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On Presence and Meditation 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I practice Presence?”

“The goal is for it to become a habit.

Use James Clear’s four rules as a guide.

Make it obvious. (Cue)
Make it attractive. (Craving)
Make it easy. (Response)
Make it satisfying. (Reward)”

“How can I make it easy?”

“As we’ve talked before [<link; medium read], the Meditation practice is the fundamental unit of the Presence practice. Thinking of the Presence practice in terms of rep(etition)s, it consists of ‘meditation-reps‘, and every meditation-rep consists of what I called ‘attentional-reps‘.

Let’s turn our attention to Meditation.

There’s two ways you can structure it:

By focusing on time. eg ‘Meditate for 5 minutes.’ 

By focusing on breaths. eg ‘Meditate for 5 breaths.'”

“How about focusing on activity? Performing an activity as meditation.
eg ‘eating-meditation’, or ‘dish-washing-meditation’, or ‘shower-meditation’.”

“The idea of making it easy is to make it too small to fail, to ensure consistency of practice. To do that, you need scalable structures, structures of adjustable length. You need to be able to identify the smallest possible unit – the ‘atom‘, so to speak. 

The atom of the Meditation practice is 1 breath. I call it the 1-breath meditation.

Not only is it doable anywhere at any time, but it also incorporates the breath into the practice, which is a powerful tool on its own.”

“By why focus on time at all, and not just on breaths?”

“There’s a Buddhist meditation practice – which I know from Mark Divine’s book Unbeatable Mind – of counting to 10 breaths. Whenever you notice your attention has wandered, you start back from zero.

There’s two principles at work here: mindful breaths, and counting breaths. We could call mindful breaths quality reps. These are the only ones worth counting.

I find counting breaths very useful, because it’s a way to assess how well you’re doing, which allows you to practice more deliberately. Ideally, count using your fingers, not mentally.

As long as you’re counting breaths, focusing on time works just as well.

There’s three ways you can go about it.

You can count to a set number. Meditate for x breaths. This can take a long or short time, based on the chosen number, and how well you’re doing.

You can count to a set time. Meditate for y minutes. Get as many mindful reps in as you can in that time-frame. It can be 5 minutes (5-minute meditation), it can even be just 1 minute (1-minute meditation).

You can count to a set number and a set time. Meditate for x breaths or y minutes, whichever comes first.

Beautiful Systems: Morning Priming

The “human spirit” is like a campfire. You need to re-light it EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Brian Johnson)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’ve been optimizing/refining my morning ritual for a long time now. I call it Morning Priming. It’s been through countless iterations.”

“What does the latest iteration look like?”

“In terms of scope of the Morning Priming, it is twofold:

Activation of the Mind and the Body.
Connection with the Child Within, my Values and my Purpose.

In terms of structure, it consists of three meditations:

The Journaling Meditation
The Still Meditation
The Moving Meditation

I activate the Mind with the Journaling and Still Meditations.
I activate the Body with the Moving Meditation.

The theme of the Journaling and Still Meditations is Connection.
The theme of the Journaling Meditation is also Implementation.”

“Can you give a few details on each meditation?”

The Journaling Meditation is a pomodoro (25 minutes) of creative writing, mind-mapping style, right after I wake up. I start from whatever’s on my mind that morning. I never know where I’m going to get, which is a beautiful feeling.

The Still Meditation is a classic sitting meditation. It lasts between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on the available time. During this meditation I also do a few Breaths of Fire [<link], followed by a small inhale, a small exhale, straight into a breath hold.

The Moving Meditation also lasts between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on the available time, and is equal in length to the Still Meditation. This is a little aesthetic touch. This meditation consists of a selection of mobility exercises, 5 pull-ups and 5 burpees.

After the Morning Priming, I go straight into Deep Work [<link; medium length].”