Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"The Mind, Explained" - "Mindfulness" episode on Netflix

There is a series of short films on Netflix called "The Mind, Explained".  One of them is "Mindfulness" and it is a good quick exploration of the topic. You may have heard of meditation, a major, inexpensive, quick tool for knowing your own mind better.  There are several routes to practising mediation, which is an old activity that goes back thousands of years.  

To me, the simple idea of sitting still for five or ten minutes, keeping my attention on a single anchor is a basic and interesting challenge.  Surely, I can sit for ten minutes. It shouldn't be that hard. If I set a timer ("Hey, Google/Siri/Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes") and keep my attention on something I choose, I can tell when I have wandered off to daydreaming.  When I recognize that I have drifted, I return to my anchor. Repeat as necessary until the time is up.

The 20 minute film explains many aspects of the practice, from Tibetan monks to the well-known Wisconsin researcher, Prof. Richard Davidson to modern corporations, armed forces, hospitals, hospices and schools who are applying the technique.  Why do it? It is short and a good challenge, one that simply relates to the idea of "Be still and know that I am God". It is okay if you don't go along with the idea of God. Just sit yourself down and be aware of your life for 10 minutes. You can do it!

Each time you catch yourself wondering when this long T-E-N minutes will E-V-E-R be over just go back to concentrating on your anchor.  Over the centuries, the most popular anchor has probably been your breath. You don't have to breath deeply but you can. Just notice, listen, feel, your breath.  Larry Rosenberg's "Breath by Breath" is a totally wonderful book on doing this, facing demons and itches that arise while getting more confidence and experience.  

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