Would you like to try something different today? Here is a perception-experiment that will surely give your day an interesting twist. If you’re skilled at placing your brain in a desired state, this experiment is perfect for you.

Imagine that you’re an alien who has just arrived on Earth. You’re seeing everything for the very first time. If you’ve ever experience culture-shock, you know exactly what I mean. Do your best to observe all of the small nuances in your environment and in the actions of the people around you. Experience everything as if it is all completely foreign to you. The goal is to un-do all of the familiarity your brain has built up around your surroundings.

The hallmark of this experiment is focus. 150% of your attention should be aimed at whatever element you’re attempting to make alien to yourself.

Examples

  • When you go to order some food, pay close attention to the facial expressions and hand motions of the waiter/cashier
  • Observe the minuscule details of the matter around you — the subtle textures of walls, concrete, furniture, plants, etc.
  • Listen to music and alternate between focusing on the bass, treble, vocals and the song as whole. Bonus points for going into the song with the mindset of having never heard music before :)
  • Eating is probably the most interesting part of this experiment. Attempt to eat without any expectation of taste or texture. Try to pick out all of the individual tastes and sensations on your tongue
  • Sex… enough said

Above all, this is a fancy way of practicing being present. The concept of being present is vague and difficult to measure, so this is a good exercise to judge your ability to do so. The next step is to do this experiment without the assumption that you’re an alien. As you’ve probably already discovered, becoming present is the ultimate way to enhance any experience.

It’s very entertaining to feel like an alien, which I’m sure many of you experience on a day-to-day basis to some extent anyways ;)