Meditation. That word probably conjures up a vision of a person sitting with their legs folded up like a pretzel, their fingers in some odd position, eyes closed, maybe humming some sound or syllable…sitting, sitting….sitting for a long time.
That’s certainly one way to do it. But there are so many other variations and versions of meditation that are easy to do. Really, really easy. And things you can do almost anywhere.
- Driving in your car or during your commute to work. Most of us either have the radio on, the news on, a CD in and playing, headphones on. Something. Turn it off. Drive in silence. Commute to work in silence. And just…listen. Listen to the conversations around you (if you take public transportation to work). Watch the other cards, the scenes around you. Just, be in that moment.
- Random house work. Folding the laundry, cleaning the floor, cleaning the bathroom, washing dishes, cooking, gardening/pulling weeds. I’ll admit, I love listening to podcasts. I figure, I may as well learn something while I’m doing this mundane house work stuff. And listening to them has often given me some really good ideas. But sometimes…being in silence is better. Feeling the warm, soft fabric in your hands as you fold things. Smelling how clean and fresh things smell when they come out of the dryer. Be in that moment.
- Physical activity. Running, swimming (my favorite), walking, yoga, climbing, lifting (weights). Whatever it is you do. Try doing it in silence (if you don’t do it already). Pay attention to your breathing, the movement of your body. What hurts or what feels good. Yoga is great for this because it’s usually done in quiet and it forces the attention on your breath. But you can do this with anything, really. And swimming is equally ideal because you can’t talk to anybody else while you’re doing it, and the sound of water is relaxing. I swim 2 miles a day in the morning (4-5x a week) and I love it for that reason. Some people get frustrated with how “boring” it is. And I think to myself, “…you’re missing the point.” Walking is another great thing to do without added noise. The idea is to be more aware of where you are, the moment, the surroundings you are in. To be in that moment.
- Standing in line. At the bank, at the grocery store, at the BMV, at the airport, at the Starbucks, at the….the list is endless. If we added up all the time we spend standing in line during our lifetimes…I don’t want to know how much time has been wasted. But it’s not really wasted if you use those moments to check in with yourself. Aside of what I’ve been yapping about (being in the moment), use it think of things you are thankful for. Whatever time of day it is, where ever you are, put the phone down, take the headphones out and just rattle off three things you are thankful for. Even if they seem ridiculous. Let’s say you’re standing in line at Starbucks and it’s 8:30 a.m. So it’s early in your day. Thank you for this Starbucks being here close to my office/job and/or on the way to my job, thank you for my legs that can walk me here, my car that I drove here, my subway stop that stops here, thank you for having a job to go to. The later it is in the day, the more things you may realize you’re thankful for. Little things, things you normally wouldn’t think of are things to be grateful for. Think of it as a meditation of gratitude and appreciation. Sometimes, during this moment, you’ll notice somebody and exchange a smile. It’s remarkable how that random smile from that random person at a random part of your day can make all the difference.
- Traditional meditation. Of course, you can also do this. And it doesn’t involve sitting in a lotus position, your hands in a mudras position of your choice. Just sit somewhere. In a chair. On the couch. On a step in the stairwell of your office where it’s quiet. Put your phone timer on one minute. Close your eyes. Just sit there, eyes closed, breathing. That’s it. But what if I start thinking about the bills I have to pay? Say to yourself, I’m not going to think about the bills I have to pay right now, breath, breath breath. Focus on your breath. In and out. What if I think about the kids I have to pick up after work? Nope…don’t think about them either. Breath. Breath and silence. In and out. This deadline at work with this difficult client? No to that, too. Silence. The quiet around you. The peace within you. One minute. Start with one minute. After a week or so (maybe a month or so, there’s no deadline), you may want to increase it to two minutes. Why? Because you’ll realize how you look forward to that one minute of silence and quiet. You’ll realize that it’s not “hard” and it’s not “bad” and you actually kinda like it. Because it’s a nice pause in the middle of your day.
They say that if prayer is asking, it’s in meditation that we get the answer. You can’t hear the answer if you’re on your phone all the time, or you’re scrolling through newsfeed articles. It is my promise to you, that if you try this for one month…you’ll notice a significant difference. In how you feel, how you react (or don’t react) to people and situations and in your connection to yourself. And that…is where true power comes from.
I sit in quiet here and now, a pause in my day to reflect on how, I can bring peace to others and to me…peace within, blessed be….
The Smiling Raven