The classic meditation image of a sage sitting on top of a mountain, in lotus position, needs a little updating. In today’s social-media, multi-tasking, smart-phone world, few of us feel we have the time to meditate, let alone climb a mountain. If the word meditation scares you, rename it ‘mindfulness’.
meditation through mindfulness
Mindfulness is the opposite of multi-tasking (which is essentially anti-meditation); it’s taking the time to focus on one thing and savouring life. Instead of eating breakfast while watching TV, try to give your attention to one activity; take pleasure in the taste and texture of your granola.
focus on your breathing
Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight (if you hunch forward your lungs and diaphragm won’t be able to expand fully). To begin with you probably want to find a quiet place but as you develop your practice you’ll become better at blocking out the surrounding world. Focus on the air flowing through your nostrils and the rise and fall of your abdomen as you inhale and exhale. When your mind begins to wander, bring it back to focus on your breathing.
meditation in motion
For those of us who can’t sit still for long, yoga is the ideal way to meditate. Yoga combines specific movements with a meditative focus on the body and breathing. Other meditative practices in motion include running, tai chi or qigong.
three conscious breaths
If your life is non-stop action and you can’t see yourself stopping for 20 minutes to meditate, little micro-meditations are a great way to alleviate stress and improve your concentration. Use physical reminders as cues to your practice (which cues you pick will determine the frequency). For example, take three deep breaths every time you send an email or every time you think about work outside of work hours.
stop and smell the roses
Take the opportunity two or three times a day to stop and appreciate the world around you. Explore your environment sense by sense; what can you see, hear, smell and how do your emotions reflect or react to these sensations?
Focusing on what you're eating as you eat it is a great first step towards a healthy, more deliberate life.