Micro-meditations are short periods of meditation performed throughout the day. They can be carried out in the midst of your activities, or serve as breath-catching pauses between actions.
These short bursts of spiritual practice can help you stay clear and free of distractions. They can keep you on-purpose and connected with the flow of higher creative energy.
One of the biggest challenges to spiritual practice is maintaining a meditative state throughout a stressful day. It’s one thing to learn how to transcend the mind during a seated meditation session. The challenge is learning to abide in that state as you go about your life.
The power of a micro-meditation is that it helps you integrate higher states of consciousness into daily activities.
Instead of limiting your spiritual life to thirty minutes in the morning, or once a week on Sunday, your practice remains alive and vibrant.
A micro meditation can be as simple as taking a deep breath before you begin to speak or whenever you feel yourself begin to tense up. It can be a one to five minute session between appointments, during which you acknowledge the Presence of Spirit within and around you. Or it can be a ten second practice of gratitude for the coffee you are drinking or for the friend who just sent you an email.
A micro-meditation can be whatever you want it to be. Your spiritual practice is your own unique exploration into the nature of Reality. Whatever helps guide your attention back to Center is part of your practice. The only limit is your imagination.
Some examples to try out:
- When you wake up in the morning: Before getting out of bed, feel gratitude for the day. Become aware of the presence and energy of Spirit within and around you. Breathe prana down into your body, from your head to your toes. Feel the living pulse Awareness, the vibration of Life.
- As you shower: Cleanse the mind along with the body. Wash away the tensions that restrict your consciousness. Feel them flow out of you and down the drain.
- When you look in the mirror: See Awareness staring back at you.
- While eating: Feel gratitude for the nourishment the meal provides. Be mindful as you eat. Savor the flavors and textures of the food. Watch those sensations rise up in your field of Awareness and then fade away. Notice the Awareness that remains after the sensations are gone.
- When stepping outside: Acknowledge your Oneness with the environment around you.
- As you start your car: Recognize that the Spirit within you is the driver.
- As you begin to work: Recognize that the Spirit within you is the worker.
- Before answering the phone, or making a call: Acknowledge that the person you are about to speak with is the manifestation of Spirit.
- During a workout: Allow your mind to become still. Notice that the motions of the exercise are being performed automatically in the same way your food is being digested and blood is being pumped through your veins. Know that you (the ego) are not the doer. The Self within you performs all actions.
- After a workout: Take a moment to rest in Presence.
- When you get home from work: Take a moment to rest in Presence.
- When watching a sunset: Allow your personal sense of self to dissolve into the Self.
- While tasting chocolate: Allow your ego-mind to melt into Awareness.
- When hugging a loved one: Become aware of your oneness with them.
- When gazing into a valley, canyon, ocean, or lake: Allow your consciousness to expand out to fill the empty space.
- When feeling angry or frustrated: Feel the strong pulsation of the emotion. Follow it back to the field of Awareness from which it arose.
- When experiencing pain or suffering: Acknowledge the suffering and feel compassion toward yourself. Then try to see through that suffering. Know that you are That which is aware of the suffering.
- When witnessing suffering in others: Allow compassion to well up within you. Help in any way you are guided. At the same time, see through their suffering, acknowledging their deepest aspect of Being which is beyond all suffering.
- When in a large crowd of people: Recognize that there are no other people. There is just one, universal Self, one Awareness looking out through the eyes of each apparent individual.
- When walking: Walk in Spirit.
- When lying down to sleep: Feel gratitude for the day, and for the Presence that filled your day.
The main obstacle to the practice of a micro-meditation is forgetfulness. Half a day can go by before you realize you haven’t taken one simple, conscious breath.
How to Remember to Practice
The key to this practice is the use of triggers. We need triggers or alarms to pull us away from distraction. Many spiritual communities use bells, incense, devotional music, and sacred imagery as triggers. Since most of us don’t live in ashrams or monasteries we have to create our own.
Here’s some examples:
- Program your phone to work as a meditation bell. Set an alarm with a calming tone, bell, or vibration to go off every hour or so throughout the day.
- Create meditative habits around some of your daily routines such as when you shower or brush your teeth.
- Use symbols such as yantras, mandalas, statues of deities, or photos of spiritual teachers. Place them somewhere you will notice them regularly.
- My home office is on the second story, and I have a large Sri Yantra that my sister painted hanging at the bottom of the stairs. Each time I go downstairs I see the yantra and take a deep breath into the heart.
- Write inspiring quotes or affirmations on sticky notes and place them in strategic places.
- One of my favorite quotes is from the meditation master Lahiri Mahasaya. “Meditation is the conscious awareness of the presence of God within us.” I have this on a sticky note next to my computer to remind me to be aware of that Presence as I work.
- I have another favorite quote written on a small chalkboard by my front door that reads: “Everything is a reason to open, nothing is a reason to close.” Swami Rudrananda (Rudi)
- Choose physical landmarks to use as triggers. Maybe there’s a massive oak tree you pass on your drive to work, or a temple or art installation that catches your attention.
Try associating each of your triggers with a specific form of micro-meditation. A landmark could be a gratitude trigger, a sticky-note could be a reminder to use an affirmation, a statue could prompt a devotional prayer — the best trigger is one that inspires you to practice, and the best practice is one that opens your heart.