Create a space around you: Sit on a meditation cushion or in a comfy chair, light a candle, or just turn off your cell phone. If you can't “set the scene,” let your circumstances fall away (even if it's in the bathroom at the office!).
Sit comfortably, spine straight — up against the wall or in an office chair, if need be. Close your eyes and begin to notice everything:
The sounds around you
The way your body feels sitting where you are
What your breathing is like
Relax into it.
Allow for your awareness to be wide, and curiously begin to notice the movement of your mind. Count every thought you have for about one minute. Any thought, any body sensation, any noise can be counted. Sitting in front of a clock may be helpful, but don't let it take away from the ease of this exercise.
Return to the room, opening your eyes with a soft gaze, allowing your awareness to remain wide. Notice if anything is the same as it was when you closed your eyes. Notice what may seem different. How many thoughts did you seem to have? Many or a few? Let's move on. With innocence and willingness, close your eyes again.
This time, no counting. Simply relax even further into this present experience, allowing for everything and anything to flow through. Watch all movement. Notice the possible tendency to try to control the experience by stopping thoughts or commentating on the experience. No problem. Just gently rest back into the observer mode once you realize you've been drawn out into thinking.
After about one minute of just watching without counting, open your eyes again with a soft gaze. Notice what has remained the same as it was when you closed your eyes. What seems to have changed? Keeping the awareness wide, close your eyes again.
With gentle innocence, just watch — but this time intend to notice the space between the thoughts. Notice from where the thoughts seem to arise and where they return. Is there a beginning and an end to each thought? How long is the space between each? With the razor's edge of allowing and noticing without trying to figure this out mentally, simply notice. If nothing reveals itself, great. If something reveals itself, great. Each time you practice this, the experience likely will change. The quality may be different as the thoughts may be few or many. Every time, it’s crucial to have the willingness to sit and observe with innocence and curiosity, without comparing this new experience to a past experience or even whatever experience you think would be more peaceful or enlightened. Drop every expectation. Be with what is.
Enjoy this. Don’t take it too seriously. Life is meant to be lived in joy.
Printed in gratitude with permission from the Ishayas of the Bright Path.