Is the practice of being aware of the present moment. Usually achieved through focusing on something like your breath.
One thing to realise here is that you are not in control of your thinking. You are simply an observer to whatever happens and whatever your mind produces. Sometimes it produces wonderful things but more often than not it can produce anxiety and other nasty things that you have no say over. Unless of course you just observe them and let them pass through like clouds in the sky.
Treating thoughts and thinking in this way is incredibly freeing. Not getting attached to what you think. And not getting attached to anything is incredibly empowering feeling. But it is something that you have to practice often.
I like to practice mindfulness through journalling my thoughts in my diary. I wrote about it here.
I do want to start more focused mindfulness and trying to practice channeling my focus. I do build my personal system of productivity and happiness around this idea of less thinking, more happiness. I try to cultivate good thoughts and let bad thoughts pass by. I focus on the present moment and try to take the best from the cards I have been dealt. And more importantly I try to be proactive with life. Great things won't happen if you sit idly waiting for things to happen. You either have to go out and find these great things or make your own.
I use Breathing Zone on both iOS and macOS whenever I find myself getting distracted and not doing the task I need to do. I open the app and go through a few breathing exercises to bring my mind back into place.
- I don't know any meditator or teacher worth their weight in salt who advocates stopping thinking. Not only is it practically impossible, it implies a deeply maladaptive relationship to thought, i.e., that thought itself is undesirable. Rather, we need to transform our relationship to thoughts; not identify with them but dispassionately observe them as self-arising objects of perception, rather than facts of existence that define who and what we are. Not only that, but question their origins and the underlying beliefs that motivate them. Mindfulness is a very different thing from "stop thinking." "Stop thinking" implies an act of violence to the self, rather than gentle self-compassion.
- There are no secrets. There are no shortcuts. You literally just practice for years and years and years and years.