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Spontaneous Meditations

How I Learned to Meditate Anytime, Anywhere

Staring at these fish for several minutes at the aquarium is a great way to clear your mind. Photo courtesy of Alfred Popp.

Meditation. Such a loaded word. If you’ve never tried it, chances are the very idea is intimidating. If you have tried it, maybe you found it elusive and difficult. I’m also willing to bet many of you experience guilt around the topic of meditation — I should be doing more of it, I shouldn’t be having this much difficulty with it, I should do it more regularly.

I laugh now remembering I was actually putting off starting a meditation practice until I knew my crazy-full-time-working-mom life settled down and I’d be able to commit to a daily practice! I’m glad I didn’t wait, because I’d still be waiting.

Starting was one thing, and you can read more about starting things in general in a previous post here.

Demystifying meditation, though, has definitely helped me maintain a practice. I definitely don’t sit on a meditation cushion for twenty minutes each day! And while I do try to start and end each day with meditation, my breakthrough has come from finding moments throughout the day to stop and become still, to refocus and enjoy mental silence. In fact, the activity I’m often doing at the moment often works better than a mantra.

A few recent examples:

  • Blow-drying my son’s still-damp school shirt at 6:30am in the bathroom before I wake him up and he has nothing to wear.
  • Waiting for the kettle to boil.
  • Sitting in my youngest son’s room waiting for him to fall asleep.

(Aside: Please don’t even get me started on sleep training … This is exactly what I never wanted to happen, and what I avoided with my first two kids … But here I am, sitting in the room while my three-year-old falls asleep in his bed each night. It started about six months ago, and I’m just rolling with it. I’ve chosen to trust that the universe wants me to learn something from this and so I’m turning it into an opportunity, a gift — I sit quietly on his tiny red wooden IKEA chair in the dark, palms turned upward resting lightly on my knees, eyes closed, until his breathing slows and becomes audible. That’s my signal that I can end my meditation.)

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So much is available on how to meditate that I won’t go into that here. You’ll notice, though, in my examples above of spontaneous opportunities to meditate, that there is a focal point — the whoosh of the blowdryer, the sound of the heating water, my son’s breath. This practice is not to be confused with taking a mindful minute to become more present or to practice gratitude. Meditation for me is about clearing the mind, being still.

But you can do that anywhere — no candle or cushion required!

Your turn:

Have you struggled with starting or maintaining a meditation practice? Are there moments in your day you could use as a meditation? Do you already do this?

Head over to the blog and let me know in the comments.

Originally published at cecilepopp.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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