Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

We live in an incredibly busy world. The pace of life is often frantic, our minds are always busy, and we’re always doing something.

So with that in mind, I’d like you just to take a moment to think, when did you last take any time to do nothing?

Just 10 minutes, undisturbed? And when I say nothing, I do mean nothing. So that’s no emailing, texting, no Internet, no TV, no chatting, no eating, no reading. Not even sitting there reminiscing about the past or planning for the future. Simply doing nothing.
I see a lot of very blank faces.


You probably have to go a long way back.

And this is an extraordinary thing, right? We’re talking about our mind. The mind, our most valuable and precious resource, through which we experience every single moment of our life. The mind that we rely upon to be happy, content, emotionally stable as individuals, and at the same time, to be kind and thoughtful and considerate in our relationships with others. This is the same mind that we depend upon to be focused, creative, spontaneous, and to perform at our very best in everything that we do. And yet, we don’t take any time out to look after it. In fact, we spend more time looking after our cars, our clothes and our hair than we – okay, maybe not our hair,


but you see where I’m going.

The result, of course, is that we get stressed. You know, the mind whizzes away like a washing machine going round and round, lots of difficult, confusing emotions, and we don’t really know how to deal with that. And the sad fact is that we are so distracted that we’re no longer present in the world in which we live. We miss out on the things that are most important to us, and the crazy thing is that everybody just assumes, that’s the way life is, so we’ve just kind of got to get on with it.

That’s really not how it has to be.

So I was about 11 when I went along to my first meditation class. And trust me, it had all the stereotypes that you can imagine, the sitting cross-legged on the floor, the incense, the herbal tea, the vegetarians, the whole deal, but my mom was going and I was intrigued, so I went along with her. I’d also seen a few kung fu movies, and secretly I kind of thought I might be able to learn how to fly, but I was very young at the time. Now as I was there, I guess, like a lot of people, I assumed that it was just an aspirin for the mind. You get stressed, you do some meditation. I hadn’t really thought that it could be sort of preventative in nature, until I was about 20, when a number of things happened in my life in quite quick succession, really serious things which just flipped my life upside down and all of a sudden I was inundated with thoughts, inundated with difficult emotions that I didn’t know how to cope with. Every time I sort of pushed one down, another one would pop back up again. It was a really very stressful time.

I guess we all deal with stress in different ways. Some people will bury themselves in work, grateful for the distraction. Others will turn to their friends, their family, looking for support. Some people hit the bottle, start taking medication. My own way of dealing with it was to become a monk. So I quit my degree, I headed off to the Himalayas, I became a monk, and I started studying meditation.

People often ask me what I learned from that time. Well, obviously it changed things. Let’s face it, becoming a celibate monk is going to change a number of things. But it was more than that. It taught me –

it gave me a greater appreciation, an understanding for the present moment. By that I mean not being lost in thought, not being distracted, not being overwhelmed by difficult emotions, but instead learning how to be in the here and now, how to be mindful, how to be present.

I think the present moment is so underrated. It sounds so ordinary, and yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it’s anything but ordinary. There was a research paper that came out of Harvard, just recently, that said on average, our minds are lost in thought almost 47 percent of the time. 47 percent. At the same time, this sort of constant mind-wandering is also a direct cause of unhappiness. Now we’re not here for that long anyway, but to spend almost half of our life lost in thought and potentially quite unhappy, I don’t know, it just kind of seems tragic, actually, especially when there’s something we can do about it, when there’s a positive, practical, achievable, scientifically proven technique which allows our mind to be more healthy, to be more mindful and less distracted.

And the beauty of it is that even though it need only take about 10 minutes a day, it impacts our entire life. But we need to know how to do it. We need an exercise. We need a framework to learn how to be more mindful. That’s essentially what meditation is. It’s familiarizing ourselves with the present moment. But we also need to know how to approach it in the right way to get the best from it. And that’s what these are for, in case you’ve been wondering, because most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind,

but actually it’s quite different from that. It’s more about stepping back, sort of seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going, emotions coming and going without judgment, but with a relaxed, focused mind.

So for example, right now, if I focus too much on the balls, then there’s no way I can relax and talk to you at the same time. Equally, if I relax too much talking to you, there’s no way I can focus on the balls. I’m going to drop them. Now in life, and in meditation, there’ll be times when the focus becomes a little bit too intense, and life starts to feel a bit like this. It’s a very uncomfortable way to live life, when you get this tight and stressed. At other times, we might take our foot off the gas a little bit too much, and things just become a sort of little bit like this. Of course in meditation –


we’re going to end up falling asleep. So we’re looking for a balance, a focused relaxation where we can allow thoughts to come and go without all the usual involvement.

Now, what usually happens when we’re learning to be mindful is that we get distracted by a thought. Let’s say this is an anxious thought. Everything’s going fine, and we see the anxious thought. “Oh, I didn’t realize I was worried about that.” You go back to it, repeat it. “Oh, I am worried. I really am worried. Wow, there’s so much anxiety.” And before we know it, right, we’re anxious about feeling anxious.


You know, this is crazy. We do this all the time, even on an everyday level. If you think about the last time you had a wobbly tooth. You know it’s wobbly, and you know that it hurts. But what do you do every 20, 30 seconds?


It does hurt. And we reinforce the storyline, right? And we just keep telling ourselves, and we do it all the time. And it’s only in learning to watch the mind in this way that we can start to let go of those storylines and patterns of mind.

But when you sit down and you watch the mind in this way, you might see many different patterns. You might find a mind that’s really restless and – the whole time. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit agitated in your body when you sit down to do nothing and your mind feels like that. You might find a mind that’s very dull and boring, and it’s just, almost mechanical, it just seems it’s as if you’re getting up, going to work, eat, sleep, get up, work. Or it might just be that one little nagging thought that just goes round and round your mind.

Well, whatever it is, meditation offers the opportunity, the potential to step back and to get a different perspective, to see that things aren’t always as they appear. We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it. That’s the potential of meditation, of mindfulness.

You don’t have to burn any incense, and you definitely don’t have to sit on the floor. All you need to do is to take 10 minutes out a day to step back, to familiarize yourself with the present moment so that you get to experience a greater sense of focus, calm and clarity in your life.

Thank you very much.


我们生活在一个异常纷杂的世界. 生活的步调时常快得疯狂,我们的头脑(心灵)一直忙碌运转着, 而我们每时每刻都在做着事情

记住这点的同时,我希望你们能拿出一小会儿时间, 来想想,上一次自己什么都不做是什么时候? 仅仅10分钟,毫无干扰地? 当我说什么都不做,就是什么都不做. 没有电子邮件,短信,没有互联网, 没有电视,聊天,食物,阅读, 甚至不包括坐着回想过去 或者思考将来. 只是什么都不做. 我看到你们中很多茫然的脸.



而这是一件很离奇的事情,对吧? 我们说的是我们的大脑(心灵). 大脑(心灵),对我们来说最珍贵的东西, 我们通过它来体验生活中的每一个时刻, 全靠它(心灵) 我们作为一个个体,能感到幸福,满足,情感稳定, 同时在我们与他人的关系中 变得善良与体贴. 靠着这个大脑(心灵) 我们能够专注,有创意,自觉, 并在我们做的所有事情中发挥自己的才能. 然而,我们没有花哪怕一点时间来关心它. 事实上,相较而言,我们更关心自己的汽车 衣服和头发的时间都要更多 —好吧,也许不包括我们的头发,但你们懂我想要说的.

而结果,当然是我们感到压力. 你们知道的,大脑(心灵)总是像一台洗衣机般飕飕运转 反反复复,许多复杂,令人困惑的感情, 而我们却不真的知道怎么来应对, 可悲的事实是我们如此分心 以至于我们不再处在自己当下生活的这个世界. 我们错过了对我们而言最重要的事情, 而疯狂的是每个人都只是以为, 哦,这就是生活,我们不得不这么过. 但生活真的不必须成为这样子.

当我去上我第一节冥想课的时候 我只有11岁. 相信我,课里有所有你能想到的关于冥想的成见, 盘腿坐在地板上, 焚香,药茶,素食主义者,全部东西, 但我妈妈当时参加了,而我也感兴趣,所以我跟她一起去了. 我还看了几部功夫电影,私下里 我想我或许能学会怎么飞起来, 但我那时实在非常年轻. 我想,当我在那里的时候,像很多人一样, 我假定那只是一颗给大脑(心灵)的阿司匹林. 当感到压力的时候,你就冥想一会. 我不曾真的考虑那本质上会是一种阻碍, 直到我大约20岁,一些事情 在我的人生中接连地发生, 那是一些把我的生活整个颠倒的事情 而突然之间我被各种思绪淹没了, 淹没在我不知道如何应付的复杂感情里. 每当我快要解决其中一个的时候, 另一个会又一次的冒出来. 那真的是一段非常难熬的时间.

我想我们应对压力都有不同的方式. 有些人会把自己埋头到工作中, 用以分心不去想. 另一些人则会从朋友和家庭中寻求帮助. 还有些人酗酒,或开始使用药品. 我自己当时的方式则是成为一名僧侣. 因此我退了学,去了喜马拉雅山, 我成为了一名僧侣,并开始学习冥想.

人们常会问我从这段经历里学到了什么. 嗯,很显然它改变了很多事情. 面对这个事实,成为一名修行禁欲的僧侣 能够改变很多事情. 但不仅如此 这个经历还教会我—使得我更能感悟”现在”, 对于”现在”这个时刻的有了更深的理解. 我指的是不迷失于思绪中, 不被分心, 不被各种复杂的感情弄得不知所措, 相反地,我学会了如何感悟此地与此时, 如何变得专心,如何活在”现在”.

我认为”现在”这个时刻是被严重低估了. 它听起来如此平常,所以我们只花那么少时间 来对待”现在”,但是这个词绝对不”平凡”. 就在最近,哈佛有一个调查的结果显示, 我们的大脑(心灵)平均 有将近47%的时间是迷失在各种思绪中. 百分之47. 同时,这种持续的”大脑(心灵)徘徊” 也是导致人类不幸福的直接原因. 虽然不管怎样我们不会在此地待多长时间, 但耗费大半人生迷失在思考中 并因此可能变得非常不幸福, 我不知道,这真的听起来太可悲了 尤其是当我们能有所为,改变这个现状的时候, 当有一种积极的,实际的,能做到, 而且经过科学验证的技巧存在 它可以让我们的大脑变得更加健康, 更加专注并且更少分神. 它的妙处在于 这只需要每天10分钟, 它可以对我们的整个人生造成巨大的影响. 但我们需要知道怎么做到. 我们需要一些练习.我们需要一个架构 来学习如何变得专注. 这就是冥想的本质. 它使我们熟悉”现在”. 但我们也需要知道如何做到 用正确的方法来从中获得最多益处. 而这就是冥想的作用,以防你们可能有点迷惑, 因为大多数人觉得 冥想是关于停止思考, 摆脱感情,以某种方式控制大脑(心灵), 但实际上冥想不是这样的. 它更多的是后退一步, 看清自己的思绪, 看见思绪来来去去,看见感情来来去去 不加辨别,但以一种放松而专注的状态.

打个比方,现在, 如果我太集中于这些球,那么我就无法 能够放松并同时与你们说话. 同样地,如果我太过于放松地跟你们说话, 那我将无法专注在球上.我将会把球掉到地上. 而在生活里,在冥想中,有些时候 专注变得有点过于紧张, 而生活开始变得有点像这样. 当你变得这样紧张, 你将活的非常难受. 在其他时候,我们或许会把脚放得离油门有点过远(过于放松), 而这将变得像这样. 而在冥想中–(鼾声)– 我们最后就会睡着. 因此我们要寻找一个平衡点,一种专注的放松 在这种状态下我们能让思绪自由来去 远离尘世的烦扰.

现在,当我们学会专注通常会发生就是 是我们被一个想法打扰. 比如说这是一个焦虑的思绪. 比如所以事情都一切顺利,然后我们发现了焦急的思绪, 它就像:”哦,我居然没意识到我的烦恼”. 你关注它,并且重复它.”哦,我很担心. 哦,我真的很担心.哇,有这么多的焦虑.” 和之前我们意识到它相比,对吧, 我们为焦虑的感觉而焦虑. 你知道,这很不正常.我们总是在想这些, 甚至在日常生活的状态下. 如果你想想最后一次,我不知道, 你有一颗松动的牙. 你知道它是一颗松动的牙,并且你知道它很痛. 但你每20,30 秒就关注它一下吗? (嘴里喃喃)真的很痛.我们加重了痛苦,对吧? 我们只不断告诉自己, 我们总是这样.只有学会 以随其自然方式处理思维(心灵) 学习让这些事情和思维模式来去自如. 但当你坐下来,以这种方式看思维(心灵), 您可能会看到许多不同的模式. 您可能会发现是真的不安分的心- 所有时刻. 不要感到惊讶,如果你觉得你有点焦虑 当你坐下来什么也不做,感觉就像,你的头脑焦虑. 您可能会发现是很枯燥 和无聊的头脑(心灵),它只是几乎机械重复, 这好像你 起床,去工作, 吃饭, 睡觉, 起床, 工作. 或者它可能只是一个微小挥之不去的思绪 不停的在你头脑中转. 嗯,无论它是什么,冥想提供了 一个机会,提供了退一步的潜力 获得看事物的不同角度, 看到事情不总是它们外在表象的那样. 我们不能改变 每一件生活中,发生在我们身上小事 但我们可以改变我们感受它的方式. 这就是冥想,专注力的潜力. 你不需要烧香 你不一定要坐在地板上. 您需要做的一切就是每天花10 分钟 思绪中退一步,熟悉自己所处的”现在” 这样,你可以在生活里 体验更多的专注, 平静和清澈.