Learn Mindfulness: Practice 18 – The Thought Barometer

Learn Mindfulness: Practice 18 – The Thought Barometer

Learn Mindfulness: Practice 18 – The Thought Barometer 538 283 The Conscious Professional

What goes up must come down. – Isaac Newton


Creating a link between the mind, body and movement allows a process such as thinking to become physical and embodied. In this practice, the movement of the hand up and down will be linked to the passing of thoughts through mind, adding a very physical element to the experience.

When entering this practice, do so without expectation and, as much as possible, release the tendency to judge. The only success measure is showing up and having a go.

Just as air pressure varies day by day, the pressure of thoughts will rise and fall depending on your current state of mind.


With repeated practice longer periods of thought-free awareness are likely to become available.

As the hand movement described in this practice becomes more familiar, you might even find that it is possible to intentionally push your hand down and bring about an experience of thought-free or silent awareness.


Set a timer for five, ten or fifteen minutes.

Begin by finding a comfortable posture and by bringing your attention to the breath. Take a few moments to let yourself arrive and allow the breath to draw you gently into internal awareness. Allow the gaze to soften, the eyes to close.

  1. In this exercise the object of contemplation is thought itself.

  2. The aim is to notice when a thought is arising and when there is no thought present.

  3. It is important to be just as welcoming of the thoughts as the silence. The focus of this practice is simply to be aware.

  4. The movement of the hand up and down is used to create a link between the body and the mind. The position of the hand will indicate when thought is present or absent.

  5. Begin with one hand on your knee. If you notice a thought, allow the hand to move slowly upwards (stopping at eye level).

  6. If you notice a gap between thoughts, allow the hand to slowly fall back down towards the knee.

  7. In periods of sustained silence, the hand will rest on the knee until the next thought arises, when it will ascend again.

  8. During practice, the hand will either be going up or down, resting on your knee, or resting at eye level.

  9. Do not worry if there are very few moments of silent awareness to start with. With repeated practice, the silent periods will increase

  10. Remember that the purpose of this exercise is to notice what the mind is doing with a simple curiosity and without judgment.

  11. Continue until the timer sounds.

  12. Return to wakefulness in your own way.

Record your experience in your Mindfulness Journal.

If practising with others, take turns sharing your discoveries.

This practice is an extract from 100 Mindfulness Meditations: The Ultimate Collection of Inspiring Daily Practices by Neil Seligman published by Conscious House and available on Amazon priced £12.99.

10 Mindfulness Meditations is an album of audio meditations to accompany the book and is now available on iTunes priced £7.99.

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