Meditation means awareness. Whatsoever you do with awareness is meditation. Action is not the question, but the quality that you bring to your action. Walking can be a meditation if you walk alertly. Sitting can be a meditation if you sit alertly. Listening to the birds can be a meditation if you listen with awareness. Just listening to the inner noise of your mind can be a meditation if you remain alert and watchful. The whole point is: one should not move in sleep. Then whatsoever you do is meditation.
With a hectic schedule it can be hard to find time for meditation. Even knowing how immensely valuable meditation can be, I often neglect my meditation practice. Usually my excuse is that I don’t have the time to meditate. While it is true that longer meditation sessions tend to be better, I want to collect some simple and quick meditation techniques here so that the excuse of no time does not hold any weight.
A Shop Window
We can start with the sparsest of meditations. One method I discovered may be especially apt for us would-be urban monks. “You Don’t Need A Cushion, A Shop Window Will Do!” was a reminder of the ease of embedding our meditation practice into every nook and cranny of our lives.
The second step is find a convenient shop window, stand in front of it, and pretend to look at something particularly interesting.
The third step is take three natural breaths, noticing the flow of the breath in and out of your system. No need to think, plan or remember things, just notice the breath coming and going three times. Just noticing can be quite calming, it can also be quite difficult, the flywheel of the mind just want’s to keep spinning.
These mere seconds of awareness can be the seeds of deeper practice. Like a shadow lengthening as the sun lowers, what starts as a sliver can reach the horizon.
An easy one minute meditation can consist of being mindful first of our breathing –perhaps deepening it– and then of our sensations, feelings and thoughts. This is unlikely to induce a meditative state, but it keys us into awareness. It also has the side effect of being relaxing and healthful.
A Chance to Sit
With a couple minutes to sit we can go a bit further. Inducing a rhythmic breathing and maintaining focus for a short period can be a good way to ease into meditation if we are new to the practice. Developing the discipline to not be distracted by thoughts or sensations can be done even in these short sessions.
Observation of Thoughts
Observing is the key to these basic meditations, and allowing ourselves to simply rest and witness what our minds are doing is foundational.
By not engaging our thoughts we can rest as awareness and not identify with them. A concise way of reminding ourselves of this is using a variant of, “I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts.” Being fully aware of these thoughts but being free of them is a vital first step that can take less than ten minutes.
The Source and Omega Point
Let’s keep in mind the aim of meditation.
– Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit
It is to remind us of our Original Face, that we are consciousness itself. Our bodies, our emotions, our minds and our thoughts are all objects that we witness. Everything that we can identify as an object is not our authentic Self. And beyond the witness we are joined with everything that arises. We are every passion, every slick body and sharp torture, free from it all we are saturated by it. Meditation trains us to be free of false stories of who we are, free of the suffering caused by identifying with narrow notions of self and ultimately liberates us to live a life fully engaged in beauty, goodness and truth. A lightness guides us even as we work to better a world filled with suffering.
A few minutes is a small price for moving closer to that, isn’t it?