Watch What You Do

floating skulls in white background

This has been the general theme of my work since the inception of my first book in 2008. It provides a lifelong practice of countering the habitual thought process, “What should I do?” When receiving this question from my mind, it’s fun to respond with “Watch what I do” because they sound so alike. If you feel pressure from a similar mental quest, I invite you to try it out.

This approach rejects the assumption that our thoughts can give us answers to how we will spend our time. They simply don’t know, however much they masquerade as fortune tellers. Watching, on the other hand, is a guarantee of knowing. We see our body parts moving in their individual tasks and that is what we are doing, moment to moment. Life really doesn’t get more complex than this. Only inner messaging makes it seem complicated. Our life circumstances (and personal behavior) may be of distaste to us, but, real doing is just movement of bodies in relation to immediate environments. Even if you are sending someone far away an email, the action is comprised of your fingers on the keyboard in front of you. There is nothing we will ever do that is not some form of a physical task in the moment.

This marks a classic type of mindfulness, just my brand. Remembering we don’t need to look to our thought process for decision-making information is what I find refreshing. It’s clean. The decisiveness of our bones moving in real time is clear. Though these actions come directly from neurological processing, neurons firing inside our brain that we have no access to, I marvel at the absolute specificity of each gesture of my skeleton. We are biological machines and the exactness and precision in where and how our physical structures move is reliable as something to observe. When we realize these involuntary joint movements are our only actions in the world (that is, decisions/choices), we can ease up in the intensity of paying attention to our thoughts and instead watch our organism in space.

Bypassing mental messaging requires a definite shift in attention, and one that is highly counterintuitive. For me, it is a fascinating, soothing, and mind-blowing practice. It never fails to procure the truth about what is possible for me, in terms of options and opportunities, and is always in my immediate vicinity for scrutiny. Unlike thinking, which is spotty, roundabout, and only offers a prediction of how I might behave (regarding any situation in my life), seeing what my body does in real time is 100% pure and accessible. There is no guesswork. It can be sobering and limiting in its yield, but I’d rather have accurate news straight-up than swirl around in a fantasy world. Staring at boney movements can be fun; much like a science experiment. Since we cannot microscopically examine the inner workings of our nervous system to see its true decision-making functioning (about how we will act), this is the next best thing to witnessing internal structures at work. It cuts out the mythical middleman and guarantees immediate results. If you are skeptical that your bones move by themselves, give it a watch!    

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