Finding Time to Meditate
Welcome to the Real World. It doesn’t matter how old you are. The decisions you make now are as real as any others you will make during the course of your life. What you say, think, and do now actually matters.
Almost everything in our 21st century, material-centric life resists meditation. There is always an exam to prepare for, friend to catch up with, work to do, book to read, movie to watch, child or spouse to spend time with, instrument to practise, party raging somewhere, load of laundry to be washed, phone call to make, text message to respond to, email to write, etc.
Many new meditators think that at some point everything will just fall into line, and meditation will naturally have an appropriate, steady, appointed time slot in their busy schedule. Meanwhile, as they wait for this blessed day to come (which never does), everything else they have to do continues to get done, while their meditation practice doesn’t.
Seasoned meditators know it is on them, every day, to carve out the time to meditate. It is always sitting down that’s the hard part, as everything else continues to resist the time they set aside for meditation. So, how do they ignore the distractions of contemporary life to sit down and do their duty to themselves? They make meditation their unyielding number one priority, and they don’t let anything get in its way.
“But, I’m simply too busy to meditate.” I don’t buy it, not even for a second. The busiest, most successful people I’ve ever met have at least one uncompromising daily ritual of sorts. I’ve met countless high-level artists, surgeons, performers and executives who have their secretaries deflect all calls and meetings during their appointed one hour every day while they swim, run, walk, meditate, or nap. Aside from consistently getting enough sleep every night, they all credit this personal time as the key to their continued success.
There is a volume of scientific data and contemporary literature on this topic of performance theory, the need for intentional breaks during the day. Yet many people think we have less time to meditate in our day than someone running a global company. No way. We just haven’t made it a priority like they have. Why not? Because we haven’t felt its effects yet. I sympathise with this line of logic, but, in order to feel its effect, we first must be uncompromising in our priorities. In this situation, the chicken comes first. Once we make it a priority, a magical thing happens: it soon becomes the point around which everything else revolves – busy or not. Suddenly we start wondering how we could have ever lived without this sacred refuge of time alone with our inner being, no longer needing to force that which has become as natural to our wellbeing as breathing.
The author is a business leader and writer who currently lives with his wife in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He is a Heartfulness meditation trainer. www.heartfulness.org