What is it that we do most of the time?

A text from my pocket notebooks, dated 19 August 1994:

What is it that we do most of the time, when we’re not distracted by something else like working, being angry, etc.?

Like, for example, the pauses between volleys of dialogue (besides thinking of either your own next point or a response to your partner), or the walk between your car and the destination building — we don’t always think of who we’re going to meet or what we’re going to say; sometimes, our minds wander.

What is it that we do, such as while driving or riding (and not doing some well-defined activity like reading)? We don’t always have thoughts running through our heads — or do we? Current observations, opinions, or some unrelated occupying thoughts (of one’s job, family, etc.). My guess is that most people do think all the time — too much. Few times do I just sit and unjudgmentally watch.

In writing, I mean, are people always doing or thinking something? Is there a stream of thoughts or merely watchful emptiness? Must one always be doing something?

2 responses to “What is it that we do most of the time?

  1. I am under the impression that NOT thinking all the time is, in fact, extremely difficult; that’s why people have to work at mediating. It’s quite counter intuitive. Try thinking of nothing but “In” when you inhale and “Out” when you exhale, and see how long that lasts before your brain goes off on its own and you have to gently pull it back to “In” and “Out.”

    • I agree. Meditation seeks to let go of thoughts, but when I’m creating, I encourage those thoughts that pop up and try to follow them. It’s a different kind of mediation, it feels like.

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