There is a famous saying, that if you want something to get done, you should give the task to the busiest person! There is definitely a lot of truth to it. We lead very busy lives. With the advancement of technology and industry, we are living life in the fast lane. This often just leaves us going through the motions and getting things done. How many times have you walked into your home after a long day at work and wondered which route you took to get home? How many phone calls or texts have you forgotten to return? We live our lives on a perpetual hamster wheel. We spend our day running from this place to that without any consideration. It’s no wonder that so many of us struggle to find the time to meditate. It’s not easy when we’re juggling the responsibilities of work, family, home, and relationships.
There is a famous Zen saying. “If someone doesn’t have the time to meditate every day for 20 minutes he should meditate for an hour”. It may sound ironic to you, but it hits the nail on the head. Meditation helps us to create meaning in our lives. It allows us to be mindful of how we live, feel, and conduct ourselves in the chaos of our daily lives. If we don’t give ourselves the space to let go and refocus we’ll find ourselves in a constant state of doing. Meditation is about “being”. This is not a naïve approach, although it may sound that way. Of course, I understand the meaning of a busy schedule. Career, family, making sure to eat right and exercise, are all important parts of our lives. They are all things that require daily time and effort. Meditation doesn’t need to replace any of them. Add it to your daily schedule and you will cope better with life’s other demands.
Before you start thinking about just how crazy I am to even suggest that you take on one more task in your hectic schedule, hear me out. You see, the benefits that you will receive are tremendous. They’ll go a long way in helping to make all your other tasks and roles more manageable. What we do and don’t have time for in a day, all boils down to our perception and what we believe is important. There are many daily tasks that have universal importance. Things like taking a shower, eating meals and getting some shut eye. Then there are tasks that for some of us, aren’t high on our list of priorities. Others may feel they are essential such as praying or going to the gym. By making meditation a priority, you will find the time to do it. Of course, we’ll discuss some ideas of how to fit meditation into your schedule. The first step to finding the time to meditate is to consider meditation essential in your life. Once you have prioritized it you will find the time to do it. The next step is learning how to manage your time effectively.
Time management is not a skill that we are taught at school, or in fact it is not a skill that we are taught. Period. It’s a skill that we kind of have to figure out on our own. We often look at how the people in our lives manage their time and use that as a springboard for ourselves. If you have time-management skills, and meditation is a priority, you will find the time. You don’t need to meditate for hours to reap the benefits. Simply commit to meditating for a short period of time each day, something like a mini meditation. That way you won’t be putting pressure on yourself to sit meditating for an extended period of time. You’ll be committing to mini meditations either once a day or a few times throughout your day.
Committing to meditation practice entails setting up a daily time slot for practice. Same time each day for same session length. One of the beauties of mini-meditations is that you can do them on the go in a walking meditation. Or you can do them while at your desk, in the elevator, or on the commute to work. Mini-meditations are portable. They can go a long way in improving your experience of daily mundane activity wasters. Mini-mediations can be as short as 30 seconds. Try focusing on your breathing, or doing a simple guided muscle relaxation. Let your body relax and release tension. Allow your mind to calm and refocus itself, getting you ready to continue with your day. How many times have you found yourself stuck in line at the checkout, feeling frustrated? This is a perfect moment for a mini meditation. You’ll turn this “dead time” into productive time and you won’t be feeling annoyed.
So how should you set aside time for meditation in your busy routine? Start by selecting the number of times in a day that you will meditate. Some popular times are early morning, the start of your lunch break, after a shower and just before bed. Once you commit to those times, be disciplined. Let them become part of your daily routine. In time, they will become a habit. Any time that you find yourself in “dead time”, rename it “bonus meditation time”. Use the moments you are stuck in traffic or waiting for a friend to meet you, to be mindful and refocus.