Last year I learned a lot about myself. It was not my intention but it turned out that way.
I was trying (and still am) to learn more about meditation, and this is what I found out.
Meditation is a way to listen to yourself. Many people try to focus on clearing their minds but we know that the more we try to "not think" the more we end up doing just that.
So, you sit with yourself. If you don't listen to yourself then why should others listen?
Sit in a quiet place. If you start to think about something in particular, notice the way you breath and the different places in your body that is tense. Why do you feel the way you do?
Why are you hunched forward? Why is your head cocked to the right? Are you gritting your teeth?
Why does it feel like you haven't been reaching for the last 15 seconds?
Don't try to answer the question, just notice how you react to certain sounds, thoughts and smells.
When you feel how you breath in a relaxed mood then you know what you can try to "imitate" when you are having a stressed day.
These moments of stress free meditation have helped me focus on what my real needs and desires are.
I am not good at meditating for a long time yet, but being able to sit with myself for 5, then 10 and now 20 minutes has been a very interesting journey.
As for multi-tasking, please be careful of the types of tasks you put together. TV can be destructive because of the signals that it sends. If you are watching a program that makes you tense or angry, be aware that whatever you are doing while watching TV can be affected by the tension.
I think religious rituals are interesting because they make you focus on one thing at a time. Being able to focus on one thing will be more productive and you will probably have better quality.
It becomes a form of meditation as well. Aaaah, a good form of multi-tasking!
Karesansui...dry landscapes or "Japanese rock gardens".... They are often called "zen gardens" in English because the making of the garden is part of the meditating process for zen monks.
Sometimes the different designs made in the gravel (with rakes) represent ponds and flowing water.
The above picture was taken at Tofukuji in Kyoto and it looked like a giant chess board.
How the monks make these designs without leaving a single footprint anywhere is beyond me, but I am pretty sure they were not texting and raking at the same time!
I hope this year is filled with fabulous journeys for you!