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Modular Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“One of the biggest stumbling blocks when trying to initiate an action is getting started.

I like to think of it in terms of ‘mental chunking‘. The larger a chunk you mentally represent an action as, the harder an obstacle it seems to overcome, so the harder it is to get started. Human beings seem to have an uncanny ability to create and exaggerate mental obstacles for themselves.

Building on that, what’s the difference between a 20-minute block of time and four 5-minute block of time? On the surface, there isn’t any. But in terms of mental chunking, the difference is huge.

This can be used strategically.”

“How?”

Think in 5-minute time blocks.

There are several benefits to it.

Let’s take meditation. The small chunks make it more likely to initiate the practice. The end of a 5-minute block can serve as a reminder to bring your wandering attention back to your ‘anchor’, your point of focus.”

“Like a ‘backup anchor’.”

“Yes.

Focusing on meditation as a practice, you can (metaphorically) think of the blocks as rep[etition]s. This can give a better sense of progress: ‘I’ve completed one more rep’. If your attention was completely off focus during a rep, if time allows, you can squeeze one more rep in. It’s also a way to create small wins throughout the day.

For me however, the most important benefit is that you can make each 5-minute block themed. For instance, you can have one dedicated to affirmations, one to gratitude, etc. You can think of them as modules. Even better, you can think of them as reusable modules, which you can combine and play with to create beautiful structures.

For instance you can alternate still and moving meditation blocks, creating a beautiful oscillation. Or you can have a balancing-meditation block, followed by tree-climbing-meditation block, followed by one whose theme is contemplation of Beauty.”

“What if I wanted to use 10-minute blocks?”

“The length of the blocks is not set in stone. It’s just one more parameter to play and experiment with.”

Macro Meditation

It’s all Meditation.


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What is macro meditation?

The essence of meditation lies in self-compassion and kind acceptance. Noticing your attention has wandered, and gently bringing it back to your point of focus.

The same principle can be metaphorically (and pragmatically) applied at the life macro level. Noticing you have wandered from the Path, and gently bringing yourself back to it.

I like to call these micro- and macro-meditation.

The initial quote linguistically encodes this idea, and I use it as a mantra to invoke it when the situation calls for it.

Also, every day can be thought of as a macro meditation.

I like Leo Gura’s concept of ‘the waking daze‘, the auto-pilot mode we’re in most of the time, and his distinction between low- and high-consciousness.

Just like in meditation the aim is to maintain your point of focus for as long as possible, in the day-level macro meditation, the aim is to maintain the high-consciousness state for as long as possible throughout the day.

What is the point of focus for your macro meditation?

Love.