Are There Other Ways to Practice Meditation?

You can bring the mind of meditation to any experience. Konda Mason explains how.

Konda Mason
24 April 2024

Question: I don’t really like formal meditation that much but I love going for contemplative walks, listening to beautiful music, reading Buddhist books, and other things that feel spiritual to me. Is it OK if I find other ways to be meditative besides sitting on a cushion following my breath?

Konda Mason: What a great question, and not an uncommon experience. Our world is filled with a plethora of wonder and beauty that ignites a sense of awe in so many ways. Walks in the woods, music and the arts, sitting on the beach… this human experience is truly a gift filled with an abundance of opportunities to feel a sense of stillness and peace in our lives.

What happens with Vipassana meditation is oftentimes the opposite of peacefulness. The mind can become so busy in the so-called “stillness” that we feel we are doing it all wrong and would rather read about the dharma than actually meditate!

If you hang in there, though, this busy mind can become the doorway to experience insight, which is what the word Vipassana actually means. Over time, as you bring your awareness first to the breath, followed by the body, feelings, and thoughts, insight into the present moment, absent of preference or judgment, begins to emerge in mini-increments.

These moments of insight are priceless! They can become an extremely useful tool in your everyday life as you navigate the internal and external challenges of being human.

So I recommend do both: enjoy your meditative experiences off the cushion AND keep your curiosity ignited to explore the possibility of transformative insights that may occur from a regular meditation practice. Good luck!

Konda Mason

Konda Mason

Konda Mason is a teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and cofounder of Impact Hub Oakland.