You Can Meditate Anytime, Anywhere

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“Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The reason why a lot of people who would like to try meditating don’t try it is cognitive behavioral in nature. They are caught up in assumptions about what meditation is, about how and where it should occur. They might think it’s only for monks and holy people, or that it’s got to occur in a temple or on a mat in the lotus position, or that it takes years of training under a master, or that they just don’t have the right temperaments for it. These and other beliefs about meditation are taken as cold hard facts by many Westerners, facts that keep them from ever approaching the practice.

The truth is that you can meditate anytime, anywhere. This is because, at least in how Zen Buddhism sees it, meditation simply means focusing all of your attention on what you are doing in the present moment. You’re not in some metaphysical sphere while you’re meditating but rather fully in the concrete world, engaging 100% of yourself in and with whatever the object of your meditation is.

The hallway from your cubicle to the bathroom is a walking meditation path, watering your plants is a meditative activity, the ring of your phone is a bell to help you come to your breathing in the present moment. The point is that our modern world, even with all its distractions, doesn’t have to keep you from meditation but is exactly where it can and does occur. You don’t need a temple, a mat, a forest canopy with sunlight filtering through, a waterfall, or a Buddha statue to meditate, although all these things would be nice. All you need is yourself, your breath, and your commitment to infusing an object of interest with mindfulness by bringing all of your attention to it in the present moment and you will be meditating.