How do you take the calm confidence and tranquility you feel in the meditation and feel it in the rest of your life?
That’s a question I get a lot. In fact, it’s one of the questions that set me on a serious spiritual path over 20 years ago. Understanding how to bridge meditation and the rest of your life is important, because otherwise, you'll experience an unnecessary divide in self.
The stress you feel off the mat trickles back in when you lose mindfulness, and it can make you feel that your meditation practice isn’t effective. That was the case for me at a certain point.
We all need to bring that quiet confidence from meditation into our complex and ever-changing lives. ~Morgan Dix
Meditating is a little like charging a battery. When you meditate, you’re nurturing that space within that is untouched by anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. Here, you discover a quality of rest and release that is immeasurable and restorative.
Learn how to tap into that reservoir of peace when the flashing lights and blaring sirens of life are all around you. Here are six tried and true methods to help.
1. Spend time with other people who meditate.
When you spend time with other meditators, you’ll become aware of something interesting; that space and depth you experience in meditation has a contagious quality. You’ll notice the natural barriers that separate you start to recede.
A resonant feeling of peace and relaxation abounds between fellow meditators, and quite naturally, you’ll experience a buoyant intimacy and a shared sense of silence. This experience connects you to the fact that the qualities we experience in meditation aren’t isolated to the mat, and it will build your confidence.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of consciously paying attention to whatever you’re doing in the present moment with your full attention. It means that you are focused on just one thing and giving yourself to it completely. It’s a singular state of awareness.
When you practice mindfulness in this way, you’ll experience the calm confidence and relaxation that come with meditation. It’s a quality of focus that is free from any tension at all.
3. Slow down and pay attention.
One of the best ways to tap into that reservoir of peace you’ve been nurturing in meditation is to simply slow down whatever you’re doing right now. Whether you’re walking, thinking, driving, cooking, or doing the dishes, you’ll be amazed at the simple power of this practice. Just slow it down right now and pay attention.
4. Learn a mantra.
One way to bring your meditation into the rest of your life is to practice a mantra. A mantra is a word of phrase that you repeat to yourself inwardly, like the word Om.
I’m not a practicing Christian, but I once read a book called The Way of the Pilgrim. It's the story of a monk who practiced the Lord’s Prayer all the time. The results he experienced were incredible, so I tried it. I said the prayer as a mantra constantly to myself when I was doing all sorts of things.
The results were pretty incredible. Meditation suffused my actions and my experience. I was aware of that quiet meditative space inside each time I repeated the mantra. And even when I stopped repeating it, like a tuning fork, the mantra continued to resonate as a quiet and peaceful vibration within.
5. Nurture your desire for freedom.
Bridge the gap between your time on the meditation cushion and everything else by stoking your desire for that free and unlimited feeling you have in meditation.
For example, if you feel stressed, upset, or angry at someone, ask yourself this question: “Do I want to dwell on this bad feeling, or do I want to align myself with the freedom and peace I feel in meditation?”
If you want to experience meditation, orient your attention to letting go, just like in your meditation practice. In meditation, you’re always letting go of your mind in one form or another. When you direct your intentions, you flex that same “letting go” muscle you’ve been building in your practice.
Eventually this creates a direct connection to that battery of inner peace.
6. Tune in to your five senses.
Finally, tuning in to your senses is a wonderful way to tap into meditation at any moment. You’ll be surprised at how grounding and relaxing it can be. Stop whatever you’re doing and listen. Allow yourself to pay complete attention to your soundscape and let your attention become broad and panoramic.
Just paying attention to your breathing and your physical sensations without any judgment can also be a great way to use your senses to hone in on some real depth in meditation.
These six tips will help you start to build a solid bridge from meditation into daily life. Eventually, you want more than a bridge; you want a superhighway of calm confidence. Take your practice one step at a time. With these techniques, meditation will open your mind and infuse your life.