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The Tinkered Mind

A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.

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MEDITATION DRAFT SESSION 7: THE MIND'S MOVIE

January 2nd, 2023

On Monday Tinkered Thinking releases a draft of a lesson from the forthcoming meditation app, currently called The Tinkered Mind (If you can think of a better name, please reach out. I'm not crazy about the current one, but I'll be damned if I let an imperfect name keep me from developing a good idea.) The rationale here is simply to stave off project stagnation by taking a wish to work with words on a daily basis (Tinkered Thinking Posts) and combine it with adjacent projects. This also gives regular readers a chance to get a preview of what I'm cooking up and to get feedback before the app launches, which is a tactic that has proved extremely useful with other projects unrelated to Tinkered Thinking. 

One further introductory note: The goal of this meditation app is predominantly aimed at helping individuals build a robust daily habit by breaking that habit down and tackling it's consitituent parts one at a time and aiding the process with a new and innovative way of tracking progress, the likes of which has not been seen in other meditation apps or habit tracking apps.

Again, if you have any feedback, please reach out via Twitter  

Session 7: The Mind's Movie

 

Take a moment to sit and arrange your posture. Maintain a straight back with plenty of space for the abdomen to expand.

 

Once you’re ready begin breathing with deep exhales. We want a relatively quick inhale and a slow, longer exhale. I’ll count out a few 4 count inhales followed by exhales with a count of 8

 

 

Inhale till 4, starting on 

 

1 - 2 - 3 - 4

 

hold for a moment and then exhale  

 

8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -1

 

Then..

 

Inhale again till 4, starting on 

 

1 - 2 - 3 - 4

 

hold for a moment and then exhale  

 

8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -1

 

Continue this for a couple more breaths, and feel free to allow the exhales to be as long as you want. And once you are ready let your breathing transition to coherence breathing where inhales and exhales are the same length.

 

There’s a preconception surrounding meditation that with the practice we are trying to achieve a certain state, like a kind of trance, much like the flow state while engrossed in fulfilling work or perhaps while watching a good movie. While meditation is about cultivating states of mind, it’s much the opposite of this cultural notion of a trance or flow.

 

Most of normal waking life is far from this state of alert focus. Usually we are lost in thought, either engrossed with some aspect of the past, be it some embarrassment, mistake or replayed memory, or it’s the future we wonder and worry about. We play a near constant movie in our minds which is a never ending montage swirling both past and future together, and it’s only occasionally interrupted by the present for brief periods of time.

 

A mindfulness practice seeks to interrupt the mind’s movie and expand those moments when the present floods in.

 

It’s one thing to be fully present for some rare occasion in life, say for the birth of a child, or a child’s graduation, or the last moments of a loved one’s life. These are moments that are so stimulating that it can be difficult NOT to be fully aware of what’s going on in the present. But compare these super-stimulating moments to the boring ones: waiting in line at the bank, or sitting on a bus, or waiting to fall asleep while tossing and turning. During these parts of life we’re usually lost in thought, and the mind’s faucet can seem impossible to turn off. 

 

And now imagine being as acutely aware of the present and its myriad details during those boring moments of life as if they were as engrossing as the more spectacular moments. 

 

The quality of our experience has little to do with what is happening to us or around us. Rather, it’s all about how we perceive the present moment, whether we embrace it with the full faculty of our focus and attention or recede from it into memory and imagination.

 

The practice of mindfulness meditation develops a cognitive muscle to help reengage with the present moment. In a very real sense, it’s an exercise in simply not missing out on your own life.

 

For some this can maybe sound a little scary: to confront the mind without the comfort of some mindless entertainment or pleasure to drown it out. Some people claim: I have too many thoughts, and I just need to get away from them for a little while.

 

This kind of sentiment is totally understandable, but the stereotypical strategy for handling it doesn’t actually address the issue, it only pushes it to a side for a little while, which is more like treating the symptom instead of the cause. And in fact, the ability to recognize an overabundance of thought is in itself a first step of mindfulness, which we explored a little in the last session. It’s a recognition of what’s going on with the mind - that there’s a movie in the mind that seems like it won’t end.

 

But the mental training that comes with a mindfulness practice forms a kind of Pause Button which we can use to put the mind at ease and allow for the present moment to fill our experience.

 

Now, let’s transition from coherence breathing back to deep exhales, and try to notice any thoughts that pop up as we go through out counts.

 

Inhale till 4, starting on 

 

1 - 2 - 3 - 4

 

hold for a moment and then exhale  

 

8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -1

 

Then..

 

Inhale again till 4, starting on 

 

1 - 2 - 3 - 4

 

hold for a moment and then exhale  

 

8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 -1

 

 

Continue like this for a few more moments while the session ends.


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