Sliding Doors / Pushing Away
This is a two-part practice.
1. Noticing our thoughts.
2. Managing our thoughts.
Part One - Noticing Our Thoughts
When you notice a thought of something in the past - note to yourself, "that is something from the past." Eventually, shorten to "past."
When you notice a thought of something in the future - note to yourself, "that is something in the future." Eventually, shorten to "future."
You will quickly notice almost all of our thoughts are past or future. Very few are in the moment right now. And what I notice today is that I may be in the moment for a few moments, and then lose it to a glimpse from the past or future. It takes practice to get better at staying in the moment.
So, all we do in the first part of this practice is get better at noticing and naming where our thoughts reside.
Part Two - Managing Our Thoughts
For this part of the practice, you will need to use your imagination.
When you notice a thought from the past or the future, imagine that you are pushing the thought back to make more space for noticing the present moment in front of you. The idea is you are making space for right now. Pushing back the past and the future allows you to focus on paying attention to the present moment.
One of my students is a swimmer and likes to imagine this as she is swimming with each stroke pushing back thoughts of the past and the future...then gliding ahead into the now.
Another student is an interior designer and imagines sliding glass doors in the houses she designs. She pushes her thoughts to the side, and opens the door to the present moment.
One woman I work with is a writer and she thinks of this as hitting the space key extra times between sentences in her Word document. She imagines increasing the white space between the sentences as pushing back her thoughts. Peace and space between the thoughts.
As a Kansas cattle ranching girl, I picture sliding barn doors for this exercise. I am entering the present moment by pushing each door to the side so that I can move forward.
This is useful in meditation when your thoughts creep in and derail your peace. Just push them to the side and return to the center, to the present moment, to the now.
Use the images below to inspire your imagination and let me know what you find that works best for you!