The Art of Zero-tasking
A few episodes ago on my newscast Sovryn Tech I talked about something that I called “zero-tasking”. What is zero-tasking? Well, initially it was a word I coined to quickly describe what meditating was like for me, and that’s what it is, it’s simply meditation without any “woo-woo” (READ: spirituality or religion). For me, as a freethinker (or as it’s known better in the Colonies: an atheist), anything that has religious or spiritual connotations is held suspect (I know some freethinkers like to use the word “spirituality” in a positive sense, but I’d argue that it references something that doesn’t exist and is a terrible word). Recently, though, meditation has been explored by many health professionals as having genuine benefits; no god, gods, or universal consciousness required. Now, before anyone thinks that some form of supernaturalism is a good thing because it implemented a healthy action (like meditating) thousands of years ago, that doesn’t mean that any religion or spirituality is “useful”. Most religions also tell you to eat bread, which we now know is a terrible idea.
So about a year ago or so, I started getting up more or less every morning and began meditating (I like to do it seven days a week, but if you can’t, you can’t). It’s not required to do this in the morning, but I find it helps to start the day “quietly” instead of starting it with notifications and a bunch of other attention stealers (READ: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, emails, etc.). The meditation process I used comes from a book that is approximately 100 years old, and it contains some “woo woo”, but ironically it also had the most practical process for meditation that I had seen. So I configured it to have all of the meditation, and none of the nonsense.
Lo and behold, I feel it works, and purely anecdotally, it literally affects and improves my every waking moment. From having better awareness (which can improve sex I think, and for those that know me, I LOVE SEX and take my performance and partner’s experience very seriously), clarity of thought, increasing creativity, emotional introspection and expression, and just overall mental peace. Bottom line, I perform better and just “feel better.” And remember, like the late great Nathaniel Branden said, “To think clearly, we must feel deeply”. And I genuinely think that zero-tasking helps an individual reach that goal.
So with all of that said, I made a quick 4-step process of how to zero-task for people to reference. The whole learning process takes about 4 weeks (maybe one step a week), but after that, it’s smooth sailing if you’ve got it down. If it takes longer than 4 weeks, nothing wrong with that at all. If you find a better way to zero-task/meditate, by all means rock that out, and share it with me if you like by using the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the page. Anyway, if you’re like me and you are a 7 on the Dawkins Scale and you want to meditate, here you go. Enjoy your path to zero-tasking!
Step 1: Select a room where you can be alone and undisturbed. Sit erect (it is scientifically-proven to help with breathing, and irregular breathing can easily knock you out of zero-tasking), sit comfortably, but do not lounge. Let your thoughts roam where they will but be perfectly still for from 15 minutes to half an hour. Continue this for three or four days or for a week until you secure full control of your physical being.
Many will find this extremely difficult; others will master it with ease, but it is absolutely essential to secure complete control of the body before the next step.
Step 2: After mastering the physical aspects of zero-tasking laid out in Step 1, you will now begin to control your thought. Always take the same room, the same chair, and the same position, if possible. In some cases it is not convenient to take the same room, in this case simply make the best use of such conditions as may be available. Now be perfectly still as before, but inhibit all thought; this will give you control over all thoughts of care, worry and fear, and will enable you to entertain only the kind of thoughts you desire. Continue this exercise until you gain complete mastery.
You will probably only be able to do this for more than a few moments at a time, but the exercise is valuable, because it will be a very practical demonstration of the great number of thoughts which are constantly trying to gain access to your awareness.
Step 3: If you’ve mastered Step 2 (which again, may have taken a week or so), lets go to the next trick of zero-tasking. I want you to be perfectly still, and inhibit all thought as far as possible, but relax, let go, let the muscles take their normal condition; this will
remove all pressure form the nerves, and eliminate that tension which often produces physical exhaustion. Tension leads to mental unrest and abnormal mental
activity; it produces worry, care, fear and anxiety. Relaxation is therefore an absolute necessity in order to allow the mental faculties to exercise the greatest freedom. Make this exercise as thorough and complete as possible, mentally determine that you will relax every muscle and nerve, until you feel quiet and restful and at peace with yourself.
Step 4: The following week–after you’ve mastered Step 3–you can now relax and just take in everything. This is the awareness that zero-tasking is all about. Feel free to think about things that are important to you for whichever reason now, but you may find that you have a lot more clarity and “original thought” on those matters. You may also find that you are far more aware of so many things going on around you and of your own senses in general. Again, I never zero-task/meditate for more than 15-30 minutes, though some days I will do it more than once, but I don’t know of any advantage to doing it longer than 30 minutes (anecdotal on my part, of course). And that’s it!
I hope this is helpful for some. Carpe lucem!