Your active form of meditation at work is usually telling yourself to breathe just to get through the day. There’s pressure from all sides, and you’ve heard enough of people telling you to slow down and meditate when you’ve barely enough time to refill your coffee.
You don’t have time to sit with your legs crossed, chanting. Broken down, meditation is simply resting in quiet thought and reflection while observing. You’re still going to think. Yes, you can meditate while at work, when refilling your coffee.
Be Aware of How Normal Yet Extraordinary You Are
Meditation is as simple as taking time to do what you normally do, but with awareness and being conscious. The mundane offers opportunity for meditation. Catch yourself observing yourself. You’ll find a place within you is a silent witness, while the rest of you has a comment on everything.
Enjoy your food, and make life easier on your digestive system by chewing thoroughly and appreciatively. There will be a rhythm to your chewing. Let it be like the beat of a drum, keeping you grounded during your meal meditation.
So, what’s on the menu today? Find yourself in the moment, picking up the fork to eat your pasta, taking in the flavors of the basil and tomato. Observe the questions and meanderings your mind makes. Close your eyes, and let your other senses observe, too.
See what it is to simply be still and enjoy your meal, without a colleague complaining about work or an email notification popping up to take your attention away from yourself.
Go to the bathroom.
Everyone has to pee, but at work the bathroom is your escape and holding cell for your sanity. Your focus then becomes checking your cell phone. Look yourself deeply into the eyes, when you next face a mirror. Let go.
Ever found yourself observing the patterns on the floor or counting tiles? You were meditating in the bathroom. When using the restroom, what state of mind do you enter?
These bodily functions are something that nature has constructed to help your body process food and survive. Go ahead and laugh! You often go zombie on the normal things your body does anyway and take them for granted. Yet, there’s something grounding about your body forcing you to be still for a moment.
Run that errand that cuts into lunch.
Normally, your mind runs through a checklist of all the things you have to get done during your lunch hour. You’re going to use that checklist as a meditative guide.
Talk yourself through what you are doing in your mind. Fill your mind with the observations of your actions: “I am turning into the parking lot of this fast food joint. I am craving this, but I will order that. I have to… I should… Why don’t I? I need to…”
Notice how your mind phrases criticisms and reminders. It’s also Zen from an investigative point-of-view to observe yourself simply doing something. The conscious observations of your actions are turned into statements, making you more aware of what’s going on. This process of going through your daily life and observing the mundane as meditation brings mindfulness to the mindlessness doing of habits, or “habit energy” as Thich Nhat Hanh would say.
Find nature at your desk.
Sometimes, you’re working and eating at your desk for lunch. Change up your space during that time. Bring real or plastic succulent plants, rocks and colorful items to create a desktop Zen garden. You don’t have to rake one of those tiny sand pits to be Zen.
You’ll want an item to focus on if you need to take time. Choose a quote, a statue or specific plant. Give yourself at least a whole minute to be still as you meditate.
Refill your morning coffee.
Going to get a coffee during lunch (or the afternoon) is a habit which was once a break. Perhaps the caffeine pushes you, and that’s the only reason why you do it anymore.
Observe what comes with it. Are there other regulars at the coffee shop or coffee pot? As the liquid pours into the cup, what do you notice? What do you feel? What differs during each trip, and what is the same?
Meditation doesn’t require chanting or specific patterns of breathing. You don’t have to cross your legs.
Meditation may be even more powerful for the stressed professional that recognizes the present through the mundane habits and duties of everyday life. It’s in the little things. By finding your inner stillness in the midst of daily chaos, you are practicing meditation.
Corinne Keating is a health & wellness enthusiast who loves all things clean and green. She can usually be found outside, writing and trying to take her own mindfulness advice. Find her on her blog whysowell.com or on Twitter @corikeating.