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#13 Arching towards a new stability

For the last 800 years, an ancient tradition has happened every Sept in Japan. Skilled archers and warriors ride on horseback to shoot arrows in celebration to please the gods of Japan in hopes for new prosperity and blessings. This ritual is highly regarded and considered one of divination to gauge the upcoming harvest.

The mindset of these archers is a type of meditation in motion. Standing up while riding a horse with pure concentration while narrowingly shooting an arrow at a target with an intense crowd watching, takes immense skill, practice and patience. Each archer gets three shots to make in front of designated temples.

These samurai horsemen teach us how to move quickly with clear and focused intention. While we only see the polished performance and not all the work it took to get there, how can we apply this mindset to our own lives?

Leaping into new opportunities while maintaining a steady balance is the practice of meditation in motion. To get closer to having a more centered and aligned life, let’s look more closely at how to use the practice of meditation in motion in our daily lives to dance through it all with mindful grace.

I first learned about meditation in motion through one of my yoga instructors. Practicing yoga daily has made the most profound internal changes when handling frustrations in life. The slowing and regulating of the breath, the pause in the moment to be an astute observer while applying graceful movements have led to more peace and happiness.

Can you relate? I’ve talked about this philosophy through other examples usually around the creative experience. Being in this state of flow helps us at any point in life, especially during challenging times.

Breath work, prana and connecting the breath with the heart and mind seems to be a key ingredient in attaining this active meditative state. As I’ve learned, the breath is the bridge between the heart and the mind.

The best part of meditation in motion is the obvious freedom to move about and be in the present moment. Walks, yoga, tai chi and stretching of the body all have a place to help the mind release itself from the chatter and be within the physical, emotional and spiritual qualities of life. It’s the intentional movements that slow us down just enough to get into that perfect alignment with our lives.

One important thing to note

We all want to be free and start new adventures, but we can easily get caught up in the “What if’s”. There are no guarantees in life so we have to find practices and methods that work for us to keep wanting to move forward. Let’s explore more ways to accomplish that.

Staying flexible and focused

It’s important to practice intention with a focus on what we’re doing. And learn to connect our own movement of the body, mind and environment to create an open-awareness. It gives us the ability, freedom and flexibility to embrace each moment without controlling it.

Being one with the task at hand and learning how to move through the natural state of flow offers us the ability to slow things down and put the right intention with the right action. Like all great athletes, visualizing beforehand enhances the focus of observation and with practice, a well of natural energy will flow through you.

The art of meditation in motion

While these deep and masterful techniques deserve much more in depth study, here are 5 ways to practice and incorporate them in our everyday lives. 1. Mindful stretches

The moment when the mind and spirit are connected, it can be an unshakable state of peace. How can you add in simple movements throughout the day? Early morning stretches as you wake up give the heart an openness. If you’re sitting most of the day, take breaks incorporating movement of stretching and breathing, letting go for a moment to recharge.

2. Meditative practices

Add in a little more yoga, qigong or tai chi each day. Explore the movements your body naturally wants to take and lean more into intuitive movements to release tension and expand the breath. Adding more of this also increases your strength, stamina and flexibility along with toning muscles and improving heart circulation.

3. Moving during meditation

Break the rule for having to be completely still during a meditation or to be in silence. Move to music and sounds that lift you up and sound pleasing to listen to. The intention is to connect back into self, so it can look however it needs to as long as you come home to your heart.

4. Walking meditation

Another favorite daily activity, this is as old as time to get outside and be in nature. It’s old because it works on so many levels. The hardest part is getting up. Once outside, it's hard to come back in. These movements are less for the physical rewards and more about the deliberate alertness of what you are walking next to. Listen to music or the sounds of nature or both.

5. Mindful actions

Bring in more physical activity and add more mindfulness to it. It could be anything from cleaning the house, washing dishes, daily chores and even more exercise. Again, with the blend of focused attention these unwanted activities become small acts of self love. Intentionally cleaning to bring in more clarity and abundance to the home starts to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.

Remember, any and every movement can be in a meditative state that opens up to having clear conscious awareness. And every moment can be experienced to its fullest potential.

“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found, but made; and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”

—Peter Ellyard


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