I learned vedic meditation during my first year practicing law at a large international firm in New York City. With vedic meditation, the general strategy is to meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and then again for 20 minutes in the afternoon/evening. The morning meditation wasn't difficult. I'd wake up an extra 20 minutes early and meditate at home before I left for work.
The evening meditation was another story. As a junior associate, I shared an office. Senior associates and partners were always coming in to give instructions. The phone rang constantly. So I knew right away that closing my eyes for 20 minutes in that environment wouldn't work.
My first strategy was to find an empty conference room. But I soon found out that an empty conference room almost certainly was about to be set up for the next meeting. I was often interrupted by someone coming in with bad coffee and stale pastries and boxes upon boxes of legal documents. So I decided to take my meditation practice outside — more specifically to a church. Here's how I did it:
1. I left my office for 30 minutes and turned off my phone.
I went out each afternoon and walked two blocks from my office building to a church on 5th Avenue. My family is Jewish, so I hadn't spent much time in churches. I sat in a pew, turned off my phone, closed my eyes and meditated for 20 minutes.
On my way back to the office I read the three emails that I missed and when I got back to my desk I responded, and returned the one phone call that came while I was gone. The world hadn't stopped turning. Everything was fine.
2. I came back to the office refreshed and alert.
I found that returning from a meditation break actually made me more productive. For the next two years, I sat in that church countless times and meditated. Occasionally, I would be interrupted while meditating in the church, I would open my eyes and reply, "I'm talking to God now," and go back to my meditation.
3. The church provided a safe, peaceful space for my meditation practice.
A few times someone who worked at the church would come up to tell me about the wonderful services they have on Sundays, and would ask me if I was interested in membership. I thanked them for allowing me to come sit those afternoons and put a few dollars in the box on my way out. I had no problem paying the rent for my 20-minute seat.
4. As long as you can sit comfortably and close your eyes, uninterrupted, you can meditate.
I was living in New York City — one of the loudest and busiest cities in the world — and I found a space to meditate. Maybe there's not a church near your office, but maybe there is a coffee shop, public library, hotel lobby or museum that you can use for your meditation practice. Get creative! You can find the time, you just have to work it into your schedule in the most seamless way possible.
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