Five Meditation Tips for Busy Tokyoites

By Joanna Pearce
September 8, 2015
Health & Beauty

Amongst the pulsing neon lights and the frantic pace of city life in Tokyo, it can be hard to find the zen that Japan introduced to the world. As you rush around the city to make it in time for your next appointment, how do you find the time to simply be still? It is far easier to meditate in the surroundings of a lush and serene temple in rural Japan than it is in the heart of Tokyo, but if you can do it here then you can do it anywhere! See below for my five tips to help you bring inner peace into your daily life in the city.

1. Give yourself permission

We all deserve a little ‘me’ time, and a few minutes spent in meditation will make you a calmer and more productive person. People often make excuses about their obligations to their family or their colleagues as reasons why they can’t find the time to begin a meditation practice. There is absolutely no need to feel guilty about taking the time to meditate.

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2. Schedule a time

No matter how busy you are, you can always find five or 10 minutes to sit and meditate. In the beginning, a few minutes before you go to bed or as part of your evening ritual works well. Another option would be to spend a few minutes meditating at the end of your lunch break. If you have to miss a meditation session one day, don’t be too hard on yourself. This is an activity that you want to do, not another thing that has to be done!

3. It can be done anywhere

Meditation does not have to be done on a special cushion in an incense-infused room. You can do it on a park bench, on the subway, or even while walking along the street. If you become too rigid about the “right” way to meditate then you will miss the opportunity to include it in your day. If you turn up early to an appointment or find yourself waiting for someone who is running late, use the opportunity to simply sit for a few minutes. Don’t switch on your phone!

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4. Observe your thoughts

Many people get frustrated with meditation because they can’t control the myriad of thoughts racing through their mind. This is perfectly normal in the beginning and it shows that you are human! When this happens, choose not to get frustrated but instead just observe the thoughts. If you start attaching to the thoughts then one will lead to another and you will find yourself getting caught up in a spiral of drama. It takes some practice but when the thoughts come in, make a conscious choice to let them go.

5. Make your daily activities a moving meditation

It is not necessary to sit still to meditate. There are many forms of moving meditation that you may not be aware of. For example, painting, dance and tai chi. You can even make your daily chores a moving meditation. Washing the dishes or doing the ironing can become a meditation if you choose to allow yourself to be mindful of what you are doing.

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Once you begin a meditation practice you will see that there are many opportunities throughout the day to include some form of meditation. It is all about personal choice and how you choose to react to the environment that you live in. The more you do it, the more you will want to do it, and before you know it, you will be that serene person gliding through the streets of Tokyo!

 

Top photo by Take Back Your Health Conference; bottom photo by Alice Campos Magalhaes.

Joanna first came to Japan in 1998 to spend a year as an exchange student at Kitakyushu University and was delighted to move to Tokyo in 2012 with her husband. A serial expatriate, she is a freelance writer and a meditation teacher who has been living in Asia since 2007. She recently had her first baby in Tokyo and loves exploring with her daughter!

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