Meditation is not something you have to do for a set amount of time everyday, or even something that you necessarily have to set time aside for at all. To meditate is to be mindful, and to be mindful is a way of life, not just something you switch on for 20 minutes in between other activities and tasks. Mindfulness meditation can be implemented anytime, anywhere.
In a normal day you may have to go to work, drop off and pick up your kids from school, cook dinner, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, and so on… You might look at all of these tasks as obstacles that get in the way of you having time to meditate, but these can actually be turned into opportunities to meditate more often and become more mindful.
You can always be more aware, more mindful of what you are doing, no matter what it is. Similarly, you can always be more compassionate regardless of what you are doing in the present moment. Think about all of the things you do in a typical day that you do completely on autopilot. Are you always paying attention while you’re driving? Are you always paying attention when you’re getting dressed in the morning, or walking your dog? Or, are you thinking of other things when you perform routine, day to day, tasks?
Being mindful simply means to be aware. In other words, to pay attention and focus…Whenever you are not focusing on the present moment, you are not being mindful. That’s not to say that it isn’t also important to be contemplative and retrospective at times, but if you are trying to work on your mindfulness, every single moment you are not focused on what you are doing is an opportunity to practice.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that while you should be observant of what you are doing in the present moment, you should not be judgmental. The point of the exercise is not to determine if each moment is good or bad; it is simply to observe and focus on the present, non-judgmentally. For some of you, this might be the hardest part, but just remember you must be patient. The more you make an effort to observe without judging, the easier it will become.
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