Sometimes – yesterday, for example, waiting to board my flight in San Francisco back to New York – I like to stand or sit as still as possible, looking in one direction, thinking about my breathing, and accepting that all I can see and hear has become my entire world. There is nothing beyond the visible and audible, nothing behind me, nothing on the other side of the walls in front of me.
People, traffic, birds pass in front of me, but once outside my peripheral vision they no longer exist – nor did they exist before I saw them – and I don’t let myself turn my head or move my eyes to follow even the most attractive of these.
I don’t remember when I started doing this; whether I was inspired by something I read or heard; but, for me, it is an ideal way to practice a form of meditation without physically taking myself out of the world.
It can be difficult cultivate. Not only are there the distractions of sound and movement, but there is self consciousness: god, I must look like an idiot standing/sitting here without doing anything. I had to work hard to be able to do this for any real length of time, but now I can go for ten to fifteen minutes like this and I find myself in a clearer state of mind afterwards.