When you hear the word “meditate”, what comes to mind? What does it mean to meditate and how do we practice it? Perhaps when you hear someone is “meditating” they are off by themselves in some peaceful environment. Maybe you think of retreat centers filled with like-minded individuals all sitting cross-legged in a room practicing deep breathing. Though all of these are quite realistic, perhaps we are over-thinking it. Instead of putting this idea of meditation up high on a pedestal, let’s bring it back down to reality where we live. Let us incorporate meditation in our daily lives, whenever and wherever we can.
I used to believe meditation needed to be a well thought out ritual. Meditating to me meant getting away from the world and being alone in a quiet setting. Perhaps there are crystals or some incense to accompany you intensifying the experience. But what if we have been going about it all wrong? What if instead of planning so delicately for a meditation session, we allowed ourselves to practice it at any time of the day wherever we happen to be in that moment? How would that look?
Picture yourself doing the things you normally do during the day. Let’s say you just woke up. You went to the bathroom, had some water, and are ready to jump into making your cup of coffee or tea. How about while you are waiting for your coffee to brew, or your tea to steep, instead of thinking about the next thing you need to be doing, just be with yourself. Practice deep breathing and focus your attention on your breath. Don’t think too much about the day ahead, just allow your mind to be at ease with the present moment.
Perhaps you are at your work desk, in between projects. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds or articles you don’t care so much about, how about trying to meditate. This simply means practicing mindfulness and following your breath. Take a moment to clear your mind and just breathe in deeply, and then let it all out.
You are heating up your lunch. Sitting or standing near the stove, you have your phone in hand and are ready to search through your e-mails or scroll through instagram. How about instead of doing that, center your body. Sit or stand with your spine tall and your chin up. Take a long deep belly breath, and let it out. Repeat this step as many times as you’d like for as long as you feel is right for you.
Do you see where I am going with this? Adding mini-meditations throughout your day is a great way to bring your wandering mind back to you. It helps to bring balance to the body. I’ll bet it will leave you feeling more alert and ready for the days ahead.
We can all do this in a way that works for us and our schedules. We don’t have to carve out a whole 30 minutes to meditate. All we need is a few moments at a time of paying attention on purpose. For you it may be more, for others less. But how do you think your day would change as a result? What would the world look like if everyone took a moment for themselves once in a while and simply let it be. Instead of racing from one task to the other, we can enjoy those moments in between. We can calm our mind and simplify our lives by adding this easy ritual into our days whenever it feels right. You may even be surprised to find that once you start, it will be hard to stop.