Everyone has a memory of “the most unusual place” they’ve meditated. A friend who teaches Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) in the New York area said that one of her students, a female detective who worked the late-night shift at the police station, would sneak off into one of the empty interrogation rooms to meditate.
She suspected this raised a few eyebrows among her fellow tough-minded male detectives. But one day after finishing her meditation, she walked back into the office area feeling refreshed and wearing a serene smile. Everyone stared at her in silence. Finally, one of the detectives said, “What were you doing? You’re, like… glowing!”
What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever meditated? For me, it was at a Grateful Dead concert. I was in high school at the time, and I’d just learned learned TM a few weeks before.
The Dead were playing their annual New Year’s Eve concert at Winterland in San Francisco. When my girlfriends and I finally got in, I realized I hadn’t done my evening TM yet! Not wanting to miss, I announced I’d be checking out for a while and closed my eyes. Fortunately, the Dead hadn’t started yet.
As I settled into my meditation, the hubbub of the scene faded into the background. When I was done, the concert began. Now I was ready to ring out the old and welcome the new—Grateful Dead style, with some TM for a truly good beginning.
Meditating Away from Home
When we’re home, it’s easy to find a place to close our eyes for 20 minutes of TM twice a day. But what about when we’re away all day and won’t be home till late at night? Or we’re running from one appointment to the next for hours and don’t have an obvious place to do our TM technique? Or when we’re traveling out of town or overseas?
Under these circumstances, should we just skip our meditation? Not when 20 minutes of restful alertness can recharge our batteries and give us more energy and mental clarity for the rest of the day!
So we’re here to help, with a list of possible options to try. Just remember that whenever you meditate in a public place, choose a safe environment and be sure that your valuables and person are secure.
20 Places to Meditate on the Go
You can meditate successfully almost anywhere you can sit comfortably and close your eyes: planes, trains, automobiles—but not while you’re driving, please. Just remember, the ideal place to meditate is in a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed and there are fewer chances for interruptions, and always be sure you are safe and secure.
1. At a public or university library—in a quiet reading corner or study carrel
2. At the airport—in an emptier gate area between flights
3. On an airplane—an eye mask can help signal you don’t want to be disturbed
4. In the waiting area of a train or bus station, as long as it’s a safe area
5. On a train or long subway ride—as long as you’re not being constantly jostled (i.e. NYC) and not while standing! and do be sure you’re safe
6. On a bus—just don’t miss your stop
7. In a moving car—while someone else is driving (on road trips, my husband and I trade off)
8. On a park bench—in fine weather, in a safe place
9. In a church, temple, or mosque—between services
10. In a hospital chapel
11. In your parked car—in a secure area, please
12. In your office at work—especially if you can close the door
13. In a nap or meditation room at work—if your employer has one
14. At the beach—best in the morning or when the sun is low, with a good hat or umbrella
15. In a quiet corner of a hotel lobby
16. In a large lobby of an office building or clinic with comfortable seating
17. In a quiet theater—before the start of a show or movie
18. On a ferry or large boat
19. In a classroom—before or after class is in session
20. At a city conservatory
It’s comfortable to meditate in places like these when you need to because TM is an effortless practice. Noise is not a barrier to meditation, but if you’re in an especially noisy public space, feel free to use earplugs to muffle the sound.
More Tips for TM on the Road
- Think ahead. When you know you’ll be away from home all day, schedule a time and place where you can take a break.
- Turn off the ringer on your cell or office phone while you’re taking your meditation break. I often put my mobile device on airplane mode, to turn off sounds from emails, texts, and other notifications.
- Some people like to have a newspaper or book in their lap in a public place.
- Wear sunglasses for greater privacy.
- Face away from high-traffic areas, if possible.
- Carry earplugs and an eye mask when you travel.
- Make sure that you and your valuables are safe and secure.
When All Else Fails
And if you have one of those days when you can’t get away even for 20 minutes to do your TM? Don’t skip your second meditation. Instead, meditate as soon as you get back, even if it’s later than your usual time.
Normally, we want to avoid meditating right before bedtime. Why? The refreshing quality of your meditation may keep you up a bit. So in general, it’s better to meditate in the late afternoon or early evening. But in a pinch, that second meditation is always beneficial, whatever the time.
Don’t underestimate the importance of that second meditation. Check out this article about how beneficial twice-daily TM is for your health and well-being. That second meditation, especially after an endless day, will help release the stress and fatigue of your long hours. This can actually help prepare you for sleep—and a fresh day tomorrow.
When you’re regular with your twice-daily TM practice, you’ll reap the maximum benefits, and your body and soul—not to mention your family and co-workers—will thank you.
What Are Your Favorite Places to Meditate on the Go?
Where do you like to take a break and practice TM in spite of a busy schedule? Post your suggestions and stories in the Comment area below, and we’ll add the best to our next article on your TM practice.
Best wishes for a wonderful New Year!
I’ve meditated on the beach (greatest feeling), in my car, at home, at my desk at work. Truly, even noise around me doesn’t bother me. I’ve been practicing TM for about 6 years. I try to meditate at home during the early mornings, while everyone’s asleep. At night, usually in my room or car.
I meditated during intermission at a concert in Montreal’s Place Des Arts. An unforgettable experience happened afterwards on the mezzanine that I wrote about on my blog: https://theuncarvedblog.com/2021/02/11/an-unforgettable-incident-50-years-ago-during-intermission-at-a-montreal-place-des-arts-concert/.
I work as a travel director and had a particularly difficult tour once. We had parked at Mount Etna in Sicily and I needed to do my tm, so I crawled in to the very back of the luggage locker underneath the coach and sat there doing my TM for about 10 minutes (as that’s all I had). The driver knew I was in there, the luggage locker was very clean and empty of luggage, the locker door was still open and I managed to kind of hide behind a bit that jutted out so I wouldn’t be obviously visible to my guests. It wasn’t the most comfortable meditation but it still definitely gave me some peace of mind and I was proud of my ingenuity in finding a place.
Well done, Annette! Very ingenious, and beneficial for director and guests both, I bet.
When visiting Mammoth Caves the park ranger turned off the one or two electric lights and asked for silence for a few minutes so people could experience true blackness and silence. It was inevitable that I found myself closing my eyes and transcending for a brief time. It was only a few minutes but especially profound. I wondered if that ranger was a meditator.
I have meditated on an airplane before when placed in a very uncomfortable seating position. I am a big guy with broad shoulders who, at the time, suffered from claustrophobia. It worked like a charm and helped me with my condition at that time. I have also meditated in art galleries during the day. I lived in a college town when I learned TM, and many of the staff were students. I would ask if they would mind, and I never got a no. Also on the list are dressing rooms. I have told people I need to meditate and plan on buying everything in my basket and “would they please hold everything for me” while I meditate. Never got a strange look or a no.
Years ago I was a pit boss at Harvey’s Casino. I had to meditate in the break room. Everyone knew I meditated so I was left alone. Although it was noisy I soon slipped past the distractions.
I have done quite a number of these, and still do. My husband and I travel a lot, and do a lot of motorcycle trips too. We always plan in our meditation times, and we are both TM-Sidhas, so we try to do a full program as much as we can, but do make use of the travel program we were taught as well, when needed. We meditate outside, in churches, in hotels everywhere, planes, trains, shuttles — you name it. When I first learned TM I was living in Monterey, CA and frequently meditated outside on oceanside benches. It was lovely! I noticed if I was meditating in a public space that people walking their dogs often had trouble keeping their dogs in tow, as the dogs always wanted to come up to me and would just sit nearby! They must pick up on a peaceful vibration that attracts them. Suffice to say there is always someplace to meditate, as it requires no special postures or anything that draws attention to you. Any place you can sit undisturbed and close your eyes for a while will work. Wearing sunglasses is very helpful to keep the curious from approaching you.
I have been meditating on a public bench in parks or oceanside and suddenly heard someone walk by and say, “Jai Guru Dev” — by the way! 🙂
Whatever room your employer has earmarked for breastfeeding mothers is, by necessity, private enough and, likely, quiet enough to use for your TM practice.
All of these wonderful comments warm my heart so much!
They also make me remember the time my daughter was very late with her barn work (caring for horses) and I had come to pick her up with my dog in tow. It was too hot to leave her in the car, and she would have barked if I had tied her somewhere, so I sat on a sunny bank looking over a pond near the parking lot and closed my eyes. My dog pulled quite a bit, I’m sure people came and went, but after a while it really didn’t matter and unbelievably I did feel very rested and serene in spite of the relentless efforts of my pet. There were herons floating by when I opened my eyes.
Yes, Harbour! I also meditated at a Grateful Dead concert in San Francisco. The band was heading into its 5th hour of performance, unexpectedly pushing into my time to meditate. So I just did it there and easily transcended the hoopla. When I teach TM now I use that experience to emphasize how one can do TM anywhere.
Also, back in 1971 I had a summer job on the midnight shift in a foundry outside of Chicago. Every night I meditated on my lunch break between giant roaring blast furnaces. No problem. No one ever asked me about it – it was so noisy there they just couldn’t.
Hi Michael, How fun to hear you meditated at a Dead concert too! there must be others as well, and other bands and concerts… Just goes to show, when it’s time to meditate, noise is no barrier– even at a foundry!
You may not have known it at the time, but after Donovan was taught TM by Maharishi when they both happened to be in California, an aide came to the door to say that the next group was ready. Maharishi asked who it was, and the aide said, The Grateful Dead. Maharishi laughed and said they should call themselves The Grateful Living! Donovan wrote about this in his book, The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man.
I have done some of these, in my car, on a park bench, on the train. However, I never thought of bringing ear plugs. What a great idea.
In 2010, I had an artery in my stomach blow out and was bleeding to death (Dieulafoy’s lesion). In the ER, I was almost gone and remembered that I wanted my last thought to be my mantra, so I started to meditate as I was dying. Complete calm, no pain, no fear, no nothing. But, I lived, obviously, so I’ll have to try again another time.
Minuteman ICBM Launch Control Center. Yep, I was a Minuteman Missile Launch Officer for four years in Missouri from 78 – 81, and routinely meditated in the LCC. Trying to keep the peace in as many ways as possible. Occasional weird vibes just because it was what it was, but never a bad meditation there, ever. And, we’re all still here, so who knows, maybe it worked out. I always felt great during and after, and that’s enough.
I’ve noticed that veterans have great experiences doing TM. I’ve been teaching veterans with PTSD….
Grab a door hanger at your TM center. Just for peace of mind that nobody will bother you.
So here is my List:
At a Hockey game, in a airport with people on each chair beside me,
at least a hundred times in my car (church & Target parking lots are good),
inside churches, Temples, during a performance that was boring.
When I do it on a plane or another public place, especially a plane, I use the door hangers that say recharging my brain- do not disturb for 20 mins. The flight attendants don’t bother me then.
And yes it is Effortless–Simple. “It was EASY, and I do FEEL BETTER.”
My husband and I mediate together most of the time, and we like to travel and camp. While on a trip to Dublin/Edingburgh – we used churches (we got kicked out of some of them :)) because they were just closing after 10 min of our arrival) and parks. During a camping trip with friends (more challenging than the Dublin trip), we chose to sit in our tent while our friends were outside.
At Dublin airport, it was so crowded, there was hardly any empty seats anywhere, we just sat right in the middle of it all and mediated.
It’s interesting what you can do when you are motivated. 🙂
On the way to SCI at Livingston Manor in 1974, I had my Harley set up so I could sit with my back straight to do TM. I had some great subjective experiences back then.
Thank you, Sara K, for your story about meditating in the First Aid station at Disney World. I have a Disney World story too. I’m a TM-Sidha and it’s usually a bit more challenging to find a place where you can sit for an hour or more to do a whole TM-Sidhi program, which of course includes Yogic Flying. The last time I was at Disney World, at the Magic Kingdom, at 5:00 pm I went to City Hall, a sort of customer service facility near the entrance. It has a long counter like the ones at an airport. I asked one of the cast members (Disney-speak for employees) if there was some place where I could meditate. She conferred with a couple of other cast members and then said, “Follow me.” She led me around the counter, through a door in the wall behind the counter, pointed to a partitioned-off area, and said politely that I could meditate there. It was noisy outside, but I did my whole program there, including Yogic Flying on the carpet. I left feeling quite refreshed.
Hi Kevin, Thanks for this great story about doing your TM-Sidhi program in the Magic Kingdom. A very creative solution that worked beautifully!
For meditators who’d like to learn more about the TM-Sidhi program and Yogic Flying, visit this page on EnjoyTM.org. Your local TM Center will have additional information as well. To find your local Center visit https://enjoy.tm.org/find-your-tm-center.
Most large airports have chapels, and some, such as SFO, even have yoga/meditation rooms.
Places I’ve meditated:
Plane, train, automobile, bus, ferry.
My classroom (almost every day) break room, hotel room, Tom Sawyer Island at Walt Disney World.
Will be at Disney next week for 6 days and will have to find a spot in each park.
We have a toilet and one shower in workplace for staff. I put a chair in this washroom, so slip away on my break and get in that vital 15-20mins! Refreshed for the evening family time!
TM is life support for me & treat it as the most important time in my day!
I don’t understand/can not yet achieve meditation anywhere but very quiet settings. When does it get easier? “effortless and innocent”??
Thanks for your great question, Steph! A quiet place is best, to avoid interruptions. But if you’re finding that your TM practice isn’t always easy and effortless, it’s a great time to have a personal “TM tune-up” with a TM instructor at your local Center. A personal TM Checking gives you a chance to ask all your questions and describe your experiences, and to easily re-establish effortless TM practice. To make an appointment at your nearest TM Center, check this page for contact info: https://enjoy.tm.org/find-your-tm-center Let us know how it goes!
I have meditated in bathrooms on the commode!
May I also suggest at the doctor’s office, while waiting for an appointment. Sometimes the wait can be longer than expected and even frustrating. It’s a great time meditate (and perhaps-even lower your blood pressure a few points) rather than focus on how slow time appears to be passing.
While on staff at Livingston Manor in the 70’s, a group of us went to NYC to visit a museum. We did our afternoon meditation on benches in Central Park. When I opened my eyes, a man was sitting across from me. He looked like a street person, with his bags beside him. He looked at me, smiled, and said softly “Jai Guru Dev.”
In the 1970s New York City’s Central Park had a very bad reputation for muggings (I assume that has changed, but am not sure). A fellow TM teacher and I tried to do our afternoon TM there, sitting on a park bench. We were both very squeamish about meditating in a place of such dubious security. Neither of us could really settle down. But after a while we heard a voice: “Jai Guru Dev.” I opened my eyes a bit, and some 40 feet away was a man I had never seen before; he just gave a little wave, smiled and continued walking away. I let go of that apprehensive feeling and sunk into a deep meditation.
Central Park is a fine place to do your TM practice. If you live in NY, you can duck into the TM Centers (654 Madison Ave, 8th floor; or 26 Beaver Street downtown) for a room there. Beaver Street’s a pretty good bet in the early afternoon. And there are regular group meditations at both centers.
When I was a brand new meditator we were always being told “You can meditate in Grand Central Station.” So the next time I was in NYC, I went down to Grand Central Station, sat on one of the big marble benches, and amidst the arrivals and departures, the greetings and the goodbyes, had myself a very peaceful meditation.
In a pinch I use street spaces that have parking meters. It’s the best way to ensure that you are not disturbed, just make sure the meter is pumped for at least 30 minutes. It’s worth 75 cents to not miss your second meditation : )
Here’s one on HOW to schedule your afternoon meditation: Most jobs have too much variety to always meditate at the same time, so rather than always setting your iCal alarm for a, say, 4:30pm meditation, at the Houston TM Center we recommend you set the reminder for 8 or 9 every morning to then decide, based on the day’s upcoming schedule when you can block out afternoon time for your second meditation.
O’Hare airport in Chicago has a very nice, quiet and comfortable yoga room where you are isolated from the noise and bustle. I believe it is right by concourse K. You won’t know you are still at the airport.
I have found that when traveling in a car, the best place to look for is an apartment complex. People don’t tend to notice an extra car. I usually can park facing away from the building, and usually I can find a little tree for shade, too.
Airports have meditation rooms nowadays. Also, hospitals have meditation chapels and good cafeterias for food after. Other good places to meditate – library meeting or study rooms (tell them you are meditating, not sleeping), some churches, rest stops along the highway, city parks, campgrounds (rent a spot for $10), Wal Mart or shopping mall parking lots.
I was on an FTX (Field Training Exercise) with some veterans and we’d just done “the gauntlet”, a course of bounding overwatch, then surrounding and clearing a “shoot house” before exfiltrating simulated “wounded”. We all got our breaths back during a half-hour break before the next “evolution” and I proceeded to meditate in my car – with hearing protection still in. I KNEW these jokers might pop off a couple of rounds while I was meditating and I didn’t want the full muzzle blast to startle. Of course, they one-upped me and lit off a flashbang, but I just took note and went back to my mantra. There may have been a little “roughness” afterward, but not on my side. When asked if they’d awakened me, I said, “I was NOT sleeping” and let them know it wasn’t really that funny. Problem solved. They’ve not disturbed me during meditation on FTX’s since.
Maybe, with 11+ years on the IA program, I should be disqualified from commenting, because I really don’t see the problem. I’ve meditated with a hungry four-year-old tugging at my sleeve, asking for a rupee. That’s a loud noise. But noise is definitely no barrier to meditation. I will never say — this was a “good” meditation — or — this was less good. I don’t know what that means. Every one of them is what it is, what it has always been, what it must be, perfect. It cannot be otherwise. Starbuck’s, Columbus Circle is a perfectly good spot; buy a cup of tea. Sit. Nobody cares if your eyes are closed; nobody will ever notice.
My most unusual place I have meditated was Disney World. At 3 PM, I would excuse myself from my friends and find the First Aid station. They were always accommodating when I asked if I can sit in a vacant room for 20 minutes. I could hear the parade going by right outside, yet I was quiet and still inside. I always tell people, you really can meditate anywhere, including Disney World!
Disney World’s First Aid station! Wish I’d thought of that when I was there.
I meditated at Disney, too. At Animal Kingdom. I sat on a bench in the midst of all the hullabaloo.
@ Marcella: I often meditated in the train and I responded to the ticket agent in the same manner I did when my children came up with some problems: open my eyes just a bit in a sleepy way, handle the situation as needed and go back to meditation. For me it was a great advantage of the TM technique that disturbances are not a hindrance.
I have meditated for about 40 years or more, and in about every place and situation short of the battle field. My TM teacher was Karla Christianson. Thanks Karla, I hope you see this.
I forwarded your message to Karla on her FB page. she was thrilled. <3
A good trick for me is to keep track of my TMing streaks: how many consecutive days (weeks, months, years, decades) I can go without missing a meditation. And if you miss one, rather than feeling disappointment that you have to start your streak again from scratch, you can additionally track how many consecutive weeks you have gone with missing one or less, or how many months you have gone with missing (for example) two or less. So you can have multiple streaks going at the same time.
Back to the main topic: when my brother had a wedding celebration that was scheduled for morning to midnight, somewhere in there I found a closet to cram myself into. But if I hadn’t, I would have just meditated right out in the middle of the room if necessary, hanging a sign on myself saying “TMing, please do not disturb”. Just refuse to break the streak!
I meditated once flying from Philadelphia to Seattle. My granddaughter, seated next to me, was told that I was meditating and stayed very quiet. When I finished, she was full of questions about how I felt, and if it was wonderful. I am planning on getting her a TM class this year for her birthday.
Many years ago when I was a new TM teacher, I had an older student who worked in a mine. He would get to work early and arrange several boxes of dynamite into a chair, then do his meditation there. It worked for him.
It’s always interesting doing the sidhis in a crowded airplane. Sometimes when I open my eyes to see what time it is, I take a look around and it’s like a bomb went off around me. Everyone is passed out cold 3-4 rows up and back and from side to side. I usually wear sunglasses and keep noise canceling earphones in and no one is the wiser. You can meditate pretty much anywhere but my favorite is on different mountain tops all over the world or on a ski lift (make sure the bar is secure and you have plenty of time before the exit. I’ve been doing TM since I was 6 years old and there have been many nights that I meditate right before bed because life happens. The important thing to remember is “never miss your program”.
Jai Guru Dev
On a number of occasions, I have mediatated in the examination room while waiting for my doctor to arrive to give me my annual medical physical. Sometimes I was interrupted by my doctor but more times than not, the wait is usually 20 or more, so it I had the time to do it.
Great idea! I’ve never thought of that. Thank you Mark
I had a period when I had to travel with the train all days to different workplaces, leaving early in the morning and coming home very late. I was tired and had not much time at home. So I needed to use the travel time for TM and breakfast. However that was the hardest time for me. I missed meditating at home. I never got to understand, how I could avoid to happen to be doing TM right when the ticket guy comes by. Was frustrated so often. Does anybody have a trick for that?
Good question! thanks Marcella. I sometimes try to find the ticket agent in advance so I’m all set and he or she knows. But that’s not always possible. Any other ways people have handled this?
I have my ticket ready and just hand it over with the silent comment to myself “Life Expressing” … this works for me for any interruption or noise.
leave your ticket out on your lap or table in an obvious place and they will pick it up. That has been my experience most times.
San Francisco international Airport has a meditation room, a lovely quiet space where I’ve enjoyed my TM practice on the go. But my favorite place to meditate is in nature: I live in Northern California and go to the ancient redwood Forests. It is a vast national park area with trees that are over 1000 years old. There are a few benches where I sit to practice. Rarely are there any other people around. The silence is profound.
That’s great to know about the SF Airport meditation room! And other airports may have as well. Maybe we can research that and post a list for people. And how wonderful to meditate among the redwoods. I will be sure to do that next time I’m visiting the Bay Area. Thank you Tina!
If no “Meditation” room, ask for “The Chapel”
I have meditated in the redwoods myself. Muir Woods (not sure of the spelling). It is like a chapel. Almost everyone treats it so. I also meditated in church one Sunday. It was one of the most enjoyable services I have ever experienced.
I love this idea. I’m going to see the giant redwoods in June. I’ll be on the lookout for a bench.
The profound silence in the Redwoods would be incredible. You are very lucky.
In a bathroom stall! I was at the movies, got there early and did it! Lol:)
Very clever! I never thought of that. Thanks Lorena!
That’s great, I’ll keep this in mind when I am in a pinch
I’ve meditated on the bus coming home for decades, and many of the bus drivers got to know me. So they would remind me if we had reached my stop without my noticing. But every so often I’ve drifted off when the bus was being driven by someone who wasn’t a regular driver on that route. So I’ve had to walk back to my stop — and once even had to take the next bus and try again! But otherwise it’s been very efficient.
More problematic was the time that I meditated while waiting for my uncle and aunt’s flight to arrive. It was in the old days when you could meet arriving passengers at the gate even if you didn’t have a ticket. I don’t think we even had cellphones then. I sat in the gate area and meditated, but fell asleep. They didn’t spot me when they de-planed, and when I awoke I couldn’t find a sign of them. After running around I found them in the baggage claim, getting ready to take a taxi! Now I set an alarm on my cellphone in situations where I can’t afford to overmeditate!
I bet your bus drivers looked forward to you being on their route! What a lovely community. That reminds me of a friend who used to mediate on planes and always asked her seat mate if she could borrow a watch, as a chance to tell them about TM. And you raise a good point that we didn’t mention in the article, about being aware of the time. A cell phone alarm is a good back up, just set it for later than your coming out time, so it doesn’t startle you out of a deep state of restful alertness– which is probably what you do anyway. I’m glad you were reunited with your uncle and aunt just in time! Thanks for two great stories, Victor
While riding my motorcycle on a multi day trip last summer, I was riding through a small town and couldn’t find a place to meditate where I wouldn’t be disturbed. Finally, it dawned on me! It was a beautiful day and I saw a large cemetery with shade trees throughout. I parked my motorcycle and selected a shady headstone to lean against and closed my eyes. I don’t remember the name of the grave I sat near, but I knew that nobody would talk to me as I sat there.
Great story! thanks Aaron
You may also plan ahead by meditating slightly earlier if you know you will be busy later. For example, if you know you are going to an evening wedding and have to leave your house by 3 or 4, meditate before you go.
Great suggestion. Thanks Karen!
I do this!
This was not my favourite place – I had to meditate in a room that was beside a very active building site with plenty of machinery noise. I wondered if I would be able to do my 20 minutes. As soon as I closed my eyes it didn’t seem so bad and I came out from meditation feeling refreshed and full of energy.
Perfect example of how noise isn’t a barrier to meditation when a quiet spot isn’t available. TM is effortless and refreshing anywhere! thanks Eugene
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