Busy? Add meditation to schedule

Thursday, July 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Even the shortest escape can benefit multitaskers

If, as you read this article, you are also humming along to a CD or sending someone an e-mail, then you've earned your stripes as a media multitasker.

Multitasking is on the brain because of a recent study on media and leisure time by MTV Networks/Viacom. Its survey of 4,070 people found that by juggling several media pursuits - watching television, listening to CDs, surfing the Web - consumers are participating in 29.8 hours' worth of activities, or an extra six hours a day.

This was an MTV survey, and so the real goal was to find out how much TV people are watching. It's up slightly, from 3 hours last year to 3.2 this year.

The bad news for MTV is that while these people are watching TV, they're also using PCs, reading and talking on the phone.

With all that media stimulation going on, there's an even greater need for downtime, says Patricia Quinlivan, who teaches transcendental meditation in Dallas.

"It helps you maintain your good health and helps get rid of those deep-rooted stresses," she says. "We're used to functioning in the world through our five senses. With TM, you turn inward."

But we're already pushing our 24-hour days to their very limit. How to squeeze in a couple of meditation sessions a day?

Multitasking to the rescue. True, the proper way to meditate is to sit quietly with eyes closed. But isn't some meditation better than none? Here are some possible ways to sneak in a little meditation - in between the other tasks, that is.

* Meditate while in traffic. It's less stressful than honking at the slowpoke in front of you. Besides, someone will eventually ban cellphone use while driving. Might as well have a ready alternative devised.

* Meditate while exercising. Personal trainers claim you should focus on your muscles so you can visualize them into firmness. But between grunts as you lift that barbell, you could sneak in an "om" or two (although it should be pointed out that "om" is not an official TM chant).

* Meditate during office meetings. If by tuning out you miss the news you've been fired, you can always read the memo on the employee bulletin board after the meeting. Meanwhile, the faraway look you adopt as you cultivate those spiritual visions during meetings (not to be confused with daydreaming) creates the impression you are wise and above the petty political fray.

* Meditate while transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer. Intellectually speaking, this time period is useless as lint. Weave that mental lint into a rich, marvelous tapestry - perhaps with an embroidered motto, a pithy slogan such as, "Use it or lose it!" or "Buddha's my guy!"