They pontificate about the sweet, sweet peace. . .
Of getting in touch with your breath.
Of training your mind to be still.
Of focusing on the present moment.
Of maybe even sitting in silence until you’re in touch with The Universe and you can hear the voices of angels.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but still. . .
And yet you might be thinking, I struggle with meditation.
I have trouble finding time to be still.
I start to clear my mind and focus on my breath and then—SQUIRREL!—I remember it’s my best friend’s birthday or I need to pay the water bill or I remember this was the time I set aside to binge watch Friends and I’m back in front of my iPad before you can say “Smelly Cat.”
You know what? That’s okay.
Look at this way: If you can’t meditate right now, that’s cool.
This is a Zen place, so there’s no judgment.
But try this:
Instead of meditating: Just be meditative.
Whatever you're doing, put yourself into a Meditative State.
Take three deep breaths.
Notice what you notice.
Stop and look at some flowers.
Walk from your classroom to the office and be attentive to your footfalls: heel, toe. Heel, toe.
Listen to the birds.
Look up at the sky and consider that cloud that looks just like Marlon Brando.
Look at a painting and ponder the brushstrokes.
Spend two full minutes watching a spider spin a web.
Pet your dog.
Stop washing the dishes and really focus on what your son or daughter is saying.
Reflect on today’s lesson.
Take a few minutes just to set an intention for the day.
You can ALWAYS quiet your mind just a bit by simply focusing on what’s in front of you.
Everyone can do that.
But whatever you do, whenever you’re in this meditative state, keep breathing.
If you stop breathing, that’s bad.
And it will probably involve calling 9-1-1 and a rather tense chat with your significant other and a handful of moderately handsome paramedics.
Being in a Meditative State also has plenty of benefits, including making you more calm and tranquil.
The thing is: Meditation doesn’t always have to mean sitting on a cushion for 20 minutes until your bum starts to tingle so intensely that you’re afraid it’s about to fall off.
And Shhh-don’t tell anyone. . .
But being in a meditative state is absolutely a type of meditation, too.
Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Hashtag irony. TZT
If you're looking for some more ideas like this, check out The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom. Read about how gratitude, compassion, acceptance, nonjudgment, being in The Moment, learning to say no without guilt, and similar strategies can reduce your stress, improve your Self-Care, and increase your sense of peace.