Most people these days are aware of the benefits of meditation, but many believe they don’t have the time. Sitting on a cushion with their eyes closed for an hour just isn’t an option. In fact, though you might not realise it, throughout everyone’s day there are numerous opportunities for meditation. Little pauses that we usually fill up with phone-scrolling or pointless mind activity. No matter how full your life is, you could be making the most of these moments and finding the peace and focus that everyone needs.
It only takes a minute for a kettle to boil, so instead of busying yourself with other things, why not sit down and notice the sensation of your breath coming and going. You may find the sound of the kettle helps to take you away from thoughts too. When you have made your drink, sit and savour it for a while if you have time.
Waiting at traffic lights (or in a tailback) can be so frustrating but there is no need to get tensed up behind the wheel. Use these few moments you have been given to relax. Keep your eyes open but bring your attention to the sensation of your breath, making the out-breath a little longer if you are tense. Glance up at the sky. Enjoy this moment you have been given. When the lights change you will be refreshed and ready for the rest of your journey.
Standing in line in a shop, post office or supermarket can be very frustrating as you are powerless to affect how quickly you will get served. See if you can let go of the need for control over the situation and accept that it will take as long as it takes. Your only duty in this time is to look after yourself by relaxing your body and mind. All it takes is to notice the sensation of your breathing and also non-judgmentally noticing and accepting any emotions, such as frustration, or anger that you may be feeling. Close your eyes for a while if you wish.
4. Phone on hold.
Calling a bank or utility company can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are put ‘on hold’. Anger mounts and you can feel powerless and humiliated. You can’t do anything to make them get back to you and there is little else you can do in the meantime. This is actually a great opportunity – you can choose to devote the next few minutes to self-care instead of feeling resentment. Notice the sensation of your breath, feeling the stress drain away as you re-connect with this natural process. Worried that you might get so relaxed that you forget what you want to say? Simply write it all down in advance.
5. Public transport.
Waiting for trains, buses and planes is no fun, especially when there are delays, but in these situations, when circumstances are beyond your control, there is nothing to do but give up your resistance to what is. You are here for the duration and you can’t change anything, so let go of the need for control. Don’t seek refuge in your phone; give your mind a break by turning your attention inward. Give your body a ‘scan’, starting at your toes and slowly sweeping up to your head, acknowledging every part and checking out any sensations, then sweeping back in the other direction. Whether you are sitting or standing you can do this and feel the relief – you will be so glad you did.
6. Lift (elevator)
Lifts are very strange places. Inside one, you are confined in a tiny space where there is nothing to do and nothing to look at. You are forced into close proximity with strangers, and everybody is strangely quiet as any interaction may feel too much in such a restricted space. The feeling is distinctly awkward, even though you have been in this situation countless times. This is a perfect time for a micro-meditation. Direct your attention ‘within’ – close your eyes if you wish, focus on your breath. These few seconds you spend in the lift can become a time of preparation. You will emerge more refreshed and ready to carry on with your day when you reach your floor.
How often do we rush a shower, head filled with all kinds of random activity? Why not choose to notice the sensations as you shower, enjoying the warm water and soap on your body. You could vary the fragrance of shower gel or shampoo you use to keep the experience fresh and interesting. Notice the flow of random thoughts you experience as the water flows. You can also notice your breathing at the same time.