Imagine a river—a wide one, with a large, rushing current. Picture the choppy water, the way it foams as it crashes over rocks and sprays into the air. The water we can see on the surface is like our everyday lives. It’s a bit chaotic. Our jobs, family responsibilities, and personal goals pull us in different directions. Just as the shallow water is redirected by every rock, so are we by every obstacle as we try to maneuver through life.
Most forms of meditation ask us to step away from all the stresses of everyday life. You must forget about the phone calls you have to make, the bills you have to pay, or the meal you have to prepare and find a sense of inner stillness. Living meditation is different because it’s not an action you take. It’s a way of being. In every moment of life, you choose to live deeper, and with a more present mindset.
Compared to the noise and chaos of the surface, the water deep below flows silently and effortlessly. It moves steadily in one direction with a powerful force. It is unbothered by the obstacles on the surface. Living meditation is choosing to be the undercurrent rather than the surface. It’s choosing to live calmly, peacefully, and in harmony with the universe.
What is Living Meditation?
Living meditation may be a new term, but it is deeply rooted in two ancient practices. It combines the guiding principles of Tao philosophy (read: Taoist Meditation )with the concept of mindfulness. Living meditation will help you resolve conflict, create deeper relationships, and feel more connected with your true self. You’ll be drawn towards a path in life that is both fulfilling and good for the world. You’ll live your life with happiness, success, and clarity.
In Tao philosophy, the Tao is the way of the universe (1). It means living your life in harmony with the natural order and not fighting against it. It is a code of behavior that guides you towards a purposeful, right way of living. Mindfulness is the act of being consciously present without judgment in every moment. It’s the state of full consciousness we hope to acquire in meditation.
By practicing the core beliefs of Taoism mindfully, we can achieve a state of living meditation. We invite conscious living, calmness, and the guidance of the universe into our everyday decision making. We face challenges with new energy and remain focused on the path that is correct for us. Conflicts and stress disappear as we find balance and absorb less negativity from others.
8 Keys to Living Meditation
As the daughter of a Korean monk, I was taught living meditation at a young age. It is a centuries-old principle my ancestors followed to live purpose and meaning-filled lives.
You can achieve Living Meditation by following 8 key steps:
- Know Your True Self
Good and bad choices exist within you. It is up to you which you act on. When you continuously make good choices, you create a path for yourself that leads to more good things. You must be aware of your true self so you can identify any internal and external circumstances that may knock you off your path. When you know yourself, you have the roots to stay firmly grounded no matter what happens around you.
- The Importance of Making Daily Choices: The Moral Compass
Once you know your true self, you will also understand your role in the world better. You will clearly see how your actions affect others. You will develop a moral compass that will point you towards the right choice in any situation. Even small changes in your behavior, like being friendlier to a grumpy neighbor, will have a ripple effect of positivity. You’ll make others happy while finding inner peace.
- Do Not Limit Yourself with Your Thoughts & Beliefs
In the Korean language, there is a word, Doe chi. It means to be drunk on one’s thoughts. When you are stuck in your head, you are not paying attention to the world around you. You can convince yourself things aren’t as they are and misperceive situations. When you open your mind and see the world without immediate judgment, you will observe more. When you think you already know enough, you limit your potential to learn more.
- Become a Legacy of Goodness
If you were to pass on tomorrow, how would you be remembered? It is important to live your life in a way that you leave a legacy with lasting value for future generations. You can do this by living a life guided by principle and purpose. When we remember to think of ourselves as pieces of the universe, rather than the center of our own inner worlds, we can see opportunities to make a difference all around us.
- Seek the Face of Honor
Having a face of honor means always showing respect towards others. You acknowledge the role they serve in the world and that they also do their share of good. If you always live your life honorably, then no matter the circumstances, or how many people are against you, your moral compass will always point you towards what’s correct. You will approach every situation with an open, honest energy, seeking love, healing, and greater understanding.
- Change Your Reality for the Better
Just as you can flip a light switch and turn a dark room bright, you can change your mindset to drastically alter your reality. With inner peace, you can handle any circumstance and remain focused on your greater purpose. You should never trap yourself in a mental prison of your own despair and negative feelings. If you want to change your outer circumstances, you can begin by adjusting how you think and creating a more positive inner world.
- Be a Vessel of Wisdom
Wisdom is not knowledge. You can’t learn wisdom from a book or memorize it before a test. Wisdom can only be gained through experience and action. It teaches you habits and guides you in a better direction. Being a person of wisdom means constantly learning more and sharing it with others. In a modern world with a constant barrage of opinions from social media and advertising, wisdom is a guiding light. It illuminates what is worthy of your attention and helps you make the correct decision.
- Work in Harmony with Your Surroundings
Nature lives its life in cycles, so why don’t we? As the seasons change, so should your approach towards life. You should allow the natural changes of the universe to guide you, not be obstacles. Every fall, leaves turn shades of red and orange and fall from the trees. The branches are left barren through the rough winters, but by spring, there is always new growth. This is how we should be too. We must not be afraid to let go and grow new with the changing seasons.
Be Like Bamboo
Everyone has challenges—whether it’s work, friendships, health, money, family, or something else entirely. Living meditation is not about finding a life free of those things but living in a way that you no longer define them as challenges. You will see them as opportunities to grow, or just things that happen to be occurring around you. You will live your life without stress. Just as the deep river water doesn’t crash over every rock, you too will learn to move through life without reacting to every distraction. Soon, you won’t even notice things that once upset you or knocked you off course.
One of my favorite phrases is to be like bamboo. Bamboo is sturdy, but it is also flexible. It can bend easily without breaking. If you’re stiff and resistant to change, your mind and spirit will be damaged as you try to stand in the way of the universe. If you are strong but flexible like bamboo, you will sway easily with the ways of the world while staying firmly rooted in your true self. Through Living Meditation, you will find this balance, and the effect will be life-changing.
AUTHOR: Dr. Jenelle Kim, founder of JBK Wellness Labs