Do you feel like you are wasting your time when you meditate? Maybe you know meditation is great for you, but you feel a bit anxy while doing it?
Here’s something you can do that will help you benefit from the privileges of meditation while still actually doing things. I will show you how you can meditate while you embark on your daily activities (and make them 100% more enriching in the process).
It’s a technique I call “Practical Meditation”.
What you need to do is transform every activity into an act of meditation. More specifically, apply ‘mindful awareness’ to EVERYTHING you do. Yes, you got it. Get obsessed with mindful awareness.
What is mindful awareness?
Here’s a quote from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center:
Mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is an excellent antidote to the stresses of modern times. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one’s inner experience. There are many ways to bring mindfulness into one’s life, such as meditation, yoga, art, or time in nature. Mindfulness can be trained systematically, and can be implemented in daily life, by people of any age, profession or background.
As you might already know, the benefits of mindful awareness are many, specially in the fields of psychology and psychiatry (you can read a paper about it here.)
But how does this apply to you? How can you bring mindful awareness into your life? Following are a few concrete examples.
How to meditate and WALK
Become fully aware of how you are walking, your backbone, the size of your steps, posture, rhythm, speed, where you look at while you move forward, how your shoes feel… Get the point? Concentrate on nothing else, only on the act of walking.
How to meditate and TYPE
Do you find yourself typing every day all day? Most of us do. Why not meditate as we type?
Feel your fingers on the keyboard, own your keyboard, try to feel each key as it’s pressed and suppressed. Analyze the fingerings you are using to type each word. Observe how the words appear on the screen as you type. Feel your thoughts flowing from your head through your arms to your hands, fingers, on to the keyboard and up on the screen.
How to meditate and EXERCISE
Do you notice how certain people look completely absorbed in their routines at the gym, while others are chatting and socializing? Who would you rather be? I suggest you be the focused one, to literally “rip” the benefits from the time you invest at the gym.
man lifting dumbbell
Stop thinking on how great you look. Concentrate on the muscle and form!
I immersed myself in a weight training program some years ago, and I remember how I transformed each workout into an act of meditation (you can learn more about this here). This is what I did.
I would fully focus on the muscle being trained, imagining it doing the effort and moving in specific ways to make the weights go up and down. I would hear my respiration and focus on the way my body was getting soar. Instead of avoiding the pains, I put my full attention on them, “seeing” how the muscles suffered on those last reps and how the pain was slowly relieved during the resting periods.
How to meditate and EAT
By now you should be getting the idea of how Practical Meditation works. So I’ll leave this one to you. I’d rather move into more advanced examples of Practical Meditation now.
Here we go.
How to meditate and TALK
This is something else we do every day, right?
Next time you talk or say anything, do it in the following way:
Listen to yourself talking. Hear the tone of your voice, the way you pronounce each syllable, observe your body language, your stare. Analyze how your words truly express what you are thinking or want to transmit. Listen to how fast or how slow you are talking. Become aware of the reactions that your words evoke on your interlocutors.
How to meditate and DRIVE
Sounds dangerous? Well, actually quite the contrary is true.
For 2 years I was obsessed with riding motorbikes (I called myself ‘Motorod’). I got a Yamaha 300 and only 6 months later switched over to a Cagiva Raptor 1000. And I had never ridden a motorbike before. How did I do this?
Before actually buying my first Yamaha, I had already consumed most of the literature about riding motorcycles. And here’s what I learned:
If you don’t want to fall all the time, you must ride mindfully. It’s the safest thing you can do.
So coming back to driving, here’s how you can drive, meditate, and be safer:
Feel your foot stepping on the gas, and letting go. Put your full focus and effort on driving as flowingly as possible, stopping softly until full stop, and starting softly again until desired speed. See how far you look ahead. Are you staring at the car in front of you? Are you staring 5 cars ahead of you? Can you see the other drivers inside their cars? Notice how other drivers affect your mood. Foresee what other drivers will do. Practice your peripheral vision. And we could go on and on…
How to meditate and WATCH TV OR A MOVIE
OK, I know what you are thinking. Staring at the box is not something we should be doing too much. But we all do it anyways, a lot or for a few seconds some days. Either way, you can make that experience a bit more enriching. How?
Become aware, for example, that you are actually looking at lights and colors, and interpreting them as configured images. Focus on what makes you laugh and cry. See yourself immersing in the plot of the movie, realize how you enter the suspension of disbelief mode, and how the director tricked you into it.
How to meditate and READ
This one is similar to the above, but harder. Try focusing on how you actually read the letters and words, how your eyes are moving, how the words on paper (or screen) are transformed into images in your head and sensations in your body. Notice the techniques the writer is using to make you think or feel. Imagine an alien that has no idea of what reading is. He (you) is looking at you. All he sees is someone staring at words.
How to meditate and NEGOTIATE
Do you get a bit nervous before each negotiation? Similar to meditating while you talk, you can be mindfully aware while you negotiate, and that will make the whole experience pretty entertaining.
Remember that negotiating does not happen only between two suits, it takes place ALL the time, with your friends or lovers, for example, deciding on what to do tonight, with your children, convincing them that going to bed early is the better choice, or even with yourself (that deserves a post by itself).
Fully focus on how you apply your negotiation techniques and strategies and how the other party is trying to persuade you as well. See it as a game. Observe yourself and the other party using tone and body language in specific ways, or unintentionally. Analyze your postures as you are sitting, who has more weight in the meeting and why, what does she do or what is she like that gives her that weight and credibility.
How to meditate and MAKE LOVE
Couple on praire
Focus on it
Need I go further into this one? It should be obvious by now, and the benefits are needless to say. Just think on how much more enjoyable (and sexy) the experience will be if you do it with full mindful awareness.
And to close up…
THE HOLY GRAIL OF MINDFUL AWARENESS:
How to meditate while you meditate
What a cliché!
But have you tried it? Become mindfully aware of how you become mindfully aware. I’ve never been successful with this one so there’s not much I can say about it. Have you?