Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Meditating at the Gym

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 6:10 am

I know it’s weird. How many times have you walked into a gym and seen people sitting in the lotus position, meditating silently? Uh?never. I realize it’s weird. That’s why I find a quiet corner to do it. That’s why I hide behind the pillar or in the dark spinning room. I can understand how strange it may appear.

Why do I do it? I’m new to meditation and I’m not going to go around spouting about how helpful it is. I’m not the type of person who can tell you about all the added benefits of “quiet time.” Meditation is difficult for me. I understand the need for giving my thoughts a rest, but quieting my mind and taking fifteen minutes to think about nothing is incredibly difficult for me. Why would I do it in a noisy gym?

I’ve found meditating in a group to be easier. It’s easier to quiet my mind and it’s easier to feel those elusive moments of calm in a group. I can hear all of you reproach me with a collective, “Duh! Of course it’s easier to meditate while there are a bunch of people meditating around you.” The strange thing is that I find it just as easy when there are a bunch of people exercising around me, thus the gym meditations.

I hide behind the pillar in the cardio room, sitting on one of the mats intended for stretching. Sure, I stretch, but I set my watch for my fifteen minutes and clear my mind while I wait for the chime. I find it so much easier to clear my mind with the white noise of the treadmills and the stair-steppers around me.

I always imagined that people who meditate are in some other realm. I thought that they were asleep, but in a different world than the dream world. It’s not like that at all. Instead of being “out of it” I feel hyper-aware. It’s like that point when I’m trying not to fall asleep and everything seems to be coming at me quickly. Noises are louder. After a few minutes meditating, I can hear the conversations of the weightlifters all the way downstairs, not to mention the breathing of every person on the cardio machines.

I don’t know what it is that makes meditating at the gym better than doing it alone at home. Maybe it’s that “being in the moment” thing. When we are meditating, we are supposed to be in the moment. I spend so much time in fantasy land that I find “living in the moment” really hard to do in my real life. Of course, it’s really easy to do when I’m exercising. All I can do is concentrate on my muscles. Just keep moving, just keep moving, just keep moving. That’s all I can think about when I exercise at the correct level. Maybe that’s it. All of those people are living in the moment more than they probably do the rest of the day. Maybe that’s why some marathon runners call running their religion.


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