I’ve said it a thousand times. “I don’t have time to meditate.”
I knew that meditation was "good for me," but didn't prioritize it. I looked at it like a luxury to indulge in, rather than a staple like food, water, or air.
I did occasionally meditate, but I was no where near close to going steady with the practice. I was convinced, the rat race just gets too busy for me. I chased my tail around to-do lists, dishes, homework, errands, trumpet lessons for the tween, business obligations, creative projects, financial stress, and the endless “family matters.” I multi-tasked myself into oblivion all in the name of getting it all done.
When any exotic and elusive "free time" arose in my very busy life, I much preferred to be walking, running, sweating, dancing, singing, practicing yoga asana or mantra, making art, or studying sutra. “Movement is my meditation” or “art is my practice” or “studying is better than nothing,” I’d say, politely excusing myself from the more arduous task of just sitting quiet.
“I don’t have time to meditate... really, I don’t.” I was staunch in my statement, only to discover that there was no concrete truth in it.
When a loved one's health crisis took my family to hell and back, meditation suddenly manifested as a life-raft out of the molten chaos. It became the backbone of my balance, despite having no time for it—in theory.
Sometimes my meditation practice would be chock full of epiphanies, insights, and tranquil bliss. Other days, it would feel like treading through the mud of the mind: treacherous, irritating, or worst of all, banal. But I kept at it.
My meditation practice flowered slowly. I began to reach deeper and deeper places of stillness, even in the face of circumstantial chaos. More than ever before, I simply savored awareness, as a gourmet.
Then the magic started happening. I began to feel more harmoniously attuned to the whole. I expressed my soul’s purpose in the world with more grace, ease, and synchronicity. Meditation helped me to fully integrate my other spiritual disciplines and sacred medicines. My relationships deepened, new fruitful opportunities arose, I completed a book, and felt more creatively fulfilled than ever. With steady, long-term practice, meditation was shaping my life for the better.
It wasn't all rainbows and fairies, though. As meditation shaped my life, it was also an earthquake under the existing order of my life. Meditation carved away a lot of nonsense: toxic people, bad habits, activities that drained my energy, and useless distractions. At first, my life-make over felt abrupt. Yet, my meditation continued, as my heart demanded. Fresh shelf space was created, in my home—and in my life.
I was a skeptic who once said: “I could be getting so much done with these extra 10 or 20 or 30 minutes in the morning!” I was certainly moving faster without meditation, but not necessarily better. When I was speed-racing through life sans meditation, I was stubbing my toes and tripping over myself and needing to go back to square one again and again.
Meditation was no luxury to fit into the fringe free moments. Meditation had become the beating heart, the center, the ground, the very source of my fulfilled and peaceful existence.
Ultimately, meditation made time that wasn't there before.
3 ways to make time for meditation, even when you think there is none:
1. Go straight to meditate, before turning on phones or computers. Once the matrix is on, it can hook you right in. More, meditation will lead you to deeper places of introspection and mindfulness if media and communication are not gnawing at the back of your mind. So you're tight on time? Try this suggestion even if you only have 2 minutes, and watch what happens over time.
2. Create a ritual. Tend an altar with sacred images, flowers, power objects, and other inspiring items. Light a candle. Burn some sacred aromatic substance such as sage or incense. Listen to soothing music.
3. Be cozy! Have tea first to hydrate your brain, warm up your body, and stimulate your senses. When you sit for meditation, wrap yourself in a good natural fiber blanket such as angora, wool, or cashmere. The Tibet stores often have affordable, high quality ones. The yogis have known since time immemorial that insulating natural fabric not only concentrates body temperature; it also literally concentrates attention and life force. Use a comfortable meditation seat that is healthy for your knees, hips, and back. I absolutely love the Sun and Moon Originals brand buckwheat filled cosmic cushion.
Dedicate the fruits of your practice to someone or something meaningful. Then, practice letting of any attachments to what the fruits of your practice might turn out to be.
Enjoy your Self!
Infinite thanks to my beautiful husband who meditates with me every morning.
Gratitude to Scott Burgess of Our Lady Stardust Photography, who captured my meditation seal in black sand.