Take for example my biking. I bike to work every day in the 7 months of the year that we can in Wisconsin. Thing is, that is only about a 12 minute ride. What I do though is I bike for roughly 30-45 minutes every night after work during good weather. On top of my ride home, it is part of what I call my "wind down" time. The rhythm of pedalling and breathing gives me time to think - or not think - depending on how my day went.
Donna has become accustomed to my need for a ride. She knows I'm a better person when I've had one, than when I've not. She says I'm like a dog, I need a good run. But as much as that, it's a chance to clear my head of the day's events at work. It preps me for home life and not to mention, it is my primary workout practice most of the year. Great aerobic workout that keeps my weight in check.
Another meditative practice for me, strange as it sounds, is walking the dog. I put in my iPod and take Toby out for a 20 minute walk every day. On weekends it's twice a day. The music and the pace of the walk and the fact that I'm outdoors just makes me happy. It's a chore that's not really a chore. It's funny, but the music brings a new element to the mix, so I think about entirely different things than when I'm riding my bike (which I do iPod-less.)
Believe it or not, writing is meditative for me. Again, most often I do this with music on, and the process of putting my thoughts to words helps me work things out. It is a strange phenomena but one that is explained much more eloquently right here.
Of course fishing in my kayak is maybe the most meditative of all. There's something about being on the water with the quiet, and the waves and the breeze. I was out there yesterday and fished for four and a half hours. The only words I uttered in that time were "Good morning" to a fellow kayaker. As a self-proclaimed introvert, this is just a bit of heaven. Like the BWCA, I get a little offended when people encroach in my vicinity. If they do, I always hope that they'll just nod and keep moving on. Does that make me a bad person? Probably. Ha!
I can't help it. It's who I am.
So all of these activities are meditative and great sources of introspection for me. I am a firm believer that EVERYONE needs time alone to look inward. I know it's torture for some, heaven for others. But I also think if we don't take time out to work things out, be it in reading, meditating, doing art or anything solitary and meditative, it manifests itself in the form of added stress in people and takes a toll over time. But that's just me.
Some need it more than others. In writing this post, I realized all of these things are check-out activities that help me through the rest of the day and week. They change over time as we evolve our habits and hobbies. But the important thing is we keep looking inward and taking time to take stock of life and slow down.