Mindfulness while thinking?

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Aziz Solomon, modified 12 Years ago at 4/10/10 6:53 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/10/10 6:53 AM

Mindfulness while thinking?

Posts: 24 Join Date: 4/9/10 Recent Posts
Here's another question about integrating mindfulness into daily living: There seem to be plenty of activities that can clearly be enhanced by the application of mindful awareness, but what about activities that necessarily involve complex discursive thought? I know how to do the dishes mindfully, but how about writing an academic thesis? Wouldn't 'noting' (or opening to a wider range of sensations) just interfere with the thought process?
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Florian, modified 12 Years ago at 4/10/10 10:01 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/10/10 10:01 AM

RE: Mindfulness while thinking?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Aziz

Well, a simple definition of "mindfulness" which I like is "keeping something in mind" as in "remember what I'm doing".

While writing a thesis is much more than operating a word-processor, the word-processing part at least offers quite a few opportunities for training mindfulness in the form of "stop exercises", i.e. "stop and review what's going on here" whenever something specific happens. Choose a "trigger" and try to be mindful of as many of these as possible.

Examples: to keep TSV at bay I set up a "typing break" software to alert me every so often to relax my wrists etc. After the break, I try to keep in mind that I'm now working again. This gradually slips, of course, and during my next break, I try to remember the moment when the fact that I was working slipped from my mind, i.e., I backtrack to the last moment of "mindfulness of working". Or, I decide to be aware whenever I save my work (maybe initially just the instances when I make "big" copies to some external medium like an USB flash memory or a different computer system).

Come up with your own. Alan Chapman describes an exercise where he tried to be aware of his right arm as often and for as long as possible.

Cheers,
Florian
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Dark Night Yogi, modified 12 Years ago at 4/11/10 9:14 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/11/10 9:14 AM

RE: Mindfulness while thinking?

Posts: 138 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
for me,

the more routine the task, the easier to be mindful.
the steps where we usually get hooked, the more important to be mindful.

opening my Ym is a nice one, where i usually get impatient.
clicking a link is another where the mind often drifts off to craving.
while talking to my mother, its my prerequisite
bathroom breaks is an easy one.
while eating, i developed to minimize craving and overeating.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 4/16/10 2:24 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/16/10 2:24 AM

RE: Mindfulness while thinking?

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
As I am sure you have noticed, as the implied background to your question, that high-level discursive thought and precise mindfulness of the sensate nature of phenomena are a hard mix to pull off.

I guess it depends on what you are doing or going for, but if you just want insight, there are plenty of easier objects to get that insight, and if you want really high-level discursive thought, then mindfulness practice will likely gunk that up, hence times when compartmentalization for the sake of pragmatism makes sense.

Just as I don't use a magnifying glass while driving, nor a telescope when typing on a computer screen, just so I tend to do whatever I am doing on its own terms and with a focus that works well for that particular task.
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Aziz Solomon, modified 12 Years ago at 4/16/10 11:04 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 4/16/10 11:04 AM

RE: Mindfulness while thinking?

Posts: 24 Join Date: 4/9/10 Recent Posts
Thank you all for such very helpful replies! I'm falling in love with Dharma Overground!

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