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Joined: 28 Oct 2016
Age: 1862
Gender: Male
Posts: 731
Location: Erewhon

07 May 2021, 3:12 am

For me i often find mindfulness in ordinary things like reading a book with nobody around beside a lovely dog.
Or even do nothing at all than sitting in a chair with that same lovely dog. When im alone i can better regulate the income to my brain, being alone keeps the bottle-neck away.


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Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 68
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,818

07 May 2021, 3:42 pm

I've been doing meditation, stilling the mind (I guess that's much the same thing as what's called mindfulness these days) for many decades, on and off. I can't honestly say that it ever changed me, and these days I only use it as a way of getting to sleep, for which it's vaguely effective in mild cases of insomnia.

I've sometimes thought about whether or not there's anything particularly harmful in not stilling the mind, and I'm not at all sure that there is. I tend to focus very intensely on whatever subject matter comes my way, but I've never known it do me any harm. I would think if there was any fatigue from it that normal sleep would provide the required rest break. It's possible that meditation could be useful to people who tend to brood over negative ideas a lot, but I don't do that so much. In my normal mode of thinking I tend to isolate problems and then I simply look around for solutions.

I don't get stressed out much since I retired, and even when I was unfortunate enough to have to be in a stressful environment, my way of fixing it was mostly about figuring out how to remove the source of the stress rather than trying to condition my mind to somehow rise above it, though I did develop one or two coping strategies, such as remembering to watch my mood and to try to let stressful situations "wash over me" rather than latching onto the anxiety, remembering to keep my breathing slow, deep and regular, though I was never one to breathe any other way, and just fostering the habit of staying calm and aware that most of the worrying things that can happen are actually pretty trivial. Physical exercise was also helpful.

So ultimately I guess I prefer not to pin my hopes on any particular "-ism" or technique, but just to use common sense and to try out any ideas that look as if they might do some good, to learn what works and what doesn't, in the same way as I'd solve any other problem. I'm very introspective, always wondering about what's going on in my brain, but I don't brood over misfortune very much.

Having re-read some of the yoga and meditation books that raised great hopes when I was much younger, I suspect that quite a lot of the content is overstated rubbish, though there remains a core of validity in it all somewhere. I still like a lot of the ideas in Zen, and I've occasionally felt better through hearing about them.

I like the idea of just serenely sitting back doing nothing and thinking nothing, but it's not a thing that I seem at all able to do. I don't consider myself to be particularly unhappy. There are some things that could be better in my life but overall I don't feel much sense of grievance. I tend to think that if anything's wrong, it'll either go away or I'll have to fix it, or maybe I won't be able to fix it and will just have to live with it. It's still somewhat new to me to ask questions such as "who has solved this, and what can I learn from them?" I'm still moving on from habitually trying to solve everything myself and reinventing the wheel. But sometimes it's fun to reinvent a wheel.