Little by little, I'm going to re-embrace a spiritual life. I've missed my pagan practice, and, though I have no particular goals in mind at this time, I shall share some of my thoughts and practices via my online diary.
One practice that I don't really do too often is meditate in the 'mind-emptying' way. Oh, I've used it, when over-saturated with sleep, to induce deep trance states that often shock the shit out of me one way or another, prompting past-life memories, memories from infancy, leaving my body, and even, rarely, communication with a spirit of some kind. Its hard to do that sort of meditation, and though I want to dive into it again one day, for the most part, its rather cumbersome and unnatural to my normally active mind-state.
However, meditation does not come in just one-size-fits-all. Its definition encompasses mindfulness and contemplation. Essentially, when I sit down and allow myself to think about things, and to feel what those thoughts mean to me personally, I'm engaging in an active form of meditation! By doing so, I allow myself space to just work through various issues and reactions to things, to create solutions to stubborn problems, to process pain and celebrate triumph, and to find creative ways to interact with the world and my own mind.
John Michael Greer did an excellent essay on the more Western, traditional form of contemplative meditation:
When I sit down to write about my personal life, I'm engaging in meditation. No matter how I feel, getting into a certain mental state and writing about things helps me broaden my understanding as I process events and emotions. When you read my words, you're sharing in this. If you keep a blog or diary of your own, you also engage in mental meditation.
Another favorite form of meditation for me is 'Moving Meditation.' For me, this comes with dancing. I listen to music, concentrate on how to move my body to the music, and the chattering Monkey Mind shuts up for the duration, and I just 'go with the flow.' Nothing matters but sound and movement. Its very freeing and healthy as well.
When I hike or go walking, I use a combination of thoughtfulness and movement. I allow the rhythm of walking to calm my mind, and then I begin to go over various thoughts and emotions and figure some things out. If I'm nervous or worked up, I calm down. If I'm stuck on a problem, I always seem to make some progress on at least a first step to a solution. If I'm depressed or stuck, hiking cheers me up and opens my mind a little.
When I did readings on myself and my roomies, the advice I got for the year was– WALK! Sometimes an old stand-by just works.