De-Cluttering The Mind - A Korean Experiment
Here's something interesting and creative. South Koreans have taken to entering prison-like retreat settings and putting themselves through solitary confinement, in order to de-stress, and for some, find themselves.
It puts me in mind of some asian traditions where people go into a retreat to literally face the wall - "bi guan" (闭关 or 壁观) without the distractions of modern life and technology.
While an occasional retreat is a pretty good thing, I for one feel that we should be able to make that kind of "solitary confinement" space in our daily lives - in the marketplace so to say - to sort through the stuff going on inside of ourselves. It's like going to the gym. It works better if you have regular repeats of smallish amounts of exercise than to join a boot-camp.
Such retreats do run a risk though. Without any stimulation, our psyches soon churn up a lot of stuff - some pretty confronting and downright scary. For people who have had a tough time in life, the stuff the comes up can run rampant and be re-traumatizing. So I would recommend that such retreat settings screen for people with these vulnerabilities, and have a mental health professional at hand to help them.
Anyhow, how do you make a retreat space in you daily life? First, put away all distractions (goodbye Mr Cellphone!) for a few short minutes (10 minutes will do). Settle down (like the people in the video) and bring your awareness into your mind and body, and...simply notice what is there. As in my previous post about Just Sitting, all you need to do is to make space for things to come and go in your body and mind.
How do you make that space? I personally find that if we pay 50% of attention on our overall physical body, and the way it is supported by the ground and whatever we're sitting on; and the remaining 50% on whatever comes up, we'll already be making space.
Try it out. It's tougher than you think but in the long term, well worth the effort.
(Caveat: If you've been through some serious and traumatic stuff in your time, please don't do this without consulting with a mental health professional first! Although for the most part this marketplace retreat should be ok for you, I want to be a bit more conservative and careful. You should too.)
You can learn more about this Korean experiment by watching the attached YouTube video