We should give every available moment that we remember to meditation. We are often afraid to release our thoughts and opinions because we are convinced that we need them. How will we remember important events and details if we don’t constantly remind ourselves? How can we drive on busy streets or plan the day appropriately without thought? You will find that the more centered you are, the more empty, the more you’ll remember, the better the quality of your work and the faster time will fly. The quieter your mind is the quicker you act in necessary moments that require attention.
When centered and silent while interacting with others, powerful, important words will flow through you which will be more potent and pure than anything you could have said from an ego standpoint. Miraculous things will happen all around you and your day will be a blissful one.
Once you are ready for meditation it makes itself apparent to you. It takes a long time to learn how to quiet your thoughts enough to do any technique, so give yourself a break if your mind constantly diverts your attention away from silence. It’s going to happen, the secret is not to judge yourself but to simply drop the thought and place yourself back in your practice. I find that after 30 minutes of dropping my thoughts my mind stills considerably, but you don’t have to have that much time to accomplish enough to progress.
Some days meditation will seem pointless because your emotions will constantly divert your attention, and you need to give attention and respect to them instead of chiding yourself for not being centered. The easiest technique for focus on the go is the center-point technique. At any point during your day when you find yourself slipping into illusion or pain, first ask yourself if the emotion is something you need to attend to. If you attempt to meditate and find that you simply can’t focus enough to perform it, allow yourself to nurture the feelings that are distracting you.
I like to imagine a duplicate of myself which is feeling the emotion or the pain, and imagine myself hugging that “me”, embracing the pain it is suffering. If my head is hurting, for instance, I will imagine a “me” who is holding her head. I will hug her and rub her back. Sometimes emotions simply need to be heard and allowed, and spiritual people are the worst at refusing to allow emotions because we hold ourselves to high standards unrealistic for our current state.
Ever heard the phrases “Be here now”, “Zen-cat” and “Live in the moment”? These are the phrases which best describe the center-point technique. No matter what you are doing, you can drop any state of being and focus solely on the action of the moment, thus returning yourself to center. There are many names for this technique. The famous teacher Eckhardt Tolle describes it as Presence.
If you are working focus on the job in front of you, allowing every non~work~related thought to pass by, even those which you may feel should be important. Pay attention to each detail, do that part of the job until it is done and then move to the next step of action. So much of our mechanical actions cause us to be lost in thought. Each time you suddenly realize you’ve gotten lost in a thought or memory, simply drop the thought in mid-sentence (without judging yourself or the thought) and return to looking directly at the job before you, focusing on each aspect of it and what needs to be done.
When driving you can focus on the emblem of the car in front of you, allowing all thoughts to pass by without adding any personal commentary to them or going into what memory they might take you to. If someone’s bad driving takes your focus off of center, stop the thought in mid-sentence and allow it to pass; don’t reject it, simply cease to listen to what it is saying to you. If there are no cars in front of you, pick a center spot in your vision, in the middle of your lane or in the air above it. If you are listening to music, try and hold your focus on the music as a whole, not getting lost in your favourite parts, instruments or words, allowing all moments to pass with equal value.
~*SOCIAL SETTING *~
When having a conversation or listening to others talk amongst themselves, try to drop each judgment you make of the person’s words just as you feel it coming on. Each time it returns, drop it in mid-sentence. This tends to cause you to be uncharacteristically quiet but don’t allow that to deter you. If I find I have nothing to say or that the person is waiting for me to respond, I may say “Hmm…” and ponder the meaning of the words to them, not based on my personal opinions. I often repeat what I believe they have said back to them if I have nothing else to say. I try to think of what I know of their life and how it has caused them to feel that way, though this can be a tricky act because it can allow uninformed ideas to take root. It’s best to have no opinions of others at all.
As you lay down to sleep, close your eyes and focus on the center point in your vision, that point which is most natural and relaxed. The more I do this the more I find myself actually creating a visible center point behind my eyes. Sometimes it looks like a black hole and sometimes it appears as the pupil of an eye. Put thought on relaxing every muscle at once or, if you have the time, relax each muscle one by one beginning at the top of your head and moving downwards. If you have a good imagination you can imagine a white band of light moving downwards from the top of your head, like a scanner that relaxes every muscle as it goes down. When it gets to the tips of your toes begin it again at your head. The more you do this the more you’ll be able to actually feel it move down your body, to me it feels like a tingling sensation.
~*FOLLOW THE BREATH*~
The most classic bedtime (or anytime at all) technique you can perform is to focus on your breathing. Breathing is the one thing that you carry with you, the single act that is a constant everywhere you go. Each time you feel yourself worrying or remembering something, giving commentary on the day or daydreaming, return your thoughts to your breathing. You can even imagine yourself exhaling the thoughts with your breath. It doesn’t matter if you take moments between breaths or try and keep your breath steady, whatever feels right to you. It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep while meditating, if that’s all the time you have to give it some is better than none.
While meditating while driving one day I began to feel this alien sense of amazement at the world around me, as if I had just landed on planet Earth for the very first time. Trees, in particular, looked very fascinating to me; curious, living things that move with the wind and have roots deep in the ground. I’ve often repeated this technique with much success on days when I can’t seem to stop the thoughts from flowing, especially while driving, though it can be practiced anywhere, even indoors.
Simply imagine that you are an alien. Look at things without the categories you generally put them in or the names that you have for them, let them flow past you. Look at a flower as if you’ve never seen one before. When thoughts about the world around you begin to pop up, merely drop the thoughts in mid~sentence and allow your mind to return to silent wonder. Look at the symbols on your walls in the form of paintings or pictures and think of them the way an alien would. Look at the trees, the grass, the sky, as if you’ve come from some other, very different planet, and imagine that these things are unique to this world. Try not to think about them in any human terms, rather view them as the whole. Often this technique pops me out of association with thought.