In my Baghavad Gita study group, my fellow yogis and I often struggle to find relevance between the practices recommended by Lord Krishna and the lives we lead. We sit on the carpeted floor of my bright attic and our faces contort with concentration, as if in trying to understand this book we are twisting our very brains. This can be too much, so often one or another of us will get up off the floor and wander over the refreshments table. (That person is often me.)
"Look," said my teacher, Denise, one evening of particular group denseness. "These ancient texts were written for renunciates. We're all householders. We live regular lives. We don't live in monestaries."
Sadly, no, we must take care of other people and lend our energies to things besides finding the exact location of our third eye point. And this can be a serious hindrance when one endeavors to create a meaningful meditation practice, for example.
"Here's what one of my teachers told me," Denise continued. "If you have a busy life and you want to meditate, when should you do it? Whenever you can. Where should you do it? Wherever you can. How should you do it? However you can."
I flashed on a mom I know from a mom and baby group a few years ago, who told me about the time she time she drove to Nordstrom for "that essential makeup item," on a Sunday, only to find that the store didn't open for another half hour. She chose to spend that time sitting in the parking garage meditating.
Way to go. That's W.W.H. (whenever, wherever, however) in action.
I did a similar thing recently while in the bathtub. I lay back, let my ears fill with water, and listened to the sound of my breath for some minutes. I called it meditation because I was able to let my mind float in one place for a bit. While my body bobbed and bumped up against the sides of the tub, I wasn't planning what article of clothing I would slip on after the bath was over, which shoes I would wear to walk to my daughter's preschool, or thinking about anything but the sound of breath reverberating deep in my watery ears.
Later, I checked it off on the little spreadsheet I've made for myself to keep track of all the stuff I'm supposed to do to prepare for the upcoming Medication Renunciation. Hot bath AND meditation at the same time! Check!
Is that cheating?