meditation. Eventually, you could learn to live your entire life in a meditative state. If you can reach this state, you can be just like Buddha. But so many pathways to enlightenment only teach passive meditation. Tantra emphasizes active meditation.
So, how to get into it? Well, starting with passive meditation is kinda important. Learning how to get into a meditative state is easier with passive meditation. There's less distractions. Think about cooking and trying to learn to enter a state of relaxed awareness. It would be difficult if you didn't even know what that felt like. Also, give yourself so much time to learn this skill. It's not something that most people learn overnight. It takes literally years to learn sometimes. I'm still learning about it and going deeper every day! Take classes on meditation, listen to guru's talk about it. Try different techniques. Some people like mantras. Some like breathing techniques. While others dive into whole philosophies, like vipassana. Try many and see what works best for you to find that relaxed awareness.
Once you start to get an idea of relaxed awareness, start diving into active meditations. Don't wait until you feel like a pro at passive. Even people who have been doing passive meditations for years don't feel like a pro. It's because every time you understand more, you find ten other things you understand less. It's a constant journey, that I'm not even sure has an end. But you will start to feel that you begin to understand what relaxed awareness means. Once this happens, start to take this to active meditations. Go for a walk and try to get into that meditative state. Walking is a great place to start, because it's relatively easy to walk.
One key is that active meditation slows down whatever you're doing. Instead of speeding through a walk, it becomes a slow, sensual experience. All of a sudden, you're taking in all the sights and sounds and feels of the walk. It becomes more than a walk, it's an experience! Once you learn to create a relaxed awareness in any situation, you'll move into a new way of living. You'll flow easily with whatever comes your way. You'll deal with difficult people as if they're a breeze. You'll know true peace and joy! This is definitely a venture worth taking!
INSPIRED ACTION: If you don't have any meditation practice then start with passive meditation. Try adding one at least 3 days a week, if not every day. Focus of learning what relaxed awareness means. If you've been meditating for a while and you have an idea of what relaxed awareness means, then start trying some active meditations! Take a walk a couple times a week focusing on the experience of walking and remaining in that meditative state throughout! Give yourself grace in the beginning to learn. It's a skill that comes with practice! This will naturally branch out to more aspects of your life over time!