I think some people are scared of meditation. “You mean sit and do nothing except be mindful of my thoughts for a long period of time? I don’t think so! I spend most of my day trying to ignore the thoughts that go through my head!” That is usually somewhere along the lines of the response I get when I suggest meditating to my clients. The stereotypical image of someone sitting cross legged in an ashram with their thumb and index finger connected at the knee is overwhelming. First of all, learning to sit still with a straight spine for any amount of time longer than a minute is tough (which is why we practice yoga, but that’s a subject for another post) and second of all, learning to be mindful and nonjudgmental of thoughts is akin to rocket science for some people. The title of this post is meant to be ironic.
I am learning throughout this growth plan not to be an overachiever. It’s just not worth it. I could sit spine straight on my yoga mat and meditate for 10 or 20 minutes and I know I would feel great, but I also know that a lot of times that just isn’t realistic for me. Another lesson I’m tackling throughout this growth plan and life in general is learning that everything counts! Just because I can’t dedicate the time, energy, and effort to meditating like the picture above doesn’t mean I shouldn’t meditate at all. That black or white thinking isn’t helpful or meaningful for growth. Instead I have to find a way to meditate that is realistic that will also “fill me up” spiritually.
Today was a great example of this. I met a family member for breakfast then went for a long walk, almost three miles, then returned something to the store. All in all, the outing took about 5 hours. I practiced “my meditation” throughout the day which meant I stayed conscious and present.
I paid attention to the taste and smell of my coffee, I listened carefully to the conversation we were having, I put my phone out of sight. During my walk, I paid attention to my leg muscles working, listened to my breath change as I struggled to push the stroller up a tough hill. I noticed when my gait changed to compensate for pain in my hip. I drove carefully and without hurry to the store, took my time getting my son ready, dealt with the saleswoman in a conscious manner.
All of these things are mini forms of meditation. Meditation is giving yourself fully, without judgement, to the moment at hand. It’s great if that is done alone sitting cross-legged while a gong rings, but that’s not required. We can add more consciousness throughout our daily lives in an attempt to wake up.