When the fact that I teach mindfulness comes up in conversation, a frequent response is “Oh, I LOVE meditating... but I can’t get myself to practice.” Then there’s a guilty look, as if they’ve been a naughty meditator. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.
I have tremendous compassion for people in this position. They’ve tasted the fruit of practice and know its sweetness, but even though it’s right there in front of them, they just can’t bring it to their lips again. Suffering is rooted in resistance, and often people are too stuck in the sticky web of suffering to reach for the medicine. Seeing that firsthand, you can’t help but ache.
There’s a term in Zen, Upaya, which refers to adapting the method of training to fit the audience. In one case, I had a client with a crazy work schedule, so he never knew when he’d have a free moment to practice. I made up an acronym, FWW, which stood for: Find the Weird Window. Then it became a fun game for his mind. He actually started noticing windows of time he would otherwise have missed. I like to encourage people to get creative based on their unique life circumstances. The key is to stop judging the fact that you’re not practicing, so you can free up creative energy to find playful solutions.
For me, Upaya in our culture means: If people won’t stop, sit down and practice, help them find ways to fit practice into their lifestyle on their terms. That’s one of the main reasons I teach mindfulness with music. My feeling is that if you can get creative and slip it into your existing routine or activities you enjoy, you’ll naturally develop a momentum with practice.
On that note, here are 11 quick ways you can bring mindfulness into your day. As you practice, remember the following: