Learning how to meditate at work can make a big difference in your perception of your workplace, and even start to make it relaxing and, dare I say, enjoyable.
We all like to decorate our desks with things that remind us of home and family, holidays and happy memories. By all means do this, but keep part of your work space for contemplative materials that can help you practice your meditation techniques. Here are some suggestions:
To the right of your desk pin a postcard or drawing of something that you consider spiritually intriguing – a rose window, the Virgin Mary, a Tibetan thangka, a native American medicine wheel, a mandala or an Indian yantra. Choose a picture that strikes a chord with you – it may be simple or very elaborate, if you’re artistic, you might want to make your own drawing.
Straight ahead of you, pin a picture of a tranquil landscape in which you’d like to imagine yourself. Whenever you feel work oppressing you practice visualizing yourself in that landscape, with its particular weather, smells and sounds.
If you are a sensual type, something you can touch will be appealing. Bring a natural object such as a stone, a crystal, a piece of bark, a shell, a dried flower and keep it in your top drawer. Don’t leave it on your desk as you need to keep its associations undiluted.
An excellent aid to office meditation is your own private headset, though naturally this should not interfere with your work. Choose natural sounds or even white noise to block out the world around you. Or you could make a recording of yourself talking through a visualization.
These are abstract geometrical mandalos in the Hindu tradition. They are used as a visual focus for meditators. The most well-known is the shri yantra which shows the meeting of the masculine and feminine force, represented respectively by upward- and down ward pointing triangles. Hindus may also use the image of a god or goddess as the departure point for meditation.
Intention and Attention
The best way to carry out any work, whether at home, at the office, or out and about – mundane or heavy weight – is with complete mindful ness – that is, with all the attention and concentration you can muster and a sense of living one hundred percent in the present. This involves working with ‘intention’. Then you will find the task of relaxing rewarding and even joyful. It will certainly be creative.
For some jobs, depending on your character, that’s easy, but all of us sometimes have to do things we dislike or would simply rather not tackle, and here’s the challenge for your new found meditative skills.
Learn To Meditate To Make Hard Work Easier
At the beginning of a particular task – the more onerous the better – tell yourself that you will give it your complete attention. If it’s something truly hideous, give yourself an achievable time limit, say, 20 minutes.
So, close your eyes for a moment, take a breath and tell yourself, ‘I am going to give my complete attention to doing the accounts (for example) for 20 minutes and then I’m allowed a break.’
You may have to do a lot of 20-minute chunks in order to complete the task, but you will find that you can go for longer and longer periods, until eventually you don’t have to give yourself an incentive.
Then do your job with complete mindfulness. Every time your mind strays from the task in front of you, bring it gently back, just as you would in meditation.
Think of your work as being rather like climbing a steep hill. You need to set an easy pace that won’t over-stretch you. If you concentrate on each step as you take it, making sure that it is the most perfect step, that your weight is beautifully distributed, that it is easy to manage, then suddenly you arrive at the crest of the hill.
Before you know it the task is done and you have an enormous sense of achievement. Perhaps it was even fun too.