During my more recent mindfulness exercises I’ve been observing two clear processes of thought. I’ve written about particular states before, and this isn’t necessarily an updated or more homed version of this observations, simply a more recent one.
When I begin the exercise I’m presented with two options: allow the free flow of thought to pass through the observer, or direct it.
Free flow is a relaxed state where you simply get to observe without distraction. It’s kind of like the mind already has queued up some thoughts it would like to process, and it comes very natural in the sense you don’t need to start the thread or direct the focus. I have observed however, towards the end of a thread it will begin to end it’s natural momentum and choice will be offered back:
At this point you may think,
ahh the perfect time to address these concerns which have just surface, I’ll just think through them now and see if we can come to any kind of conclusion.
I’d advise against this. Now is the perfect opportunity to observe the weaker current flow. Observe.
Don’t steer, don’t take control.
Allow the background flow of information to surface and just go with it. You may feel something appear and have a moment of consideration for the solution. This is fine, go with the flow. They key is to not direct, not steer but be taken away and absorbed by whatever may present.
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It’s okay to decide not to do something, but it’s important you make the choice, recognise you’ve made the choice then consciously discard it.
Let me give you a few examples:
Someone asks you to do something later on. Later on arrives.
You decide “I can’t be arsed” and you don’t do it – but the thought of inaction is taking up cycles.
Now try this tact instead; later on arrives, you can’t be arsed. You think about general consequences, i.e. friend thinking your less reliable in this regard, possible small hit on the relationship. And with that in mind you think to yourself – “I’m not doing it, I’m happy to accept the consequences.”
Another example, you’ve been asked to do something. You’re not going to do it. Think about the possible consequences clearly in your mind, then consciously make a choice not to do it.
It sounds like utter nonsense. And it could portray me as a lazy bastard – of which I won’t deny. But it’s not as black and white as that. Shit happens all the time for when you’re not going to act, or you’re going to let someone down in a small way. Control the choice, make the decision and move on. It makes you think about the consequence and longer term, you won’t let things just expire. You’ll think about them each time, and the ones with bigger consequences than you may have considered, have the option of being rectified before it’s too late.
And the things that you consider and decide against anyway, you get to forget about, rather than have them nagging away in the back of your mind.
Life hacks bitch.
So I’ve been observing my thought patterns recently because I’m ded clever, and I’ve come up with four core states.
Now this is arguably an insane over simplification. The first iteration of this post include descriptions much more verbose, but they got tangled up, as this isn’t all exactly a science. The best way to absorb what I’m saying is to observe the patterns yourself, so I propose the following exercise:
What I find most interesting about this process is the observation of emerging thoughts being passed into active thought transparently. What do I mean by transparently?
You’re focusing on the breath, and the fogging of the glass. A few short moments later you’re thinking about something that has happened that day. You never decided to change this track of thought. It’s just when you remember to observe your thought, you notice that you’re thinking of something other than the glass. When was that switch made? Define the line between your choice to concentrate on the glass, and the moment your thoughts wondered.
Your thoughts, outside of your control are moving focus from one thing to another. It’s pretty cool if you think about, and you can, using the 5 minute exercise above.
At another point in time I may venture into another benefit of this kind of thinking, and it’s the power of parking that wondering thought but still getting the benefits from it’s initial ponder. Again it goes into certain depth and would be clearer in it’s own post, so I’ll save it for another time.
So, I keep hearing about about how our brain is split into two hemispheres, and how in studies they would put in a curtain that effectively separated the persons field of view between both eyes by running a curtain or board from the centre of their face, forward. It’s hard to explain actually, imagine instead of a nose, you had a big fuck off board that grew out of your face, going from the roof to the floor, and extending out a few feet. If you close your left eye, your right eye can see the right half of the room, and vice versa. So each eye can see a different half of the room.
Then they ask some questions and put a pencil in one hand, and get you to verbalise the answer as well. If I remember correctly, your hand will draw one thing, as it’s one half of your brain answering shit, and your verbal answer may answer different, or be totally unaware of what you’ve drawn. Sound crazy? Well, that’s because it is. Anyway, I thought it would be cool if you could recreate a version of this experiment at home. i.e. ask yourself questions and see the different in the answer between your hemispheres.
I can’t find jack shit on how you’d do this really, any little mind hacks to see if you get different answers depending if you draw the result or answer out loud. Maybe it’s because it could induce some kind of psychosis or split mind personality, but I think it could be pretty fun. I’ll keep my eyes open if I come across something in the future.