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comment by thenewgreen

    Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence. But what, exactly, makes that possible?
-That is a worthwhile thing to resolve to do. Unfortunately, it really is easier said than done given the amount of distractions we have in our daily lives. How is one to be present while driving in rush hour traffic or while brushing your teeth?

I think the answer is to be "intent." If you are driving, be in the moment and hear your surroundings, feel the steering wheel in your hands. While writing this I paused to be aware of my surroundings and for a brief moment, I was "present." I heard the soft hiss of the heat ducts, I looked up and saw the light variation from the fixture above and heard my hair crunch against the head rest of my office chair. Breathe. Breathing is good.

It's possible for me to say to myself, "be present," then attempt to turn off my internal dialog and just exist, "watching the thinker" as they say. But this is VERY difficult for me to do for any sustained amount of time. Within mere moments my internal dialog resumes. It's insane. But I need to practice.

As for Alan Watts, have a listen to him discussing nothingness. Is that not wonderful? What a voice and what a message.

Back to the Brain Pickings post:

    The “primary consciousness,” the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., “everyone will die”) that the future assumes a high degree of reality — so high that the present loses its value.
-This is the obstacle, getting the "ingenious brain" out of the way of the "basic mind."

The "ingenious brain" is a tool. Like all tools it has a time and place to be used. Granted this tool is used many times throughout our days, but it doesn't always need to be turned on. If you are like me, you probably have a constant narrative going in your mind. Thinking about a task at hand, a song or melody or a scene you've constructed of what a future event might look like? The movie of the mind is constantly projecting. Why? Turn it off now and then and use it when you need it. The mind is your tool, you are not the minds tool. Sometimes it's good to show it who is boss!...turn it off, float down stream :).

insomniasexx  ·  3817 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    How is one to be present while driving in rush hour traffic or while brushing your teeth?

My parents always called distracted driving as "being on autopilot." It's that occurrence when you are driving somewhere and not really aware that you are driving and all the sudden you are two freeways exits past where you were supposed to be. Or when you are driving to the store on the same route you drive home and end up at home, completely forgetting that you intended to go to the store. I have yet to solve this. Attempting to be more self-aware will help. Listening to NPR probably doesn't help.

    If you are like me, you probably have a constant narrative going in your mind.

Always. That's where my resolution comes in. Instead of powering through tasks and not really paying attention to them, I am aiming to be more focused and really give whatever I am doing the dedication it deserves. I want to take a moment and pause and think and actually attend to the task, rather than typing out a mess as fast as I can to move onto the next thing.

I think this is where this article connected a bunch of dots for me. I'm not focused on the tasks at hand because I'm always thinking about the next task or something a million miles away. I never considered that "living in the present" was what I was after in this resolution but it's all the same.