"I'd love to meditate I just can't find the time." Something I hear every day, sometimes even from myself.
“Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to.”
― Lao Tzu
One of the easiest ways to practice mindfulness is to practice with an activity you are already doing.
Choose an event you have aversion towards, perhaps even one you may say to yourself "I don't want to" and it can be very enlightening.
Not typically a fun activity, though some will love it.
When we are struggling to fit meditation into a mountain of to-do lists, practicing meditation with a task we have to do anyway can be the perfect way to practice.
With the way our brains are wired a simple job like washing the dishes if perceived even as a slight irritation could be registering in your system as a threat, triggering ruminating thought, activating muscles in the body and generally causing the fight, flight, freeze response to activate. This isn't productive because generally speaking doing the dishes isn't a threat to your life!
What cleaning jobs push your buttons?
What thoughts come up?
Can you question those ideas?
Is there blame involved?
A feeling of fairness?
Don't get lost in judgement just observe what you notice.
Washing the Dishes:
Turn the tap on.
Notice the temperature of the water you choose.
The choice to use gloves or bare skin.
If you notice judgment just label it: " frustration is here", "irritation is here" or maybe "pleasure is here".
Your choice to use soap or not.
The bubbles growing, the colours reflected, " pleasure is here" ..." impatience is here" Whatever comes into your awareness.
Now tune into physical sensations.
The sensations of skin against gloves or skin against water.
Is there an expectation of what level of clean will be achieved, needs to be achieved? Or no expectation?
Does the mind wander somewhere else?
Guide it back to the physical experience of washing the dishes without criticism or judgment.
Do you notice pressure, texture, coolness, warmth?
Each and every time your mind wanders note where it has been and kindly bring it back to washing.
Expand out to thoughts that run through the mind.
Do you notice any emotions while you wash?
Do your best to just notice them without getting lost in a story.
As best you can be present with washing the dishes!
Maybe that's why our reaction to certain events changes over time because our perception of that event shifts. We change and so our reaction towards the event changes.
I would love to hear if you did the exercise and what you noticed during the experience. Please feel free to leave comments on the website.
You can apply the same instructions to other cleaning jobs:
The oven, the toilet, folding the washing....
* If you notice aversion to the activity but wash/ clean anyway, take time to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement at the end. Spend a few breaths acknowledging how you feel. This will bring your body and mind back to the resting state.
May you find time to meditate,