It was the ultimate irony –
I learned how to meditate to decrease stress.
But I stressed out about not meditating enough.
A friend pointed this out to me when I complained about breaking my meditation streak on Headspace.
So I asked myself, where did the stress come from?
Even deeper irony: it came from my meditation practice.
Inadvertently, I created a meditation bubble around myself. I began to associate meditation with quiet mornings, sitting cross legged on a chair, and opening my favorite meditation app.
The chasm I failed to cross? Bringing meditation into my everyday life:
- Working out.
- Checking my email.
- Talking to someone.
- Driving on the 101 (forgetaboutit)
It hit me like a yoga mat that I could be meditative throughout the activities that I usually associate with work or stress.
To meditate and not leverage its benefits throughout the day is like working out and never using the body’s newfound abilities for play. Or reading a bunch of business books and never starting a business.
The key for me was to shift my mental construct of meditation as an action to mindfulness as a way of being. From doing to being.
I was inspired by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits to consider the simplicity of the breath.
To “meditate,” all that’s required is one deep breath.
And this one breath can be accessed any time…
- When you’re washing dishes
- Walking your puggle
- Eating dat 5th taco
Everything from the important to mundane can be done with mindfulness.
Mindfulness is not a meditation app. And any separation between meditation and everyday life is just self imposed stress.
Realizing this helped me unlock more flow in my unstructured life. Working out is meditation. Writing is meditation. Heck, dating is meditation.
And lest I forget, I just take one deep breath.
The breath is portable. We something we always have, allowing us to access the benefits of meditation any time, any place.