Simple Meditations for Busy People
by Mary Maddux for www.SixWise.com
Want to meditate, but don't feel you have the time? Wondering how you could learn meditation without a big investment of time?
If you are reading this article, you are undoubtedly a busy person. The possibility of adding yet another thing to your day may seem overwhelming, and yet you know you need to slow down and relax. You are probably familiar with the many benefits of meditation and know it would "be good for you".
I'd like to begin by dispelling the idea that you don't have time to meditate. Since meditation increases productivity, taking time out for meditation will not mean that you'll accomplish less.
To help you meditate -- and this is especially useful for anyone who has trouble "calming down" enough to meditate -- take some time to stretch first. This helps release tension and calm the body. Stretching, done with a focus on the breath and awareness of the body, can be a relaxing meditation! I highly recommend Jacques Gauthier's Stretching DVD, offered here at SixWise.com.
In fact, you will likely accomplish more in your activity because you will have greater clarity of mind, more energy, and better concentration. "If you're too busy to meditate, you're too busy" was the advice I heard when I was new to meditation.
The most difficult step is setting aside the time. Once you've done that, there are many ways you can achieve a meditative state and get the benefits of meditation. In this article, I'll share some meditations that are easy to do and easy to learn, as well as some general guidelines to follow.
While it's ideal to set aside 15-20 minutes to meditate, you can do these meditations for briefer periods of time throughout the day. In fact those of us who are moving at top speed might be able to ease into the "meditation habit" simply by taking a few minutes here and there to do these mediations and slow down. For best results, try to work up to a 15-20 minute meditation period.
Meditation gives us an opportunity to shift gears and experience a more peaceful, relaxed state. The following guidelines are meant to help you do just that.
Above all, be easy about these meditations. Don't strain to follow the instructions. They do not need to be done in an exacting way. You should feel it is easy to meditate. That doesn't mean you always feel easy -- you could even feel restless or become aware of fatigue or feelings of discomfort -- but there will be a sense of ease about it when you are not trying too hard.
Don't resist thoughts or try to make them go away. Simply let thoughts come and go, not minding them. When you are aware that you've become caught up in thoughts, easily come back to the focus of the meditation. One way to treat thoughts is to let them be a meaningless activity of the mind. In this style of meditation, we ignore the content of thoughts.
Take it as it comes! The mind's habit is to evaluate and judge what is happening in order to make decisions about the best action to take. This is necessary when we are engaged in activity, but during meditation it is time to let everything happen on its own without our interference. There is no right way for meditation to happen. Meditation is about letting go and relaxing. That's why we say "take it as it comes".
Four Simple Meditations
- Breath Awareness Meditation
Observing the breath is the basis of many meditations. It is an easy way to relax and become more present. This meditation can be done sitting or lying down. Begin by getting into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Now bring your attention to your breath. Simply notice the breath as it moves in and out. Notice how the body breathes automatically, effortlessly. Don't try to manipulate the breath in any way. Notice all the details of the experience of breathing -- the feeling of the air moving in and out of the nose, the way the body moves as it breathes, etc.
Continue with your attention on the experience of breathing throughout the meditation. The mind will wander away from the breath -- that's fine, it doesn't matter. That's a part of the meditation! When you notice that you are no longer observing the breath, easily bring your attention back to it.
- Body Awareness Meditation
This meditation will help you to be more in the present moment, more in tune with your body and more grounded. It is very helpful when you are feeling "scattered". This meditation is like the breath meditation, except that your attention is on the body. It can be done sitting or lying down. Begin by getting into a comfortable position, and close your eyes.
Now bring your attention to your body. Feel the physicality and density of the body. Feel the weight of the body on the chair or the bed. Let yourself relax into the pull of gravity. Notice all the myriad of sensations going on in the body. What are you experiencing in your body? What is it like to be in the body?
As you continue meditating, you can allow yourself to experience whatever physical sensations naturally attract your attention, or you can purposefully scan your body. If you scan, you can start with the soles of the feet and move up, go from the head down, or simply randomly scan the body. See what it feels like in the various parts of the body. Notice the details of your experience. Allow your awareness to be fully with whatever is being experienced in the body, pleasant or unpleasant.
Continue meditating as long as you'd like, allowing yourself to fully feel whatever is being experienced in your body. When you notice that your mind has gotten caught up in thoughts, easily bring it back to awareness of the body.
- Walking Meditation
This is a way of meditating while walking. Done properly, it can be every bit as powerful as sitting meditations, and it is easier and more natural for many people to do moving meditations. During the meditation, you focus on the sensations in your body, as you do in the Body Awareness Meditation.
In some ways it is easier to do this while walking, as it is easy to be aware of the physical experience of walking. As always, let thoughts come and go, easily favoring the sensations in the body. Notice the way the body feels as you walk -- the feelings in your feet and legs, the swinging of your arms, etc. When the mind has wandered, simply bring it back to the experience of walking.
Try a Guided Meditation
Often it's easiest to meditate while being guided, at least in the beginning until you get accustomed to meditating. We created our Pure Relaxation CD for just that purpose. It has deeply relaxing meditations of various lengths and styles, accompanied by soothing music. Learn more about the CD now including the special price and FREE SHIPPING offer.
- Knitting Meditation
Believe it or not, knitting can be used as a powerful meditation. There is a reason that knitting has become so popular! The simultaneous use of the right and left hands, the back and forth between the needles, the feel of the yarn gliding over your fingers, tricks the mind into a relaxed state.
If you don't already knit, get some needles and yarn and have someone show you how to do a simple knit stitch. Get comfortable and start knitting. Thoughts will go through your mind, but the focus on the knitting will keep you from becoming overly involved with a train of thought. Just easily favor the experience of knitting, not minding the flow of thoughts. Knitting in this way naturally produces a meditative state. Thoughts and emotions which might have been distressing can easily flow through and resolve on their own as you knit.
Note for knitters: If you already knit, you can make your knitting a meditation by dedicating some time to knitting purely for the sake of knitting -- not to create a finished product. Use the garter stitch only. Forget about the gauge, the number of stitches, etc. Just knit away!
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