Walking Meditation for Cultivating Joy

         I haven’t had a bad day in over twelve years. I don’t have bad days… I simply do not believe in their existence. People have often found that hard to understand; interrogated me to see if I’d actually had something great happen that day or wondered aloud at the possibility that I had apparently suffered no trauma or difficult experience over the past years. Although I have encountered trials like all the rest, I’ve put into effect certain practices that, while not able to stave off the difficulties of life (these are inevitable), are capable of keeping one in a place of overall contentment and joy… in short, keep you “having a great day”.

                Gratefulness is the key to contentment and joy. Gratefulness emerges in our lives increasingly as our degree of awareness of being ‘blessed’ increases. First we must each open our eyes to the truth and reality that every moment is piled high with Beauty, Life and rich experience. Everything our heart could desire is right there in front of us, we just need to “Taste and See.” Secondly, after we begin to recognize goodness moment by moment, we must remember. This is where the meditation comes in and I’ll explain more on this in a minute. Right now I’m sitting in my beautiful, new office that I just finished moving into yesterday. I’m drinking hot coffee from a local roaster and I’m up at 5:30 a.m. writing this letter of encouragement to you… any one of these experiences is enough to sustain me in a place of joy and hope the whole day, but the trick is to meditate and compound. Here’s how it works!

Walking Meditation

                My heart and mind are fixed on what is beautiful. The few morning experiences that I mentioned in the past sentences, to me, are obvious ones of beauty and are worthy of being joyful over. It could be anything for you! Stop and look at your day, right now, and think of something that brought you contentment or joy. It could be seeing your spouse, petting your dog, starting a morning fire, hearing birds, or as basic as, “Well, I woke up this morning… so that’s good.” (Hint: if you can’t think of anything good that has happened today, it is NOT because nothing good has happened, but is an indicator that you are too caught up on focusing on the negative in your life. Humble your heart and be grateful for a little thing that has happened that was ‘good’ since you woke up).                               

                After establishing your joyful or content-filled event of the day so far, use it to bring you back to that feeling of joy over and over. Remember it every time you slip back into the regular, hum-drum of life and let it carry you back to a space of peace. Let it be a meditation, a mantra.

Compounding

                Here’s where this all becomes continual and truly effective. This meditation on joy and beauty can continue to grow all day! You don’t have to cling to the one experience of joy that started your day because you’re going to have a thousand experiences a day worthy of meditating on and able to sustain your peace. Take a moment, many times a day, to reflect on what has been good, true, beautiful, enjoyable, etc. Let your list of great things in your day grow and compound! Meditate on these things. As you keep taking time day after day to do this it becomes habitual and you will discover after a while that all day, every day, you are thinking about/ enjoying all the wonderful things that are happening. You will start to see every person you meet as an experience of joy. The wind on your face will fill you with peace… even the spilled coffee on your lap will make you chuckle because you will have the secret knowledge that every moment, even those unplanned spills of life, are worth having joy in the midst of because they are the things of life! A rainy day is a great day because clouds are beautiful and water critical. A difficult conversation or having a hard time with our teenager is a gift because we are growing as a person and learning to love in new ways. Even a death is an opportunity to remember and rejoice over the life of the one we lost.

                Your world is your world because of the way you see it… it’s simply a matter of perspective. You are creating your own reality; whether good or bad, joy-filled or stressful, peaceful or fear-based. You and I can train our eyes to see beauty and our hearts to rest in contentment. Form new habits, meditate on what is beautiful and true, and allow your heart to be continually overcome by gratefulness for all that is good in your life. Changing how you think changes your life. It’s up to you to decide what kind of day today will be!  

 

Deepest peace and joy to you today!