If you’re new to mindfulness practice, one of the things you’ll have to embrace is the idea of meditation. I choose not to meditate. I prefer to sit.
Meditation is a concept that is weighed down with extraneous meaning. It suggests a search for something – enlightenment, meaning, happiness. It can be daunting. It is also something that we need to find time for, like cookery or bassoon practice. This in itself can lead to failure. Our days are busy enough without finding the time for something new. Who has time to meditate?
All of our days are different. We have to travel. Perhaps we have to attend meetings. Maybe we need to deal with colleagues and customers. We could have children to look after. Some of us spend a large part of the day on our feet. But I can guarantee that we all get to sit down at some time during the day.
When I notice myself sitting down, I take it as a cue to start to clear my mind. It’s surprising how often I find myself sitting, and so I get to meditate more than I would if I had to purposefully set aside the time.
More daunting than finding the time to meditate, we might have to explain to others that we would like to have the time to meditate. We may need to get permission to spend ten or twenty minutes by ourselves; from spouse or partner, colleagues or children. To paraphrase the movie, the first rule of mindfulness club is that no-one talks about mindfulness. This puts us in an intractable situation, a paradox. How do we ask for time to meditate if we also want to avoid talking about meditation?
Sitting is neutral. Sitting won’t upset anybody. I doubt anyone would object if you said, “You go ahead and start watching the movie – I just want to sit for ten minutes”, or “Kids, go and get on with your homework – I just want to sit for a little while”. Or how about, “Hold my calls for ten minutes – I just need to sit.”
On the whole, people will understand your desire for a few moments of silence. In my experience, they will go further and do what they can to protect your sitting from unnecessary interruptions.
So take your cues from your day. When you find yourself sitting, breathe. Listen to your breath and come into the moment.