In the beginning of our spiritual journey many of us read wild tales of Yogis staying out in the freezing cold for days or monks fasting while sleeping 4 hours a night and waking up to a cold shower and a bowl of porridge. Then there’s the stereotypical “Eat, Pray, Love” journey (although I love Elizabeth!) that may make you feel you’ve got to shed your relationship and possessions and go to Bali to find peace.
But what if extreme experience is not a precedent to a more peaceful life? What if in minutes a day you could change your state of being from stressed to calm? I believe you can. Here’s 5 ways for even the busiest person on the planet to meditate while going about their day.
- Take mindful showers
When you’re in the shower turn it into a meditation! Use your 5 senses to enter into and access the present moment. Some examples are feeling the water falling onto your skin, running down your body and watching it go down the drain. Notice the temperature of the water as it changes or as it remains the same, and any accompanying sensation. If you notice your mind water bring it back to the water.
- Connected while driving practice
A lot of people are wired to drive fast and are future oriented. Instead of focusing their attention on the simple act of driving, their awareness is on where they are going and how quickly they can get there. What if you started an awareness practice where you notice the interconnected nature between yourself and everyone else on the road? Instead of getting angry and reactive with slow (or fast) drivers, you take mental and emotional stock that you are connected to this person at your core, and respond with compassion instead of react with frustration! Try this once a week and see how life changes.
- One minute of mindful breathing
When your alarm goes off in the morning, before you check your email, social media accounts or even roll out of bed… take one minute to yourself to notice your breathing. Just noticing your inbreath and your outbreath is such a powerful practice, Buddhist teacher Noah Levine bases his entire sobriety and sober fellowship around it! If it could transform Noah’s life from angry teenage rage to an esteemed global meditation and recovery facilitator, what can it do for you?
I suggest picking one of these practices and doing it every day for one week. Or if you prefer, make a list of all the ways you can bring mindfulness into your daily routines that are not mentioned here. Than commit to practicing it!