How to practice meditation while working

By Tergar Community Team • 5 min read


How to Meditate at Work

If you already practice meditation, you know by now that it creates space in your mind for fresh ideas, problem-solving, and mindful communication, among other things. Any of these would hypothetically come in really handy when you’re on the job. But can you actually meditate in the middle of work? Yes! But if you’re picturing yourself dropping everything, switching off the lights, and sitting silently on a cushion, think again.

Keep calm and carry on

Remember, nowhere is it written that meditation can only be done while quietly seated. Informal meditation can happen anywhere, in any situation. Whatever you’re doing, you simply carry on doing it with a sense of awareness. You might like to rest in the awareness of your breath for the length of one inhale and one exhale — or even just the inhale. Or you might relax briefly into the awareness of any sounds you hear, your physical sensations, or your thoughts or emotions. You can rest in awareness itself. Whichever practice you choose, doing it for a few seconds will create little “glimpses” of meditation. From there, you can simply let your attention return to what you were doing or thinking.

The pause that refreshes

To function properly, your mind requires downtime. This is nonnegotiable. If you don’t give your brain intervals of rest from stress and pressure, you won’t produce good work, no matter how many hours you put in. Resting your mind briefly in meditation is an excellent way to hit the “refresh” button and return to a task with more energy and clarity.

“Everything you perceive, you perceive through the power of your awareness. There are truly no limits to the creative ability of your mind.”

– Mingyur Rinpoche –

In practical terms . . .

Imagine you have a project due at the end of the day. You could mull it over and then relax for a moment in sound meditation. Work on it for a while, then rest with your breath for a few seconds. Discuss it with your colleague, then check in with your physical sensations for half a minute. Send that email to your supervisor, then rest your mind in awareness. And so on. In allowing your brain to take some space, you’ll find yourself less stressed out and feeling fresher. Your mind will settle; you’ll feel more capable of handling whatever comes your way. Whatever your work consists of, intervals of meditation can only benefit it.

One drop at a time

This technique of going in and out of meditation — traditionally referred to as “short times, many times” — is often illustrated by the example of drops of water falling one by one into a large empty bucket. It might take a long while, but in the end, the barrel will be full. Doing informal meditation while you’re working will increase your productivity and the quality of your work; at the same time it will develop your spiritual practice, improve the health of your relationships, and benefit your physical body, too. Altogether, a win-win.

Instructions for informal meditation

Pick a certain object or task that will become a reminder for awareness during your day. It could be every time you drink a glass of water, send your email, or touch the keyboard or something else. Make a clear aspiration each day that you will remember to practice when doing this thing.

Take sitting in traffic, for instance. The sounds, sights, and smells of rush-hour traffic can become an overwhelming source of preoccupation. The practice of simply observing the sensory input you have in traffic rather than focusing on the goal of getting through congestion offers a tremendous opportunity for meditation practice.

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More Resources

How to do Meditation while working with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

In this video, Mingyur Rinpoche explains the impact meditation can have on this area of our life. In particular, he explains how stress can lead to tightness, ultimately hindering our creativity and capacity to perform

Joy of Living Online Training

Theory and practice of meditation, step-by-step.

Learn meditation under the skillful guidance of world-renowned teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche at your own pace.

About the Author

By Tergar Meditation Community Team

Tergar Meditation Community supports individuals, practice groups, and meditation communities around the world in learning to live with awareness, compassion, and wisdom. Grounded in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage of our guiding teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, our online and in-person programs are accessible to people of all cultures and faiths, and support a lifelong path toward the application of these principles in everyday life.

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