February is Meditation Month! The Tricycle team members have challenged ourselves—and our readers—to meditate every day and blog about our experiences. We needed a little help, so we called in bestselling author and meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg to lead our meditation-themed retreat this month and speak to us on how to incorporate meditation practice into the workplace. We’re also featuring three meditation e-books: Tricycle Teachings: Meditation, Tricycle Teachings: Meditation, Vol. 2, and Tricycle Teachings: Commit to Sit. Last but certainly not least, back by popular demand is Brad Warner, known this month as our Meditation Doctor, here to answer any questions we have about our personal practice.
Have you ever tried meditating on a plane?
It’s about as stressful as it sounds. But I’m grateful I tried, because it was in this ball of stress that I realized an error in my approach to meditation practice.
This weekend, I took a much-delayed trip back to my adopted home: Boulder, Colorado. Meditation practice there is easy. In fact, it’s hard not to meditate in such a picturesque and Buddhism-saturated town. An early flight and layover, however, ensured that all of Sunday would be spent on planes and in airports—environments far from ideal for meditation.
But the Tricycle team is committing to sit every day, no exceptions. And this brings me back to my opening question: Have you ever tried meditating on a plane?
Yes, distractions are at an all-time low: no computer, Wi-Fi, or engaging conversations. But the physical environment—cramped, confined, and dehydrated—leaves something to be desired.
Oh yes, and also that penetrating fear of flying I’ve had since birth.
So there I sat, between a ski bum returning home and a snoring businessman, trying to breathe…not with the intention of focusing on my breath, but simply to calm down my fear-of-flight nerves. And everywhere around me, chaos. The flight attendant scolded a curious child running down the aisle. The sinking sun seemed to favor my left eye as a target and the window shade wouldn’t close. The seat in front of mine lowered down. The ski bum started listening to Bruno Mars.
I never thought Bruno Mars would be an obstacle to my practice. I should have known.
These conditions made me realize an error in how I view practice, as showcased in my last blog post. For years, I have tried to physically isolate myself to meditate. Closed doors mean closed minds, right? But perhaps this is the wrong approach.
Meditation Month is not about separating yourself from the chaos of everyday life to practice. It’s about finding peace within those hectic situations. Tricycle team member Max Zahn found peace in the mayhem of his environment and this same idea is at the center of meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg’s retreat this month, “Real Happiness at Work.”
It’s a lesson we can extend into every corner of our messy rooms and minds. Deal with what you have and don’t try to separate the peace from the chaos.