I’m so busy. No really, super busy. I can’t find time to meditate. I can’t even get enough sleep at night, how can I manage ten minutes to meditate? Seriously, I’ve had this conversation with myself time and again. I skip a day here and a day there and next thing you know, I’ve missed a week or two. I finally realized that it is important to meditate every day, even if it is just for two minutes. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Two minutes?! Surely I can squeeze a hundred and twenty seconds out of a busy day and sit quietly. It is a bare minimum of a practice that I believe in so strongly. The repetition is what is crucial to the practice. To observe daily your own conscious, chattering mind from the point of view of pure awareness is to cement in yourself the realization that there is more to yourself than simply your thoughts.
Two minutes. Usually takes place in bed before I fall asleep. Focusing on my breath. Mind racing. Replaying the events of the day. Thinking. Begin again. Breathe in, breathe out. Mind racing. Thinking about what I’ll do tomorrow. Planning. Begin again. Breathe in, breathe out. Mind racing. Begin again. Breathe. Every day. Two minutes.
For a long time now I’ve been practicing what I call micro-meditations throughout the day. I don’t know if that is a term that is in use, but this type of practice is not unheard of. It consists of taking advantage of little moments of downtime as they pop up in your daily life. Waiting for thirty copies of that document to print? Watch your breath: in, out, in, out. That’s it. All day long. Waiting in line at the bank? Breathe. Meditate. In, out, you get it. The opportunities are constant. Likewise, you don’t always have to be aware of your breath. The goal is to practice present awareness. When you are brushing your teeth, be aware of every moment of brushing your teeth. Try to brush them perfectly. Focus, instead of letting your mind roam to the million other things you would usually think about. Some wisdom traditions actually have specific meditations or mantras that keep the practitioner focused on the present moment when they are eating, going to the bathroom, or doing most mundane tasks. Again, present awareness is always the goal.
The height of present awareness comes when you actually maintain the meditative state all the time. Some meditation masters actually suggest that once you have experienced sitting meditation frequently enough and deeply enough, you no longer need to do sitting meditation. You simply meditate all the time. This concept gave me the idea for micro-meditations. You can put yourself into a meditative state while you do anything, literally. But I realize that it will not work for someone who hasn’t first learned how to meditate sufficiently. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you can do it.
Keep in mind that we should strive to meditate every day for ten to twenty minutes. But if it becomes frustrating, or if like me, you find it hard to make time to do it, then backing down the time is recommended instead of skipping it altogether. At the very least, you should make sure that you sit every day and meditate for two or three minutes. Likewise, if this is all you can carve out of any given day, you should make it a priority to sit for thirty minutes once a week. A thirty minute meditation, done weekly, will give you a familiarity with the depth of present awareness needed to be able to practice micro-meditations throughout the day. Just to be clear, if you are not already familiar with sitting meditation, micro-meditations will not benefit your practice.
Thank you so much for reading! I welcome all comments or questions below.
Don’t forget to breathe….