Normally, when I think of meditation, I conjure up images of Buddhist monks sitting for hours on the steps of some very holy building, high up in the mountains, with big puffy clouds that look like chunks of cotton as the wind blows and crickets chirp....
I don't know about you, but I have neither the time nor the patience to cross my legs, close my eyes, and sit in empty silence. It may work for some people, but it doesn't work for me. (I've tried - I always ends up falling asleep or getting a cramp in my back. It's not pretty - I'd much rather take a nap in a comfortable bed!)
But we do need to take regular moments out of our lives to let everything go. Thinking is hard work! And when we obsess over things (which tends to happen when we're stressed out), we think a LOT. Taking some time out for ourselves is, frankly, critical to our well-being.
When I need a moment to escape from the world, I meditate a little differently: I bake.
Reviewing recipes lets me make decisions that don't matter, instead of second-guessing decisions I've already made.
Carefully measuring out the ounces of flour I need takes away from obsessing over what I have to do the next day.
Kneading dough any number of ways relieves me of doubt in my mind.
Delicately but firmly forming my risen dough into shape allows me to push away the worries that I'm not performing to (admittedly my own) harsh expectations .
Smelling the wonderful scent of bread as it bakes in the oven stops my brain from rewriting the email I don't look forward to writing.
Sure, I don't fall asleep because I'm too busy eating. But the same goal is achieved: I'm transformed, from the overly anxious, type-A doer, to the calm, relaxed, not-quite-monk that I sometimes wish I could be more often.
What do you do to meditate?