This is a practice from my latest book: “Leap Before You Look.” This practice is chosen from the section “Daily-Routine Practices.”

Waiting in line at the bank,
At a fast food restaurant,
Or at the gate at the airport,
Sink yourself completely into this moment.
Feel your feet planted on the ground.
Place your heels about shoulder width apart,
Turn your feet slightly inward
With your weight balanced equally on each foot,
Knees relaxed, not locked.
Open your chest.
Breathe and listen to all the sounds around you.
Take everything in.
Feel the whole environment through your skin.
Become sensitive to the atmosphere of the place.
Breathe a little deeper and notice the smells.
Expand your vision so that you become aware of everything
around you.
Finally, feel even deeper than all of this,
Into your own presence,
Into that which is hearing and feeling and seeing.
Let that presence expand and permeate everything around you.
Expand and become the living blessing.

There are so many times in the day that we think of as “down time.” You’re not doing anything, but waiting for the next thing to happen. It is habitual to fidget our way through such moments:
to shut out the environment and become distracted in thought, on the cell phone, or just spacing out. Unless we have something specific to focus on, it is often our habit to unfocus and follow
random thoughts in all directions. We value any random speaking, thinking, or action over presence in the moment.  With this practice, you can punctuate your activity with short  blasts of meditative presence. In the beginning, you may feel uncomfortable,  not unlike when you are trying to quit smoking or any other kind of addictive behavior. It can feel almost unbearable
to be present in the body; you may feel like you want to burst or scream. But the longer and more often you can do this practice, the easier it becomes, until meditative pauses become something to look forward to, and they even happen on their own. Moments like this, standing in line or waiting to board a plane, are, in fact, great opportunities to be unconditionally present with what is, to practice opening yourself without reservation to reality exactly as it is in this moment. The gift of presence can be practiced. It needs to be valued as a gift and nurtured. Whenever you find yourself waiting, remember that it is an opportunity for benevolence. Your entire body will respond immediately to this invitation, relaxing, aligning, and revitalizing itself.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look. Buy it now from our new online store at a discounted price.

Standing in Line