In our Meditation Myths & Misconceptions series of articles we’ve recently explored the mistaken idea that meditation is all about making your mind quiet, and the incorrect assumption that you have to sit still in order to practice. Another reason many people find it difficult to establish and maintain a meditation habit is because they believe they need to find ‘spare’ time in order to do it. But what is spare time — and where can you find some?
Have you ever told yourself that you don’t have time to meditate? Or that you’ll meditate later, or that you’ll meditate on a day that’s not quite so busy?
Why do you tell yourself that?
Is it really because you are short of time? Perhaps:
- you fear what will come to mind if you stop and look within.
- you think you’ll never get everything done if you take time out.
- your healthy work ethic drives you to work beyond healthy limits.
- you sacrifice pleasure and rest for a sense of achievement.
- you experience a sense of disapproval when you don’t complete the tasks you set yourself.
- you only give yourself permission to relax once you’ve ticked everything off.
These are just some of the reasons I’ve put meditation aside, often with the promise that I’ll do it ‘later’.
Sometimes I wonder whether any of these ‘excuses’ are valid. And then I’ll remember that meditation does not really require any time at all. I can always simply choose to be mindful. I can soften my breath as I type. I can relax my shoulders as I drive. I can listen a little more attentively on the phone. I can check in with my thoughts and emotions as I walk. I can do a formal meditation anytime I find myself waiting.
In this way, meditation and mindfulness become a part of my daily life. They cease being things I can put off and instead become new ways of relating to the world. Indeed, anytime I find myself putting meditation off, I can use that as a reminder to meditate!
For more on this topic, see my article How Much Meditation is Enough?