How to Be Mindful on the Subway

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Meditation for Real Life

“Many meditation practices focus on internal experiences, like breathing or other physical sensations in the body. When riding the subway, focus on the people around you instead. By noticing others with a spirit of friendliness, we can transform our commute into a pleasant, stress-free experience. It also helps us become more open, empathic and connected to our fellow city dwellers.” — Jonathan Kaplan, director of the SoHo CBT + Mindfulness Center and author of “Urban Mindfulness”

Take a few deep breaths.

Turn your lips up into a half-smile.

Softly gaze at another person on the subway car.

Notice the thoughts or feelings that arise as you consider this person.

Try to adopt of gaze of warmth and kindness, perhaps by imaging that this person is a friend of yours.

In your mind, offer a blessing or friendly wish to this person. Maybe something like “May you be happy” or “Have a wonderful day.”

Then, do the same thing with another person around you, offering a different wish or blessing.

Work your way around the subway car until you’ve offered some unique, silent kindness to everyone present.

(For extra credit, you also can send a warm wish to the subway operator and the thousands of transit workers who made your trip possible.)