Day 28: Don't Think You Have Time to Meditate? Try This Instead.
Don’t think you can find time in the day to meditate?
Think instead about the times during the day when you move.
As in, walking – from your car to the office, say, or walking the dog, or even walking from one meeting to another. Notice the different paces of walking – sometimes briskly, others leisurely. Notice the different ways that your feet hit the ground, maybe depending on the different shoes you’re wearing at different times of the day. Notice also how the air feels against the skin on your arms, and how the sun shines on your face.
Then notice your breath. Is it shallow and rushed? More slow and deep? See if the nature of it changes as you step through this short checklist.
This is mindful walking, also known as walking meditation. Not many of us have time in our days for hour-long sitting meditation, but most of us do need to move around a fair bit.
That’s also our time to meditate.
It’s all about paying attention to this moment, and in this moment. It’s a shift from “go go go” to “here, now.”
Walking meditation is a practice of focus.
It turns out that there is also a correlation between walking, meditating, and something called “deep work.” I’m currently reading a book called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport, and here are a few examples I learned.
- The psychologist Carl Jung, after spending the morning writing in a minimally appointed room, would then meditate and walk in the woods to clarify his thinking in preparation for the next day’s writing.
- In the late afternoon, Charles Darwin would walk on a proscribed route “until satisfied with his thinking then declare his workday done.”
- And then there’s Friedrich Nietzsche, who said that “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.” (A personal favorite, that.)
Here’s the bottom line: Meditation, and walking meditation, can fit into our busy day to day lives. Even better, when we practice mindful walking, we can improve our focus, which can lead to deeper work.
I hope this helps. Please drop us a line and let us know, one way or the other.