There’s an old Zen proverb, “You should sit in meditation for ten minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
I meditate. Every day. Have done for over 9 years now. I really dig it. Lots of people who know me know that I like meditation. Sometimes I get into conversations with people about meditation. A lot of people seem to be of the opinion that they “should start meditating, but…” That “but” has a variety of follow-ups, but the majority of them are about not having enough time. I call bollocks. This is the one excuse I am no longer willing to accept. Most people seem to think that for meditation to count, you need to spend at least an hour with your legs twisted up on the cushion every day. That’s just not so. Meditation, once you learn how to do it, can be done at a moment’s notice, and even a few moments will make a tremendous difference.
Usually, I tell people who say they don’t have the time to meditate that just ten minutes a day will make a world of difference. Often they follow that up by asking where to get that ten minutes a day.
Here’s an idea: Let’s be honest about something here. There is a (much) better than average chance that you take your smartphone with you when you go to the toilet. There is also a very good chance that, while doing your “business” you spend ten minutes checking Facebook on said phone. (If it’s not Facebook then it’s Twitter, or email, or Google Plus, or Candy Crush, etc.) I would wager that you do this at least twice a day. So, my suggestion for finding the ten minutes a day to meditate is this – Instead of sitting on the toilet checking Facebook for 10 minutes, twice a day, just check Facebook for 5 minutes, twice a day. Presto! You have your ten minutes to meditate. Though I strongly suggest you not meditate on the toilet as that would be very bad for your hips.
The other thing to consider is that, much like exercise, the time you spend meditating will very likely actually give you more time during the day. With a regular meditation practice, you will have better focus, more equanimity, less stress. You will go through your day lighter, and you will make decisions faster. If you are a procrastinator (like me), you will find that you procrastinate less. I am not saying these changes will be huge, or miraculous, but they will be cumulative. Here and there you will pick up extra time, and you’ll get your ten minutes back. You can put those ten minutes a day back into your Facebook time on the toilet, or you might consider meditating for twenty minutes a day. Who knows where that could lead.