If we spend 1 hour commuting each day, it can add up to 10,000 hours for the whole career. How could we convert this into something more valuable?
I was not lonely for opting for mindlessly scrolling my phone until I infused this meditation practice in my commuting. It saves time and makes me better at work — two birds one stone.
Apart from that, I am able to meditate on a busy day. What’s best about commute meditation is it prepares my mind to face challenges with calmness. It has become my best companion when I have important undertakings like presentation and interview — it helps me to cope with the anxiety better and I found a substantial improvement in any tasks after the short meditation. I concentrate better, create more, and am more eloquent.
This practice is adapted from the three-minute breathing space — a practice of psychological intervention. The meditation divides into three parts. Usually, I start it the meditation three stations before the metro (or bus) arrive at the destination — do one step when the metro arrives at a new station.
First, gradually notice and gather sensations, thoughts, and emotions fleeting in the mind. Start with sound — usually, metros (or bus) are filled with indistinct chatter, the noise from the wheels steering on the rail. Notice these sounds. Do you usually ignore these sounds? Or getting irritated by them? Now, give yourself a chance to hear these sounds as they are — notice the “texture” or these sounds, where they are coming from, and how loud are they.
Also, note the physical sensations running along your body. On what parts of your body do you feel the undulation of the train? What do your feet feel when they touch the floor? Notice the body **in general** including those more subtle sensations.
You have now explored different parts of your mind, now try to “funnel down”this expereince to cultivate a concentrated sense of awareness.
This involves focusing on the “anchor” of the body — breath. Try to put your full concentration on your breaths and the physical sensations coming along with it. How does it feel when the air passes through your nostrils? What about the inflation and deflation of your stomach?
It is entirely normal, that phenomena arise to compete for your attention. Your ear might be itchy. Or you are worried about the coming board evaluation. Don’t blame yourself (and don’t blame yourself for blaming yourself) — simply notice these phenomena by labelling them. If you blame yourself for not concentrating. Say “blame” and then gently bring back your focus to what you intend to do.
In a gradual manner, expand you concentrated awareness again. Now focus on physical sensations beyond your breath. No longer restricting your attention on the stomach, lungs and nose, but allow sensations from any part of the body to come through your mind non-judgementally.
Beginning to be aware of the world around you. Notice the space; notice the sounds. As well as any thoughts or emotions. You may set loose of any control or attention, imagine to keep your mind afloat on the vast ocean comfortably. Maintain this state until you arrived at your destination.
Three-minute matters: How a short meditation session can change you
The former prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew once said he hoped the leaders of different countries could meditate together on international conferences before they make an important decision.
If you think about these qualities — they tie closely with many tasks in professional life, especially interviews or any task that requires peak performance. After a short period of meditation, I can literally feel my brain pops up with more ideas — much like a spring. For sure, the result fades away pretty fast. But unlike “smart drugs” that trades a temporary boost in brain power at the expense of long-term damage, meditation gets the best of both worlds. So why not give it a shot?
Enjoy an unpleasant pleasant journey
Commuting is being rated the most unwelcomed event in a typical day. Hectic. Noise. Daydreaming. Time-wasting.
Even I would like to live right aside the company building as well.
But it’s life. Good things come and bad things come. Commuting might be uncomfortable — but this commute meditation would give a new perspective to it.
Afterall, that’s what mindfulness aiming to teach: good and bad feelings come and go and they don’t constitute who we are. Commuting meditation is a glimpse that allows us to see unpleasant experience in a transcending angle: the experience itself is unpleasant — but it’s our choice how to react to the unpleasantness.
Meditation is a broad practice and there is much more than this simple exercise. However, this is an excellent starting point for mindfulness practice. So, buckle up, and enjoy the commute meditation.