How to not-think
Thinking is my natural state. But I don’t like to think.
That’s one of the reasons I meditate.
Meditation is an exercise to distance yourself from your consciousness, for a brief amount of time.
When you shut your eyes, thoughts flood into your mind, like a projector starting up in a dark room. With a little effort, you can relax and find a spot of tranquility, a smooth surface of a lake.
But as your attention slacks, thoughts rush back in.
For novice meditators, a helpful heuristic is “focus on your breath”.
It works, since it’s impossible to think while you are purely focused on your breath.
I do something similar when I swim, another a good place to not-think.
I count laps. I have to. Keeping track of the number keeps me grounded, like following my breath. It keeps me from floating up. Because when I start wondering if I’m on my 24th or 25th lap … or details of a strange conversation last night..and if I need to buy paper towels…
Then I’m thinking again.