We all live busy lives. Sometimes it is hard to find the time, even 20 minutes, to dedicate to meditation sitting practice. That is why I'd like to offer a practice that might suit those who lead a busy lifestyle. I call it micro meditations. This means that you are using the time you have, whether it is 5 minutes, 2 minutes, or 1 minute, to take centering breaths. This is how it works:
Say you are a doctor and have a lot of patients during the day, leaving you little to no time to meditate aside from your work. Micro meditations means that instead of doing one longer sitting practice, you take advantage of the little times you have throughout the day to do short meditation sessions to re-center yourself. This could be done after a patient is finished and before a new patient is received. Take 10, 5, or 3 breaths to re-align yourself to your center and act from that place. Let go of all the details of your life and remember yourself, and feel into a sense of naturalness. Once you have tapped into that place of ease and centeredness, continue the rest of the day from that place and try not to lose it in the details. Do this after every patient, and it may be successful in making a significant difference in how you feel and approach your work.
The effect of these short practice sessions allow for a major transition: thinking, feeling, and acting based on a “being” identity versus a “doing” identity (See “Doing Versus Being” under the “Meditation Documents/Handouts” on the website). Often in our western fast-paced society we emphasize our doing more than our being. This means we identify with what we do and the goals and purposes we have rather than who we are. Take the common introduction experience: when you meet someone new the thing you usually ask them is not about what they love or care about, its what they do for a living. This emphasis on doing over being leads inevitably to burn out because we become so lost in things of outer value that we forget the things of inner value: that of our restful, innately meaningful being and our appreciation of that. That is why yoga and meditation is becoming so much more popular, since it is a way to realign ourselves with our being and let go of our doing for a while. Micro meditations allow us to constantly re-align ourselves with our being, our peaceful center that is always there but we cover over with stress. When we can be reminded of this place by practicing micro meditations during the day, all of our action can be informed by our innately natural and easeful being, and not our anxious and ungrounded doing. We work with grace.
In this way we do our job better, since we can be there for our clients, be there for the step that is at hand and not do something thinking three steps ahead. Even if we multitask or think ahead, we do so with ease and not with tension. Taking that 10, 5, or 3 breaths of centering makes our action grounded in its true meaning, service, and not in our often selfish anxiety. We can focus more on others rather than saving our own backs. May you come to incorporate micro meditations into your work life that you may remember who you are, why you do what you do, and what place within yourself you do it from.