I encourage my students to meditate whenever and wherever they can. The traditional times (dawn and dusk) and places just don’t work for those of us with kids, jobs and appointments at all hours. For meditation to be useful, we need to be creative and adaptable. We can’t wait for the ideal time. Instead, we need to learn to process our feelings, relax our bodies and clear our minds — on the go. If we keep an eye out for the opportunities, we can easily find 30 minutes a day for meditation: whether we’re at work, home or on holiday.
We can meditate while we wait or walk, while we commute, exercise or eat. We can even meditate while we talk (and listen). For 42 ways to integrate meditation into your day, check our Eric Harrison’s great little book, The 5-Minute Meditator.
Over the years, I’ve been surprised and delighted at the many times, places and strategies my students have come up with. And I certainly would never have expected that the bathroom would have come out on top! Many have said, for example, that the only place they can get some guaranteed time out during the working day is in the toilet. So they happily lock themself in the cubicle at work because they know that, for a few minutes at least, there’ll be no phone calls, interruptions, or requests from the boss!
The office work ethic often sees people eating lunch at their desk — taking a break to stretch or go for a walk is sometimes frowned upon — as though such things are unproductive. Going to the toilet, however, is a perfectly permissible escape route.
And as Eric Harrison asks: “Why not make the most of it [a trip to the toilet]? It can be quite a pleasure. At least one sphincter has to relax completely or it’s not worth going at all. And when you let one muscle go, others can relax in sympathy.”
Lorin Roche (another meditation teacher and author worth listening to) concurs: after all, meditation is — in his words — just “taking a mental dump!”
Where and when do you meditate? Feel free to leave your comments below.