Finding Zen at work? We’ve got the dips.
Meditation creates mindfulness – the state of being fully aware of the present, allowing you to calmly assess your thoughts and emotions after. While the pros practice mindfulness anywhere, it’s best for those just starting out to have lesser distractions, so find a quiet and comfortable place away from the hustle and bustle to meditate.
In the words of Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist monk who resides at the Shechen Monastery in Nepal: “You don’t learn the basics of navigation in the thick of a storm”.
Here are some 5-minute techniques you can use to meditate at work, to help you get through that hectic day.
Meditation of Breathing
Sit down comfortably while maintaining a balanced posture with your back straight (hands on your lap is fine – it’s not necessary to do the Buddha pose). Focus on breathing in calmly and naturally, and imagine the air flowing from your abdomen and slowly filling up to your chest, before breathing it out. You don’t have to alter the pace of your breathing. Simply be aware of the rhythm, and have your attention on the process of your breath.
If you find yourself distracted halfway through, don’t worry! Once you notice it, turn your attention back to your breathing. Instead of attempting to block external thoughts, allow it to pass you by as if it were the wind.
This type of meditation involves visualising something in your mind that makes you feel relaxed. Close your eyes and picture a nice waterfall, or a large spacious cornfield with birds chirping away in the distance. Recall a place from your childhood or a moment in time in that you’ve felt truly at peace. Be present in that scene and focus solely on admiring the beauty that you see.
This technique helps your mind achieve stability, peacefulness and improves your concentration.
Mindfulness of the Body
You can open your eyes for this one. Instead of focusing on your breathing, turn your attention to the various parts of your body, one at a time. Start by focusing on the sensations present in your feet. Be fully in your feet. They are the only things in your body that exist right now. Move a toe, and notice how sensitive it is, and appreciate its existence wholly. You will experience sensations that usually pass you by on a daily basis.
After a minute or so, move up to your calves, then your thighs, then your stomach. Same thing – only they exist now. Then move up your fingers, arms, mouth, nose, jaw, forehead and so on. Remember, you’re not limited to any body part. Be entirely present with your butt if you wish to.
Observation Without Grasping
This exercise doesn’t require you to be in a sitting position – in fact, you can attempt this form of meditation anywhere and anytime. The concept is to observe anything in your surroundings without imposing a “name” on it. For instance, if you see a tree in front of you, don’t think of it as a tree. Look at it as it is – its coarse texture, tall structure, bright coloured greens protruding at its ends.
Smell fragrances and odours as they are, taste a taste as it tastes. You could be doing anything; the action doesn’t matter. This form of meditation focuses on experiencing what you deem as ordinary things without your predisposed knowledge of what it is. Then, you realise, how wonderfully amazing everything is in itself, free of any judgement.
In a busy world where everything passes us by in a snap, it’s important to take some time and have a little pause. It helps us gain a deeper understanding of how we view the world – we learn to appreciate the finer things, and probably are less quick to judge another’s actions. Just five minutes a day. Thank us later.