It seems that the average daily "to-do" list is already filled with many more tasks than twenty-four hours allows. Yet, there are countless articles and studies about adding meditation to your daily routine, to help calm you, center you, help you reach a higher level of spirituality and help you tackle your “to-do” lists with more ease. How are we supposed to find time in our already over-packed schedules to sit and do nothing?
The answer is simple but can sometimes feel overwhelming: we make time. Meditation is not simply about clearing your mind and not thinking about anything, it is much more complex than that. The simplest way to start adding meditation in your life is to understand mindfulness. We are constantly thinking about what else we have to do today or what happened yesterday or even a week ago. While our minds are checked out thinking about all of these things, we are missing the very essence of life that is around us. We forget that the only time we truly have is the present moment. A simple tip for adding mindfulness into our lives is practicing it while we are doing daily tasks such as: showering, brushing our teeth or cooking our meals.
The next time you are taking a shower try being mindful. Notice how the knob feels in your hand as you are turning the water on. Notice each sensation, the way the water feels on the different areas of the body and the way it feels when you change the temperature. If you find that your mind wanders off, reciting your “to-do's” for the day or replaying that argument you had with your spouse an hour ago, simply bring yourself back to the moment. Notice again the way that the water feels on your skin, or the soap feels on your hands.
This simple practice of mindfulness can be applied to any given moment of your day. Although this is not the typical idea of meditation (sitting cross-legged in silence while dodging any thoughts) it is a form of meditation. These simple acts of mindfulness will make a difference in your day and you may find that at the end of your day you have some spare time to practice a sitting meditation.
If you still aren't finding time to meditate, take a look at your daily tasks and find one that can wait for tomorrow. Take the time you would have used for that task and find a quiet and comfortable place to sit down (no distractions if possible!). The best tip for beginners is to begin by closing your eyes and noticing your breath (also a mindfulness practice). You may choose to set an alarm to go off after an allotted time (ten minutes is a good start) or you may search the web for audio streams of guided mediations.
It's suggested to try a few different techniques until you find one that really works for you. During this time, stay present. When your mind wanders (it will!) don't judge yourself or your thoughts, simply let go of them and bring your focus back to your breath. Adding meditation to your daily routine requires effort, but the more effort you put into your practice the more you will receive from your practice.