A more consistent meditation practice has been something I’ve been working on for… well, let’s just say a really long time. It’s something I know can be an incredibly powerful practice and beneficial tool, yet I make a lot of (bullshit) excuses and have trouble “finding” the time to even do 10 minutes a day.
Whenever I do meditate, I’m thankful I did. I feel grounded, present, refreshed, and alert. I’ve even had moments of intense clarity during a meditation that I don’t think I would have found without that kind of focus and presence. I’ve never meditated and then said, “Damnit, that was a waste of time!” It’s kind of like working out, right? I always feel better after I do it, but getting to that point can certainly be the hard part.
Very recently (as of Sunday) I’ve started exploring this question instead… “What is the cost of not meditating?” Since it’s already clear to me what the benefits are and that’s not enough to fully commit, maybe this will.
So, in that effort, I’m aiming for 10 minutes minimum of meditation a day for… forever. This isn’t a 30-day challenge, this is a life challenge. I want this to be part of my daily practice, my self-love, and my journey. However, it’s easy to see how quickly life can get in the way and today was a perfect example of that. I had to be at the train station by 8am to head to the airport for a work trip to Denver. I normally don’t get out of bed till 8am, so there’s that.
I decided that I would meditate on the plane. It would still be “morning” and I’d have plenty of time. My initial intention was to do it during the flight, but while we sat on the runway, waiting… like you always do on a plane, I realized this is the PERFECT time.
The worst part about traveling for me is we are just all there to hurry up and wait. Wait in the security line, wait at the gate to start boarding, wait in line to get on the plane, sit in your seat and wait for everyone else to board, wait for the plane to start to move, wait on the runway for your plane’s turn to take off, wait to actually take off… then, wait to get up high enough to have wifi or turn on your electronics, wait for the drink cart, wait for the plane to start to land, wait to get off the plane, wait for your bag, wait for a taxi, wait to get to your hotel or wherever you’re trying to go. The list goes on and on. We spend a lot of time WAITING when we travel. It can be a great test of our patience, but it can also be kind of disheartening that all of a sudden hours and hours of our life have gone by and we’ve spent most of it waiting to just get to the final destination. Sure, we might read a book or do some work, but we’re still just waiting to get to the next place.
This is where meditation just makes so much sense. One of the primary benefits (if you ask me) of meditating is becoming more present in your body and your mind. Not thinking about the past or future, but just the right now. Breathing, living, being. Instead of waiting our lives away – for the plane to land or for the next chapter in our lives – we can find immense clarity and joy in just being in the right now.
With all that being said, I’m pretty sure I’ll never fly again WITHOUT meditating before and during takeoff, and I’d like to encourage you to give it a try too!
1. Per normal, I had my headphones on. Instead of my normal playlist, I put on my “Meditation” playlist. (Yes, I even have one of those despite my inconsistency.) This consists of relaxing instrumental music including singing bowls, nature sounds, and so forth (I have guided ones too, but I’m working on non-guided meditations right now).
2. I got comfortable, shut my eyes, and started to focus on my breathing – you know, I started meditating.
It’s important to note, I started doing this after the plane door was shut and after the initial instructions by the flight attendant (I was in an exit row), but while we were still at the gate / on the runway. This ensured I wouldn’t need to do anything else and wouldn’t be distracted.
3. I kept my eyes shut and continued to breathe as we took off. I had my music loud enough (and sound blocking head phones) so that I wasn’t really distracted by what was going on around me. Before I knew it (probably 10-12 minutes had passed), I could feel that we were about to take off.
4. I kept breathing and stayed in touch with how it felt to “take off” – you can certainly feel it in your body. While we took off into the clouds, it was actually pretty damn serene. I felt like I was personally lifting off and the feeling was kind of euphoric. I kept staying present and gently bringing myself back as my thoughts started to drift.
5. By the time I opened my eyes, it had been a total of about 18 minutes. Wow! It went by quickly. I missed out on the kind of painful waiting game we always play before takeoff, and now we were in the air and I could look out my window and see the clouds below me.
Meditating on an airplane is pretty easy to do, and something I highly suggest. Plenty of people shut their eyes and fall asleep, so you don’t even have to worry about what you look like (if that’s something you would worry about). I felt totally comfortable, relaxed, and much less rushed to get through the next steps of the flight.
This might be my new favorite place to meditate! I guess I’ll need to keep booking more flights.