How to Find Time to Meditate
There’s an old zen parable about a student sitting at the breakfast table at the monastery for a while with his master.
He asks, “Master, what is the Buddha?”
The Master looks at him and asks, “Have you eaten your breakfast yet?”
“Wash your bowl and go rake some leaves.”
A lot of these zen parables don’t appear to make sense logically because they’re really more like poetry. What the Master is really saying here is that the Buddha is everything.
It’s the food you eat. It’s the act of washing the dishes. It’s the act of raking leaves. It’s the act of everything, including the mundane.
Many people have a hard time meditating. Their common complaint is a racing mind that can’t slow down or stop.
I could talk for a long time about all of that, but I’m avoiding it in this week’s vlog. Instead, I’ll just say that I’m a very busy man, running multiple businesses, traveling, teaching, writing new courses and carrying a pretty full load of clients almost all of the time.
All that said, I need to honor myself and meditate too, and do my tai chi. Some days, I meditate in the sauna at the end of the day, because that’s what works best for my schedule.
On other days, I get out and do tai chi as well as meditate. Sometimes, I just sit and do various types of meditation when I can fit it in and not make it a stressful thing (if you do that, you’re killing the whole purpose of doing it).
One of the things I do as a practice which is very zen is I try to turn mundane activities into meditations. That’s why I enjoy coming out here, when I’ve got rock stacks up or after I’ve cleaned the circle, then taking a rake and following the lines and making circles like you see in zen gardens.
The secret: If an activity is so mundane that your ego thinks it knows what’s going on, then it begins to relax. Paradoxically, it creates a very good environment for meditation because you need to stay present with the raking and the experience, but you can get lost in the repetition of it.
Think of things like folding laundry, washing dishes, raking leaves, splitting firewood or pulling weeds in a garden. These are all things that require just enough ego awareness to stay conscious but because they’re repetitious things, the ego tends to fall asleep a little bit.
So, you have what I refer to as “one eye open and one eye closed” or “dreaming awake.” These very simple activities can take you into beautiful, deep meditative states.
Then, doing the laundry or dishes, raking leaves and all of those mundane things you once thought of as tedious become much more magical. Now, it’s easier to incorporate meditation into your day, so you can relax and feel the earth, the grass, the leaves, the wind and the sun and just be.
Just connect with all of it and not have an agenda or any kind of meditation technique which keeps the mind trapped in a state of analyzing everything. Just enjoy it.
If you look at my book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, I have a series of Zone exercises to help you balance different energy centers. These exercises aren’t heavy on technique, just breathing and movement to move blood, oxygen and awareness to key parts of your body to help you heal.
Have an great week!
Love and chi,