I wish that we could altogether stop being effortful for brief moments throughout the day.
The endless cascade of thoughts that pour in, everything from today's logistics and basic family needs (and tomorrow's, and even next year's) to the various urgencies of the day and solving them.
Work ideas and the endless stream of work-associated tasks float by in my brain, unbidden and waving at me.
Personal relationship issues take their turn in countless forms.
Fears inject themselves into the picture, too.
It's just a swirling mess.
As William James memorably put it, the world is “one great blooming, buzzing confusion” to an infant whose sensory apparatus is “assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin, and entrails at once.”
It is possible to step off the ride, for brief moments at a time. Just sit comfortably to allow your spine to carry your weight equitably. Feel air going into the tip of your nose for a minute or so, then just stop being effortful. Like, really stop. That's it, that's the whole thing in a nutshell.
Let the cascade come, as it always does, but instead of identifying with those thoughts, watch them like you would a movie on a big screen. Let them have their little moments in the klieg lights, and then watch them vanish. Over and over.
It's more fun than I'm making it sound! But the effortless part is the key to it all. No striving or trying or anything of the sort. The effortlessness begets pockets of unshakeable calm, a byproduct or an emergent property, it seems.
Ten minutes feels like the optimal time to practice, but even one minute is good. Five 1-minute sessions spread over the course of a day could be better than one five-minute session. Who knows! 10 feels great for me.
Just to "Not do" for 10 minutes. Oxygen never tastes so good. It's both luxurious and, somehow, comforting, simultaneously.
And there's never a better time to practice than this one!