Is it possible to meditate whilst remaining active in another activity?

grigglipuff asked:
Is it possible to meditate whilst remaining active in another activity? Or what would you call it when you quiet your thoughts in extreme attention to the activity at hand?

Is it possible to meditate whilst remaining active in another activity? Or what would you call it when you quiet your thoughts in extreme attention to the activity at hand?

Typically this is called mindfulness or presence.

When engaging in activity on the level of both body and mind, it is possible to be still and present.

Some people mistake the teaching of present-moment awareness for only thinking about and living for the present. This isn’t so. Being present means recognizing this moment as the only time and place in which your life is actually alive, and you recognize this by abiding as that eternally present aliveness.
Using the mind to recall the past when relevant, contemplate the present when needed, and plan for the future as necessary is no problem. The difference is the place from which you relate to and use the mind.
Meditation isn’t something that lends itself well to definition. Any activity can be engaged in a meditative manner.

I like to make the distinction between meditation practice and meditative activity. Meditative activity is not a replacement for meditation practice. Often I’ve spoken with people about meditation who then say something along the lines of “Art is my meditation,” or music or cooking or whatever.

There is definitely something to be said about engaging those activities in a meditative manner. It can be restorative for both mind and body, as well as inspiring and joyful.
There is also a difference between someone who cooks with deliberate presence and mindfulness and someone who just does it half-attentively while lost in thought like every other moment of the day.

A meditation practice, however, has a profoundly penetrating effect. In meditation, many hangups and delusions come to light. There are fewer distractions from the diminished sensory-engagement. By staying with the practice, these deep-seated holding patterns are released.

While mindful activity is immensely important for abiding as awareness and no longer taking on new delusions/hangups, it has less of an opportunity for those deep-seated and unconscious patterns to come to the surface of consciousness.

It is still beautifully beneficial—especially if integrated as a way of life rather than just one particular meditative activity. But I think it’s important to emphasize that it’s not a replacement for a daily meditation practice. They are best done in tandem. Meditation without mindfulness practice may become an escapist attempt to leave the mundanity of the day. Whereas mindfulness without meditation practice may be a way of avoiding sincere dedication and aspiration to spiritual practice.

With dedication to both meditation and mindfulness, the line between the two will reveal its falseness. Then your meditation will be without end, whether you are seated or engaged in activity. That is very much along the lines of Zen Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.

Namaste sis 🙂


joyful abandon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s