This tale of two meditators emphasizes the importance of making meditation part of your daily life, not a twice-weekly workout. Eva used to work three jobs for half the year and spend the rest of the year in India on a spiritual quest. At break time, she never joined the other employees – she continued to work. The office manager Ed, on the other hand, found nirvana in three 10-minute, meditation breaks per day. Ed was always the friendliest and most positive employee while Eva was the most unapproachable – so much work, so little time before the next pilgrimage to the land of gurus.
If we were to check in on the lives of Ed and Eva today, which one of these former office mates would you expect to find in better health? Unfortunately, Eva had a mild heart attack before she reached 50. Observing the different lifestyles of Ed and Eva may give you a different perspective on Western-style meditation. The idea of living a high stress lifestyle for half the week and then driving for 20 minutes to a one-hour yoga class seems absurd. Wouldn’t you rather be more like Ed and live in the zone? What if you could do 1-Minute Meditations each day and get all the same benefits as a trek to India?
Considering that stress and unhealthy lifestyles are behind the rapid rise in lifestyle diseases, a few hours of stress management a week seemed like a nirvana vacation not a way of living. Eva lived in the high stress zone for the other half the year. High stress is linked to heart attacks, cancer, high blood pressure and dozens of other psychosomatic symptoms, including headaches, ulcers, dermatitis and fatigue. Meditation has been shown to reduce the stress-related symptoms that lead to disease and mood disorders. A survey of 600 transcendental meditation studies showed that two meditation breaks a day can help prevent disease.
Developing and adhering to a daily meditation routine, even one-minute meditation, could be a life enhancing and prolonging action. The challenge is to create a meditation practice that transcends the propensity of more than 50% of humans to abandon health resolutions. In Daily Tune-Up: Meditation Practice for Inspired Living, yoga master Alan Finger teaches poses, breathing techniques and chants to make daily meditation as natural as brushing your teeth. Here are some more techniques for reaching nirvana every day. The following ideas are based on proven methods for forming and maintaining new habits.
Sound the Chimes (Set a Schedule)
Set your mobile phone or computer to ring chimes at each time in the day you have set for meditation practice. A beautiful high resonance chime can put you in the zone even when you are in the worst of moods. You can set it for the amount of time you want to meditate for. Apps are available, too, to alert you when it is time to meditate and help you get into the zone. Choose a chime that you can play at intervals. In a busy, distracting workspace, chimes can help you focus.
Play Meditation Music
Set meditation music for the time of your meditation session – your nirvana alarm clock. Music can also be set to play at pre-set times throughout the day. And, yes, there is an app for that, too.
Anchors are actions that trigger a meditative state based on moods rather than a time of day. You can train your mind to go into a meditative state from a predetermined state with a self-designed gesture or word. Whenever you feel stress or anger, clench and release a fist in an effort to channel the negative energy and release it. This can also be a trigger to go into a meditative state. Develop anchors that are meaningful to you.
Zazen With Your Social Network
Plug your meditation into your social network. When we have social support for our goals, we are more likely to achieve them. Start a network on Twitter of those who tweet meditation ideas and inspiration.
Meditate With Office Mates
Both social support and a scheduled meditation will help you keep your resolution.
Meditate in Yoga Poses
Be honest. How many times have you let the noise from the day seep into your head during the Downward Dog? Use the beginning of each pose as the trigger to quiet your mind. I use a mantra to shift states. What is Yoga as Meditation? is a popular online course that can help you put more meditation into your yoga practice.
The key to meditation is breathing. No matter where you are, you can use your favorite meditation breath to move into a more relaxed state. Breathing calms the mind, focuses attention and unifies mind, body and spirit. With repeated practice, a breath can become like inhaling a meditation high that immediately shifts you into a new state. Consider adding a yoga pose, or modified pose, to strengthen the connection between your breath and body. Focus on synchronizing breath and body movements. Ommmmm …..
Reciting a mantra is another way to change states. If you have your own mantra, use it or try one of the many known mantras handed down through the millennia from ancient Buddhists and shamans. You can associate a mantra with a positive emotion but do not associate it with anything in the material world. If your mantra is anchored in the material world, you will fail to change states.
Behavioral analysts know a lot today about what makes us keep resolutions. We are more apt to stay on course if we have commitments, rewards and social pressure. With remaining resolute in mind, here are a few ideas to stick to your one-minute meditations. In the beginning, schedule your meditation as high priority in your calendar. It takes three to four weeks to form a habitat. Until you have achieved automaticity, continue to formally schedule your meditation. Sign up for meditation classes a few times a week for inspiration. Consider a few lunchtime sessions. Plug meditation into your social network.
Ask your workplace to support a meditation program. Stress related-illnesses are the primary reason for workplace absenteeism. It could be the best investment your company ever makes. Start with a group video such as Mindfulness Meditation for Everyone. Meditation activates brain waves that make us more relaxed and compassionate, creating a more cooperative workplace.