Being Meditative Without Meditating

We all know Meditation has many health benefits. Lowering blood pressure, better sleep and improvement of overall health. But even I, despite traveling the world and sitting in monasteries find it difficult to cultivate a practice. So, after much research and many trainings I have learned to be meditative without my buckwheat pillow. Here are some ideas:

1.) Breathe. Dr. Andrew Weil, true pioneer of integrative medicine, uses 4-7-8. Breathe in through the nose for the count of 4. Hold for the count of 7. Breathe out for the count of 8. Repeat three times. You immediately calm the fight of flight response and restore balance. 

2.) The next time you are drinking your morning cup of coffee or tea (preferably green) be present. It only takes 1-2 minutes to mindfully engage the five senses. What does it taste like? What do you see? Is it hot? What do you enjoy about the aroma? And finally, what can you hear?

3.) Try a walking meditation. Just notice your surroundings. It is Spring in the northeast after all. What birds are singing? Perhaps the flowers are bursting out of the ground. Again, engage the five senses. Taste, Sight, Touch, Smell and Hearing.

4.) My favorite: The Shower. What a wonderful way to start or end your day. No phones, no TV just you present with yourself. Again, just breathe and notice your surroundings. Plenty of senses here! 

Over time we actually learn to re-pattern the brain to cultivate calm. The great thing is that if you do this one to two times a day it because easier and easier to feel centered and bring our awareness to the present moment. You can then have this state of mind readily available when needed. In traffic, an off putting comment from a friend, stress at work, or ruminating thought.

Namaste

Here are some apps and links to get you started:
http://www.mindful.org
http://www.stopbreathethink.org

Mike McKenna