It hit me when I was cycling back home after shopping early afternoon. The need to stop and just be. The call of meditation.

My usual cycling route into town takes me onto the palace grounds, through its gardens and past its lake; the home of many ducks and geese (usually they are squabbling). On each side of the lake, there are benches for people to sit down and enjoy the view, taking the opportunity to, hopefully, feed the ducks a handful of birdseed (never bread – it’s completely useless for them). It’s a lovely place to spend 20 minutes or longer. But for some reason, I hardly ever stop and enjoy the scenery (probably because the benches are almost always occupied, especially if the sun is out!).  There is always somewhere to be and something to do.

But this time was different.

I’m just cycling past the lake, no plan to stop at all when my eyes snag on one single person seat at the water’s edge. I’m overcome with the desire to stop and sit my bottom on that seat for at least ten minutes. After rolling my bike over and standing it by the seat, I (admit smugly) sit down and stretch out my legs. “This is wonderful”, I think as I close my eyes and tilt my face to the warm, afternoon sun.

View from the bench – hard not to be smug!

Now, I’m not one for spontaneous meditation. In fact, I hardly ever force myself to do it (except when I do it on the rest days of PBYP). I struggle to “find the time”, there seems to be always something else I can be doing (let’s face it though- there is always going to be time). However, sitting there on that bench, in that moment, I focused on my breath and became as present as I ever was in my body and surroundings. I didn’t think about the time I was supposedly “wasting”, I didn’t think about the slightly chilly wind, nor if I looked funny sitting there with my eyes closed with what was probably my “yoga face” on.

What did I think?

I wouldn’t say I was truly “happy” in those few precious moments of pure meditation (there is always something to be stressed about), but I was content. Content to be there in that place at that time. I wonder if I had missed these moments in the past when I would force down that impulse that told me to stop and listen; appreciate where I am. It makes me a little sad to think about that, truth be told.

The lake in winter – just HAD to share this photo with you!

There is something healing about sitting among strangers in nature, who are doing exactly the same thing as you. All with eyes closed and faces tilted, from business people in suits to kindly looking old couples. This creates an atmosphere of connection, even though we are strangers. But we were strangers in nature, and that makes all the difference.

Realistically though, only listen to this impulse if you know you have a minute to spare. I’m not sure your boss would understand why you had to stop and watch the ducks for 20 minutes.

Yogis, what are your thoughts on spontaneous meditation, or any form of meditation, and how often do you do it? Share below!