Meditation can be done in many ways, and in many places, but can the same be said about work? How compatible is doing meditation while you are doing work? While being in the present moment could count as meditation, you could say that doing your work mindfully would count as meditating at work.
Photo by Ron Lach
Now, you’re unlikely to be able to do a complete meditation, such as zazen. The workplace isn’t an optimal environment for meditation, in fact, many would see it as a counter environment for meditation, but I would like to present an alternate viewpoint, since eventually, you’ll want to get so good at meditation you can do it at any time, anywhere.
Almost without thinking about it. Of course, you still want to continue the practice in the traditional sense where you are sitting in a peaceful environment, with the session having your full-undivided attention.
But that’s not to say that you can still do some basic form of meditation during work, and I’ll explain some ways you can implement work and meditation.
If you’re able to integrate meditation into your day-to-day life, even in the most mundane activities, you’re more likely to build this micro commitment toward the practice which will only benefit you in the long run.
It’s no secret that the workplace is often a noisy, distracting environment that often would be seen as antagonizing for the meditation practitioner. But that same roadblock can be a great foundation for mental endurance, to ultimately become less affected by distracting environments.
Workplaces are also known to be stressful, and if you can meditate amid stress, you become almost unstoppable in your practice. You’ve cultivated such peace from within that nothing external can disrupt that peace.
If you are able to integrate meditation into your day-to-day work, you’ll often see a boost in your focus, which by extension, will often positively reflect on the quality of your work.
You want to be as mindful as possible. But at the same time, it might not sound fun to meditate at work, because many are longing to get home, or counting how many hours there are left during work.
Now, the more you disconnect your mind from the notion of time, the less you are at the mercy of said time, and the more you can enjoy the now as it is. It’s almost as if meditation makes the present far more tolerable, even when facing situations we would otherwise want to get away from.
Many people associate meditation with something pleasant, and combining it with work would for some seem like mixing a tasty plate with one that’s yucky. But it doesn’t have to be that way, since not everything is that black and white.
You may or may not benefit from integrating meditation with your daily work, but you wouldn’t know until you tried. Just because meditation is harder to do because of all of the other things that would kick you out of the present, such as stress, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing.
Meditating During Lunch Breaks
I don’t recommend combining eating and meditation, but if you happen to have already eaten or are postponing your meal, you might as well use that time to try to meditate.
The drawback is that you’ll miss out on social interactions, but you could meditate for a part of your lunch break to replenish your energy. Meditation can be a great way to cool off.
Of course, there’s the risk of the meditation experience being a fiasco and somewhat negative, but you can always stop the experience. There are no downsides to being present, you can simply keep your eyes open and focus on your surroundings, and engage in nothingness.
Most people around you wouldn’t think you are meditating but deep down, you are practicing it in some form, even if it’s a very basic form of meditation.
But meditation doesn’t have to be anything fancy, in fact, keeping things simple could be enough for you.
Raising Your Stress Threshold
I generally recommend more intermediate to advanced meditators do meditation at work, since they’ll often be better to steer the experience in a direction that doesn’t affect them, as it would a beginner. But even beginners can benefit from meditation at work.
What’s good about meditating at work is that it can raise some individuals’ stress tolerance, meaning it will take them more to get them stressed.
They’ve cultivated such peace within that disrupting that peace becomes harder and harder each time, to the benefit of the meditation practitioner.
This will of course result in a freer life in terms of peace and will come from not running away from stress, and having it add up, but facing said stress.
Meditation has the potential to raise someone’s threshold in this regard, which is often a desirable habit in any workplace since many workplaces do require high levels of tolerance to stress. This can also be useful if you’re going in for a job interview.
Finding What Works For You With Meditation At Work
If you’re someone that enjoys fast-paced environments, you might benefit from integrating meditation and work. It can prevent you from being depleted by the end of the workday. One drawback of being a person that’s high in energy is burnout.
Most, if not everyone has experienced some form of burnout, and by meditating at work, you make the practice more natural, and you condition yourself subconsciously to see meditation as just a normal part of your day, and thus, practicing mindfulness outside meditation becomes easier.
Meditation can be done at any time, and anywhere, and meditation can be anything. Assuming we’re not going by strict parameters defining meditation.
Should You Meditate Before or After Work?
If meditating during work isn’t an option for you, I generally recommend meditating before work, since, before work, your energy won’t feel depleted and you need some of that energy to sustain your attention on the meditation, to begin with. In addition, it might help make work more enjoyable, by making it more immersive.
However, it’s completely valid to meditate after if you find that it’s what works for you. But many wind up feeling like work sucks their energy off them, and meditation is a way to protect this energy.
But more often than not, a sizable portion of energy depletion can be prevented simply by being present — it does get exhausting to have your mind long for a past or a future, whilst completely omitting the now. That’s what becomes boring, not necessarily focusing on your work, where you are in the moment constantly.
After all, how can you learn to enjoy the moment if you don’t teach yourself to live in the moment?
Now, work isn’t guaranteed to become more enjoyable pre-meditation or doing it during work, but it’s a way to put yourself ahead in other aspects that you might not think about at first.
After all, meditation is a slow process and it can take months to determine whether it works for you or not, or whether you need to make some changes to your practice.
However, that same energy boost or at least, energy conservation you get from meditation can be saved up and used towards building a side hustle, that might help you escape a job that you don’t enjoy at the time.
After all, no matter how bad things seem, everything is temporary, and meditation helps you find yourself, as well as find your path, usually based on intuition. No one but you can shake the peace and mental fortitude built within, thanks to meditation.