“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
Can’t find time to meditate? Well, you’re not the only one. We live in a world of constant stimulation and activity. We have our entire day planned out by the minute and we are subject to daily distractions of internet, TV, and cell-phones. This doesn’t leave much time for relaxation. When I first started meditating it wasn’t easy or comfortable to sit still and be present with my thoughts and feelings. There were things I needed to do! I now have a more consistent routine, but frankly, finding time to meditate in the bigger picture is still sporadic and random. I may meditate at lunch, take a few minutes before a meeting, or use any spare time while I wait for my next scheduled activity. You don’t have to sit under a lotus tree or on top of a mountain to meditate and reap the benefits. All you need is the right attitude and frame of mind, along with the willingness to use this mental skill.
3 Steps for Meditation on the Go
1) The intention of purpose to mediate
We can meditate at any time, any place, and in almost any environment. All we need is the “intention to pay attention” and the willingness to embrace and be open to the experience. There is really no right or wrong way to meditate and almost all forms of meditation offer benefits. Start being aware of those small moments when you have a time-out, and use these fruitfully.
2) Have a wholesome attitude
Your attitude toward meditation is another component of making it a part of your daily life. Here are a few qualities of mind to cultivate that will allow you to approach any circumstance with more poise and calm.
- Compassion – Remain nonjudgemental toward thoughts and emotions. Don’t curse yourself for a wandering mind with racing thoughts.
- Be patient – You may be in-between meetings or activities, so remaining focused and still for 10-15 can take some real patience.
- Nonstriving – There is nothing to be obtained from a brief meditation outside of remaining present and becoming calm and relaxed. Don’t worry about “manifesting” or cultivating creativity.
- Acceptance – Approach meditation with a “let it be” perspective. Don’t try to make anything happen.
- Curiosity – Be open to whatever may come. Take an approach of amusement and interest in the experience.
3) Determine your technique
Uncovering what techniques work best for you is the next key. There are different techniques that can be utilized depending on the situation. For instance, if you’re in a public place with people all around you, I image you wouldn’t take a seat in the lotus position and start chanting the mantra “aaaauuummmm.” When it comes to applying meditation on the go, consider a few of these techniques. They require we focus on the breath, relax our body, and gain awareness of our thinking.
1. Mediate on your breath
Using this breathing technique can offer a quick and easy means to relax. Follow the pattern of breathing in to the count of 5, hold for the count of 2, and breathe out to the count of 7. It goes like this: Breathe in…2….3….4…..5 hold…2…3….exhale…2….3….4….5…6…7 Breathe in…2….3….4…..5 hold…2…3….exhale…2….3….4….5…6…7 Breathe in…2….3….4…..5 hold…2…3….exhale…2….3….4….5…6…7 Breathe in…2….3….4…..5 hold…2…3….exhale…2….3….4….5…6…7 Continue to breathe at this slow pace. While you are breathing slowly, notice the breath as it enters your nose. Notice each time you breathe in, the way the breath feels on your nostrils. Feel the breath as it passes through your nasal passages, and down behind your throat. Feel the air expand your lungs with each in breath. Notice your lungs and abdomen expanding and constricting on each breath. Continue with this process until you feel calm and refreshed.
2. Relax your body
This is an example of autogenic meditation and can help to relax your body. Think of your right arm as being very heavy. Repeat to yourself six times, “My right arm is very heavy.” At the end of the sixth repetition, say to yourself once, “I am completely calm.” Repeat this step five or six times. Try to disregard all thoughts except those involved in the training. Repeat the same process for each arm and leg. Now think of your body as being warm. Using the same format as in step one, repeat to yourself six times: “My right leg is very warm.” Then say, “I am completely calm.” Repeat the heaviness routine followed by “My right arm is very warm.” Do this six times, ending each repetition with “I am completely calm,” Repeat this entire sequence several times. Continue as above, repeating the heaviness and warmth routines for each arm and leg. After a complete repetition of the previous steps, begin focusing on your heartbeat by thinking, “My heartbeat is calm and regular.” Repeat this six times, followed by “I am completely calm.” Repeat the entire series, beginning with “My right/left arm/leg is very heavy” and ending with “I am completely calm.” Do this several times.
3. Use a mantra to calm the mind
A supplement the other techniques that can help relieve stress is to practice concentrating on your thoughts and memorize some phrases that you can use to silently repeat in your mind. Consider each affirmation that follows, and work to connect with these emotionally and believe them. Use any you feel help alter your mood and attitude and memorize them. I am calm. I am relaxed. I know how to relax easily. I relax whenever I want to. I handle situations with ease. I am prepared. I am focused. I am strong. I am confident. I am so deeply relaxed. I am so calm and serene. I concentrate easily on the task at hand. I easily relax under pressure. I easily relax under pressure. I feel calm and relax under pressure. I am capable. I am intelligent. I am worthwhile. I am skilled. I am relaxed. These examples for calming the mind and body can be utilized in almost any situation, and as you begin to practice them you will experience immediate benefits. In Mark Thornton’s book Mediation in a New York Minute: Super Calm for the Super Busy, the idea that we can meditate for shorter periods of time and still gain mental and emotional benefits is explored further. Meditation helps us to stay “in the moment”, and be more aware of the present. It frees us from constantly worrying about the past or the future, and ultimately alleviates much of our unnecessary stress. How do you deal with stress from a busy schedule? How do you find a healthy dose of rest and relaxation? Is meditation a feasible option for you? Photo credit: tokyosucks