How to Meditate on a Bus

The following suggestions are not meant for Surrender Meditation, but can be used outside of Surrender Meditation.

If you don’t meditate but would like to, or if you meditate and have difficulty finding the time or just want a little extra meditation time, this may be of interest to you:

Once you understand what meditation is and how it works, you can meditate anywhere — on a bus, a train, a plane, a subway (but not driving, of course). The most ideal situation for meditation is to have a quiet, private room all to yourself, but it is possible to meditate for even just a few minutes in the most adverse circumstances.

The other day I was sitting in a waiting room with several people. The energy emanating from a mother and her teenage son soon began to bring on a huge headache. They had everyone’s attention, which of course only exacerbated the situation, and the headache got worse. This all happened in a matter of minutes.

I thought about the difficulties we hard-core meditators run into when going about in the world at large. I thought I didn’t like this very much. Then I thought, I don’t have to let this continue to disturb me. Remembering a similar incident on a village-bound bus in India decades ago, in which I thought the ride and the noise would surely vibrate my fillings right out of my teeth, I went “inside”.

Within seconds the headache was gone and the mother and her son ceased their activity. I looked around the room and noticed that other people were no longer reacting to the mother and her son who were now sitting quietly side-by-side. It seemed that a few seconds of meditation by one single person had affected a whole room full of previously agitated people.

Technically meditation is a steady flow of attention to one thing. So make that “one thing” you, or some part of your own body, like the hairs on your arm, or all of your body, or look at your shoe. Using something physical like your body is easier in these circumstances. Using the mind isn’t as effective because it is subtle compared to the body, and you’re not in a subtle situation.

You can close your eyes and go inside as I did, or you can pretend you’re looking out the window while in fact you are looking at your eyelashes, or you can drop your eyelids and stare at your wrist or another body part, or you can put your attention on your whole body riding on the bus and the sensations within it. You can pretend to read or listen to your iPod — that’s a good one, because people will think you’re listening to music and not paying any attention to them, so they won’t pay any attention to you.

My own version of “going inside” was to simply withdraw the tentacles of my attention until they were no longer out there picking things up from the environment and delivering them to my mind, but resting inside my head behind my eyes. If you can do this, I recommend it.

It might be a good idea to secure any belongings or sit on them so you aren’t distracted worrying about thieves. And if you are stuck having to stand up, get your feet and your balance stablized first.

You probably won’t go into samadhi or have a direct experience meditating on a bus, but you never know. It can take place in a fraction of a timeless-second, so it’s certainly not impossible. It has happened to me in the most unlikely situations (like a movie theatre, a great place where no one will notice a thing).

So no excuses now. Meditate, and get it however you can. I have had people completely new to meditation find it easy to meditate in odd places using one of my One Minute Meditations. One woman would go into the ladies’ room, into a stall, close the door, meditate for one minute, and go back to work refreshed, unharried, and no longer angry at her most unfavorite co-worker.

If you can’t think of a good reason to meditate for yourself, meditate as a service to the world.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God),
Durga Ma

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