I'm reading an interesting autobiography "Grenzenlose Erleichterung" by Felix Gronau. This book inspired me for this post.
On meditation: When I meditate, I can observe how the mind works. Thoughts come up all the time. It is possible to focus on something, to concentrate (on the breath i.e.), but soon new thoughts come up. Concentration can be lengthened. But sooner or later thoughts and feelings come up again and they are of different quality. Some thoughts come and soon they disappear from alone. Others need all the attention and move, touch, create further more intensive feelings. F. Gronau wrote that during meditation we can experience that thoughts and feelings come up, but it is possible to observe them. It is not necessary to act as usually. Feelings can be endured. It can be seen and experienced that compensatory action can be avoided. Awareness can be the only "action". Surely an interesting aspect. All thoughts disappear finally and new thoughts and feelings appear. The game starts over again. That's how the mind works. It's the nature of the mind (and there is nothing bad or wrong with it).
It is the same with body sensations. Perhaps the knee hurts from sitting. It can be observed and endured, it is not necessary to act. It is possible to observe. Surely a wonderful insight and ability.
F. Gronau uses an interesting picture: when the mind wanders around while we are busy with anything else, it is as if a TV-programme is on that distracts us all the time from what is going on right now. Energy is bound. Life becomes more intensive when we are able to switch off the TV for a while and when we are able to be attentive.
The nature of the mind is to produce thoughts. Many people are dreamers and are somewhere else all the time. I observe this when I take the underground: I can see people having self-talks. Others jump on my feet, and apologize then, but they simply haven't been attentive, they were mentally somewhere else. To exercise the mind, to learn to focus is surely a way to intensify life. Knowing that thoughts do not represent the truth, but are nothing else but stories might help to let go of taking this flow of never-ending thoughts so seriously. Simply exercising awareness can be very fulfilling.