How to Meditate at the Office -- or Wherever

According to Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the insight Meditation Society, in Massachusetts; author of "Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation."

Forget about Chimes -- and Time

Meditation is like this portable resource you carry around with you. It's private. It's free. You don't have to close your eyes or pull out any equipment -- like incense or a gong or whatever. One of my teachers once suggested the idea of "short moments many times." So instead of thinking, for example, Oh, I need an hour's break in the middle of the workday, you can take short moments to return to yourself, to just breathe -- and to simply not do.

Yes, Breathe

For a short meditation, you can do very simple things, like feel your breath -- just the actual sensations of your normal, natural breath. Find the place where the breath is strongest for you. Maybe it's at the nostrils or in the chest or the abdomen. Now, lightly place your attention there, and simply feel the tingling, vibration, warmth, coolness, movement -- whatever it is. This practice can help you to drop into the moment in a very distinct way.

Have a "To Do" List -- of One Task

I also like the exercise where you do a single activity rather than multitask. Maybe you just drink that cup of tea or coffee that's sitting on your desk without checking your email at the same time. Feel the warmth of the teacup and the heaviness of it -- the smell of what you're drinking and the taste of it.

Take a Walk

I love walking meditation. You don't even have to walk at a slow pace -- just concentrate on feeling your feet touch the ground: touch, touch, touch, touch. Normally, when we walk -- say, on our way into a meeting -- we're consumed with thinking about what's going to happen once we get there: I'll say this, and they'll say that. We're not experiencing what's happening all along the way. When we have that touchstone of our feet on the ground, we can continue to have a creative thought or a conversation if anyone comes by, but we have an anchor that helps keep us in the present moment.

Be Nice -- Soundlessly

There's another form of walking meditation, based on loving-kindness meditation, where you silently repeat certain phrases. As you pass someone, for example, you might say, May you be happy. I was walking in New York City the other night, and it was so interesting to have my internal response to everybody I passed be, Be happy, instead of, Why don't you slow down?

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