How To Meditate Anywhere

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This is a guide to mediation, not a way to escape our thoughts and the world around us, but a way to awaken the mind. 

We often think of meditation as a form of sitting cross-legged or a kind of practice, like yoga. We may think that listening to the radio is a necessity when traveling or cleaning the house, and that meditation is done "somewhere" else. We may also think that true meditation is only done by experts living on Japanese mountaintops. But meditation, true meditation, is a way of loosening our grip on thoughts and assumptions, a way to increase awareness of what is happening, and it can be done anywhere and anytime.

The easiest way to get into the meditative state is to begin by listening. If you simply close your eyes and allow yourself to hear all the sounds going on around you. Just listen to the surrounding hum and buzz of the world as if you were listening to music. Don't try to identify any of the sounds you are hearing, don't put labels on them. Simply allow them to play with your eardrums and let them go. In other words, let your ears hear whatever they want to hear. Don't judge the sounds; there are no proper or improper sounds. Every cough or passing car is a part of the whole sound, the sound of everything that is happening.

As you continue this meditation, you cannot help but make identifications and soon enough your thoughts are arising in your brain once more. You cannot stop this thinking and in a way, you begin to talk to yourself inside your head automatically. However, it is important not to repress these thoughts by forcing them out of your mind. This will only disturb them more. Instead, look at the thoughts like they are just noises and continue turning your attention to them until the noise of your thoughts mixes with the noise of the outside world. Thoughts become the same as the sounds of birds out the window or conversations going on in the other room. The so-called outside world and the so-called inside world come together. They are a happening, your thoughts are a happening just like the sounds going on outside. Everything is a happening and all you are doing is watching it.  

Another part of this process is your breathing. Let your breath run just as it wills. Don't do any breathing exercise, but just watch your breath breathing the way it wants to. Notice that you say "I am breathing" to explain what breath is, but when you are not thinking about breathing, breathing goes on just the same. It is both something you are doing and something that is just happening. Awareness of our breath is the most important part to meditation, because it will show you that the division between what we do and what happens to us is arbitrary. We become aware that both the voluntary and the involuntary are all one happening. At first this may seem a bit scary, that on the one hand we are not in control at all and on the other, we appear as God. But actually, both are happening; life happens just as it does and at the same time we are creating life, creating sunlight by seeing it and creating sounds by hearing them.

Finally, without making any effort you can breathe more and more deeply. Suppose, when you are breathing out, you get the sensation that your breath is falling out. Don't think about breathing necessarily, but let your breath slowly expand. And when you breathe in, don't pull the breath back in or force it, but also let the inhale fall back to the lungs. In this way, your breath will quite naturally get more and more powerful.

So, listening to sound, listening to thoughts, and watching your breaths. Listening and watching all that is going on around you. Be simply aware, and there is meditation. You do not force meditation to happen, it comes to you. Don't hurry anything. Just be content to be aware of what is.