Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mindfulness, memory and reveiw

I found this exercise on "Meditation Station". This form of meditation makes a lot of sense. It is similar to Rob Nairn's instruction on "backtracking" that he talks about in Diamond Mind. I've also read about similar techniques offered by psychologists as a means of cultivating better memory. Let's all give this a try and see if it doesn't help us cultivate more ordinary mindfulness throughout our day! 

Every night, before falling asleep, review the events of the day. Start with the first thing you remember and then continue as if you were watching a movie starring you. Try to remember everything. For instance, you may remember the alarm going off and you turning it off, pulling down the blanket and swinging your legs over the side of the bed to get out of bed. You may have then walked into the bathroom and washed up prior to getting dressed. Try to remember every detail as precisely as possible. Don't simply rehash how you usually go through your life's routine but rather note each nuance. An example would be if you dropped the bar of soap when you were washing up or heard alarming news over the radio while brushing your teeth. Try to recall how you reacted physically, mentally, and emotionally to every event of the day. 

When you first try this technique, you may be amazed at how little you can recall. It may become obvious that you can easily recall highly emotional times like when you had an argument with a co-worker but you may not be able to remember anything about how you got to work. Similarly, if you had an accident in your car on the way to work, the events of that incident may be all you can remember. Anything that happened at work would be a blur. 

The more you do this "review of the day", the more you will start paying attention to your life as it takes place and the more you will be able to remember about the events that transpired. We all have a tendency to not pay anything but the most minimal attention to the here and now and instead spend our time rehashing the past and fantasizing about the future. This meditation technique can return our awareness of the present, which is the only time reality takes place, as well as bring an excitement and enthusiasm to our life. Think about a baby who is so amazed and fascinated with the newness of everything that occurs in every moment. We should be experiencing at least that exquisite a response to our moment-to-moment existence because each moment is absolutely unique and intriguing and since we are adults, we can ponder the remarkable way we are reacting to each event we experience physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

When we can pay attention to our life with a baby's intensity, we will also find that when we do our daily life review, our mind will replay it in a minute detail and completeness as if we had put our inner VCR on fast forward. In just a few minutes, we will be able to see every event that took place in the previous sixteen hours. This will occur because at this stage of our consciousness's evolution, our mind will be a tool we can use as reliably and more easily than any computer. 


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