It’s the best time of the year: fall and winter. It’s also the best time to meditate. It’s the most comfortable time of the year for probably the majority of people, especially when you’re outside (unless you live in Alaska or something and the temperature is in the negatives). Meditating outside in comfortable, fall weather is one of the best times to meditate without the distractions of sweating and burning up. But meditating outside in cold weather is best for practicing with concentration and focus.
You’ve probably seen pictures or videos of monks in the Himalayas meditating in the snow with ease. Sometimes they’re even sweating because their concentration is so strong. You can do the same. When it’s cold or hot outside, our skin senses it and sends that message to our brain, and then our brain lets us know, “Hey! It’s hot/cold!” And so our bodies then become uncomfortable or shiver, but with focus and concentration we can in a way yield or distract the message of hot/cold being sent to our brains and we then won’t notice that we’re hot or cold.
This isn’t an easy task. You can sometimes yield the message for maybe a few seconds or a minute if your concentration is strong. Otherwise, this is a lifelong practice, but not impossible. Using the Nine Levels of Meditation, it can help you know where you need to be to reach full concentration. It should also be your motivation to dedicate yourself to push yourself harder in order to achieve one-pointedness concentration.
Using the first step, we find an object of focus; whether it be our breath, an image, a mantra, or whatever it may be. We put all of our energy and concentration on that object and raise this body-size shield in front of us so that no distractions can strike us. So while we’re in cold weather, obviously you need to be in comfortable clothing (sweats, jackets, etc.). You don’t want to be freezing and get sick, but you do want to feel a slight chill, just enough where you can shake it off, take a few deep breaths and begin your practice.
Training with the nine levels of meditation in mind and using it as your aspirational guide to achieve full concentration, you can become that one crazy person in your neighborhood that sits outside in the snow meditating.
Smile and be well!