Take a shower if you don’t have time to meditate!
There is still a misconception that meditating has to take time out of your day, or be boring.
Meditating is simply returning your concentration to a point of focus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be sitting still or that your focus has to be your breathing. For instance you can take a shower, or wash the dishes mindfully, and still gain the physical, mental and neurological benefits of traditional meditation practices.
Firstly it’s important to remember that even the most seasoned long-term meditators get distracted.
It’s in human and animal nature to keep the body and mind alert in case of danger. That’s why meditating can seem unnatural, and therefore it takes training to focus in silence and stillness. We have all read about the endless physiological and emotional benefits of meditation or mindfulness practices, yet many don’t have the desire or time to sit in silence for an hour focusing on their breath.
So if you don’t feel like you have the time or the inclination to sit silently in mediation why not meditate while doing some of your usual weekly tasks?
Or rather, why not meditate ON some of your weekly tasks? Worst case, take a few breaths to just imagine how much worse some of these tasks are for those who are living in poverty, and perhaps you’ll have a mindful moment appreciating your life:-)
Firstly decide which of your usual activities is going to become mindful and if necessary tell others not to disrupt you while you’re doing them. Some examples of shorter and longer tasks you can meditate on or do mindfully are:
- Brush your teeth
- Have a shower
- Wash the dishes
- Getting dressed
- Drinking your cup of coffee/tea
- Clean windows
- Brush your pet
- Brush your own hair
- Washing the car
- Changing the bed-sheets
The entire activity, from start to finish, needs to be done with focus in an act of meditation. Decide at which point you’re going to start meditating so that you know when your practice is going to begin and finish ie. when you start putting on your socks, until your final clothing item is on… Make a point of taking a couple of deep breaths before you start and then keep your full focus returning to the task at hand any time you get distracted or the mind wanders away. You’ll be surprised how much you learn about your body when you’re actually really paying attention.
For instance, what is the other arm and side of your body actually doing while you brush your teeth? How fast does the water fall on your body from the shower-head, and how does the sensation of the water and the soap actually feel on your skin? Does your breath get slower when you stroke an animal and are you planting the weight equally on your feet or perhaps leaning back on your heels? How would you describe the taste of your coffee and have you thought of how the beans have traveled from ground to your mouth? How do all the different fabrics that you put on in one outfit feel differently on your skin and how much easier are some to put on than others. Basically PAY ATTENTION.
Take in every aspect of the process or whatever activity you’re doing. Take awareness of external sensations, how your breath and different parts of the body really feel, and making your movements with full awareness. Again, it’s normal to get distracted so don’t get upset with yourself! You should see these thoughts and distractions as the levels, or mental weight training we have to get through to strengthen our ability to focus in meditation for longer. So take your next shower mindfully and congratulate yourself for washing yourself and meditating at the same time 😉