There’s waiting in every day of your life. You wait for your coffee to brew. You wait for your kids to get 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.
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.