“There are many ways for organisms to probe the external world. Some smell it, others listen to it, many see it. Each species, therefore, lives in its own sensory world of which other species may be partially or totally unaware.” – Richard Axel
As I have written many times before, meditation really can be done anywhere. However, as with all things, some places are better than others to meditate. Sure, you can focus on the breath in a clattering train carriage, full of hot and bothered members of the public on their way to work. And even though there is an armpit in your face and an elbow in your side, you can still plug into some rainfall ASMR, close your eyes, and create a bubble for yourself.
But, preferable by far is somewhere calm. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere is conducive to finding peace for your head and heart. Beaches trump buses, trees trump trains and solitude trumps sardine-like situations.
Today I am focusing on the best locations to offer you a perfect sensory experience to go with your search for a moment of mindfulness.
1. Near Water
Flowing water makes for wonderful ASMR. Babbling river sounds sit hand in hand with rainfall and ocean waves when I am in search of a soundscape to help me relax. If you can put yourself next to actual rolling water, even better. The smell, the breeze, the coolness of the sound, the sparkling reflection… it is sure to help you release.
2. In Water
One better. Get yourself in some water. Let the body of water take your weight. Relieve your body of the tensions of life, as well as your mind. This could be a soothing bath, a revitalising shower, a twilight swim, or a blissful nap on an inflatable ring in some swimming pool.
3. In A Quiet Park
If you are lucky enough to be near an open green space of any kind, use it. Here, in the city I live in, little public parks are sprinkled among the many hard urban streets. I have spent many a lunchtime in parks like this. I find myself a little nook, away from the stresses of my workday, to enjoy the surprising tranquillity of a city green space.
4. The Car
The gentle sway, soft hum, and muffled atmosphere of a car ride send babies to sleep for a reason. Even if I am driving, I often resist the temptation to put music or a podcast on. There is real pleasure in opening the window at night when the streets are not busy, and in hearing snippets of life grow and fade as you cruise through the world.
5. Somewhere High… and Outside
For many years, and I’m sure some to come, I performed at the Edinburgh Festival. If you have been, you will understand that it is a wonderful, but very intense experience. If ever I needed to get away, I would climb the hills on the outskirts, settle on a cliff edge and take in the view. I was always silent, save for the cool and unpolluted wind whistling around my ears. Get up and away from it all, take in a view, and enjoy feeling like you have taken yourself out of the rat race for a few moments.
6. Under A Blanket
Weighted blankets. Game changer. Like a hug made of cloth. Can recommend!
7. In A Dead Quiet Room
Sometimes the best sensory experience is to remove as much sensory stimulation as possible. Indeed, so much stress can come from sensory overload; to-do lists, kids, pets, music, questions, traffic noise, and notifications. Shut yourself in a room and get yourself some of that sweet sweet nothingness.
By Chris Thomson
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