Shopping Zen

Today, while I wondered round Sainsbury’s, I noticed the difference in how I was feeling compared to prior shopping trips when I considered the rush round the aisles exhausting and the mass of people on a Friday afternoon particularly wearing. These days I can calmly concentrate on my list and the purchases I need to make; I am no longer flummoxed or irritated by other people’s shopping habits, wayward trolleys or the hectic walkways. I move through the experience with more ease, and come away less stressed at the end of it.

How has this come about?

Musing on this it seems a number of elements from my budding meditation practice add up to the overall difference I feel. The starting point is setting aside plenty of time to get grocery shopping job done; anything, if rushed, becomes much more of a chore and rushing round anywhere does not equal relaxing for me.

The actual business of shopping is approached with a few deep breaths and at a steady pace. I keep awareness on the moment by moment experience while I work my way round the shop much more slowly than I ever did. This seems to be the biggest transformation; when taking time to be in the shopping mode and relishing the choices rather than getting it over with as quickly as possible, it becomes simpler and more enjoyable.

On reaching the checkout today I appreciated how calm I still felt even though the shop was busy and I queued for ten minutes before I could begin balancing my goods on the till’s conveyor belt. The lady queuing in front of me remarked on the busyness with a tight smile, and I could feel her frustration and impatience at having to wait her turn.  In contrast I felt my patience firmly in place, and I waited with no expectations that it would be other than it was at this moment.

I hold a sense of gratitude that a simple practice of sitting meditation I have only just begun can have such a striking effect on an everyday experience.