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On the value of learning (via meditation practice and buddhist cultivation?) to observe your thoughts
May 2nd, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

On the value of learning (via meditation practice and buddhist cultivation?) to observe your thoughts… and of trusting you don't "have to" interpret these thoughts as 'truths' or 'facts'…
on the value of learning how to "see things as they are" here&now!

Mindfulness is one of the tools used in Buddhism to lead towards the cessation of suffering. This personal post by Øyvind is an illustration of "how it works" in real life.

by :
I have floorball monopoly

Have you considered how much we affect our experiences? How much we color our experiences?

My girlfriend tried floorball the last time she was at a course in Trondheim for her paramedics training. She had just finished playing and was excitingly sharing her experience of it with me.

I was feeling a bit lonely and my brain was naturally looking for solutions to fight this. It presented arbitrary possible causes and solutions to this feeling based on the context. The lonely feeling made it act desperate and it was seeking attention badly.

“Strange, she’s never liked floorball before!” Not that harmful yet, and the discussion continued.

“In fact I played floorball for 2 years and she wasn't interested at all then!” This was where my coloring of the discussion could sky rocket into fantasy land.

In a way I’m experiencing two persons at the same time. One is interested in floorball and one is not. Aren't they both the same person? Well, both yes and no.. Only one of them is real, the person I've never heard talking excitingly about floorball before and the other one is just my head remembering things in a simplistic manner. She is in reality brand new for me at this moment, she is unfamiliar, interesting and unknown. So which one do i pick? The familiar and safe simplistic unreal memory? Then the only thing I would been able to talk about is weird things that never did happen or may never happen. The inner dialog would end up completely fictional just to try to synchronize the unreal with the real! ;-)

“Why are you suddenly interested in floorball?”

“Hmm, don’t you think that you are just a bit too excited? It’ll calm down you know..”

“I don’t think we have time for you going practicing floorball every week!”

This is just a guestimate for how my responses could have been, but I picked the real person! The very moment I saw this made up “former her” in my head, I backtracked, refocused my attention to just the moment I was experiencing and we had a great discussion about floorball. All the guesstimates still may become true, or maybe she will practice floorball every freaking day until I shit floorballs, who knows! The essential thing is that I picked the real person, I picked to stay in the right experience, I choose not to project my fantasy on top of something real. ;-)

You may see this as just a moment of jealousy or you may see it as superficial moment in time, but every moment counts, the oftener reality instead my projections are chosen, the more awesome and pure the things I experience will be! The brain wants to “know”, it wants to have things stay “normal”, it likes to predict and it doesn't like change. I still remember the history, but it doesn't color my experience if I don’t want it to.

You may also have noticed that at this moment it is also happening. You've already started an inner and most likely undetectable dialog that is trying to comprehend and predict “what” you are reading. There is also a chance that you've automatically decided if you like or not what I've written. There is always projections! If you know me or if someone has told you about me you already have an impression of “who I am”. This will make your coloring even more powerful. You will automatically try to compare what I write with “who I am”. At the same time you color with the impressions these words I have picked awakens in you.

If you haven’t had your regular cup of morning coffee you’ll probably be just as dissatisfied as me and color what you read with the thoughts that involuntarily gets produced by your brain caused by the dissatisfaction. If you are sitting with the coffee cup right this moment the heat and taste will make your experience of reading this better, better compared to what is given, but perhaps still quite bad ;-)

The point is that if we stay alert and pull our self to the present almost anything can become interesting. The trick is to catch or to train the habit that looks for thoughts that is coloring the present moment and continue by noting them, but not acting on them. Like a child should not get any attention, bad or positive, when it misbehaves, but positive attention if does the right thing. So remember to encourage yourself when you've gained control. :-)

Photo: Floorball © +Ove Halseth