Here are typical responses when I tell my corporate clients to meditate...
After the eye roll, "Yeah right, I don't have time to go to the bathroom let alone sit cross-legged saying OM."
"You've got to be kidding me. There's no way I can sit still that long."
"I have a thousand thoughts going through my mind. I'm not capable of just being."
I get it. Years ago when I was in the throws of corporate life, all the Zen people in my life kept telling me, "You just have to learn how to mediate and be present." I remember thinking, What the hell does that mean? And how do these Zen people have so much time to just sit around and meditate? I bought books, did yoga and started running in an effort to learn how to be present. It didn't work.
After years of trying to figure out this meditation thing, I got it. I finally understood what mediation was and how to make it happen in the busiest of workplaces. I figured out how to be Zen when the world around me was anything but Zen. I figured out the secret to being present, mindful and outrageously productive as a result.
Here's how to meditate at work...
By definition, meditation is simply time spent in quiet thought for the purpose of relaxation. Notice, the definition doesn't say time spent void of thought. When you meditate you're thinking quietly. You can mediate while walking to your next meeting, stepping outside for a quick break, standing by the copy machine or going to the bathroom. The key to meditation is to stay grounded and aware of your thoughts. Here are four easy ways to meditate at work:
Drink more water. I know, you've heard it a million times. Here's the deal: You keep hearing it because it's true. The human body is more than 60 percent water (waterinfo.org). You need water to not only live, but to live optimally. What does water have to do with meditation? Everything. Water is an Earth element that calms, replenishes, cleanses and grounds our mental state of being. As you drink water throughout your day, give gratitude for the fact that you have clean water available to drink and your body, mind and soul are being given the gift of health. Stopping long enough to give gratitude is a form of meditation.
Go to the Bathroom
And not because I'm asking you to drink more water. If there's one thing we all make time for during our busy day it's going to the bathroom. Yes, we biologically have to go, but most people sneak away for the bathroom to "get away" from the rat race multiple times a day. Come on, admit it, you've left that boring meeting so you could hang out in a bathroom stall in peace and quiet for just five minutes. The bathroom is always the perfect excuse to leave anything. And now the bathroom has just become your mediation space. Twice a day, retreat into the bathroom stall for five minutes and breathe. Believe it or not that is meditation. If you're feeling ambitious one day, stretch your arms and touch your toes -- but please NO email.
Most people are living everywhere but the present. It's as though our heads are floating in the sky. Even though our bodies are in the present our minds are constantly in the past and future. Most people are checked out 85 percent of the time, going through the motions barley able to remember conversations. Being grounded means your feet are firmly planted in the here and now. You're rooted firmly on Earth, present and mindful of your surroundings. When you're grounded, you can actively engage in a conversation rather than looking right through the person in front of you. When you're grounded you feel confident, strong and acutely aware of what's going on around you -- characteristics of someone who's outrageously productive and calm.
Here's how you ground through meditation in two minutes a day... Every morning and afternoon close your eyes for one minute. Imagine a stream of light running through your body connecting you to the core of the Earth and the highest point in the sky. This light is like a tightrope that keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground, while your body stands up solid and strong. Then imagine you are contained in a golden light that keeps you present and safe in the here and now. As you see yourself in this light, take a deep breath and walk forward into your day.
Surround Yourself With Nature
Nature is like magic! When we surround ourselves with elements of the Earth our body, mind and soul become grounded and present. Nature gives us permission to be quiet, makes us aware of our thoughts and helps us become mindful of those around us. That said, most of us don't have the luxury of working on a nature reserve. The solution: Create your own nature reserve right in your cubical or office.
Create a rock garden on your desk. Bring in lots of plants -- Chinese Evergreens are the perfect low maintenance option. Buy a beta fish. And my personal favorite, have a collection of wood that you can hold in your hand when you're feeling stressed and need an ounce of calm. Here's the meditation... Every time you walk into your cubicle or office, pick up a rock or a piece of wood, look around your nature reserve and simply say thank you. I guarantee this 30-second meditation will have you feeling a million times better.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker, coach and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profits. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit ginasoleil.com and follow her on Twitter.
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