Integrating meditation into your everyday life

You don’t have to join a yoga group or order a Zen Zafu online to begin adding meditative practices into your routine. In today’s busy world, who has time to stop for an hour just to clear their mind, right? What if I told you that you didn’t have to stop what you were doing? Any mind numbing task could be the first step to adding meditation to your routine.

Let’s take monks for example, it doesn’t really matter which religious sect they belong to, all of them have learned how to practice mindfulness while doing daily chores. The purpose is to seek out enlightenment in every aspect of their life. Now we don’t have to go quite as far as dedicating our existence to achieving higher consciousness, but we can integrate their habits into our own lives to make it richer. It’s easy; first think of which type of meditation works best for you. Do you like focused meditation (controlling your thoughts) or mindfulness meditation (allowing your thoughts to roam freely)? After deciding this, simply start integrating them into everyday activities. Many claim that while doing this, it doesn’t even feel like work anymore!

Just like when beginning any other meditation routine, try to start out with clearing your mind-but remember not to let yourself become frustrated if you are unable to do so.  Try starting off with simple monotonous household chores such as washing dishes or vacuuming the floors. Try to center your attention just on the task at hand, not allowing any other thoughts to enter your focus. When doing dishes, try not to think about work or school, or what’s going to be for dinner tomorrow. Just watch the dishes become clean. Watch the floor become magically dirt free as you roll the vacuum back and forth across the floor, or when you fold towels, pay attention to your breath and clear your mind. Utilize these tasks into focal points in order to distract yourself from everything else going on.

If your mind is whirling with activity and your hectic brain threatens your sense of serenity, it’s okay to just let the thoughts flow through your mind.  Allow each thought an allotted amount of attention and remind yourself: “I am using this time to clear my mind, since there is nothing I can do about this right now, I will just have to think about it later” and simply push the thought aside.

It doesn’t end at household chores.  Getting out of the house and going for a walk can be therapeutic by itself. Combining meditation with your relaxing walk more than doubles the benefits. You get your exercise, burn a few calories, get some fresh air, while at the same time using mindfulness to reach your inner self. If you like you can use the mindfulness method explained above or you can try Kinhin. Kinhin is a traditional Buddhist Zen technique practiced during breaks from sitting Zazen meditation, helping to teach them how to integrate awareness into mundane activities. It’s more formal, synchronizing your breathing with each step in order to push other thoughts aside.

It is advised to find and practice a regular technique in order to reach the full benefits. After practicing for a while, using these tips you will see how meditation helps calm the mind and realize the therapeutic benefits that will inspire you to meditate more often.  Who knows, maybe you will join that yoga group after all?

References:

http://www.zenspace.org/site/Meditation_Walking.html

http://innerself.com/Meditation/cianciosi_john_02154.htm

http://www.shinzen.org/

http://www.deepermeditation.net

About bridget

bridget webber

Bridget Webber’s background rests in mental health, counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP and art. She brings knowledge from her experiences into her writing and specializes in emotional wellness and the creation of, rather than search for, joy. You can catch up with her insights and musings on Twitter.

Twitter: @InsightManager

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