I’m rereading Sam Harris’s newest book 'Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion'. I love the intellectual honesty of Sam’s thesis. No part of Sam’s project has to be believed in. It is all open for examination by either objective experiment or subjective experience. He defines consciences as our experience before thought. To develop a presence to the present moment focus our attention on consciousness, letting thoughts come and go without attachment or aversion. It ends up that turning our consciousness on itself without thought is freeing. Thinking is not bad for we needed it to do everything that we value but we are not helped by most of our thinking and surly not the automatistic thinking we are usually subjected to by our self talk. Most of the time I’m so caught up in automatistic thinking that I don’t even realize that I’m thinking. No chance to be in the present. No chance to be here with you, with my love.
I wish I could write as eloquently as Maria Popova here and here about Sam’s project. Lots of practical value in Sam's project. Some of us exercise our bodies to keep them healthy. Not to many years ago this was thought fringe. Today, exercise for the consciousness in the form of meditation is thought fringe. That will change.