There is a wonderful meditation story in which a student asks his teacher, “How do I practice meditation in my everyday life?” The teacher replies, “By eating and sleeping.” The student protests, “But everyone eats and sleeps! How is that meditation?”
The teacher answers, “But not everybody eats when they eat, and not everybody sleeps when they sleep. When I eat, I eat; when I sleep, I sleep.”
Clearly, the teacher is exhorting the student to do one thing at a time as a way of weaving meditation into his everyday life.
The Easiest Meditation Practice Ever
If everyone in the world took 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night to set aside for mindfulness meditation practice, the world would be a very different place indeed. But in the midst of a busy life, 20 minutes, twice a day feels nearly impossible for most people (present company included), so we have to get creative. This is where the easiest meditation practice comes into play.
For the purposes of the easiest meditation practice ever, I want you to use the principle from the opening story: do one thing at a time. You can eat when you eat and sleep when you sleep, but the easiest meditation practice is this: when driving, just drive! Yep! You read that correctly—use your driving time as your meditation practice. And before you dismiss your drive time as a potentially powerful time to practice, read on for a surprise twist!
Driving Meditation with a Surprise Twist
Exactly what does “when driving, just drive” mean?
- Pick a time once a day when you are driving alone in your car. It tends to be more challenging to do this practice with other people in your car. However, I have always found it particularly helpful to practice in this way when my kiddos are in the car, because that is exactly when I tend to need an extra dose of mindfulness!
- Look at the clock and determine how long you are going to practice “just driving.” 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? The amount of time is up to you.
- Set a timer on your cell phone so you can really settle into your practice. You do not need to set a timer if you are going to use your whole drive time as a meditation because the beginning and the ending of your practice is clear.
- Turn off your radio.
- Put away your cell phone (unless you are using it as a timer). Do not make any phone calls or do any other functions using your phone.
- Begin driving in silence (keep your eyes open).
- Feel your breath and notice what thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations arise as you drive.
- Commit to the practice once a day for one week. Mindfulness practice is dose-dependent—the more you do it, the more you will learn about yourself!
Maybe you are thinking, “But I enjoy driving quietly” or “I do not get frustrated when I am driving.” Great! That means you are ready for the added twist! If “just drive” doesn’t sound like it is going to yield much interesting information about your own habits and reactions, then add this final instruction:
9. Just drive the speed limit everywhere you go for one week!
I have shared this practice with hundreds of people. While most people like the idea of using their drive time to practice, when I add the final instruction, “drive the speed limit everywhere you go,” people practically fall out of their chairs in horror at the thought of NOT rushing from place to place.
Maybe the easiest meditation practice isn’t so easy after all! But go ahead and give it a try! I would love to hear from you! April@grcfm.com