“Can we tell ourselves when we need to walk away from chatter, turn it off entirely for half a day, or a full day, or a whole weekend, ease into a realm of something slower, but more tangible?
Can we go outside and listen?"
~ Naomi Shihab Nye
What does it mean to let our thoughts drift by like clouds?
Shifting our awareness from what our thoughts mean to how they fluctuate is an attentional exercise that develops liberating abilities over time.
Observing the movement of clouds can provide a glimpse into how we can relate to mental activity more objectively, but it oversimplifies things when the analogy is taken too literally.
There are many obstacles to establishing a consistent mindfulness routine. Three big ones are finding time to practice, being distracted by thoughts, and feeling bored.
I discovered an exercise that obliterates all three simultaneously, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to hate the idea of it.
As with any good attention exercise, it leverages an ordinary activity as an opportunity to build capacities that for responding more effectively to the challenges of ordinary life.
"Do I think one minute is going to be the thing that changes your life? It could be really powerful, but...what I love about one minute is it's a very low-cost option. Very few barriers to entry.
Because if you start saying, Oh, I don't have a minute to meditate, we really got to start evaluating some things going on in your life, because you definitely need more than meditation if you make that argument.
It's hard to argue yourself out of it."
~ Cory Muscara
"I have a very hard time with things, you know, just being quiet. Like, if I sit alone, you know, for ten minutes with nothing happening, you know, which I guess some people would call meditating, I just lose my mind. I'm, like — how does anyone deal with this horrible silence and awareness that everything's almost over?"
~ Marc Maron
When you begin a walking or running program, there are several details you can track as evidence of improvement. Your step count. The length of your stride. Your pace. The amount of time it takes your heart to return to its recover its baseline resting rate.
But how will you know when you’re getting better at noticing perceptions?