By now, you’ve probably heard: Meditation holds amazing benefits. If it were a pill, it would be a miracle drug. It improves focus, productivity, and overall well-being. It reduces stress, anxiety, and mind-wandering.
So why isn’t everyone doing it? The short answer: time. Unlike drinking a Red Bull or popping a supplement, we’ve been taught that meditation requires that we take time out of our day. You have to stop what you're doing, find a comfortable seat in a quiet location, and spend anywhere from five minutes to an hour bringing your attention to the breath or some other object of concentration.
This conventional understanding is half-right, half-wrong. It’s right because the seated practice of meditation really is the most powerful way to begin developing the skill of focused attention and to begin experiencing these benefits.
But it’s wrong because sitting in silence isn’t the only way to meditate. And it’s important to highlight this point because it’s this idea that keeps many busy people from starting a daily practice.
My company, Life Cross Training (LIFE XT), learned this after several years of teaching meditation to hundreds of people working at a variety of firms: law firms, health care companies, venture firms, and media agencies.
We found that some people easily pick up a daily seated meditation practice. But we learned that some people just can’t seem to get around the time barrier to meditation.
So for people who couldn’t commit to setting aside five to ten minutes each day for seated practice, we developed an alternative—one that has changed the way many of our clients think about meditation.
We call it The Mindful Walk to Work.
The practice is based on the idea that, each day, everyone walks somewhere. If you work outside your house, you walk from the car or subway station to your office. If you work in the home, you might walk outside to get your newspaper. If you’re retired or out of work, you might walk to the local coffee shop to meet a friend.
The practice is to turn this daily walk into a meditation. Here’s how: