What would you say about an alternative way to practice meditation?
People who practice meditation on a regular basis have reported great benefits by meditating, such as a greater spiritual connection to their source, an increase in patience, enhanced attention and peacefulness.
With these kinds of benefits, the practice of meditation is growing in popularity on a daily basis but there are those, like myself, out there who want to meditate but haven’t had a lot of success in achieving the state of meditation on a consistent basis through traditional methods?
This article offers an alternative way practice meditation for those who have tried other methods and haven’t had the success they would like, or simply find this method more fun.
If you already practice meditation on a daily basis and find it easy to clear your mind of all thoughts, this article is not for you. It is intended for those, like myself, who find it hard to set time aside to enter a meditative state and for those who have trouble clearing the mind when they do meditate, getting frustrated with the endless chatter of thoughts the mind generates.
Very recently I discovered a method of achieving the same benefits of meditation without the two challenges I just described. A few months ago, I walked into a store that sold board games and tabletop miniature games like Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and Dungeon’s & Dragons. They had a display case of painted miniatures which I took a look at and found absolutely amazing. These miniatures were all hand painted and looked like miniature pieces of art rather than toys. I remember thinking that painting these must take a lot of patience and some very small paintbrushes.
I was very impressed and I spoke to my friend about them that night. She must have seen how impressed I was with them because she went back to the store a few days later and bought me a starter set of Warhammer miniatures for me to try painting. As this was a busy month for me I didn’t have any time to get started with painting them but I did go and pick up some acrylic paints to paint them with.
A few weeks after, I decided to try painting one of the Night Goblins miniatures which came with the set to see how well I could do. Although I only wanted to try it out for a few minutes that night, the minute I started painting I got hooked. A few hours went by and I had my very first completed Night Goblin miniature painted. It was too late in the night to go show it to anyone, but I was very excited by how good it looked.
I showed the painted Night Goblin to my boyfriend the following morning and he complemented me on how good it looked. That night I tried painting a few more of them and got totally hooked. Since then, I have purchased more miniatures from the Warhammer and the Warhammer 40,000 series as well as paintbrushes and paints.
A few other people I know also got into this particular hobby after they tried painting their first miniature and also got hooked. I was thinking the other day about why it is that I find this hobby so fascinating and so addictive and that is when I realized something. I realized that while painting the miniatures, I was experiencing the same benefits I experienced in the few times I was able to meditate in the past. Suddenly my focus improved and my thoughts were full of gratitude and optimism.
At first, this seemed a bit strange, since I wasn’t really trying to meditate or to have a spiritual experience, but when I thought about it some more I realized it’s not so strange after all. The physical aspects of what transpires when painting miniatures are very similar to the physical process of meditation. When you are entirely focused on creating, your brain learns how to be more mindful.
The painting process requires and actually generates a state of concentration, relax, patience, silence, stillness, and a tranquil mind. The experience becomes very similar if not identical to meditating, except that it’s even more fun.
I do not try to drown out thoughts, I let them be if they come, but because I am concentrating on painting, the thoughts just go away by themselves. I do not have to try anything, I just focus on painting and the rest takes care of itself.
After every painting session, I find myself calm, peaceful, tranquil, spiritually connected and just experience a feeling of overall joy. Not only that but in most cases I also have a beautifully painted miniature to be proud of as well.
I am really enjoying this, and the other people I know who have tried painting these have reported very similar findings. I am not saying that everyone should go out and get into this specific hobby, but I am sure that there are many other things out there that can be done similar to this which would create the same kind of results. For example, gardening, drawing, painting, origami, or anything else out there that can be done quietly, by yourself in a tranquil environment which will clear your mind and let you relax. I do not believe it was an accident that I found this particular hobby, and I am sure that if you set your intention of finding your ‘Meditative Hobby’ you will find it.
Once again, I want to reiterate that in no way am I saying that you should give up the traditional methods of meditation if you are experiencing success with them, but if you haven’t been able to practice meditation regularly in your life, this might be a stepping stone in the right directly. I know I am thoroughly enjoying it so I wanted to share it as an alternative for those like me who have tried the regular methods to practice meditation and found them challenging.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Williams is a freelance writer whose passion is observing people and taking a lesson from every encounter. She believes the key to true happiness is continuous self-improvement and satisfaction in interpersonal relations. Connect with her on Wingman Magazine, a self-development blog for men, where she regularly shares her thoughts.