Meditation with Butt Off the Cushion
Episode #3 of the course How to bring meditation into your everyday by Colin Pal
I attended a meditation retreat in Boulder, Colorado this one time and shared a room with an interesting fellow who had committed to waking up an hour earlier every day to get in a whole extra hour of sitting meditation. I won’t lie, I was initially impressed—that was, until an incident at breakfast where a young lady tripped and spilled a bit of coffee on his arm. He yelled at her, “Now that’s not very mindful of you!”
Meditation should make you more mindful, but being more mindful should also make you more empathetic and kind. It was then and there that I realized the importance of bringing your meditation and mindfulness with you into your day. What good is meditating long solid hours every morning if you’re just going to be an asshole off the cushion?
So how do you bring meditation with you once your butt leaves the cushion?
Easy. You add the attention training to other activities you do throughout your day. Instead of training your attention to be on your breath, you can train your attention to be on the activity at hand. If you’re walking to a bus stop, put your phone away and pay attention to the walking—to each step you’re taking. If you’re washing the dishes, pay attention to each plate you’re washing. When you add meditation to everyday activities, you’ll notice they become more fun to do. Chores will be done more often, and your partner will love you more. Win-win. You’re welcome.
When you bring the attention training into more of your daily activities, you create a habit of mindfulness. You train yourself to pay closer attention to what’s going on in each moment. Attention to your thoughts and how things make you feel so that you can choose a better response instead of reacting in a way that just hurts other people and yourself.
“Self-awareness paired with a hint of empathy and kindness is the ultimate recipe for being less of an asshole.” – Tweet this.
I swear this is the cure to most problems in the world!
The Practice: Walking Meditation
Same process as your sitting meditation—intention, attention, bring attention back when distracted, keep cool attitude.
• Start with standing still and taking a moment to set the intention of walking mindfully.
• Bring your awareness and attention to your feet.
• Now, take a step and pay attention to the movement of your feet. Your feet lifting from the ground, your body shifting forward, your feet coming back down to kiss the ground, then again with the next foot.
• Helps to start slow and then pick up the pace.
• If distractions come up, notice that you’re being distracted and simply bring your attention back to your feet.
• You may even want to start by carving out some time to just practice walking meditation in a park nearby. It helps not to have a destination or to be on the clock.
• If you feel like changing it up now and then, you can shift your attention between your walking and breathing.
This can be applied to anything you do on the daily. Here are some ideas:
• Washing the dishes
• Doing the laundry
• Making/drinking tea or coffee
• Brushing your teeth
• Taking a shower
• Having sex
Pick one activity you do every day and commit to making it a meditation. Start with just one! Consistency is the key here. Each week you can switch it up and choose a different activity to make a meditation out of. Or if you’re up for a real challenge, add on one activity each week and see how close you can get to a full day of mindful activities.
I would love to hear what creative ways you’ve come up with to bring meditation into your everyday—share with us here in our community of other meditation practitioners like you. You can also follow me there for weekly live guided meditations!
“Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn
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