When we think of meditation, usually we associate it with peaceful or tranquil environments. Sure, it’s a lot easier to focus and let go in an area with little to no distractions, but what if you could get the same release and rejuvenation while in the busiest of places?
The truth is that meditation can be performed anywhere, at any time in most situations. In fact, some meditational practices welcome distractions and reframe them as anchors into the present moment. Whether you’re in a nightclub or at a sporting event, if you allow yourself to, you can enter a peaceful and calm, meditative state.
Below are five useful techniques that will help you learn to meditate in any environment.
Use Headphones to Meditate
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of guided meditation videos available online. You can also search YouTube for guided meditations that address specific causes and desires or go with a broader, more generic option. Some videos may be restricted to specific countries, but you can still watch them if you use a Virtual Private Network.
Once you’ve browsed through some different options, select one and plug in your headphones (this way you won’t attract attention or irritate others around you). Simply follow the guidelines given by the narrator and enjoy the meditation. One tip for this technique is that if you don’t wish to close your eyes, you don’t have to, even if the narrator asks you to. It is possible to enter a meditative state without closing your eyes.
Mantra meditation has been around for many years, and it can be very effective for calming the mind in busy environments. A mantra is a word or series of words designed to transcend mind activity. You can search the internet to find hundreds of different mantras, all of which have different meanings.
The idea of using mantras is that you repeat the mantra over and over again. Your focus is to be the mantra and your deep breathing, allowing everything else to be without engaging with it. You may be bombarded with thoughts and distractions in your environment; you must learn that that’s okay and you can’t change it. However, after focusing on the mantra for so long, your mind will begin to forget the distractions and eventually the mantra too. At this point, you will have entered a profoundly calm and transcendental state.
Focus on Your Breathing
It’s no wonder that breathing is such a traditional part of all meditational practices. The breath offers an anchor like no other since it can only be taken in the present moment. In a way, the breath is the most powerful mantra of all, as you don’t have to put as much effort into it; it happens automatically. All you need to do is be aware of your breathing.
Try breathing deeply from your diaphragm to ensure maximum concentration and relaxation. Quite often, when people first start watching their breath during meditation, they realize how short their intakes and exhales are. When we breathe correctly, we generate enough oxygen to satisfy our bodies’ needs completely. You should feel your belly swell out fully on your inhales and flatten on your exhales when breathing from the diaphragm. Placing your hands on your belly while practicing this can help focus the mind on your breathing even more since you can feel its impact on numerous areas of your body simultaneously.
Practice External Anchor Meditation
This technique involves using your senses and environment to anchor yourself fully in the present moment. What can you hear, see, smell, feel and taste? No matter what your senses are picking up, the essence can be focused on to bring you into a completely calm and peaceful state of mind.
Reframe whatever you see and hear so that it’s positive, even if these things are commonly referred to as annoying. For example, let’s say you’re sitting on a bench on a busy street. There are cars and people passing endlessly; you can hear horns going off and even a car alarm. You may think these sounds are irritating, but see past that conditioning and use them as anchors, placing your attention firmly in the present. Pretty soon every sound you hear will help you relax into a deeper state of calmness and tranquility.
Try Walking Meditation
Slow walking is becoming a popular meditational method since it places heavy emphasis on all senses in a mindful way. You are more conscious of your senses since you can feel them in action vividly. As you walk, the wind and air passes across your face, and your feet slowly interact with the ground.
If you’re in a park or woodland area, this technique is especially effective, as nature is commonly associated with relaxing, peacefulness and calming sensations.
Create Your Own Hybrid Meditation Method
You can create your own hybrid meditation practices by combining the above five methods in whatever environment you find yourself in. Also, you might find that specific techniques work better in certain situations, so it’s important to experiment with them to find what is most effective for you.
These five techniques will help you to meditate and be at peace in any environment. Make sure you don’t use them in situations that aren’t safe, such as driving! Whether you’re sitting in a park or walking through the crowded streets of a busy city center, you can meditate just as effectively as you can in a quiet and peaceful setting.
Do you have experience with meditating in active or unorthodox areas? Let us know in the comments section below.