Exploring Meditation in Movement

I first knowingly explored active meditation in the late 1990's with Tai Chi. At the time, I found the movements too slow and my companions and I were too immature for this ancient art.

The next time I flirted with mediation in movement was when my coworkers and I signed up for a pottery class around Y2K. I loved being able to focus on only one thing: the clay that I was shaping. My senses seemed augmented as I felt the clay on the wheel, listened to the hum of the wheel, watched and breathed in the art of making. I wasn't particularly skilled at it, unless you count being skilled at wrecking my fingernails. At least I was able to create some serviceable pen cups.

What is Active Meditation?

In Active Mediation: A technique of the future, Eliza Mala Dalian describes it as "an evolutionary process of releasing our stress and pent up emotions from the body while simultaneously being engaged in witnessing and dis-identifying from our thoughts and emotions." Unlike passive meditation, you are actually doing something.

Ms Dalian describes Osho meditations, which has been practice throughout the the world since the 1970's. However, based upon her definition, I recognize meditation in movement in various activities that either my family, friends or I do, such as: nature or landscape photography, painting, drawing, knitting, origami and flower arranging. The way I see it, so long as it is an activity that requires you to move around, allows you to lose yourself into it and ground you in the process, it qualifies as active meditation.

Stunning Stained Glass

Martial Arts and Active Meditation

I did wind up revisiting Tai Chi last year, taking classes from Jane Sponair. Having a much smaller class and different companions made my Tai Chi practice more successful. I was able to love myself into the movements.

However, at the end of the second course, I was yearning for something more. That something more "stares" at me in my office: my iaito.

After Christmas, I'll be resuming my Iaido studies. I know that it will be bumpy in the beginning (five years is a long time for your skills to dull).

However, I know that some of it will come rushing back to me. For instance, I still practice my sword cuts occasionally as doing so releases some of the tension in my shoulders. In Mushin: The State of Mind, Chris Caile defines it as follows: "The Japanese term Mushin is a shortened version of the Zen expression "mushin no shin" which translates as "the mind without mind" or "no-mindness." It is a nice way to describe active mediation.

These are just a few ways that one can practice active meditation. Are there any activities that you engage in that qualify as meditation in movement? Please share.