We all know the benefits of meditation — stress reduction, lower blood pressure, peace of mind — it’s an exercise that totally relaxes and refreshes our body, mind and spirit.
And those of us who meditate also know how hard it can be carrying that divine relaxation over into the rest of our lives. We get used to meditating in our quiet place, at a specific time, in a specific way. But that habit can create a weird little vicious cycle — we end up only being able to meditate and relax in that special place, and can feel even more stressed out away from our practice than we did before we ever began to meditate. As a result, our family issues, work issues and transportation issues just seem to get harder and harder to deal with peacefully.
One great way to break the meditation cycle and learn to stay calm and centered regardless of the situation is to meditate “on the fly”; that is, meditate wherever and whenever you have a few minutes. One super place to practice is on Muni, either while you’re waiting for that bus that feels like it will never come, or when you’re stuck in the tunnel for the umpteenth time. Since riding Muni can be such a stress-inducer, why not turn the situation around and make our city’s fine transportation system your stress-reducer?
Start by taking stock of where you are. Use your situational awareness to make sure no one is lurking around you with bad intent, and that no drunken person is about to puke all over you. Then, surround yourself in a bubble of divine white light, for protection. Plant your feet firmly on the ground or on the floor of the bus or train, making sure not to cross your arms or legs, take a deep breath and let your tension sink into Mother Earth.
While breathing deeply from your belly, start repeating your favorite mantra inside your head — or aloud, if you don’t mind anyone staring at you. Since so many others are nattering on their cell phones or muttering to themselves while they twitch and drool, no one will likely notice your vocalizations. Remember not to go too deeply into trance, lest you miss your stop. Keep it up for as long as you have to ride.
There. That’s better. Feel the peace start to descend. Feel your worries fly away. Maybe you’ll even arrive at your destination smiling!