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  • Writer's pictureDulani Don Tennakoon

2. The Experiment.

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

I needed to actual do what the title said, so that is what I did, in a few different places.


1. At the train station, waiting for my train.



Unintentionally, I did it in two different ways, first without filming and then realising I needed to some how document myself doing it, I started to record myself.


This actually made me realise the two were two different experiences.


During both, I found myself constantly looking around, either people watching, looking at the other trains coming and going from the station, or looking up at the sky/natural environment around me. I was also listening, the chatter, the announcements, the trains, the wheels of suitcases and the random beeping.


When I was recording, I had to leave my phone on the floor, which made me feel uneasy, for two reasons. The first, because I was worried that someone would steal my phone so I was constantly looking at it, so I felt that the experiment was a bit unfair as my behaviour wasn't the same as how I would be if my phone wasn't on the floor. Two being the fact I felt super embarrassed because I didn't want people watching me record myself. As a result of this, I was a lot more self conscious.


I noticed when watching the recording back is that I look a bit anxious and uneasy. My eyes are constantly darting around. I didn't feel as anxious as I looked, but I usually also have my earphones in which helps me relax a bit.




2. At home, sitting in my room.


I sat and did nothing in my room. It was completely different to sitting at the train station. It was quiet, apart from the rain outside. At first it was nice, listening to the rain, looking around my room at all the decorations on my walls. Personally brain is always loud, always rushing with thoughts;


"what happening tomorrow? did I have to do any work for the other models? I need to check my timetable, ugh, I haven't done enough work, I should do something, I should clean my room first so its a nice space to work in, I should probably do my dishes too, oh is it bin day today? I haven't done my laundry in a while, if I did that first my room would be a lot tidier, I should just start somewhere, I need to edit that flower for the piano, I want a nap, I haven't eaten anything for dinner yet, I should eat first, I wonder if Emma is home yet, maybe a cuppa tea while I make dinner, oh, wait, what was I thinking before this?"


So, as time went on, I was thinking about other things and for me sitting in silence eventually leads me to a path of of unpleasant past memories. So quickly it wasn't as nice. The memories of the past weren't heart clenching, instead they look more blurred, almost foggy. When this starts, I try to meditate, I try to focus on my breath and to clear my mind. Usually, I try to do this so my mind almost 'resets', to get rid of those unpleasant thoughts from the forefront of my brain.





Meditation


A simple explanation of meditation is that it is the focusing of your attention as a way to calm the mind. Meditation has grown in popularity in recent years, especially with the rise of self-care and the want to live a healthier and happier life.


Reading the Oxford Handbook of Meditation, it explains how the practices of meditation has 'underwent significant adaptations to allow practically anyone, from any background, to use them'.


For me having grown up in a buddhist home, the knowledge of meditation has been apart of my life for a long time. I have grown up with the idea that meditation is the way in which we can reach awakening, which will enable us to attain Nirvarna.


A more westernised and modern day take on mediation is that meditation and mindfulness can help people improve the quality of their lives as well as having many health benefits, both mental and physical.


“When we practice mind-body techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and focused intention tasks, we influence brain activity in regions that are involved in reducing psychological stress and increasing the parasympathetic response. This can, over time and with practice, ease anxiety and increase mood.”

-Valerie Knopik, PhD , Director of Research for Yoga Medicine, the Miller Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University.




‘Do nothing’ meditation

This meditation allows you to sneak in moments of peace throughout the day — perfect for those with busy schedules, or on the days when it’s hard to find time to meditate. “What I’ve realized throughout my own trials and tribulations — in meditation and in life — is that the all-or-nothing approach doesn’t work for a lot of people, myself included,” says Kanzer. “That being said, I also know that stillness is key for connecting with yourself, de-stressing, and improving your life.”

How to do it

  1. Pause. Stop whatever you’re doing and just pause.

  2. Breathe. Even if all you have time for is a deep inhale and a slow exhale, that’s a very potent moment.

  3. Repeat this type of momentary break throughout the day, as often as needed.



3. In the park, on the bench


I went to the park to experiment. It was a quiet afternoon so there was not many people around, only a few dog walkers. At first, I went over to sit on the bench, placing my phone on the floor. My mum offered to film me but that was very uncomfortable and I felt I needed to behave in a certain way, or now I was almost trying to control how my face looked, very aware about the facial expressions I might be pulling . So doing it that way felt very unnatural, and not a fair experiment that I was conducting. So I moved over to the skateboarding ramp and sat there for a while. I noticed I was a lot calming compared to the train station, which isn't surprising as the environment was calmer. I did feel a sense of peace, (even with the building work behind me), more so than in my bedroom, maybe it was because the sun was shinning and it was nice to get some fresh air.
















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