I get it. You’re busy and there are a million different things going on in your life. Work, friends and family - it never ends. You’re on the go every single day, and the idea of sitting down to meditate sounds like an implausible reality.
But contrary to belief, you don’t need to sit still for hours on end to meditate. In actual fact, you can meditate anytime, anywhere, and for however long you want. All you really need is the willingness (and know-how) to do it.
Here are some examples of how you can slip short meditations into your daily routine. I hope they inspire you to start meditating, no matter how busy your schedule is!
1. Meditating in the car
While focussing on the road is the most important thing to do when you are driving, there’s a good chance that you’ll be thinking about, or listening to, something when you’re in the driver’s seat. But instead of allowing your mind to wander, make use of this time to find stillness and the refreshing feeling that comes with it.
Turn off the radio and get into the present moment by reconnecting with your senses. Feel the weight of your feet against the floor, your thighs on the driver’s seat and the cool air of the air conditioner against your skin.
2. Meditating on public transport
Catching public transport is an often unpleasant experience as trains and buses are commonly packed to the brim during peak hour.
While the noise may sound like a mess at first, in reality, it is the sum of all the conversations and activities that are happening around you. Instead of entertaining your thoughts of how annoyed you are, or zoning out via music, do the exact opposite. Simply listen. Listen to all that is going on around you. Piece the noise apart to what, or who, is actually creating it. Listen to what’s next to you, then listen to what’s far away from you. It may seem counterintuitive, but listening will help you get out of your mind and into your body.
3. Meditating while you’re walking
When we were babies who were learning how to walk, every step was a new adventure. We’d focus really hard on balancing just to avoid falling over. But after many years of practice, we’ve ended up taking the act of walking for granted. Walking becomes something that we just end up doing on autopilot, without having to focus. This has a practical purpose, in that it makes walking a lot easier. But it also means that it opens the door for entertaining any and all our thoughts.
Recapture the joy of walking by walking with presence. Feel every little muscle firing in your body as you lift each foot up and off the ground. Feel the ground beneath you with every step. If you’re walking on grass or sand, go barefoot and feel the different textures against your skin. The warmth (or coldness) of the ground. If you walk with presence, you’ll never walk the same way again.
4. Meditating at your desk
Going from working on a project, to a meeting, to a brainstorm without a break will drive anyone crazy. But not you, if you can find short pauses of stillness throughout your work day.
Close your email inbox and turn off your phone, then find something to look at. This will be your meditation object. It could be a pen that you are holding, a painting on the wall, or a landmark outside the window. Whatever it is, just make sure that it’s not on your computer screen. Focus your attention on it softly and breathe as you would do so normally. If you want to close your eyes, do so, but hold the image of the object in your mind.
5. Meditating when you’re eating lunch
Most of us eat too fast. Or even worse - at our desk. Aside from the fact that digestion starts with chewing in the mouth, eating too fast means that you won’t even know what you are eating, which can then lead to overeating!
Rather than inhaling your food, slow down and eat mindfully. Treat your meal as if it’s the last that you’ll ever have. Think about the people who were a part of making your meal. If you are eating meat, thank the animals who gave up their life to preserve yours. Take a deep breath in through your nostrils to inhale all the aromas. When you put the food in your mouth, examine all the flavours and try to pick them out one by one, before chewing each mouthful up to 20 times. This may sound like a lot to do, but you’ll enjoy your meal more thoroughly, have more of an appreciation for your food and feel more relaxed once you have finished eating it.