Kim O'Hara wrote:Hello, PaulGar,
I approve of your attempt! It's worth persisting with, for both practical and spiritual benefits, I think.
You seem to be equating 'mindfulness' with monitoring your physical state. That is something I try to be aware of, and it has improved with time: if I slouch, I now notice and fix my posture fairly quickly, for instance, and that will have practical long-term health benefits as well as the shorter-term benefit of making me less tired.
But the other part of mindfulness, for me, is more important: to monitor my mental state. Writing when dull, bored or too tired is worth avoiding, simply because the result tends to be dull, boring and/or tiring to read - mine does, anyway! - and it needs to be heavily revised or re-done completely. That's not very efficient, is it? Writing when angry or upset is even worse. Again, I'm making progress.
But I do have the luxury of writing part-time and basically doing it when it suits me. Your conditions may be harder to deal with, but I'm sure you can make some progress over time.
zavk wrote:Hi Paul
My work too involves writing. I would echo what Kim suggests. For me, the biggest challenge is knowing when to take a break, when to let go. Sometimes I find that I am clinging and obsessing about writing rather than doing any real work. During those moments, the mindful thing to do is to let go. I must admit I'm still working on this. It's a bad habit really. I've felt the benefits of taking short 5 minute breaks whereby I just sit at the desk or walk up and down the hall or outside my office to re-establish a degree of mindfulness. Yet, I don't do it quite enough. Thanks for posting this. It is a good reminder for me.
Nibbida wrote:This is an excellent idea and very worthwhile to post, in my estimation.
Of course, simple physical tasks were the meditation object of choice of Buddhist monasteries (e.g. Zen monks raking sand). So, just like you said, you can pause to have mindfulness of the sensations of typing or the posture of sitting. You could also do mindfulness of seeing as you look at the computer screen. That's more subtle and harder to do, but it's a possibility. It's so ironic that mindful activities doesn't mean doing anything different physically but is just a shift in the quality of attention. The fact that some tasks are taking you longer is probably due to the fact that you're doing extra mental work. But with practice, I think it will get easier to do and your speed will return to normal (plus you will be reaping the benefits of meditating while doing work, which is an enormous boon for one's practice.)
Another way to approach this is to be mindful of the thinking process itself as you are writing. Mindfulness of thinking is much harder to do, which is why Zen monks rake sand instead of doing long division problems. But on the other hand, if you can manage it, it's an even greater benefit because our minds chatter all day long. To be able to be mindful of that in real time, in real-life situations would be extremely helpful. Bigger challenge, but bigger payoff.
Here's how I do it. I use Mahasi Sayadaw-style noting. Every so often, I note "Thinking is occurring," while working at the keyboard. So there's two levels of awareness here: the thinking about the content (e.g. whatever you're writing about), and a higher-order level of awareness that the thinking is occurring. Again, with practice, this takes place simultaneously and need not interfere with the activity itself.
If you try this out and have any results, please post them here. I'd be curious to know how others manage this, or whatever ways they are able to make it work for them.
andre9999 wrote:Wouldn't it make more sense to spend less time thinking about the feel of your fingers on the keyboard, then use that saved time to do something else... taking breaks, finishing early and meditating, etc.?
Granted that I'm fairly new to Buddhism, but it seems to me that you're being the opposite of mindful by not truly focusing on what you're doing.
Hanzze wrote:Dear PaulGar,
it is good to observe the sitting position all the time, not only for the physical benefit, it needs also a big amount of mindfulness. Also to observe once own breath is a good training. Special in Theravada the focus is not on sitting meditation, one can/should train mindfulness all the time.
As soon as you realize that you are not sitting well, just adjust your self back. I guess it is a very good training.
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