Bed, bath and beyond: experiencing meditation in your daily life
Many people view full-awareness meditation as a constraining activity. They conjure up the stereotype of a person at a Zen retreat, sitting in the lotus position with both arms extended, the thumb and index forming a circle. While this is in fact one approach to meditation, there are others. Indeed, meditation as a mental practice consists of focusing one’s attention on a specific object of thought – often, one’s breathing – in order to achieve a fuller awareness of the present moment.
Such a practice can easily be integrated into all your everyday activities to help you experience each moment fully. After all, which do you consider to be more difficult: managing to calm your spirit, or making time every day to “do nothing”? Regular meditation helps cope with stress, control one’s emotions, and improve one’s capacity for learning, and it even boosts the immune system. So why wait to make it a life habit? Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of opportunities for taking an inner break to recenter yourself and push aside your concerns.
When you awake
Regular practitioners of meditation will tell you that it is most effective in the morning. And while it is beneficial throughout the day, its effects are much augmented if it is practiced when you awake. Let the sunlight enter your space and treat yourself to a few minutes of silence, free of distractions. This will help get your day off to a good start.
While you shower
This private moment is the perfect opportunity to awaken your senses and your soul. Breathe in deeply the fragrance of your soap; experience the sensation of the water and the foam on your skin.
During sports activities
Engaging in a sport is one of the best ways to meditate. It presents a situation where you are called upon to focus on your breathing and to be alert to the subtleties of the present moment.
While getting to work
Whether you use public transit, drive a car, bike it or walk, take advantage of your daily commute to rid your soul of your day-to-day concerns.
As you eat
The approach here consists of focusing your attention on the smell, texture and taste of the foods you are preparing to consume; on how your body reacts after each morsel; and on the signals your body gives when you are full. This exercise will not only help you better appreciate your meal, it will keep you from overeating.
As you do housekeeping
Folding the laundry and doing the dishes are simple tasks that can be done on auto-pilot. While some revile them as tedious chores, others find them to be relaxing activities – and with good reason. These are everyday household activities, so why not seize them as an opportunity to give your brain a break?
As your thoughts stray from one thing to the next throughout the day, it may slip your mind to put aside a few minutes for meditation. As counter-intuitive as it seems, there are iOS and Android apps available to help you integrate the practice into your day-to-day routine, such as Headspace and Buddhify. And of course, you are always most welcome to come relax in a truly relaxing environment such as Bota Bota!