Show someone 5 photos of people in different situations and ask them, “Which of these people is meditating?” and they will invariably choose the person seated in a lotus position with eyes closed. This image of “meditation = seated lotus” is etched into our cultural consciousness, not to mention the Buddha sculptures you see in Portland yards. So what I am about to say may come as quite a shock. You can meditate in any position that supports your intention for your meditation.
Suppose your intention is to practice mindful awareness. In that case, any position that allows you to pay attention to whatever is taking place in this moment is acceptable. Lotus? Good. Sit in a chair? Also good. Lie on the grass or stand in line at the airport terminal? Both good. You can even practice mindful awareness of body sensations, of thoughts (the ‘inner talk’ in the title), of emotions and feelings, and more, while walking.
I am calling attention to walking because Reed College now has a special place on the front lawn to practice mindful awareness while walking. It is a labyrinth. A colored design that has been added to the Front Lawn between the flag pole and the central door of Eliot Hall. There are plenty of lawn signs calling attention to it so you can’t miss it. The labyrinth opened yesterday (4/19) at noon, and, with the plausible cooperation of the weather and the geese, it will remain in place until Sunday, 4/30 (note: this date is part of Renn Fayre and the campus will be closed to visitors that final weekend in April).
You can learn more about the Reed Labyrinth here. And, if the idea of walking meditation interests you, check out one of my previous posts on this topic (see below).
Full disclosure: You don’t need to do walking meditation while walking the labyrinth. Likewise, you don’t need a labyrinth to do walking meditation. But, as I discovered yesterday, they go together very nicely. So try one or the other, or even both!