For the past 5 years, one word that I would use to characterize my work day is: rush. I always seemed to find myself in a great, big rush in the morning getting ready, only to find myself inevitably in yet another rush do ‘this’ and complete ‘that’ once I arrived at the office. Rather than looking forward to the day (and potentially enjoying it), I’d rush to get through it.
Since I’ve started my new job in the Alberta public service, the first thing I do when I get up is rush to my meditation space in my 2-bedroom condo. Yes, you heard me right! A meditation space. I stumbled across this terminology while researching the topic of meditation.
I took the picture above to show you the meditation space which I created in the last few months. It’s actually located in my study. I wanted to show you this because you’ll see it’s not a big space, and my condo isn’t particularly large. The point is, it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be a space that is right for you.
In my case, I will spend 30 minutes every morning in my meditation space in kneeling position with my eyes closed. I will focus on nothing but my breath. When I do this, I find that everything around me slows down and that nothing matters except the focus I place on my breath. I am not sleeping while I do this. In fact, to the contrary. I am completely alive in this moment. When I come out of this meditative posture, I feel grateful for the day and am completely energized and relaxed. I am ready to take on whatever life puts in front of me! It’s exactly the kind of kick start to the day I should have implemented 5 years ago.
Just like paleo and yoga, I’m not by any means an expert in meditation. I’ve only just begun to unpack what meditation can do to improve my physical, spiritual and emotional health. But, if you’d like to read more on the topic yourself, here are a few resources you can consult to create your own personal and reflective meditation space:
- Left Brain Buddha: http://leftbrainbuddha.com/create-a-meditation-space-in-your-home/
- The Third Metric: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/20/meditation-rooms-photos_n_4125153.html
For more info on the increasing health benefits of engaging in a mindful meditation practice during your day, check out the following videos and articles:
- This is a video by Dr. Marsha Linehan of the University of Washington, Seattle on the importance of non-judgment in mindfulness
- Here’s another video by Dr. Linehan on mindfulness of current emotion
- And a third video by Dr. Linehan leading a breathing exercise in mindfulness
- Mind Body Green – 7 No-Nonsense Tips To Jumpstart A Meditation Habit: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17142/7-no-nonsense-tips-to-jumpstart-a-meditation-habit.html?utm_campaign=recommendation&utm_medium=interfeaturebottom&utm_source=feature
- 40 Darn Good Reasons Why Everyone Should Meditate: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17138/40-darn-good-reasons-why-everyone-should-meditate.html?utm_campaign=recommendation&utm_medium=interfeaturetop&utm_source=feature
- Charlie Knoles and the Veda Center: http://thevedacenter.com/teachers/
- Check out also this TEDxSFU video by registered psychologist Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat FU lecture on mindfulness:
(I highly recommend this resource)
If you’re going to create a meditation space of your own, I would recommend that you consider a few things:
- light – make sure to include natural and soothing forms of light in your space such as candles (as opposed to artificial lighting)
- smell – I recommend including a form of aromatherapy (e.g. candles) in your space to help you to relax and fully soak into your meditation practice
- objects which make you feel happy and for which you have a particular attachment (e.g. photographs of family, friends, places you’ve travelled, etc.)
- objects which remind you of nature (e.g. water feature, zen garden, green plants. etc)
I hope that this post may be of assistance to those of you who have very busy careers and have not yet found that “silver bullet” that will help curb the stress that you feel is constantly on your shoulders. Might I suggest that you consider building yourself a humble meditation space and implement this simple but effective 30 minute meditation exercise before you get the kids ready, put on the coffee pot, or take a shower. Just try it. If I were a betting man, I’d say you will come to realize just how important it is that you focus on you before taking care of everyone else. In fact, you’ll be better at it. I promise. Namaste, everyone.