Squeezing in a daily meditation session may be a bit difficult for those of us living, well, in the modern-day world. You may believe a monk harboring themselves in the mountains somewhere finds it easier to make time for their meditation, but that’s not necessarily true.
Time is not very much the obstacle we’re looking at as much as it’s the mental entanglement with time.
The mind is the most powerful facet of being human – when kept in check. But left to its own untrained faculties, especially in the modern-day world, the mind can be your biggest hindrance. That’s why meditation is proven to be an incredibly helpful regulator of the mind. Even when the mind itself believes that it can’t spare a few minutes for you to be still – belief, not fact.
“If you don’t have time to meditate for 5 minutes, then meditate for an hour” – this annoyingly accurate yogic saying cuts to the gist of it. But again, modern life may make it more difficult, but it’s not at all impossible. In this article, I’m going to share with you what I found to be the two best times to meditate during a busy day.
First thing in the morning
When you have just woken up, you may notice that there’s a gap in time where your mind is relatively calm. It is not dragged by the momentum of thought. Attention is somewhat undispersed and still.
That is quite the perfect time to meditate and set a basal state to return to during the day as things get busy in the world and in your head. The mind you’re calming with meditation won’t get in the way by hijacking your attention and directing it towards stresses about the day because the day hasn’t yet begun.
Think of it this way, is it easier to wipe a window clean every morning before it rains or several days after it has been raining for weeks?
Take the opportunity of a quiet and undemanding inner and outer world in the mornings and start the habit of stilling the mind very first thing.
After a workout
In Patanjali’s 8-step path to enlightenment, movement comes before meditation and that’s for several reasons. One of them is when the body is “loosened” it sits more comfortably. You’re less prone to physical agitation.
That’s not only true of the body post-yoga but post physical activity in general. Sitting to meditate after a sweaty workout or an evening run fits the 8-fold path just as yoga asana does.
The body is not only more comfortable in being still, but it is also already tuckered out so it ceases to be a distraction. It even acts as an object of observation if you choose to anchor your attention on the physical sensations of your body as it calms down.
And as the body naturally calms itself down after a movement session, you realize that you no longer need to intentionally put any effort into calming it down yourself – it’s like steering into the skid, as they say.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong time to meditate, but it does help if you pay attention to aspects of the mind and body that may make meditation more or less accessible. The whole point is to think less and be more, and if you’re stressing about planning when to meditate, that’s beyond the point.
Close your eyes, take a breath, and realize that meditation is not a savior; it’s a helper.