After running some errands this morning, I decided to walk home along the beach. The island here (Koh Tao) is quiet, with tourists returning home to be with their families and take care of themselves as the Coronavirus continues to spread around the world. It was just me and the ocean as the sun began to rise higher into the sky.
Along my stroll I stumbled across a wooden swing that overlooked the water. Solitary and tranquil, it was beckoning me to sit and stay for a while. Of course, I obliged.
Looking around, all I saw were empty boats and footprints of people who had been here but are now gone. The tide would soon wash their prints away, the sand destined to remain mostly untouched as the island becomes more desolate.
While the swing gently rocked me back and forth, the light breeze caressing my skin, it felt like a perfect moment for meditation. Instead of searching my phone for a podcast or recording, I decided to use the world around me as a guide.
I closed my eyes, initially using my breath to anchor me to the present moment. The salty air moved in through my nose, the aroma of the ocean tingling on the back of my throat and tongue. With every exhale I began to feel more relaxed. My breath moved me like the tides, in and out, letting it pull me as it may.
My awareness spread from my breath to encompass all of my body, noticing how my legs felt sitting on the wooden swing. I felt a bit of uncomfortable tension in my lower back, not being used to sitting cross-legged for longer periods of time, but I just tried to notice it and let it go. Slowly I began to work through the rest of my body, from face, to neck, to shoulders, feet and fingers, releasing tension, and then observing how the wind felt on my skin.
The breeze had my hair playing with my skin, my shirt lightly dancing across my shoulders and arms. Everything felt soft. The repetitive drum of waves kissing the beach played in the background, and in the distance I could hear people quietly chatting to each other.
These are the kind of moments I love. My whole body was alive and every sensation was noticeable. Not only could I feel and really notice, but I could hear everything around me. In a sense, it felt like I stopped existing and just blended in with everything around me. There wasn’t such a line of ‘this is where my existence starts and the rest of the world begins,’ but rather a general sense of being. All I am is energy, and all the world around me is energy. We move and the world reacts to us, like a dance of give and take.
This meditation took me to a different place than the previous two, and I think that’s largely because my senses were in tune in a different way. Instead of listening to other people, I was focusing on myself and the environment around me.
When I opened my eyes, the world around me felt calmer. The rest of my walk home almost felt like a meditation in itself, just noticing the way my feet felt when I stepped in the sand and how the sun reflected off the water as it rose higher in the sky.
Guided meditations are a great way to start practicing, but I also challenge you to try meditating based on the sounds and the sensations within yourself and within the environment around you. You might be surprised just how much is there that you never noticed before.