Wisdom on slowing the mind and being present (aka finding the gap, aka the most important thing!) from the ever-insightful Pema Chodron:
"Pause, connect with the immediacy of your experience, connect with the blessings. Liberate yourself from the cocoon of self-involvement, talking to yourself all the time, completely obsessing.
Just do it over and over and over. Allow a gap, gap, gap. Allow yourself the space to realize where you are. Realize how big your mind is. Realize how big the space is – it has never gone away, but you have been ignoring it.
Find a way to slow down. Find a way to relax your mind and do it often – very, very often, throughout the day continuously, not just when you are hooked but all the time. At its root, being caught up in discursive thought, continually self-involved with discursive plans, worries, and so forth, is attachment to ourselves. It is the surface manifestation of ego-clinging.
So what is the most important thing to do with each day? With each morning, each afternoon, each evening? It is to leave a gap. These gaps, these punctuations, are like poking holes in the clouds, poking holes in the cocoon. And these gaps can extend so that they can permeate your entire life, so that the continuity of discursive is no longer the continuity of discursive thought but rather one continual gap.
Find ways to create the gap frequently, often, continuously. In that way, allow yourself the space to connect with the sky and the ocean and the birds and the land and the blessing of the sacred world. Give yourself the chance to come out of your cocoon. "