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In case you’re wondering where you are, and especially since you probably can’t pronounce the name of this website, here’s a little help—“Przekrój” (pronounced “p-SHEH-crooy”) is the oldest society and culture magazine in Poland, now available in English.

“Przekrój” Magazine brings English-speaking readers some of the best journalism from across Central and Eastern Europe, in the fields of wellbeing, art, literature, science, ecology, philosophy, psychology, and more. Take a break from the speed and intensity of the daily news and join us!

Our in-house ‘coaching guru’ shares his wisdom – this week on the practice of developing a truly ...
2019-06-17 09:30:00
The Practice of Heedlessness

The stakes are high – the truly Heedless mind is never ‘here and now’.

Read in 2 minutes

Many novices have an entirely erroneous idea of what Heedlessness actually is. They think it is enough to trip over furniture and objects scattered around the flat until they eventually crack their skull open, then post a selfie from the A&E and wait for likes and comments from concerned friends, family and followers: “Oh, how heedless you are!” Such an approach is, however, wrong. People who act in this way are not heedless at all. Some of them are just messy. Others are fashionistas. As soon as the current Heedlessness trend passes, they will most likely abandon the idea and treat it as one of those rebellious, youthful episodes one does not put on the CV, but still brags about during a fag break at work to sound like someone unusual; someone with lots under their belt.

To achieve real Heedlessness one should not focus on its external manifestations, but rather develop a truly Heedless Mind through practice, over an extended period of time. One should not begin with the more difficult elements of training, such as breathing techniques, straight away, but rather start with something easier, such as eating. Hardly anyone is aware what an effective tool eating can be in developing one’s Heedlessness. Once you learn not to pay any attention to what you eat, you have a wonderful starting point to move towards deeper practice.

To make practice easier, make sure you choose the right food – something that will not lead to any distractions. It cannot be tasty, but it should not be revolting either. Foods that best suit our needs can be described in three words: ‘not very good’. Proceed boldly. Keeping a safe distance from the Scylla of disgust and the Charybdis of culinary delights, move slightly closer towards Scylla.

Against intuition, do not eat your ‘not very good’ meal al desko, or while running, high-heeled, for the bus. Instead, break away from other activities for a moment. Sit on the edge of a chair on which some items are already resting (a jacket, or your shopping). Using your forearm, gently push away the dirty plates that are already there. Do not look out the window, but at the meal you are eating, focusing on all its traits that can hardly be associated with food. Notice the spongy texture of the bread and the brownish traces of tea on the mug, reminiscent of the grime on the side of a bathtub. If you follow this exercise correctly, after a while you will think that you are taking a bath while eating a sponge and drinking a non-defined liquid from the bathtub. You can effortlessly lift the tub to your mouth, despite already sitting in it. This kind of illogicality is extremely important on the path towards Heedlessness, but try not to get too excited by it. Treat it as something charmless and meaningless; do not contemplate it, but simply stare at it, as you stare at the spinning circle of doom on the screen of a computer that has just crashed.

It is important that during the practice described above, you do not attempt to escape the shackles of rational thinking or get swept up by your imagination. We should not so much fly, as act like someone who is crossing a muddy river as the footbridge collapses beneath them. Unfortunately, this distinction, so vivid on paper, turns out to be quite subtle in the practice of Heedlessness. Still, it is worth taking it to heart! Remember that this is a high stakes game. We are playing for a truly Heedless Mind; a mind that is never here and now. Exercises with food are the first, wobbly step towards it.


Translated by Joanna Figiel

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