Some years ago there was an advertisement where a goldfish swam merrily around his bowl, seeing a cereal packet for the ‘first time’ every 3 seconds. The myth that goldfish have a memory of only 3 seconds has since been debunked, but the ad played on the idea that the product was continually new to this fish and he was continually surprised and excited by the great value it offered!
With the world continuing to spiral in dramatic fashion, a 3-second memory sounds like a great advantage! The ability to see your surroundings fresh and new every 3 seconds, always surprised and pleased by the wonder surrounding you is something I believe is worth practicing. Not having the time to drag in the history of the past or the fear of the future, frees you up to focus just on the moment you are in.
So I built a little practice around this idea, giving you a chance to escape for as long as you want to. With your 3-second ‘goldfish memory’, you can sit in your bubble of calm, knowing that whatever was a disturbance to you a moment ago, will be wiped clean in the next moment.
To imagine a world fresh and new every 3 seconds.
A quiet space to sit
Practice 5: Using a 3-Second Memory
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Put your feet on the ground. Take a slow breath in and let it gently out. Drop your shoulders. Take another slow breath in and gently let it out. Feel your belly rise from one more slow breath in and again let it evenly out.
It’s time to imagine yourself in a wide open landscape. Maybe it’s a windswept beach or a deep green meadow or a field of flowers. In the distance you can see a large, light, airy shimmering object poised on the grass. Curious, you walk slowly towards it and as you get closer it becomes larger and larger, and seems to be lightly bouncing in the breeze. As you approach it, you realise it is a giant bubble, bobbing in the breeze, hovering just off the ground. You gently put your hand out to touch it and find that it doesn’t resist your pressure. Your hand simply moves through its shimmering surface to the inside.
In the quiet of the landscape you sense yourself being drawn inside the bubble. Willingly, you step gently through the soft film that surrounds it, and find yourself inside a glimmering, light air bubble, gently wafting in the breeze but not floating away.
As you look around, you can see the entire landscape surrounding you through the crystal clear film. Everything looks normal although brighter and sharper, as if the filmy surface is giving an enhanced view of the outside world. For a moment you forget where you are. All you are aware of is the gentle movement of the shimmering surfaces and the vision of the beauty and calm of the world you see from inside your bubble.
Inside the bubble, your mind seems to have emptied of all the worries you had when you first came towards it. You know that you had things on your mind as you strolled over the grass but every thought you had seems to have now vanished. Your mind feels empty and so you are drawn back to the beauty of the world that you are viewing from the safety of the bubble.
A thought begins to form, and within a couple of seconds, it simply fades away. It drifts off with the breeze that is gently rocking you. You begin to recall something you had to do but even as the thought begins to form, it gently dissolves, leaving as softly as a feather. Without these thoughts to interrupt you, you focus back on the quiet that surrounds you. To the sounds of the breeze. To the soft light outside of the bubble as it plays on the trees and the grass. To the movements of the clouds.
It feels so good to have an empty mind. Nothing is disturbing it. Nothing can get inside it with the bubble cocooning you. There is peace and quiet in this moment as you take a seat on the surface of the bubble floor. You decide if you want to drift off with your bubble for a while, to float amongst the clouds and across the landscape. You know you can relax in this space for as long as you choose, aware that this bubble is here for you whenever you need to empty your mind and just rest in the moment.