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longgone's avatar

How much of your time is completely free of input, in a regular day?

Asked by longgone (17090points) January 12th, 2015

Some people compare the shower to a sensory-deprivation-chamber: Little to no input, apart from the white-noise of water.

If I’m honest, the ten minutes I spend showering may be the only time I am without input on a regular basis. Before falling asleep, I deliberately follow a “script” instead of letting my mind wander…I pretend to be a character in a movie, or recount my day’s events. Very structured, very brief. My goal is falling asleep quickly.

I do get time away from people, books, and phones on my daily walk, which takes about two hours. I often use this time to plan creative writing projects, though – and depending where I go, I may meet people at times. Ungh. My trails!

I’m trying to lessen the constant stream of input at the moment, and allow for breaks. The fact that this is extremely hard tells me it is something I need to do.

How about you?

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10 Answers

hominid's avatar

My practice has been rough lately, and I mostly only meditate about 20 minutes per day. But when I do, I find that the following happens: As my mind becomes still, my perception of inputs increases. There is nothing I experience that is in any way a sensory-deprivation chamber. Sitting in a “silent” room and getting settled in meditation opens me up to a plethora of inputs and sensations. There are the whole range of noises that I was not aware of before, there are body sensations, such as an itch or a tight muscle. There are vibrations from the furnace. Smells.

Then, there are the whole set of thoughts and emotions that appear. It’s “silent”, but it certainly feels as though I’m sitting in the middle of an orchestra.

shrubbery's avatar

I either use the shower as a place for extra thinking or to completely switch off depending on my mood. Other than that, I guess watching some mind numbing tv shows is the closest I’d get? Like obviously it’s still input but for all intents and purposes I’m pretty much switched off compared to my normal brain activity… sometimes if I’m at the beach or a park or something I try to switch off while I’m relaxing in the sun, it doesn’t always work though and its only if I happen to already be there, I don’t go out of my way.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t think my brain ever shuts down. That might explain the sleepwalking too.

jca's avatar

I was home with my daughter today (weather related) and she is 7. I am the playmate and the person she bounced ideas off of and shows things to. It’s very sweet but it’s very tiring. I went into her bed and took a nice hour and a half nap. She knocked me out! I really enjoy being home alone for this reason. Today I needed the silence and “alone time” of being in her bed and having time to myself. I was an only child and I had her late in life, so I am really accustomed to peace and silence and minimum conversation.

I don’t know if being in the car counts as far as “being completely free of input.” I am in the car about 1½ to 2 hours per day, alone. I like just having the radio on and not having to talk to anybody. When I’m at work, I’m in my own office but the phone may ring and people may come in with issues.

Blackberry's avatar

I have a great life and it’s what I’ve always wanted: in a single guy with roommates who don’t bother me, and I live alone in a state where no one knows me. I’m pretty much started my life over.

I do my 40 hrs a week and do whatever I want. I’d really like a girlfriend, but I know as soon as that happens I’m gonna want to be alone again. I know its just a phase but I love being a floater with no purpose.

dappled_leaves's avatar

How did I miss this question?

This varies widely for me – I can go days with no input from other people at all, unless I deliberately seek it out. If I wanted to, I could probably go several weeks, but I know that my productivity wanes if I stay away from people for too long. So, I tend to interact with people in person at least every two days. Online, I tend to go no more than three hours without contact, unless I’m engrossed in a specific project.

But the point is – I need to make effort to get that personal input, which I would assume is unusual. Input from media (books, papers, video, radio, etc.) is close to constant, because being away from my work for long periods is too distracting. I can’t justify it at this point in my studies.

And also… you talk about a “daily walk” as if that were a lack of input – but I’m not sure I could ever see it that way, since my work is research in the natural world.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I am rarely without some form of stimulation. The shower would be one place but I’m usually focused on getting clean and getting out and just before I go to sleep too. Most of the time I’m engaging with literature and other information sources, listening to music, watching broadcast content, interacting with Fluther or some other internet site.

I should aim for more ‘quiet time’. Great question @longgone.

gailcalled's avatar

I lie down and meditate and then do some yoga for 30 minutes every day. I do try to empty my mind or just observe it when it rushed off down the road at 100 mph.

gailcalled's avatar

edit; rushes

longgone's avatar

@hominid “It’s ‘silent’, but it certainly feels as though I’m sitting in the middle of an orchestra.”

Good point, and one I didn’t make clear…I’m not looking for time devoid of thoughts, but time devoid of controlled thoughts. I’m not sure how to phrase it, but I’ll try: I very rarely let my mind wander. I’m sure I am unaware of my thought process very often, but when I am aware of my mind wandering, my automatic response is to get back on track, think about something instead of just thinking. I don’t know why I do this, or whether it is something everybody does…

@shrubbery I can relate to that. Sometimes, when I’ve been thinking and interacting a lot, my brain feels so tired I feel the need to watch or read something without having to think about it.

@Adirondackwannabe Reminds me, I read an article recently…did you know there are dogs being trained to keep sleepwalkers safe? You should get one of those…or maybe look into training programs for bats? ;)

@jca “It’s very sweet but it’s very tiring.”

I can imagine. My teenage sister sleeps at my place once a week, and while I enjoy that very much, I do always need time to re-charge afterwards. One-on-one time with anyone is exhausting.

@Blackberry While I know I would get lonely very soon, that sounds tempting at times.

@dappled_leaves Why do you say you missed this thread?
That is unusual. Do you live in a rural area, so you don’t even see people?
You’re right, in a way the walks are input, but I do let my mind wander when walking. Sometimes.

@Earthbound_Misfit Thanks!

@gailcalled I manage to observe my mind at times, but very often, I get frustrated at having to lasso it back. I know I wouldn’t need to do that, but it’s my automatic response.

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