Most of us engage in unconscious moments of meditation throughout the day without even realizing it. We might be getting ready for an appointment; or use a quiet moment at work. We’ll rest our minds, in one way or another, even if it’s only for a moment, and oftentimes a moment is all that’s needed. We’ll take these moments to decompress when feeling stressed; to control blood pressure or anxiety; or simply to feel the presence of peace and, be comforted.
I fell into meditation in childhood as a way to escape pain and it wasn’t until my early twenties that I learned what I’d been doing for years had a name. It was called meditation. Imagine my surprise when later, I discovered there was even a temple that offered meditation. There I met I met monks sitting cross-legged, chanting. At first, I couldn’t equate what they were doing, with what I did.
The room was bright and warm. Men of differing ages and shorn heads sat crossed-legged chanting OM, the sound of which rumbled from throats sonorously, reverberating around the sunlit room and into my chest. It was like standing next to a speeding freight train. My skin began to hum in tune of its own accord. I stood in the doorway, engulfed, wondering about my welcome. I made eye contact with many; one beckoned. I went to him but hadn’t any words and as different as we seemed we recognized each other when our eyes met. We both knew peace; seasoned by the years and our mutual understanding of compassion.
As moving as the experience was, it showed me there were differing ways to access and experience peace, and that regardless of methodology peace belonged to each of us. I didn’t stay or join instead I went the way I came and continued to follow myself. Which is what I’d advocate for anyone else. That day the lesson of: you can’t become what you already are, was in it’s infancy stages, more than thirty years ago.
We all need the peace and sense of emotional control and intellectual precision that meditation offers, but we all can’t meditate the same way in order to access the peace we carry within. Luckily there are many ways to access inner peace, and meditation is only one. Even so, micro-meditation is very different in duration to the traditional long-sit.
Engaging in micro-meditation is using the same process as traditional meditation but for considerably shorter (therefore attainable) lengths of time.
Micro-meditation requires the use of your attention to direct the cessation of thoughts. I recommend engaging for only a minute to begin. In truth for some it’s best to start with just a few seconds. This is no joke. The strength of the habitual patterns your thoughts have over your mind is considerable. You’ll still direct your attention to suspending thoughts but the tedious long-sit meditation is typically overwhelming for the beginner, and can even be boring for the experienced. Micro-meditation is the opposite of the traditional long-sit and deeply gratifying every time.
One of the prevalent misconceptions regarding meditation is that to excel at (the long-sit) one must be a so-called “master”. This is incorrect. You too can and will excel at it if you want too—although “mastery” isn’t required in order to reap huge benefits for yourself.
Micro-meditation takes but only a minute. Not five minutes, 10 or 30. You can do it anywhere and at anytime; at work, home, playing sports, during an argument, listening to music, or creating. You can do it with your eyes open. You can be in any position or by changing positions. You can be moving or sitting. You can use a focal point or not. You can do it many times a day (which I highly recommend). Micro-meditation is dynamically portable and infinitely usable and the benefits are immediate.
Remember: Engaging in micro-meditation throughout your day, you’ll quickly notice that these small moments in time begin to add up by joining together. Each time you draw that breath and tune in to yourself it’ll last longer affording you deep peace and relaxation.
Micro-meditation is a thoughtless space. It’s your job to use your attention to suspend thoughts in order to become aware of the still quiet space behind the constant chatter of your mind. It’s the still awareness that is the peace you carry within you at all times. Make sure to tune into how that feels for you, so that you many recognize it more quickly when you need it most.
It isn’t listening to music; chanting (although some like this required prescription) or being led in a guided “meditation” where words are involved. Those additional aspects are all produced from the conscious mind, therefore have nothing to do with the still awareness of peace. Granted you may momentarily feel more peaceful from being led quietly, as apposed to the noise in your head, but it’s not meditation. You will never meet yourself this way. You are only satisfying some other consciousness-driven criteria.
In the foundation course called Awareness Training, the first thing you learn are the differences between awareness, the organism (your body), and consciousness. Then, why that’s relevant and pertinent to everything you do, think and feel in your life, and why it will lead you directly to enlightenment—if you let it. At the bare minimum engaging with yourself correctly, to an awakened life and one that is wholly your own; and no one else’s.
I developed micro-meditation as an answer to this world’s “adult ADD” population. For those of us that can’t sit still, whose minds can’t quiet; the mouths that can’t stop, or the bodies that can’t relax in perpetually restless, wanting, directionless motion. For those of us that want to mature into fully realized adults—the next step in humanities evolution—if we and our planet are to survive.
Learning micro-meditation is about knowing how to follow yourself and your own needs. It’s about learning the difference between focusing (which is bad contrary to popular belief—with no benefits) and bringing your attention to something (which is superior in speed and power while reaping all of the benefits).
But perhaps more to the point, micro-meditation is about maturing in your understanding of your own sacred journey with its own divinely ordered path. Something you can whole-heartedly trust in and be devoted too—in sickness and in health.