With notes from Tujawellness.com and thanks to Courtney Sunday.
What are you doing right now? Are you relaxing? Feeling the floor beneath you? Sensing into the breath? Hearing the silence in the room? Or, are you waiting? Waiting for the class to begin? Waiting for the class to be over? Waiting to feel relaxed? Waiting waiting waiting. There’s waiting in every day of our lives. We wait for your coffee to brew. For the kettle to boil. For dinner to be ready. You wait for the subway, for your phone to charge, for your computer to start…in fact, when you look at it, it’s rare when you’re not waiting for something. We wait for a promotion, for a businss deal to be completed, for a trip to begin. And then we wait to go home. We are always waiting for something. Waiting waiting...waiting while our lives keep on going.
Even the most patient of us can become a little frustrated with all of this pausing. We may even look at it as wasted time. Or we can look at it as a lot of built-in breaks throughout our day, dedicated to increasing our perception and our attention through meditation.
Vipassana, or insight meditation, is a Buddhist practice that hones awareness of the present moment. The next time you find yourself having the tendency to tap your foot or sigh in exasperation as someone hems and haws over whether they want a soy cap or a lactose-free mocha, notice yourself waiting.
Pay attention first to the things outside of yourself - the people around you, the clock on the wall, the gentle whirring of the coffee maker.
Take some time to integrate all of your senses into your waiting. Smell the coffee, listen to chatter, feel the warmth of the room. Then dive back into yourself.
If you’re still feeling impatient, try to pinpoint where the impatience lies – is it throughout your body, or is it focalized in one part? Pay attention to how your breath is attuned to your waiting and try to control your breath.
The point of this exercise is to remember that you cannot control the waiting. But you can certainly use waiting as a chance to control your reactions to the world around you, and as a result, decrease your overall stress.
Practice enough, and you’ll discover a new definition of what it means to wait.
Waiting without Waiting.
Let us realize that we have the choice of letting go when action is not possible, When we do this we avoid the inner grumbling, and therefore avoid the stress and suffering that accompany waiting. But "waiting without waiting" doesn't end there. Now that we are no longer "in resistance to what is," we can enter the present moment. Why? Because it's wonderful in its own way, even if we are trapped by a delay at the airport. What? Yes, it's true. This is a perfect moment!
So what's entering the present moment? Fasten your seatbelt. It depends on how deep you're willing to go. First, shift your focus to your physical body, accessing a feeling state. In other words, notice how your body feels right now. Are there any areas where you're holding tension? If you find tension, consciously take a breath and relax.
Next, enter your inner body. This is the energetic body that animates your flesh and blood. It's that energy that differentiates your body from that of a corpse: your aliveness, your vibration, your life force. Becoming aware of yourself on this level has the potential to pull you out of your life "situation" and put you back in touch with the essence of life itself.
And, if you're daring, you can go even deeper. Best to do this while not driving a car or some other activity that requires your 100 % focus! While still aware of your inner body, you can become aware of the energizing life force animating the world around you. Keep your focus off the world in totality, and just look for the energy of the world. It's kind of like looking at those 3-D posters: you have to look at it while looking past it to get the full effect.
Without criticism or labels, you can take in the hustle and bustle of wherever you are, the chair supporting your body, the floor beneath you, the ceiling above you and the air all around you. Maybe plants in the area. Maybe animals in the surround. Maybe people. Suddenly, while in this moment, there are no problems.
Life is circulating within you, life is circulating all around you. You might become aware of your connection to the whole. You might even feel a spontaneous, deep and effortless love for the miracle of existence, including yourself.
So maybe these delays aren't so bad after all. The next time you find yourself waiting, try "waiting without waiting." If you don't like it, you can always worry.