HELP! I Want to Meditate, But I Don’t Have Any Time

Yesterday I got a call from a client who told me, “Help! I want to meditate, but I don’t have time”.  With our busy lives filled with things to do from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we close them, it’s hard to figure out when to have time to meditate.

Meditation is about quieting the mind and connecting within, and in that moment realizing a deep peace. Most of our day is spent in the “doing” mode, and filled with chores, appointments, work, or anything else that keeps us busy. But how can we get there when our mind is constantly thinking about what to cook for dinner, or the meeting at work, picking up the children, etc…

When most of us think of meditation we think of the formal variation where one is seated, with their eyes closed, and fingers connected and placed on the knees. Almost like a Buddha. But, there is another way to meditate and that is informal practice.

Informal practice is a practice that can be done at anytime of the day, perhaps in line at the grocery store, while you are vacuuming or even washing dishes. Informal practice is diverse, and it can be practiced during the daily events of your life. When you can switch from the left-brain thinking mode (doing), to the right brain sensing and experiencing mode (being) you are practicing informal meditation.

Informal practice allows us to weave our attention into our daily experiences. It’s really about bringing awareness to what is happening to us in the moment with no judgment or critical thinking. Just be; be with yourself gently and compassionately as you go about your daily chores. For example while you are washing dishes you can bring your attention completely on the task at hand. Notice the warm water as it rinses the colorful soap off, and a sense of accomplishment when the task is complete. When you are on an extraordinarily long line at the grocery store, that is a perfect place to practice informal meditation. As you stand in line, get centered in your body and begin to feel the release of any tension. Begin to breath in to the count of 8 and exhale to the count of 7. As you breathe in and out focus on your breath and counting, while noticing any bodily sensations. Your mind may begin to drift off into other thoughts, and here is where your real mindfulness practice begins. Bring your thoughts ever so gently back to your breath and the moment. A drifting mind is normal, and being especially kind, and with no judgment to yourself is important.

In my experience when practicing informal meditation, being in line gets easier, and so do my household chores. I especially like to practice when I vacuum the house and do laundry. One of my friends hates to do laundry, but to me that chore can be one of the most Zen fulfilling of them all.

Cultivating mindfulness is easy and simple to do with your daily life. Be creative and see what areas you might be able to just focus on the moment with your breath. I’d love to hear about your experiences with informal meditation, email me at Joanne@JoanneKingCounseling.com