The problem with meditation is attachment.
We get in the habit of needing our altar, favorite cushion, incense, CD, certain time of day, necessary length of time, or particular style of sitting. If we can't do it the "right" way, we tend to skip it altogether. We get so attached to the trappings that we get a little testy if we don't have everything just so.
This is funny when you think about it. In Buddhism, the core belief is that life is full of suffering, and this suffering is due to attachment. Isn't it ironic that we become so attached to the idea of meditation? Isn't it a bit absurd to think of followers of particular styles of meditation as obsessive about their own approach?
I find it hilarious. I also find it destructive.
I'm all for whatever works. If committing to a ritual is right for you, by all means, light that candle. If you must do some yoga exercises prior to sitting, go for it. If you need to go for a run before chanting, be my guest.
However, if you find that your concept of what you need in order to meditate is hindering instead of liberating you, it's time to take a look at what I refer to as "wireless" meditation.
The beautiful thing about going wireless--whether it's with phones, computers, or your own quest for mindfulness--is that you suddenly become unencumbered by extraneous connections. You can continue with your day. You can go anywhere. You are free.
Just as a wireless phone allows you to think of your workplace in a whole new way, mindfulness practice gives you the opportunity to bring attention to whatever you're doing.
Your connection to your mind and your heart is hooked up while you're taking a shower, washing the dishes, walking the dog, or tending your garden. You no longer see mindfulness as something you can do only if you're sitting in your family room before the kids get up.
For those who've given up on meditation, consider the freedom of mindfulness practice.
Here are five questions to ask yourself in order to stay connected anywhere, anytime:
* "What can I notice this minute?"
Look around. What do you see? What colors pop? What kind of light fills your space? What do you smell? What do you hear? How does your body feel right now?
* "Where can I focus my attention this minute?"
Choose something within you--a physical sensation, a thought, an emotion. Or, go outside your skin and shine all of your attention upon something around you. Spend one minute in full discovery mode.
* "What can I do to connect with this person?"
If you're a parent and you're feeling a little burned out by your child's demands, stop thinking about how to fulfill a request and focus on how to fulfill a need. Can you give loving attention without giving a thing? Can you focus your full attention on your partner in the way most likely to make them feel cherished?
* "How can I bring more mindfulness to this task?"
Whether you're filing, copying documents, folding laundry, or scrubbing the bathtub, you can focus intently and intensely upon your particular task. Take note of the textures. Pay attention to edges, creases, folds, warmth, texture, and color. Focus on the muscles you're using in each step of the process. Feel the bending, flexing, and stretching your body must do to perform each movement.
* "How can I find more meaning in this moment?"
In every moment, we have the opportunity to connect to what matters most. We can choose to find a reason to feel grateful, content, secure, uplifted, and cared for.
By paying attention, we can find value in the simplest tasks and the greatest challenges. Going wireless means you can choose to connect whenever you like. Find ways to tap into mindfulness without becoming attached to meditation.
Use your wherever-whenever minutes--and get more.
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse in Portland, Oregon. Through her company, Real-World Mindfulness Training, she teaches fun and effective eyes-wide-open alternatives to meditation. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, please visit http://www.MassageYourMind.com