When reading up on meditation techniques for beginners, it is often suggested that you should practice meditation for a certain amount of time every day – e.g., 20 minutes a day. While it is ideal that you set aside a fixed amount of time to meditate each day, that does not mean you have to make time for it. In fact, mindfulness meditation can be practiced virtually anywhere at any time.
What is mindfulness meditation? In simplest terms, it is focusing on the moment. You could even go so far as to say that it is simply the act of focusing… on anything. You might be thinking, “but I focus all the time.” Do you really, though? Think about all the tasks you do every day on autopilot, without actually focusing on them. In other words, without devoting your full level of concentration.
An easy way you can tell if you are paying attention to what you are doing is by noticing if you are thinking about other things while you’re doing it. For example, when you are driving, are you focusing on driving, or are you talking to yourself or singing along to the radio? You’re probably talking to yourself or singing along to the radio, which means you aren’t really focusing on driving; you’re doing it on autopilot.
Here’s another good example: When you are eating, are you really thinking about eating, or are you thinking about other things? Are you really noticing every bite you take? Are you really thinking about chewing your food and swallowing it? Probably not.
You see, it’s not that you don’t have the time to meditate, it’s that you don’t take advantage of all the opportunities you have to practice it. Almost every waking moment of your life could be viewed as an opportunity to practice mindfulness meditation, but you cannot realize this if you don’t change your perception. You can change your perception of ordinary tasks by noticing when something is requiring your full concentration and when it isn’t.
Again, most of the things you do don’t require your full attention: walking, talking, breathing, eating, brushing your teeth, talking a shower, getting dressed, etc… You are perfectly capably of doing these tasks while your mind is somewhere else. Once you take notice of this, you will begin to find endless opportunities to meditate.
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