Sandra Pawula shares a timely reminder and a simple way to add meditation to a busy life.
We know that meditation is good for us.
- On a physical level, meditation can reduce your blood pressure, boost your immune system, diminish chronic pain, and that’s just for starts.
- Emotionally, meditation brings greater calm, a feeling of spaciousness and a sense of humor about the vagaries of life.
- Spiritually, meditation is the path to become truly human: loving, patient, understanding, forgiving, clear yet relaxed and playful.
Yet, we resist. We moan and groan, “There’s not enough time.”
We keep putting meditation off until tomorrow, next week, next month. Until illness or death arrives and we’re twisted by fear, wracked with regret.
How can we die peacefully if we haven’t tasted peace of mind in life?
There’s one simple and immediate solution to the problem of no time: Meditate Right Now.
You Can Meditate Right Now!
You don’t need elaborate preparations, the right space, incense, or even a meditation cushion.
Wherever you happen to be, STOP.
For a single moment. Relax. Sit comfortably with your back reasonably straight. Bring your mind home. Turn your mind inwardly. Drop all the thoughts, emotions, projects, and projections. Release and rest in relaxed awareness.
You can use a sensation in your body, the sounds around you, a picture hanging on the wall in front of you, your thoughts or your emotions as an object of meditation. Whatever conveniently appears in your physical or mental environment, simply keep your attention lightly placed on the object. When your mind wanders, bring it back to the object. Again and again.
But, just for one minute!
Yes, start with one minute and rerun the process several times a day. You can use the beep of a watch, timer, or phone to remind you once an hour or as often as you wish to return to the present moment.
Best Times to Sneak In Moments of Meditation
One of the best times to meditate is when things don’t turn out as you planned or your mood suddenly changes. Stop for one moment, look at your mind, and rest in awareness instead of being entrapped by disappointment, depression, anxiety, or another beguiling emotion.
Countless empty moments exist during any day, which can easily be turned into meditation as well. For example:
- When you are standing in line at a shop, put on hold on the phone, waiting for a slow website to load, or impatiently anticipating your takeout order. Use those moments to bring your mind back to the present moment instead of churning up a thousand new thoughts.
- When you’re in a boring meeting, pay attention to the speaker’s words as the object of your meditation instead of getting entangled in frustration.
- When you have a disagreement, take a one minute timeout and look at your own mind.
- When your kids are playing in the park, observe them with bare awareness.
Meditation isn’t about packing your bags and heading for a Himalayan cave. It’s not about creating or clinging to an artificial state of peace. It’s about being mindful and aware in the present moment in the face of whatever arises – internally or externally.
Trying to create a state of peace in meditation will just make you more tense. But peace will naturally arrive on its own when you practice repeatedly returning your mind to the present moment, allowing thoughts to pass by like clouds moving against a vast blue sky.
You see, all our suffering comes from wandering into the past or future. Whereas, anxiety, worry, fear, irritation, and other untoward emotions will – with time and practice – melt away when we train in returning to the present moment again and again.
What About Formal Meditation Practice?
“But isn’t it important to have a formal meditation practice?” you might wonder.
Yes, it is! As a beginner, it’s far easier to establish a strong practice if you have a quiet spot and dedicate time to formal meditation every day.
But, if the resistance is so strong or the busyness so overwhelming that you can’t even get started, try meditating right now in any moment.
And, you can also use the one minute approach to establish a formal meditation practice. As soon as you wake up, sit up, and look at your mind for just one minute. Be lightly aware of whatever is passing through your mind. Then get on with your day.
As you acclimate to the habit of meditating for one minute every morning, it will be easy to bump it up to two minutes, then three, then four and so on. Ultimately, the best way to grow a healthy daily practice is by starting small and gradually building up from there.
Many Short Moments of Meditation
Many people assume a longer meditation is a better meditation. But that’s not necessarily the case. It’s easy to slip into dullness, tension, or distraction and lose your awake, fresh state of awareness in a lengthy meditation. That’s why, in my tradition, many short moments of meditation are recommended throughout the day.
Especially as a beginner, it’s not how long you can meditate, but how often you can bring your mind back from distraction into the present moment that counts.
Like perforating a piece of paper with a needle, the more you puncture the page, the more space created. In the same way, short moments of meditation in formal sessions and throughout the day, will help you to build a stable continuity of mindfulness and awareness.
Sandra Pawula helps authors, entrepreneurs, and bloggers infuse their words with clarity, elegance, and power. In addition to editing, she writes about personal development at Always Well Within and helps people learn to make friends with their own mind through meditation.