By Dougall Fraser
Don't have time to sit in the lotus position for 45 minutes? Don't throw your spiritual journey out the window just because you can't keep up with the Dalai Lama's dedication to mental stillness.
Our brains multitask all day. During meditation, we switch our intention by focusing on one particular act or ritual, in order to achieve a state of mental stillness. Here are five easy meditations to keep you connected in the midst of any chaotic schedule.
1. Walk away your worries:
If you struggle with the idea of sitting still, you may enjoy a walking meditation. Zen Buddhists' version of this is known as Kinhin, which involves taking a full breath in between every step. While that might seem like an incredibly long walk, the overall idea here is to use your body to become fully present in the moment.
To perform your walking meditation, go at a comfortable pace (preferably outside), and focus on the feeling of each foot as you take steps. Notice your heel touching the ground first, followed by the sole and finally your toes. As you walk, you might notice yourself getting distracted by outside thoughts. Simply bring your mind's attention back to your steps, and this will help center your meditation.
The beauty of this meditation is that it can be done anywhere, and is especially effective for a relaxing 15 minute work break.
2. Chant Yourself Calm:
Various religions and spiritual practices include chanting, which is the repetitive singing or humming of a melody. Gregorian monks use chanting to achieve a state of divine piousness, while Hindus reach enlightenment by chanting the word "Om" repeatedly.
You may not have access to a Gregorian church or Ashram, but this meditation can easily be performed wherever you are. The traditional way is to pick a calming word or sound, and repeat it over and over slowly ("peace" is a popular word to use).
A less traditional method is to pick any song that makes you feel really good, and then hum the melody or sing the words to yourself for a few minutes. Ideally this should be a slower, more relaxing song. While this may seem unusual, I have seen it work just as well as traditional chanting. You are simply focusing on the melody as a way to quiet your mind.
3. Drive yourself to Nirvana
You can meditate with your eyes open. If you are the kind of person who enjoys the feeling of being on the road, driving meditation can be a perfect environment to find stillness. Turn off your phone and radio, and allow your center to be the actual art of driving. Make it your intention to be completely focused on this relaxing joyride. As your mind is assigned the task of getting you from one place to another, the rest of your consciousness is granted a few moments of stillness.
4. Let coffee be your mantra:
You can easily incorporate your morning ritual with a sense of meditative spirituality. Our minds require something to focus on in order to become still. As you make yourself a cup of tea, coffee or even your morning smoothie, infuse this ritual with spirituality. Focus on the steps that you are taking to prepare your beverage, and keep mindful of the intention that this is "me" time you are enjoying. After it is prepared, select a comfortable space to sit and enjoy it. The length and duration of your meditation is reflected in finishing your cup.
5. Wash your aura
Bathing allows you to cleanse your physical body, and is a great time to bring your attention to your spiritual body. As the water splashes down on you, imagine that it is washing away all heaviness and dross from your spiritual body. Watch the soap and water disappear down the drain along with your cares and worries.