You’ve most likely heard of meditation by now. You probably have an idea of what it’s like – sitting quietly for long periods of time, chanting, with incense and special music in the background. Maybe your idea is something totally different, but I’m guessing it involves a significant amount of time.
We all know that with home, work, family responsibilities, and all the other things going on we don’t have a lot of spare time. In fact, the thought of taking time to meditate may seem ludicrous – especially when there is so much to do.
Gary Keller once said, “It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.” That may be very true, and meditative living can be the key to finding that balance. Meditative living may even open the door to having time to enjoy some real meditation.
Benefits of Meditative Living
Living meditatively can increase your peace of mind. You’ll soon feel more relaxed and at ease. With your mind at peace, you can still feel content when life’s inevitable disruptions try to get in the way.
You are able to accomplish more. Clarity of mind enhances your thinking and decision making. You can be more objective and manage your time effectively, achieving more with less effort.
Meditative living may lead to greater happiness. Once you start living meditatively, be prepared to smile frequently and feel more optimistic. The kindness and affection you offer to others will be returned to you many times over.
So how do you do it?
It takes a bit of practice, but it’s not all that hard to do. If you want to live a meditative life, here are some simple ideas to help get you started.
First of all, slow down! Did you ever see that cute poster that says, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” It’s true. Slowing down and taking your time to do a task enables you to take control. You can better set priorities and think strategically about how you want to get things done.
Get focused. It seems we are constantly being pulled in multiple directions. Everyone needs something, and most everyone thinks their something is the most important. Don’t let them disrupt your process. If it is not an emergency, calmly set a time to address the issue, then go back to the task you are working on. Stay focused on one thing at a time.
People used to think multi-tasking was a great thing, but recent research shows it may not be a good idea. According to an article by Kendra Cherry, “Multitasking seems like a great way to get a lot done at once. But research has shown that our brains are not nearly as good at handling multiple tasks as we like to think they are. In fact, some researchers suggest that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by as much as 40%.”
Be aware of the world around you. Appreciate what is outside of your office or cubicle. Take time during the day to get outside and breathe in the air, take a walk, observe and experience nature. Make new acquaintances, who may someday become new friends. Learn new skills.
Let go. Expecting things to go one way, and only one way will undermine your peace. Understand and accept that much of life is uncertain, but you can shape your experiences by how you decide to respond to what happens. You are in control of your mind and your attitude. Turn the disruptions into positive life lessons.
Practice compassion. Many people are having a difficult time. They don’t have tools for a peaceful life like you. Reach out when you see someone who looks like they need a helping hand. Do what you are able to do to help, but more importantly, listen and show them that you care about what they are going through. A little compassion can go a long way.
Be grateful for everything. Make your own gratitude journal – whether it’s a fancy leather bound book or a pile of notes kept in a drawer – take the time to write down at least three things a day for which you are thankful. Take time to share the things you appreciate. Tell others what you appreciate about them. Say thank you to the people you see each day – especially those who serve.
Meditative living in your daily routine
Practice self care. It’s easier to be mindful in your daily routine when you feel good. Take time to plan and eat healthy meals. Get enough physical activity. Make the time to get restful sleep. Treat yourself now and then with something you really enjoy doing. Self care is so important, yet it is the first thing most people give up when they get busy.
Spend quality time with people. We live in a society that is so automated, many people can go through the entire day on their own, taking just the required time to meet their obligations. Let people know you value them, and they will usually reciprocate. We need human interaction. Meditative living means you are mindful of others and that mindfulness can help you to be more patient with your friends and loved ones.
Find work that you love to do. If you can, find an occupation that aligns with your values and goals. If that is not an option right away, work on a plan that will allow you to do what you love in the future.
Give back to your community. Find local causes to get involved in that make a difference in the community. If you have children, help out at school events. Volunteer at a senior center, help at a food bank, do what you can to support those in need. You will make new friends and connections that will enrich your life more than you can imagine.
Not a quick fix, but worth it
Meditative living doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual approach that will help you become more mindful of the world around you. Be patient with yourself, and with those around you as they get used to the changes they see in your life. Who knows? You may even find that it opens up time in your schedule to take that meditation class at the community center.
Find your purpose – find your joy!