Power In Quiet Moments
Whether they are quiet moments taken to yourself on the subway or deciding to steal a few fleeting moments at nightfall, meditations aren’t just moments – they’re a state of mind.
Written by: Ryan Antooa
On Garibaldi Lake
If asked about the most meditative moment in my life, my mind doesn’t jump to the time I walked step by step into the frigid waters of Garibaldi Lake, up North in British Columbia, to test my mental fortitude and resolve.
Meditative? Absolutely. Uncomfortable? Yes. By uncomfortable, I refer to pin-and-needle sensations slowly clawing at every fibre of my skin, muscle, and bone in a vitriolic fashion as I proceeded further, assaulting all of my senses with the sensibility of a hammer.
It doesn’t whisk my memory to the time I found myself trimming a bonsai tree on a mountaintop, having a conversation about Maslow’s hierarchy with an elder native after a 3 hour hike.
In fact, my mind immediately runs to something much less grandiose in scale when asked to describe the most meditative moments:
The mornings spent in my apartment.
On Experiencing Sensations
To mix things up, I might talk about some of my favourite meditative moments as the feeling of grass or sand on my bare feet. Or my olfactory senses snapping to attention from the aroma of coffee grounds being showered with hot water. Or the scent fresh lavender stains on my hands after being handled.
9/10 times, however, my most meditative moments happen in my apartment, each morning.
For some unknown reason, my moments of clarity come from the feeling of sunlight dancing off the walls, of the hum of construction equipment in the distance as my feet make contact with the floor, and of music playing faintly in the background as I cut herbs for breakfast being made.
““In my mind, meditative moments aren’t just moments: they are sensations.””
On Dispelling Doubt
There are so many of us living in disenchanted and nihilistic states of mind; trapped by expectations, self-doubt, and parables of comparison to picturesque ideologies and figures that too have their own flaws; wondering why we aren’t where we “should” be, why we aren’t doing what we “should” be doing, and why we haven’t achieved the success we are “supposed” to have.
For me, the magic of dispelling doubt comes from the enchanting, meditative moments and sensations I’ve alluded to: admittedly, they aren’t difficult to achieve.
You just have to take time. All you have to do is the following, wherever you are (preferably not operating heavy machinery):
Slow and deepen your breathing to the very extremities of your lung capacity. Release slowly and repeat.
Soften your gaze and let your focus blur.
Engage each sense and contemplate each experience: what are your hands touching, currently? Is there a slight draft making contact with your skin? What aromas have left the air and which are entering? What sounds can you hear closeby? What of faint sounds in the distance?
Empty your mind and think only of your present form: which thoughts are being brought to mind by the tides, bathing the surface of your mind, which thoughts have rolled away, and how you feel at this exact moment.
Be it for 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or the entire soundtrack of Bonobo’s “Black Sands” on a moonlit night, try chasing a meditative moment, and see what sensations percolate/rise to the surface when you are finished.
Even though chasing meditative moments sometimes feels like chasing sunlight, you will find what you seek. Much like chasing sunlight, the value of meditative moments is never about capturing light: it’s about the chase itself.
About Ryan Antooa
*Ryan Antooa is a creative director, photographer, and designer based in Guelph, Ontario. His father handed him a 35 mm Yashika film camera as a child and he's been shooting ever since. Among many things, he runs NDO Creative, a brand experience + design agency doing communications and design strategy for nutrition, tech, and lifestyle companies.