I just finished meditating amid the chaos of my husband’s deer camp. In doing so, I was testing the idea that you can meditate effectively anywhere. And you know what? I proved to myself it was possible because the ability to meditate effectively anywhere depends on our insides, not our outsides.
Why it’s so imported to learn to meditate effectively anywhere
The first step in growing bolder and enjoying life with less stress/more joy is to Be Here! And that means entirely “here,” wherever “here” is at the moment. Not “here” only when you are in a peaceful, tranquil setting with zen-like chants in the background.
3 tips to mediate effectively anywhere
1. Get small
I’m practicing spending just ten-minutes meditating whenever I catch the opportunity. Like right now.
Many of us have several mediation aids on our phone. They are all perfectly adequate. In fact, I’ve got three mindfulness meditations from 30-40 minutes each on my iPhone. And six self-hypnosis sessions from 18-23 minutes each. I bet you’ve got a similar library.
But here is what’s really helped. I took a seven-day Happier challenge from my friend, Julie Clayton at Domesticating Scout. That inspired me to search for a shorter version I could use to meditate effectively anywhere, in whatever morsel of time I could eke out every day.
I found a 10-minute meditation from Tara Brach that I downloaded onto my phone. For some reason, 20-40 minutes can seem impossible to locate regularly in a day. But 10-minutes is doable for me. Maybe it is for you, too.
2. Turn on the power of pairing
Instead of trying to do it as soon as I got up, it is working better for me to meditate after I’ve finished getting ready in the morning. Shower, make-up, hair, dress, meditate!
That’s because doing it this way has tapped into the power of pairing, something I’ve learned from listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast. I’ve discovered the power of pairing can help you meditate effectively anywhere because one action triggers another.
Like I just found out.
We’re in the middle of prepping the lease for the fall hunting season by doing a deer count. It is incredibly hot in Texas in August, but still peaceful out in the country, if I tune out the icemaker behind me on the porch. As I write this, it is around 9:00 on a Sunday morning.
After a night of ‘cussing and discussing all the world’s issues, over beer, wine, and scotch, I decided to skip the morning deer count. While the rest of the crew took off into the woods, I did my morning routine – minus shower and makeup.
Those two steps just seem wrong at camp.
But, you know what? The power of pairing kicked in as soon as I finished dressing, compelling me to stop, breathe and center while looking at an ancient oak surrounded by cabin junk.
3. Find a meditation “mentor”
For a few minutes, after I clicked on my ten-minute meditation, my mind raced. And then started to throttle back slowly. Focusing on that old oak in the yard, a clarity began to creep in.
For decades, maybe a century, that tree has spent its life just being here. Rain, heat, hail, raucous hunters are just fleeting moments that appear, linger and then dissolve. My oak was practicing mindfulness! When the mind wanders during meditation, don’t beat yourself off. Observe where your thoughts have gone.
The icemaker’s low rumble was no longer a disruption. It was a blessing from the universe providing coolness on a scorching day. Once I gave thanks, the noise trailed off for a second and then dissolved into the background. And I was back in the moment.
I almost lost my meditation when an ant crawled on top of my foot, and I felt myself tensing for a bite. Then I thought how many insects must crawl on the oak.
And it worked! I just became conscious of the ant’s barely-there weight moving across my toes, observing.. without judgment.
If I can do it…
When the chimes sounded at the end of the session, I proved to myself that you can, with practice, meditate effectively anywhere. Even at the deer camp. Even when you have so many monkeys in your mind, you could start a circus.
Maybe it will work for you
If you are having trouble finding a meditation practice that works for you, give these three steps a chance and see if they help.
First, download a short (10 to 15-minute) meditation that you can find a time to do daily.
Second, pair your practice with something you do every single day – like dressing, or brushing your teeth.
Third, wherever you are, align with a meditation “partner.” Here at the deer camp, my partner was the oak. In my favorite chair at home, it can be the sunlight beam coming in the window.
Practice and tell me how it works for you.
Then practice, no matter how imperfectly. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. No one learns any skill or sport without exercising the basics, always poorly at first.
Try not to stress yourself with unreasonable expectations that you are not doing it right. Or that you will never be able to calm your mind and meditate. Even if you feel like you are just going through the motions, you will be benefiting. You’ve just got to trust in the process.
Give it a week and let me know if these tips help you as you learn to meditate effectively anywhere. And please, share any suggestions you have. I love hearing from you.