Meditation in daily life

When you wake up in the morning, allow yourself some deep slow, breaths before you get out of bed. See if you can be aware of your breathing and of making the transition from sleeping to waking. Be aware of the sound, the quality of light, or the darkness. Feel each in-breath calm your body and mind, and each out-breath release any tension or thoughts you're holding. Try smiling and see what happens.

Take a few minutes, either at home or on your way to work, to notice something enjoyable about the morning: perhaps the sunlight or the rain or the face of your child or a flower or the sounds of birds or the wind. See if you can allow yourself and your surroundings to inhabit the same space.

On your way to work or school, or to appointments or your other daily errands, try to be mindful of your traveling. Be aware of your walking, your sitting on the subway, your strap hanging on the bus, or your sitting while you are riding in a car. If you are driving a car or riding a bicycle or motorcycle, try to be aware of your driving or riding. Do your best to allow your steps and actions to be peaceful ones.

Many things happen every day that you can use as bells of mindfulness: the doorbell, the telephone, sounds on your computer, turning on a light, flushing a toilet, and so on. Let each one be an occasion to notice your breathing and allow some mindful in- and out-breaths. When the telephone rings, let it ring two or three times before you answer it. This is a great contradiction to our conditioning. Remember, if they really want to talk with you, they won't hang up!

As you go to bed and prepare for sleep, take some mindful breaths, become aware of the bed supporting you, and allow yourself a smile. Feel the muscles of your body relaxing as you sink into your bed. Try letting go of the past day's activities and of your anticipation of tomorrow. See whether you can end the day with a smile.