How often do we find ourselves wishing away seemingly insignificant moments? Waiting for the bus or the train, walking our dog, hanging up laundry…
The truth is that these moments are excellent opportunities to practice applying the skills we learn during meditation to the outside world.
Since our attention is the field of awareness that we have in order to gather information about the world, learning to cultivate our attention will help to improve our quality of experience and our effectiveness in everyday life. During meditation, we guide our attention to the focal point of the meditation (our breath, the facilitators voice etc), then when we realise that our attention has wavered (which research shows it does 47% of the time), we gently bring it back to the focal point. Now we can simply apply this same technique to those mundane activities. For instance, while brushing our teeth: we bring our attention to the bristles of the toothbrush rubbing against our teeth, then when we realise that our mind has wandered off to something else, we just gently guide it back to the sensations on our teeth.
As we continue to train our attention in this way, we build up this muscle in our brain which we can then start to utilise in other more important activities in our lives, such as actively listening in a meeting, focusing on a task at work, concentrating on reading emails, and watching our kids play sport. As a result, our focus and concentration increases, our learning and memory improves, our productivity enhances and our overall happiness heightens.