In life we spend a lot of time waiting. In the morning we might be waiting for the toast to cook or the tea to brew. In the afternoon we may be waiting for some photocopies to print. In the evening we might wait for a bus or a taxi…Often we get impatient. We try to distract ourselves while waiting, or anxiously ruminate about why it takes so long, but essentially in doing so we reject what is happening in the present moment. We become less aware of our surroundings, make more judgments about the unacceptibility of what’s happening and strive to have something else, other than what is. We react negatively to the fact that things aren’t as we want them to be. Given that waiting is a reality of our existence, we have little choice but to find a way to be in these moments. When things are poised to be the way we want them, but they’re not quite there, what kind of attitude is healthiest or most effective?
Notice how your body reacts to waiting. Do you keep looking down the street for the bus? Do you keep hitting the elevator’s “close the door” button? Whenever the urge to reject your waiting time surfaces, see if you can bring attention to the moment before taking action. Resist the urge, and instead bring your attention to the experience of not acting. How does this feel?
When waiting, bring your attention to your breathing. Notice each breath going in and out of your body. Consider this time as a precious opportunity to practice mindfulness and integrate awareness into your daily life.
Jonathan Kaplan, Urban Mindfulness