The quest for ultimate mindfulness without taking any time from your day
We all know meditation is good for you. It’s on the list of things we’re supposed to do to be better humans. Mindfulness pulls us from thought-addiction and brings us into the present.
The facts are undisputed. Meditation is one of the few exercises backed by both scientific and spiritual sides. It’s a toothbrush for your true self. There’s no arguing. We should all meditate.
Knowing we should meditate and actually getting it done are two different things.
The act of taking deliberate time to sit without thought-wandering is an easy activity to avoid. We know we should take 20 minutes and sit, but the daily habit isn’t there yet. We rely on willpower to force ourselves to meditate. And lo! It doesn’t get done. We push the meditation off ‘till tomorrow. And the next day.
Sure, we might meditate once or twice a month, but that won’t help our mindfulness much. We’ll spend most of that time being pissed at ourselves for not meditating enough — negating those precious moments of sitting.
I’ve wrestled with this for years.
I’ve meditated since I was a teenager, but I have yet to develop a daily habit of sitting and meditating on a regular basis. I sit and meditate a lot, but not daily. I used to beat myself up about this. I use to feel like a meditation failure. But I stopped that nonsense a few years ago — once I learned the secret I’m about to share with you.
You can meditate without meditating
We can get the benefits (mindfulness, calm, and stress-relief) without sitting to meditate. I’d argue this technique may be more real-world helpful than meditating on that perfect cushion, in a peaceful setting.
When we sit in our perfect spot, sure it’s peaceful, but does it prepare us for the trenches?
As someone who’s addicted to his thoughts much of the day, I don’t think it does. Frequent meditation for 20 minutes a day taught me how to meditate and get in state much faster the more I practiced. But it did almost nothing for my daily mindfulness.
I had just as much trouble being present, had I not been meditating.
So, what’s the catch?
We’ve got to put ourselves into mindfulness bootcamp. We’ll give ourselves real-world triggers to practice meditating without meditating. I know it sounds odd, but I’ll explain in a minute.
Purists will argue with me. That’s cool. I get it. The method I’m about to share has almost no spiritual side and everything to do with real-time mindful sharpening.
If you’ve ever had trouble meditating every day you’re not alone.
This happens to most people. It’s easy NOT to meditate. Nothing happens. There are not repercussions, save we’re still stuck with our old selves. Well, I got tired of my old self. I’ve still got a long way to go, but we can learn to meditate without meditating — and we can do it without taking more than a couple seconds from our day.
We need to be present
The distractions are everywhere. When you’re an introvert like me, we tend to live in our heads more than extroverts. Not only do we contend with our digital distractions, but we time-travel to the past and future, without really living in the present.
Mindfulness is the ultimate fix for thought addiction.
With mindfulness meditation we repeatedly put our brains through bootcamp. We focus. We lose focus. And we bring ourselves back to focus — repeatedly. The practice never ends. We get a little better every day.
We know all this.
The problem is the doing. There’s so much pressure on us to be all-or-nothing with meditation. We get off our (or on) our asses a few days in a row and something happens to derail our meditation sessions. We feel like failures and we drop the habit altogether.
I’ve got a different solution for you.
I didn’t invent this. I put this method together from multiple sources. What I will show you is a foolproof method you can use to start TODAY and never miss another meditation session in your life.
No more beating yourself up for not sitting like a monk. I’ll show you a method where you’ll practice mindfulness as it happens — in the trenches. You’ll steel your mind with real-world examples. No more candles and cushions. No more chimes and headphones. All that stuff is great too — but we’ll go deep and we’ll become more mindful as the world gives us opportunities.
Ready? Let’s do this.
How to meditate without meditating
First, like any good habit-building we need a trigger. For our trigger we’ll use some sage advice I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh — breathe on the bells.
What does it mean to breathe on the bells?
This means we’ll use real-world triggers as a reminder to be fully-present. And we’ll exercise this practice HUNDREDS of moments per day, not just one, 20 minute session in the morning.
Thich Nhat Hanh gave the example to listen for church bells or monastery bells. I wanted more triggers than the chance for random bells a few times a week. I wanted constant, daily, relentless bells.
Find your bells.
I use brake lights and stop signs. Any time I see brake lights or a stop sign I focus on the moment and breathe from my diaphragm, not my chest. These red lights are my bells to stop and meditate.
Maybe your bells are a baby giggle, or every time your boss asks you to do something not worthy of your time. Your bells are nothing but a pre-chosen signal, out there in the real world — a moment where we stop, focus, think about nothing but the moment, and breathe.
Maybe we breathe once.
Maybe we’re at a light and we breathe five times.
In through the nose.
Deep into the belly.
Out through the mouth.
If you breathe right, you’ll feel goosebumps throughout your body — oxygenating your blood. We don’t breath deeply enough. This will help train your mind to slow down.
Meditation is easy
It’s hard to do wrong, yet takes a lifetime to master. If your mind wanders as you inhale, recognize the thought, but don’t let it affect you. “Hello though,” is what I say to myself. Then I take another breath.
You can do this.
We all can meditate without meditating.
It’s portable. This method takes no time from your life. We learn to be present during real-life triggers. This helps train our minds for the moments of stress where we need it most. The times where we should be fully-present, but our mind wandered in the past.
Your mind will still wander.
But you’ll recognize it faster.
Find your bells.
We’re waiting for you.