Self-awareness and personal telemetry

2020-07-21 · 301 words

A note about this one: it’s a bit weird and was written mainly to help me think through some things.

A curious aspect of my mental state at the moment is the clear sense of self-awareness. Let’s say that I wake up dreading the day ahead of me. On one hand I have that feeling and the emotion attached to it. On the other, I have the knowledge that it certainly won’t be as bad as I think, and that despite my worst predictions, I know them to be irrational. It doesn’t stop me feeling that way, but I think this reflection does help to lessen the anxiety that it leads to.

The term “mindfulness” has entered the mainstream to the point that it can find itself in catchy well-meaning phrases such as “Be safe and be mindful”. As interesting a concept as it seems to be, and seeing its prevalence as a major subset of meditation, I wonder if it is overused or even misused. I am practising meditation daily now, but I don’t think mindfulness has been mentioned once or actively thought about in the guided lessons I listen to. Instead, the best way I would describe much of my practice is “focus”: on breathing, on sounds, on thoughts. It’s all contributing to this ability to observe yourself, to see how you are being at any given moment. And maybe that is just being mindful; it seems to be more though. The engineer in me would maybe be more comfortable thinking of it as a form of instrumentation or telemetry, and I hope that monitoring that stream of data allows me to improve my abilities at coping with my irrational self.

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