It can be a good thing to build a random number generator into our day. Then we can use it as a trigger to signal us to check-in with where our internal narrative is at random times.
These are easily built by just choosing something random, like the number 15, or the colours yellow and blue appearing together. It just has to be something that we do not control, yet something our awareness remains very consciousness of, so that it can signal us when we do see our talisman.
How it works is simple: when we see the number 15 within bus route 2150, or the number 15 in a phone number for a plumbing company, or a 15 within a licence plate or billboard, that’s the random signal for us to check-in with where our thinking is at, at that exact moment.
Likewise, if we see a car with a Ukrainian flag on its bumper its blue and yellow colours can signal us to check in with our thinking. A blue and yellow blouse on a woman? Check in. A blue house with a yellow fence, check in.
This practice has a double benefit. First, it takes our mind off our personal thoughts and makes us more aware of our moment to moment surroundings. And secondly, it subconsciously starts to trigger us to check-in with where our idle mind has wandered to in the event that we are lost in thought.
And speaking of that wandering thought, it’s also useful to look at life to see if we’re developing habits as to where our emotional ‘low ground’ really is. If our thoughts are allowed to wander, do we tend to head towards excited, creative or curious thoughts? Or fearful, insecure or sad thoughts? These are our indicators of when and when not to take action to change our psychology.
Let’s each develop our own unique triggers. We can put a post-it note in our work-space to remind us of our talisman if that’s what we need. And yes, we’re all allowed to forget what our triggers are and we can restart with new ones. Because the point isn’t to avoid failure, it’s to practice being aware. This way, even failed practice is practice that moves us forward.
Let’s all find our own signs and let’s use them to expand our moment to moment awareness of the world around us. In doing so, may our days be deeper and more profound.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.