Alt-Meditations: Finding inner calm when you are incapable of sitting still


“I can’t meditate. All that sitting still - it’s not for me. It’s just not the way i’m wired ...”

Meditation is a deadly weapon in this cluttered, hectic world. Centered on the three tenants of awareness, focus and calm, it’s benefits touch on all facets of our daily lives.

Sounds great, but why then don’t more of us carve out a few minutes of quiet contemplation in our day? The fact is that traditional meditation technique, for many, is at odds with their wiring. Sitting still in lotus position? It’s certainly not for everyone.

But it doesn't have to be. Meditation has a perception problem, and we are about to bust it wide open...

Our traditional image of meditation

Meditation has existed in its many forms since antiquity. And yet, multi-millenia of variation and development has been distilled down into one common image: that of the lotus position, arms akimbo, index fingers pinched to thumb, eyes shut.

We have settled on this singular, sedentary version of meditation, in a phenomenal act of mass cultural pigeon-holing and vast oversimplification.

One group of people more than any other prove that meditation is not just the preserve of the still, showing us fidgeters that serenity can be found in motion...

The Runners

Runners, often unwittingly, are masters of meditation. The process of running is inexorably tied to our three tenants of meditation.

Focus: When you set out on a run you have to find your rhythm. This comes by focusing on your breathing and footsteps, taking control of your situation, centering yourself.

Awareness: Early on you are highly aware of the world around you, of how your body is feeling, of the ground beneath your feet as you allow yourself to settle into the pattern.

Calm: Once you have found rhythm, calm takes over - you have reached a meditative state.

This is when the stream of consciousness begins. For some this involves a sort of mental filing process, for others it’s a burst of creativity, that's up to you!