It’s Not What You Say, But What You Do
One of the consequences of doing my daily meditation practice in the gym is that people can see me. This sounds obvious. Of course they can see me. And also, this fact is why many people wouldn’t sit in the gym to meditate. There was a time in my life when I would be concerned about “what will people think?” if they see me sitting for meditation.
The typical answer to this concern is to say “people aren’t thinking about you.”
But that’s not exactly true.
Recently, a woman approached me at the gym just as I finished meditation practice. She wanted to know if I used an app, and what it was.
She mentioned that she had seen me sit for meditation often.
She was not the first person to approach me in the gym to ask about my meditation practice. Since I started sitting for daily practice at the gym over 3 years ago, many people have approached to ask me about my practice. Questions range from the basics of what I am doing to why do I sit on a foam roller.
The point is: people do notice. And what they notice has an impact on them. Our actions alone have the power to impact and influence people, and perhaps even inspire people to change their behavior.
After I told this woman about the Calm app and showed it to her, she asked if it worked — did meditation help me?
In a brief conversation, the woman mentioned that she is very reactive — especially with her kids — and knows that she needs to change. The behavior she is modeling for her kids by reacting isn’t aligned with the values she wants to teach them.
And yet she has found it difficult to create space for herself to come to stillness.
Like me, this woman already comes to the gym regularly. It’s the perfect place for her to find stillness away from her young children.
By sitting for my meditation practice in the public space of the open gym floor, I showed her that it is possible to create space and stillness even in the midst of frantic activity.
This is the power of modeling.
People are watching you. They are noticing. This is not something to fear. Rather, you can use this to remind yourself to act in a way consistent with your values and the message you want to share.
Your actions speak louder than your words, and make an impact far more lasting than words ever could.