No matter where you go in the world, public transportation seems to be one of those things that raises everyone's blood pressure.
Loud noises. Bad weather. Missed connections. Cancellations. It can be enough to short circuit anyone's patience. But there are some easy tips you can use to keep your sense of calm amid all this chaos. One word: Meditation.
Everyone thinks that in order to meditate, you need to be sitting on a Zafu Meditation Cushion, hands in prayer, incense burning and in total silent bliss for 30 to 60 minutes.
I say, take the opportunity when you have it, no matter your circumstances. Here are 5 tips to capture travel meditation bliss!
1. Focus on your breath. The easiest thing you can do during chaos to clear your mind is focusing on clearing your lungs. Find a chair (or your chair if you're on a plane), put your feet flat on the ground, and just think about taking 5 slow, deep breaths. Close your eyes if you wish, or just focus on a spot in front of you if you'd rather keep your eyes open.
2. Enlist your imagination. What's your favorite spot in the whole world? In the mountains near a stream with a spectacular view? On a mesa overlooking the desert southwest? Go into your visual memory bank, find the place that you love that you feel most at peace and imagine sitting or standing right in the middle of that place.
3. Turn on some zen music and tune into the groove. Buy an iPod or other MP3 player and create a special playlist that's full of slow music that makes you feel peaceful. When chaos is the theme for the day, stay at peace with slow, tranquil music.
4. Use positive affirmations. Affirmations are statements that we can tell ourselves to improve our attitude and find a sense of peace. My travel affirmation is simple - "I am so happy and grateful to be present in this moment." I sit, close my eyes and whisper it quietly to myself until I can open my eyes and smile. Sometimes, it takes half the plane ride, but I do it, and you can, too!
And if none of these things are on your list of things you'd be comfortable doing - here's number 5 - hard candy. If you find it impossible to focus, find your breath, imagine a more peaceful environment or use positive talk to get you to a place of peace, find a peppermint or other suitable hard candy. Sit down, place it in your mouth, and breathe while it dissolves. Don't bite it in half, don't swallow it when it's small enough. Just sit, breathe, and let it dissolve. If your mind goes to a more peaceful state, congratulations, you're meditating.
Meditation is about calming your mind, reducing stress and being peaceful. There are many paths to it, no matter where you are on your journey.