Before I learned to meditate, I used to think it was for monks or other spiritual guru's but definitely not me. It wasn't until quite recently that I realised I'd already been practicing my own form of meditation for years.
I hadn't been sitting cross-legged on a mountain top with my eyes closed and making strange ohm-ing sounds. But I had been on the top of a mountain. I was a skier, and I loved swishing down those white powder slopes more than just about anything.
Meditation is about quietening your mind. It's about finding a place of stillness. Skiing was that for me. While on top of that mountain, any mountain, my mind ceased to work (which was a good thing). It didn't criticise me or tell me what a failure I was. It didn't tease me about my teeth that stuck out too much or my skin that was too pale and freckly or that no boy would ever like someone as ugly as me. It didn't rehash my past mistakes or fuel my worries about the future.
My mind was silent. And omg was this a relief!
When I was on that mountain top I didn't think about anything or anyone. Not the past, not the future, I was completely in the moment. I was free. It was my version of heaven.
As I grew up I discovered a second place where my mind ceased to rule my life - in the cinema. While staring at that oversized screen for ninety or so minutes, I'd find myself absorbed in the story playing out in front of me. I didn't analyse it, I didn't judge it, I just watched. Another piece of heaven, right within my reach, and with the bonus of a bag of Malteezers or a vanilla choc-top ice-cream. Salted caramel choc-tops weren't a thing back then, but these days my cinematic meditations could not possibly be any more perfect.
Meditation doesn't have to be a formal eye's closed practice, although I do recommend it, as it's not always possible for me to get to the cinema or a snowy mountain top every day.
It's about finding your mountain top, that place where finding stillness is as simple as blinking your eyes. We all have one. If we're lucky, we have many.
"Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak." (Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati)