Experiment #11 - Five minute meditations

by Jordan Myska Allen

Join me on a simple and challenging experiment - to meditate for five minutes every waking hour. If you come from a monotheistic tradition, give five minutes to God and God alone for five minutes every hour.
If this is not possible given your schedule (can you change it?) then try meditating five minutes in between each change of activity.


For example, in between each class, before each meal, when you begin to study at the library or coffee shop and every hour after that until sleep. Before and after you go to work, at lunch, during a smoke break.


I have found this extremely difficult to maintain because I'm often with people for more than an hour at a time, and I don't always feel comfortable disappearing for five minutes. Or, I am rushing from one activity to the next. It has caused me to question why I'm rushing, why I think that my next destination or activity is more important than my time with God, developing my spirituality, which I think is ultimately the most important thing. When I am able to consistently set aside the five minutes (so short in concept but seemingly so long at first practice!) I feel more energized, relaxed, and peaceful throughout the day.


*A note on how I meditate*
Inhale, eyes closed, while counting to eight. Exhale and count to eight. Repeat.
Thoughts are not ignored; to rid my head of thoughts is not the goal. Instead I acknowledge them and let them pass like a log floating down a river. When I get distracted by a thought, which I find inevitable, I acknowledge it and return my attention to my breath and counting. I imagine the thought dissipating like a cloud by the sunshine of my awareness. Distractions from my counting of breath are like bubbles that arise to the surface and disappear.


*A note on meditation as an attitude*
I believe that meditation is an attitude more than an act. Likewise I believe the ideal is to give all you actions and thoughts to God as you go about your day and prayer can be constant alongside other activities. Yet for this experiment I suggest doing nothing but embody this attitude of meditation/communication with God during the five minutes. I also suggest using a timer because it's difficult to judge how much time has passed and the temptation to constantly look at the clock is difficult to overcome.