Would you like to meditate all day, every day?
I can see the smirk on your face, and your silent response, “Yes sure like to, but come on, is it feasible first? Who has the time? Even if we had, wont we be doing nothing if we meditate all day, then who would pay the bills?”
It is very much possible, with one simple change in one single habit.
This is not definitely some theory am floating on my own. Will share where I picked it up from.
So, before we link meditation and this single habit let’s see about each in short. At the end of each heading below we will pose ourselves a question and see if we have answered them at the end of the proposed theory.
Meditation — a broad definition
I think we all, in broad terms, would agree meditation is about being taking a pause, being aware and witness our own thoughts, in general. Forget about the umpteen variations to these. Usual practise is do this sitting quiet for few minutes a day.
Question: So, by implication whenever wherever we apply this pause-aware-witness intention that will become a meditation, isn’t it?
Meditation — cliché hiccups
Do we realize while we are at it, our mind races even more, all the thoughts, plans, references to the past about the plan rushes through? We end up watching a full movie of our own, rather than doing this pause, aware, witness approach. That’s is why many ask “Why is that thoughts are dragging us faster when all we want is to pause?”.
So, the point is doing it for few mins, makes the mind acutely think “Oh I have got only 5 mins to slow down, after that it’s going to be chaos”. Nothing wrong, it’s been proved Brain has a negativity bias, that causes us to focus on not so good things.
Question: Which activity we do all day, every day where we can apply this pause-aware-witness approach on that activity?
What do we do most of the day?
A thought arises, results into a question to someone or as a response to someone. By the time the words leave the mouth, thoughts would have gone miles ahead, so if we start talking before the thought takes shape, we end up talking something entirely different from a distilled statement with a great intention, which we ourselves would have desired.
An example would make it crystal.
Let me take my very trivial kind of thought like “what to cook for lunch”. I blattered it out to my kid, the very same words, even when my mind was racing with subsequent thoughts. Ideally this is not a situation in which he has all the information to respond about. What veggies I got, am I planning to make something special like that. So, he would give a bland response “I don’t know, whatever you could….”.
If I had paused on the question, it would have given rise to 20,25 thoughts subsequently, what I have in the fridge, what my kid likes, what was his comment last time on a similar dish. The distilled and desired question would have been “I have lots of bananas left over, so how about for a change, now for lunch, I make you the banana pancakes you had for dinner last Saturday, which you loved very much?” Obviously, this would have triggered a happy response from my kid, he liked the dish and he would appreciate to have it again and I remembered it.
There is a variation to this scene too, if the person is little elder or an intuitive one, he would have turned the direction the thoughtless first question like, “Let’s see what do you have in stock and how we can make it easy for you and tasty for us :-)”
How about so many similar conversations we started or ended. So, by now it is evident, pausing on our thoughts at appropriate time rather than mouthing the words out, will make the environment a better place.
Now that we are comfortable with the idea that our own conversation can give us bliss.
Question: How can we apply pause-aware-witness approach to this thoughts-to-talks marathon ?
How to turn talking into meditation
Here comes the Bhagavad Geetha which is a string of so many such beautiful pearls. Chapter 17, Verse 15.
अनुद्वेगकरं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियहितं च यत् |
स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्मयं तप उच्यते || 15||
anudvega-karaṁ vākyaṁ satyaṁ priya-hitaṁ cha yat
svādhyāyābhyasanaṁ chaiva vāṅ-mayaṁ tapa uchyate
Translated and commented as — Austerity of speech is speaking words that are truthful, unoffending, pleasing, and beneficial for the listener.
This is the hypothesis to be applied.
So first let all the 20–25 thoughts proceed till they slow down. Then pick the one thats going to be pleasing to us and the listener. Note that has to be a true statement too. Then we can mouth it out.
Okay it is very simple to apply to the what-to-cook scenario.
Question: That’s it? How about when we have to make a not-so-pleasing conversation. How to apply then?
Tackling touch conversations
The key is in this case, pause might need to be little longer here than the trivial conversation.
Let’s take another example. Someone is commenting on that we were unresponsive to their messages or calls. Our usual flight or fight would be to say “No just that I was busy.” or “Forget about it, when am talking to you now”. Both are going to leave a bitter residue to both people.
Pause: Instead, we can apply pause telling the listener “Really? when was that I was unresponsive? can you remind me please?”. We will probably get a handful of references !!
We can pause to recollect why we didn’t at that point. We didn’t want to reveal certain facts, the remark they made was offensive, so we got to silent mode and so on.
Being aware: So, whatever the case as to we didn’t respond, that’s the fact we make ourselves aware and admit to the other person “Yes you are right in saying so, am sorry, please let me explain”
Being truthful — Then comes the truth part, share with them that
a. you had a fact in hand which you are not sure of in the first place, so didn’t respond
b. you had a fact which was not beneficial for either of you, so didn’t respond
c. you honestly didn’t know the answer
d. you can just say was held up with a personal situation with self or someone, you didn’t respond to anybody at all, do not get into what the situation is about, then it makes it all about you and not them.
Witness: Now that you kept your promise of pause-be aware-witness, the other person can sure perceive it and receive it better, so all settled. If they are not, tell them to pause and get back. So as this repeats eventually the tiff will be forgotten and peace restored.
Hope this is convincing and sounds like a plan!
Had helped me a lot to feel modest and contemplating meditation as much as possible throughout the day.
With inner peace as witness — Patience