I’ve been playing around with a new mindfulness technique lately and I think I might be onto something. At random points throughout the day, I pretend that someone suddenly assumed my perspective of the world. I picture it as if I’m the main character in a video game, and another player joins my team. But instead of spawning their own avatar, they piggyback on mine, in the first person, observing everything I’m experiencing in the moment with none of the context or personal back story.
Welcome, I say to this imaginary presence. This is what it’s like in my unique corner of the universe; thanks for tuning in. Here I am driving my ’93 Honda Prelude on country roads at sunset. This is what the engine sounds like while locked into cruise control at 100 km/h. Feel the bumps and shakes of a 23-year-old suspension as we rumble down the tarmac. Notice the view beyond the treeline–a hundred scattered bird silhouettes darting and weaving in densely shaped masses.
I introduce my passenger to my current sense of the world. What it’s like to be me in this moment. Not personally, but objectively. I state what’s happening to my senses. What the moment feels like on the most basic level. What I know to be true.
It’s meditation: taking inventory of what the present moment holds, stripped off all the emotional baggage. It’s a sober look at the current state of things.
I keep reporting until I’m carried away by other thoughts–which is a matter of minutes if I’m honest. But while I uphold this little charade, I feel present and connected to the true state of reality. I find my center. I tease out the thoughts from the experience and get closer to what is.
It’s an exercise in metacognition and I think it might have some value. The more I do it, the more things I’m able to catalog in any given moment. How many sounds can you hold in your awareness at any one time? It seems as this number grows, the amount of random thoughts in my head shrinks. Open your awareness to sharpen your focus. Seems kinda counterintuitive but it works for me.
So whenever you think about it this week, act like someone’s watching. It might just help you step out of your head for a minute and appreciate what’s going on around you.
And report back because I’d love to hear about your trials.