A chance to sit.
There are two ways to move faster. One is to physically move fast, the other is to slow the time. If time passes slower, the same motion looks faster relatively. This is the art of our cognition and the highly focused cognition makes us feel like time passes slower.
When we are extremely pressured and hurrying, time feels slower sometimes. When the deadline of a report is close, we often forget about any other things and finish writing in 2 hours or so. This is called the tunnel effect of our cognition. It is described as a tunnel because in this state of mind, we become blind to the other things. The brain focuses on just one thing and cuts off all other things from the cognitive eyesight. This happens to other animals too. This is why a cat gets surprised by a poke when it’s focusing on a toy. The downside of this state is that we tend to miss out on other important things. This state of mind is useful in a very short period of time but it’s becoming less and less helpful in modern society.
One of the techniques to stay keen and also to keep the focus flexible is called meditation. Recently it can be called mindfulness sometimes but the concept is the same. Meditation itself has nothing to do with spirituality or religion. It’s a technique of how to use our limited source called cognitive mind. Animals, for example horses, don’t think. Instead, they associate the memories. Scary predators, scary color, scary sound etc.. This is why once they panic, they panic themselves even more and run away. This reaction is very quick and extremely useful when to escape from the danger. We do this too. Humans think we think, but actually we often rely on the association and are lazy to supervise it. AI always evaluates its own calculation and tries to optimise its accuracy. However humans need voluntary training. It starts with controlling the breath. The physical action and our emotions and thoughts are all connected and these affect each other mutually. We don’t always smile because we are happy. We often get happy because our facial muscles form a smile on our face. The same way, by keeping the breath regular, we calm down our mood. What humans are afraid of the most is known to be the boredom. An experiment has shown that some people even choose to harm themselves by electric pulse instead of doing absolutely nothing. Thus our mind would start showing the random memories and thoughts. The first thought associates the second thought and more thoughts come out like a chain reaction. In medication, we just ignore it instead of chasing. I personally do it like closing the apps on my iPhone. I just keep throwing the thoughts out of my mind. After hundreds of random thoughts, the mind starts showing the old memories because it’s running out of the memories to show. Study shows that in this state, already a different part of our brain to store the long term memory has the influx of blood. However, we continue to ignore the thoughts even if it’s the old memories. The important thing is we must also forget the fact that we are meditating and ignoring all the thoughts. We must even forget that we are sitting and the eyes are closed.
Then we do reach the state of mind where we think absolutely nothing. This state has many names but names are not important. In this state, we are extremely focused on nothing. It has nothing to do with happiness or sorrow, not even heaven or hell. It’s the entirely organized desk. It’s finally ready to do work. Because we are not a trained monk, this state doesn’t last long. We fall back to the normal noisy state but we find that only 5 or 10 minutes have passed since we sat.
Last New Year’s day, I practiced the meditation marathon. I always wanted to try it but I didn’t have a chance. I practiced it for hours for 3 continuous days. It was a life altering event. It enables us to use our CPU and the memory at the full capacity.
Stay-at-home era is an ideal time to practice mindfulness. There is no need to be depressed or sad. Being distracted is like drinking seawater. It may help us pass a moment, but we’d want it more. Life should be better than that. Slow the time and try new things faster than ever.