Mindfulness and meditation are often misunderstood.
This mindless ramble by The Gregarious Hermit will teach you how to be happy anywhere no matter what you’re doing. Even if it differs from what you’d rather be doing.
So here’s an interesting and unusual trip around a run down industrial park to demonstrate how the mind makes up stories about your current situation that simply aren’t true.
Once the penny drops how mindfulness really works, you will be able to finally let go of the story. Find true inner peace. And be happy with where you are and what you’re doing, even if that differs from where you’d like to be.
Yes, even finding happiness in an industrial park.
With this simple understanding, you will be able to use mindfulness to finally silence your mind and ultimately supercharge your meditation practice.
If you learn to silence your mind throughout the day, then your meditations at night will expand dramatically.
Namaste my friends. Peace and bliss await. Even in an industrial park 🙂
The Gregarious Hermit
Transcript of the YouTube video is below
Hey everybody welcome. My name is Mat Robinson, The Gregarious Hermit. I thought I would come out here into this beautiful little nature park and do a quick video about mindfulness and meditation.
But actually I’m tricking you, because it’s not a nature park. I’m actually in the middle of an industrial complex right now.
Now I would love to be somewhere really calm and quiet and peaceful and in nature but, you know, the reality is that I’m here right now.
I’m here with my son. He’s doing an athletic thing, so I figured I would just go out for a nice little walk and see what I can find.
But, you know, there’s a lot of confusion about mindfulness and meditation, and a lot of people think that meditation is designed to silence your mind. But actually, what a lot of people find when they meditate for the first time, is that, they notice that their mind actually gets louder. Maybe they’ve never heard their mind before and not really realized that it’s kind of talking to them constantly.
But when you sit and try to find silence and stillness that very often you notice your mind and it seems as though it becomes noisier. And a lot of people find that very frustrating and kind of give up meditating. But that’s really where mindfulness comes in.
So mindfulness is actually a return to our true nature and how we should really operate in the world. Mindfulness is basically such intense focus on your current situation that your mind stops judging and stops looking for problems.
So I could have come to a place like this and I’d prefer to be in a nice park somewhere. So my mind might tell me, you know, that this really sucks, you know, it’s horrible being here and having to have to be here right now. And it might start looking for all kinds of things to blame, and making excuses, and saying it’s someone else’s fault that I have to be here. I’d much rather be somewhere else enjoying myself. But the reality is, I’m here now, and the thing is that you always have to ask yourself – “is my current situation really bad?”
Whenever you find that your mind is talking and saying how horrible things are at the moment and how you’d rather be doing something else, actually just stop for a moment, and just look around and say, well, because I’d rather be doing that, does that necessarily mean that where I am right now is bad. And you know, very often you will find that no. But there’s kind of a reason why your mind is trying to tell you that your current situation is bad. And again, it’s looking for somebody to blame. It doesn’t match with your expectation of what you would prefer. What you would like, but there’s no reason why you can’t absolutely enjoy being in your current situation. And mindfulness is literally that. It’s basically, wherever you are, whatever you’re currently doing, focusing on it so intently that all of that negativity and all of those stories that your mind tells you about, how it should be different, just stop, just disappear.
And if you focus so intently you will actually experience complete silence. And you can practice mindfulness 24 hours a day and basically once you’ve got to that point the mindfulness is like your default way of interacting with the world, then you’ll find that when you do sit down to meditate, that now your mind will naturally be more silent and be more quiet and that’s when you’ll start to have those kind of blissful silent states. And experience things that are maybe a little bit more spiritual in nature.
But again, whenever you notice that your mind starts to go off on a little bit of a rant about how it’s somebody else’s fault why I have to be here, you know. I could blame my son right now, or I could blame my wife for saying take your son to this thing. Whereas instead no, I don’t have to do that. I can drop that story completely and just really enjoy where I am at the moment.
So I’m actually going to take you on a little walk around here. I’ve never actually walked around this park before but we will take a look and see what we can find, and I’ll show you about mindfulness. Alright, okay, so I just turned my camera around so you can actually see what I’m looking at. But, you know, this is the middle of winter. There’s not much greenery around and this is kind of a mess. There’s a lot of trash over here look at all these things.
Hey wow there’s a weird finger in the shot here. But look, you know, all this trash that’s around here, your mind might say “wow this is just really horrible and disgusting”. The big drainage ditch over there, it just looks like a real swamp. It’s all polluted looking and it doesn’t look very healthy. And then of course there’s a big giant tangle of, you know, dead plants and vines that somebody just cut down and then threw there under the tree. And as we look down again there’s more trash and, you know, it doesn’t look that appealing.
But let’s just take a moment and actually practice mindfulness. So when I come somewhere like this, I start to look at the details of what i’m looking at, and I’ll look very very closely at things, and I look at the textures. So like this little thing right here, you know, I’ll look at the textures and the details. Look at all the colors that are in that, and study them.
Just slow down a little bit, and if your mind goes back to how you don’t really want to be here right now, again just remind yourself – is that actually true or is that just my mind saying something? And then go back to studying in detail what you’re looking at.
And you know things don’t even have to be natural. I think we’re drawn to nature just because it is more relaxing and peaceful but you know you can even look at the details of things like this mailbox here. You know there’s a lot of interesting things that you can look at and study, like, if you look at the little arrow. It’s not just red look at the variety of colors in there you’ve got kind of pinks and oranges along the top edge, you know, red on the face here but then also look at the shadows that it casts, the dirt the texture. I can see it’s if you look right on the top here it’s picking up, you know, a little bit of the sunlight. It’s getting that beautiful kind of orange glow to it
I can hear airplanes going over right now, but I can actually focus on the sound of those aircraft and enjoy listening to that.
There’s a leaf just blowing across behind me that’s making an interesting sound, but, you know, mindfulness doesn’t have to be about being in nature, you know. Mindfulness is a 24 hours a day thing but it’s literally just looking at the details. So I mean, look at, I don’t know if my camera is going to pick this up, but there’s so much dirt on here and it’s creating such interesting patterns things to look at. It’s kind of a shine and a shimmer. So what you want to do is just kind of slow down a little bit, walk around your environment, and whatever grabs your eye, like, whatever grabs your focus, just walk over to it and kind of look in detail. You might see a lot of things that you’ve never really noticed before. You know, whenever you take the time to slow down and just look, you know, look at the weathering and the texture around that rivet. Again if you look really closely at the detail you’ll see that your mind actually stops judging for a little while.
So even as you walk down the road you know look at the the texture on the road surface. These are all things that you might typically just walk past and miss.
You know, again, the whole point is to look so intently at the world around you that your mind stops judging things and you. Just use your awareness fully to observe. So when I look at the side of the building I see along that top edge there’s a whole line of weathering up there that kind of creates pretty interesting patterns. Look at the shadows created by the drain pipes.
You know, look at the shadow from the tree. Don’t necessarily just look at the tree. But I’m very fascinated by the bark on that tree, and all of the lichen that’s growing. Look at that.
You could stare at that for hours just looking at the detail, you know. When you look from afar all you see is a tree but when you look close, look at all the life and the texture and the variety that’s going on just in a few square inches of the tree.
It’s not really just a tree it’s a whole collection of different organisms.
And then look at the shoots. I don’t know if this thing has any buds on it but look at the texture on these branches here. Look at these things whatever they are I have no idea.
I guess the strong winter sun my camera is having trouble focusing on here, but just look at the variety of detail in there look at all those different little organisms. And this is a little tiny tiny tiny tree in the middle of an industrial park. But you could literally get absorbed looking at all the details of that for hours. And again the point is to use your concentration and your focus so much that your mind actually stops talking. Essentially just stops talking to you and telling you a story about how things should be different. Should things necessarily be different? You know, I’d love to be sitting at the side of a river right now or a nice lake, with silence, but I’ve got aircraft flying over me but is that necessarily bad? Is the fact that a plane is flying over and making noise necessarily bad. And that’s the kind of question you need to ask yourself when you start to get upset with what’s currently going on. All right anyway, I feel like I’ve talked an awful lot right now, but I think mindfulness is more important than meditation. Meditation can be frustrating if you go into it expecting a certain outcome. But mindfulness is something you can practice all day long, every day, and it actually allows you to meditate so much better.
So that’s my advice. Practice mindfulness as much as you can and, you know, then use meditation to observe your mind working. And when you combine those two things together, eventually your mind will start to go very quiet when you meditate and you’ll just have much more profound experiences and start to see the world very differently. Alright, so again mindfulness it’s a return to your natural state. We’re kind of obsessed with listening to our mind and most of it is just useless nonsense that actually quite frankly isn’t true. So alright, enjoy, learn, study and go out into an industrial park near you and look at stuff. Alright, take care, have a good day.
So I’m still walking around this industrial park and I thought of another couple of things I really wanted to say that I think might help clarify what I’m talking about. So if my ideal scenario is walking in a forest and that’s like my preferred place that I would like to be, our mind is very good at sort of comparing and ranking things, so if the forest is my ideal then an industrial park is probably so far down the list that it’s like you know it’s probably not even on the bottom of the list. I would choose not to come to an industrial park but that’s kind of precisely the point. It’s just that our mind ranks things and gives them a preference and I would prefer to be in a forest but that doesn’t necessarily mean that an industrial park is bad. You know. Nothing bad is happening to me here. I’m still walking and getting exercise and there are so many things to look at here you know. So it can be just as fascinating. It may not be necessarily natural or inherently beautiful but you can kind of learn to see the beauty in everything, and the textures and the shapes and and everything. But that’s kind of the subtlety that maybe I didn’t explain properly before, that you know, that’s just the way that our mind compares and judges and ranks things. That, you know, whatever, you know, I’d love to drive a really nice car but I don’t. But does that mean that my current car is bad? Not necessarily, and yet your mind will kind of, you know, get into a bit of a rant sometimes, talking about how awful your car is just because you saw a car that looked nicer and was better, but, you know, your car might be perfectly fine. It’s warm, keeps you dry, gets you from a to b and that’s all you need from a car really. But just because you see the latest model or, you know, a different color that you really like, you can definitely want that, that’s not a problem, you can still want to have the nicer car, but, it’s the story that your mind will tell you that will say, like, how awful your current car is because you don’t have that nice car or you don’t have that color. So that’s kind of the subtle difference that maybe I didn’t explain properly. But anyway, hope that made a bit more sense. All right. Bye.
And all you really have to do when you notice that your mind is telling you a story, just literally become aware of it, and notice it, and then just turn around straight away and say, you know what, I’m okay with where I am. This is actually quite nice, and then your mind has no option but to stop telling you negative stories about it, because you just told your mind that, “I’m okay with this place, there’s nothing bad”, and if you do that often enough you’ll find that your mind stops judging things and actually becomes a little bit more silent. So you can actually enjoy the things that you’re seeing or the activity that you’re doing.
Okay, so here’s kind of an example. So the two trucks parked next to each other here. Both about the same size. The one on the left over here is obviously much newer. In fact it looks pretty much brand new, and then the one on the right is obviously been around town quite a few times and is looking a little bit, you know, worse for wear. So obviously our natural preference would be to go for the the nice new truck on the left, and the one on the right is going to be way down the list. But does that mean that the truck on the right is a bad truck? The answer to that is no. But your mind will tell you that if you get assigned the to drive the the old truck you’re probably going to complain and say, “I’d much rather be driving the new truck with the comfortable seats and, you know, whatever the mud flaps on the bumpers and all that stuff looking really nice”, but it doesn’t mean that that other truck is bad. But your mind will tell you that. That’s the thing that you’re trying to break with mindfulness.
Okay so one thing caught my eye over here which I’m gonna walk over to because it just looks kind of cool and it’s the texture and the colors in this dumpster over here. That’s just, like, covered in rust. So it’s old, it’s beaten up, it’s probably, you know, 10 years old.
You might look at it and go, “oh my god that’s so awful”, but look at how cool all of that is.
Look at all the colors in there.
Look at how the rust up here has a bit of a shiny surface so it’s kind of reflecting the color of the sky.
Just look at that. Look at all the cracks in here, and in here. I mean, it’s almost like you’re on another planet.
But that’s what I’m talking about. Getting fascinated with the things that you look at because when you start to look closely, you’ll have so much more interest in what you’re looking at. Things start to become fascinating and when you get really good at it, you will literally just look at the world very differently and everything becomes magical.
So here again. Look at this, I mean, this is old and rotten. You might look at it and say that’s just so terrible. Your mind will tell you how awful it looks. But actually look at it.
How many colors do you see in there. Your mind will kind of stop judging and stop talking because it’s so focused on what it is you’re looking at. So the airplane going over, I’m trying to make a video and that’s really loud in the background. I could get upset with it and say, “oh, I’m gonna have to record that again”, or I could actually listen to the sound of it and incorporate that into my little mindfulness walk here. There’s so much depth and texture in the sound of that airplane and it’s only your mind that will say, wow that just ruined my shot oh that was really bad. But you know, you can incorporate that into the process of silencing your mind. You know, stop judging the noise being good or bad. It’s literally just noise you know. What’s the difference between an airplane flying by and ruining the sound in my video versus the sound of an eagle swooping by and screeching really loudly ruining the sound of my video you know. Again it’s only your mind that tells you that it ruined your video. The sound is just sound. I might prefer the sound of an eagle but doesn’t mean that the sound of the airplane is bad necessarily. Alright.
Hopefully you’re kind of getting the point of mindfulness now is that it’s literally just to stop your mind from judging your current situation in a negative way. Again it’s just very used to comparing things and if your current situation isn’t what you would deem as being ideal, very often your mind says then it’s bad, it’s awful. You know. Sunny day versus a rainy day. A lot of people think that rain is is bad but is it really? It’s just different. Okay I’m back again. It’s really bright here right now, obviously that sort of late season sun where the sun is really low on the horizon. Ao again, just whenever you feel like your mind is being very negative and saying that you don’t want to be doing what you’re currently doing or you’re not enjoying being where you are, just stop for a moment, and listen to what your mind is telling you. But then ask yourself. “Is that really true?” Or is it really just comparing what you want something to be and because what you’re currently experiencing is different, your mind is telling you that that is a problem. That the thing that you’re currently doing isn’t as good as the thing that you could be doing, you know. That’s a big question and very often when you ask that question, the answer is, well, NO. I can actually still enjoy what I’m doing right now. Just because it’s different than I expected or it’s not my ideal, but your mind will just kind of create all these stories and tell you that what you’re currently doing is bad, or the current item you have is bad because it’s just, you know, inferior or less than you thought it would be. So your mind even says a lot of things about yourself as well, you know, it’s judging us constantly and our actions, and when I look in the mirror I’ve got a few more lines than I used to have and some gray hairs. But is that necessarily bad? I’m not as strong as I used to be when I was younger. Is that necessarily bad? You know. That’s the thing, but our mind tends to look at stuff like that and say that where you currently are is, you know, it’s not ideal. But it’s not necessarily bad. It’s just different. And, you know, once you get your head around that and once you notice how your mind looks at the world, and compares it to either something from the past or compares it to what you expected something to be, it will paint your current situation in a negative light. But it doesn’t have to. And it isn’t necessarily negative. So just bear that in mind. And again, that’s the trick with mindfulness okay.
Here we go, quick example, the battery just went in my gimbal there and, you know, but that’s life. So was that necessarily bad. I could go, “oh my god, I got to re-record that whole thing again”. But it actually doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to affect you, you know, just don’t get that story going in your head in the first place. It is what it is. My gimbal battery just died because it’s like really cold out here.
You know don’t take life too seriously. Things are very rarely going to go your way. As you get older you’re going to age and look different, but it’s just different that’s all. You know. Stop listening to that story in your head that says how bad that is and how you wished you looked like you did when you were younger.
It’s almost like you’re the only person that sees that. You’re definitely the only person that hears that story in your head. Bobody else looks at you the same way. So as a photographer, I’m always coaching people how to choose headshots and pictures. And when you look at someone else’s photograph, you look at the emotion behind it. Do they look happy, you know, are they smiling, do they look angry, do they look, you know, serious, professional. Do they look casual, do they look friendly like somebody you would want to you know go out for a drink with.
But when you look at your own picture, people always focus on the negatives. They always look for how many wrinkles they have, how many gray hairs they have, And so I always coach people and say when you’re choosing your business headshot pretend you’re looking at somebody else in the pictures. And it’s amazing how their interpretation of their own picture changes. Okay, we’ve got a noisy helicopter going over right now. Again it’s not ideal for me.
I don’t know if you can even see that so far away.
You know, but, again, your mind judges and compares and anything less than what it expected it tends to view negatively. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. Just kind of get used to listening to those conversations in your head and trying to figure out if it’s good or bad, and more often than not, the answer is, NO, it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever.
Okay so I just saw something really interesting, but there’s a very very cool water tower up here which is, like, really beaten up. Let me see if I can zoom in so you can see it, but all of those things where’s my finger, all of those, there’s a line of things across there, those are all birds. So pretty fascinating right. The birds don’t seem to mind that that’s a man-made structure. They seem quite happy up there. They don’t have a story in their head saying how they’d rather be in a beautiful maple tree or uh or a tree covered in leaves. All they really care about is somewhere that’s dry and away from danger. And if you can be happy walking around an industrial park then imagine how happy you’ll be when you finally get to go and walk through a big giant redwood forest or even a local park with greenery and trees. I think happiness is our natural state of existence but for some reason we seem to listen to the mind so much these days that we just don’t see that anymore. You know, we should be naturally happy, so stop listening to your mind and you’ll be happy, just naturally.
Look at how amazing that broken glass is up there. Maybe I should zoom in a little more.
Look at the reflections in it. Look at the shapes. Look at the changes in the color. It’s a broken window but it’s actually fascinating and it has so much texture and detail in it.
Again when you start to notice the little things like that, the world around you becomes fascinating. Everything starts to look like that, when you look at people and see their skin you can see so much texture in there and detail. So amazing. Life is so beautiful, but we don’t see it.
Look at those really cool clouds up there that is pretty amazing.
It’s like somebody just painted the sky with a big brush. Look at that.
So the things that catch your eye, like, look at this this bush over here, see how the top part of it is in the shade but then these two little patches down here have the sun hitting them and just see how that changes it.
Kind of notice things like that look at all the colors in it pretty amazing.
This is some coiled piping that somebody has stacked up outside their building, but look at all the reflections in there. All those little pieces of light come from something it’s not just black pipe with a see-through plastic wrap. Look at it. Look at all the colors in it, look at all the shapes.
So one thing you might notice as well, that’s quite interesting, is that you can get filled with the same sense of peace walking around somewhere like this as you can walking around a beautiful nature park somewhere that’s really quiet. And so it just kind of shows you that that peace actually comes from within, it’s got nothing to do with the environment around you. And so, basically, mindfulness allows you to get back to that peaceful state. Alright, so again, mindfulness, it’s a return to your natural state, we’re kind of obsessed with listening to our mind and most of it is just useless nonsense that actually quite frankly isn’t true. So, alright, enjoy, learn, study and go out into an industrial park near you and look at stuff. Alright, take care. Have a good day.
Events & Workshops
August 26 – Mindfulness & Unconditional Love - Denville Senior Citizens Center
August 27 – How to Silence Your Mind