It’s hard. You want to meditate. You are longing to let go. But you have a towering task list and maybe a bunch of hungry mouths to feed.
Everything is moving a little too fast and feels just beyond your reach. That deep sense of flow that happens when you are relaxed, at ease, and alert keeps eluding you.
Have you ever felt that way? You just don’t have the time to let go and drop into that still calm center—that place within where there is perfect peace.
What Keeps You From Meditating?
Time is one of the biggest factors that keeps us from meditating. Most of us are moving at Mach speed. You have friends to see, family to care for, work to perform, appointments to keep, errands to run, and none of it is negotiable.
Ironically, meditation and mindfulness are what we need most when we live at this speed.
Time is a real issue. Especially for people like you who want to start meditating, bring your life into balance, or just take your practice to the next level.
3 Tips To Practice Mindful Meditation on the Fly
So I wanted to share a few simple tips to help you meditate when time just ain’t on your side. These are techniques I practice on a regular basis to bring balance and calm to the forces of chaos within.
And don’t be fooled by how simple they first appear. I use these techniques for one simple reason—because they work.
- Close your eyes and count your breath
- Slow down
- Practice Visualization
1. Close Your Eyes and Count Your Breath
Here is one super simple step you can take to meditate when you don’t have time: close your eyes and count your breath. This might sound ultra basic to you, but don’t underestimate it. When you feel like you're running in circles like a frenzied chicken, this can be a game-changer.
Wherever you are, just stop, close your eyes, and start counting your breath. You need to harness your awareness. And by focusing your attention on your breath, you can instantly let go of everything in your mind that’s driving you crazy.
And more than that, you will start to relax right away. The breath connects you to your essence and draws your attention inward. You can do this for two minutes or ten. Either way, it will help you connect to the meditative essence that sits like a still blue pool in your core.
2. Slow Down
The power of slowing down is amazing. Whether you are cooking, walking, driving, talking, it doesn’t matter. When you consciously slow down whatever you are doing, you take a very real step towards the part of you that is always connected to meditation.
Another word for this is mindfulness. Slowing down is a key tenet of mindfulness. What happens when you slow down?
First, your awareness expands. Then, you start to notice more right away. You enter into a Zen state of mind, fully focused on the task or experience at hand. Your breathing will slow down and your body will start to uncoil like an elegant fern in a warm ray of sun.
When your attention is divided in a million directions, you can’t relax and you can’t let go. What’s the result? The quality of your precious and life-giving awareness is diminished.
So, consciously slowing down helps you harness and train your awareness. You can do this instantly with immediate benefits. Ultimately, this kind of awareness training is what meditation is all about.
3. Practice Visualization
Sometimes, when I am walking down the street, I imagine my awareness expanding in concentric circles, connecting me to everyone and everything. And then, I visualize everyone’s attention running together into a great flowing river of human awareness.
Try this. It's a powerful visualization, because it melts the division between you and the world you experience at any given moment. The feeling of connection and buoyancy that emerges from this visualization will inspire you. It’s always grounding and uplifting to feel that you are not alone.
This easy visualization will quickly plug you into a deeper ground of limitless awareness. Your mind will expand and you might be surprised what can happen. You can try this when you’re at the supermarket, at work, during your commute, anywhere. I love to do it on the street when I’m walking to get lunch in the middle of the day.
How To Get Started
So we just covered three simple techniques to help you build your meditation chops and mindful awareness anywhere and anytime. If you long to meditate and you’re stressed about time, try these out. I guarantee they will help you.
How should you start? Just pick one and try it out. And pick the practice that appeals to you most. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many choices.
And then, if it works for you, repeat it a few times. If it keeps working, I bet you’re suddenly going to find yourself, mysteriously, with more time to meditate.Image credit: Elvert Barnes