The Many Ways (and Days) to Meditate

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | December 4th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Personal Growth

MeditateI, like so many, thought meditation was something only others could do. Others, for example, without quarreling children, looming deadlines or hips that mutinied at the thought of the Lotus Position. Those with minds that didn’t race like a toddler on Red Bull.

Although I wanted to be someone who meditated, I wasn’t someone who meditated.

Someday, I would tell myself, imagining that glorious future when my children, work schedule, muscles, joints and mind would finally and fully cooperate.

But while I was waiting, the research piled up. About how meditation improves memory. Boosts the immune system. Lowers our resting heart rate. Makes us calmer. Happier. Healthier.

I wanted some of that. Not later but now.

So I tried.

And tried.

And tried.

I still wasn’t sure I was doing it right, though I was told often that there was no “right.” For a recovering perfectionist, not having a “right” way to meditate was excruciating. How could I berate myself for doing it wrong when there was no right? How could I do it better if there was no “best”?

I can’t claim an a-ha moment. My life isn’t about light bulbs so much as a steadily building dawn. Slowly, I got it. But the really amazing part was that I continued to get it. Everywhere.

Meditation wasn’t just about sitting on a cushion or a chair (my hips still refuse the Lotus Position); it followed me out into the world.

I could meditate while waiting in line at the store while an elderly customer counted pennies to pay for their purchase. In, out, breathe…

I could meditate while walking my dogsright, left, breathe – a practice that seemed to travel down the leash and into them, creating more Zen-like pets. (Or perhaps it was their irrefutable in-the-moment-ness that traveled along the leash to me. Who was meditating whom?)

I could meditate when my 14-year-old was demanding, complete with eye rolls, to know why her favorite sweater hadn’t been washed. In, out, breathe…

Cut off in traffic? Baby won’t stop crying? Boss being difficult? Cheesecake calling your name? All opportunities for meditation.

I continue to meditate in myriad ways throughout the day. Not “right.” Just right now.


  1. There are different meanings of the word meditation. I have also seen some meanings conflicting with the others.

    Some are active meditation techniques, and others passive ones.
    In active ones, you directly control your mind, while in passive ones, you divert the mind from its current thoughts by focusing on breathing, the current moment, etc.


    Venkat | December 10th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  2. Lovely article. Reminds me of the Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” We do not know the value of meditation until we begin. And even then, nothing appears different on the outside. But the inside…awareness makes all the difference.

    Tammy | February 19th, 2013 | Comment Permalink

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