Are you one of those people who adds “start meditating” to their resolutions every January only to wake up, sit up straight in a corner and fall back asleep three mornings in a row before deciding maybe you don’t need to sit petrified in drool first thing in the morning?
Now, I’m not knocking a consistent morning meditation practice, it’s a delight, but I’m not doing it. I’ve heard the best exercise is the exercise you’ll actually do, and I suspect the same goes for meditation. So, if you’re anything like me and just don’t have the time to carve 20 minutes out of a morning that already includes exercising, showering, fast-breaking, lunch packing and commuting to approach a stress-reducing practice in the most anal way possible, stay with me.
If you are one of those shiny self-care revolutionaries, don’t mess with it, it’s working. You may not know it’s working, but the bus driver who no longer has to hear you huffing and puffing about the inflated cost of transit knows it. For the rest of us, I assure you, it’s possible to approach meditation without having to grow dreadlocks, add “love + light” to your email signature or develop a penchant for the dung-like residue of patchouli.
Don’t worry about full blown disciplined meditation just yet; start by simply paying attention.
Take out some input.
Our lives are filled with interstices. Culturally, we’ve been jamming every junction, interval and transition with constant input. Whether we’re face planting into our phones to scour media feeds, cramming tiny speakers into our ears to drown out the jerks who really need to meditate, watching movies, reading books, listening to podcasts, etc, the perpetual information stream weaves in and out of each and every moment. It’s hyper reverberation is anxiety inducing. We literally have a screen for every occasion. What justification do we have for a single person owning a phone, tablet, laptop and television if it isn’t to stuff all the seconds until we die?
If you never halt input, there is no room for output. Creativity needs sunlight and air to germinate ideas. Next time you take a walk, slice a tomato or suds up your butthole, unplug and notice what’s floating around up there. Mindfulness isn’t about not thinking; it’s about noticing what thoughts have become so habituated that your mind has started to perceive them as reality (and that’s the twisted part; your reality IS shaped by the thoughts you allow to take center stage).
- Are you washing your dishes with the fab 5?
- Can you take a shower without a soundtrack?
- Is your cell phone a necessary accomplice to a good poop?
- Has candy crush crushed your soul?
- Have you ever walked into a sign?
- Are you afraid to look the CVS clerk in the eyes?
- Can you taste your dinner when it’s accessory to HBO’s Sunday lineup?
- Is your phone a digital Xanax you reach for any time there’s a .5 second lull in conversation?
“I don’t have time to meditate” is not a valid statement. We all walk from point A to point B. We all do menial tasks and wipe our asses. There is time, we’re just filling it with base pleasures.
Embrace your boredom. It’s the seat of innovation; Ingenuity doesn’t follow comfort. Find interstices, don’t fill them. You’re an adult damnit, not a child moaning “are we there yet?” in the back seat. You are the driver and there is no “there.” It’s here and now, and you’re missing it.
If you dug this, please share! What would you add to the list?