Sometimes the world is too much. Crowded shopping centers, traffic jams and incessant thefts of your attention assault you every moment. And sometimes the world is not right. A few obvious changes would make everything better. So what can you do but disengage?
I love people but I do not like being in a crowd. They contain so much energy – adventure, success, connection – but they are hardy soothing. It's hard for me to find focus and serenity.
Or, at least, it used to be.
Even if you avoid crowds, the world is a busy place. You can not always escape the commotion, no matter where you live.
Sometimes you just have to let go to find some piece of mind.
Now, I do not recommend disconnecting from the world permanently. Some advanced meditators make that mistake. Instead of being overwhelmed by their environment, they allow their inner mind to consume them. There's nothing wrong with developing a mental state so enticing that the world does not compete. Just come back every now and then.
And let go every now and then.
The human brain constructs the past and the future with the same hardware. Memories and imagination come from the same place. Most meditation rightly focuses on what's real and what's present. The best meditators, though, can go the other way too.
Your senses ground you to the present. To be mindful is to observe what is happening. But your senses are simply another construct. It's almost the same thing to lose yourself in your senses as it is to lose yourself in a daydream.
Use your senses, by all means. Pay attention to your here and now.
And know how to let go of it.
Your senses are signals. These signals come from your environment but they are not your environment. Your brain is like a painter, reconstructing on canvas what they hear through a static-riddled radio.
Does that sound like it's worth hanging on to?
It is. Until it distracts you.
When you trust your unconscious mind, it's easy to hand over control to it. Let it monitor your environment for you – after all, it's already doing that. Let your conscious mind go. Ignore the signals and let them fade.
They say that reality is whatever remains when you stop believing in it. That makes money and love unreal, and they're both worth having. See what remains of yourself when you remove all that's real.
You might just surprise yourself.