The concept of a World Meditation Day (officially next Wednesday, 15th May) sits strangely. I get that the idea is to raise awareness of meditation, but still, it seems to go against the whole ethos of meditation.
Meditation as a Way of Life
For one thing, meditating is a way of life. Meditating on one particular day may have some small benefits. Really, though, it is in making space to meditate regularly, even if briefly, that the real beauty lies.
The more you meditate, the easier it is to find that place of calm at other times when you really need it. The more you meditate, the more likely you are to remember to do so when the sh*t hits the fan. The more you meditate, the more it influences your sleep, your general outlook and your overall health.
And it really can be easy and short and fun!
I always recommend playing around with different kinds of meditation to find what you enjoy. You might like a deep relaxation focus, or you may prefer connecting with a feeling of love. Or perhaps it’s a gratitude meditation that brings a smile to your face as you relive beautiful moments from your day: that person who smiled at you in passing, the colours of flowers, the warmth of a stray sunbeam. If so, here’s one I recorded for you:
You could also do a chanting meditation, a walking meditation, or a drawing meditation such as creating a mandala. There really are so many options!
Another thing to remember is that meditation adds up! Both in terms of frequency as well as time. Three minutes a day is better than fifteen minutes once a week, and perhaps even better than half an hour once a week. If you meditate for half an hour once a week, it may take you fifteen minutes just to get settled. Meditating a little everyday, you drop into that mindset more quickly and smoothly, almost without thinking about it.
And just focusing mindfully on your breath is a form of meditation. You don’t have to find a particular quiet time or a special place. You can do this while making a cup of tea, or while brushing your teeth, or when you’re in the shower! So long as you stay focused, these things really do count and do make a difference.
Which brings us back to the World Meditation Day. Just as you don’t need to sit in a particular posture or have a silent room or a special cushion, a Day seems irrelevant. What if you meditate almost every day and don’t meditate on World Meditation Day? Would that make you a meditation failure? Of course not!
Doing Meditation ‘Right’
And that’s the other thing that sits poorly with me about this ‘Day’. It feels a little like a judgement. As you can tell from the above, I adore meditation. I recommend it to all my clients. Ultimately, though, I recognise it as a completely personal choice. And I don’t think that only things which are labelled ‘meditation’ or ‘mindfulness’ count.
Just as you can do a chanting meditation or a painting meditation or a walking meditation, many people are already doing the equivalent, without thinking about it or labelling it. When you really focus on something, doing it mindfully, with all your attention, and perhaps focusing on your breath while you are doing it, you are reaping all the benefits of meditation.
You don’t need a meditation pillow, or a meditation app, or a meditation monitor, though all of those things can be useful and have their place. What you need is to focus on your breath and do something you love with all of your attention. That’s it!
So, whether you meditate on World Meditation Day or not, I hope you will do something fun, something that makes you smile and feel uplifted, and do it with all your heart.