Consequently, conscious experience is populated with unfamiliar properties or emptied of familiar ones. Sometimes, the subtraction of a property may result in the perception of a different combination of existing ones. It is pitiful that such circumstances have often been interpreted in terms of mental entities rather than in terms of different carvings of the external world. Consider a visual analogy (Figure 18). A meaningless pattern of black and white squares is filtered by a grid of white squares. The resulting pattern is a recognizable acronym. By means of subtraction, we will be able to single out something otherwise not accessible. No letters have been added to the original pattern, only something has been removed. If something is removed from the world we perceive, the resulting world is different. Occasionally, one might have the impression that something has been added. The removal of objects or properties can make something else either more poignant or more easily accessible. Another possible source of confusion is the temporal displacement that can occur when an object persists for a timespan longer than usual. A classic example is offered by cases in which transducers stop working and one's experience is stuck on the last object perceived. Positive afterimages are a familiar example. You don't sweep your frustration or anger under the carpet. Mindfulness isn't about blocking emotions. You do the opposite: you allow yourself to mindfully feel and sooth the emotions with as much friendliness and kindness as you can muster. Even forcing a smile can help. Mindfulness is the only way I know of effectively overcoming destructive emotions. Expressing out-of-control anger leads to more anger: you just get better at it.

Supressing anger leads to outbursts at some other time. Mindfulness is the path to easing your frustration through being genuninely curious and respectful of your own emotional experiences. Your ideas need room. You need space for new perceptions and novel ways of meeting challenges, in the same way that plants need space to grow, or they begin to wither. For your ideas, the space can be in the form of a walk outside, a three-minute mini meditation, or a cup of tea. Working harder is often not the best solution: working smarter is. If your job involves dealing with issues and problems, whether that involves people or not, you can train yourself to see the problems differently. By seeing the problems as challenges, you're already changing how you meet this issue. A challenge is something you rise to - something energising and fulfilling. A problem is something that has to be dealt with - something draining, an irritation. Studies have found people who learn to see problems as positive challenges have a more enjoyable experience of navigating a solution. To meet your challenges in a creative way, find some space and time for yourself. Write down exactly what the challenge is; when you're sure what your challenge is, you find it much easier to solve. Try to see the challenge from a different person's perspective. Talk to other people and ask how they'd deal with the issue. Become mindful of your immediate reactive way of dealing with this challenge, and question the validity of it. Mindful working is simply being mindful of whatever you do when you work. Here are some examples of ways of being mindful at work: Start the day with a clear intention. What do you need to get done today? What attitude do you wish to bring to your day?

Perhaps kindness or focus, for example. How will you ensure you're best able to achieve what you intend to do? What barriers could prevent you achieving your intention and how can you best remove or manage them? For example, if your intention is to be focused and you're likely to get distracted in the office, can you work from home or in another part of the office? Be mindful of your everyday activities. For example, when typing, notice the sense of touch between your fingers and the keyboard. Notice how quickly your mind converts a thought into an action on keys. Are you striking the keys too hard? Are your shoulders tense; is your face screwing up unnecessarily? How's your posture? Are you taking breaks regularly to walk and stretch? Pull out your phone or log on to your computer and schedule ten minutes per day for the next few days for distraction-free reflection. No screens or articles or music. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit and let your mind wander about anything and everything. Keep cramming new and interesting bits of information, thoughts, ideas, and experiences into your mind. Grow the box of your thoughts. Widen the tunnel of your vision. Synthesize it. Analyze how you feel about it. Imagine what it's like to make it unsafely to death.

Think on the possibility of life being a thrill ride rather than a casual stroll. Work until you get stuck so the problem "sticks in your craw--and your brain." Then shower, go for a walk, watch a funny movie, sit back and relax, or take a nap. It was the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, and to my folly I believed I might outdrink a pair of Australians. I arrived home long after midnight to an enthusiastic welcome from my standard poodle, upon whom I promptly threw up. He looked at me with consternation, wondering what he could have done to deserve such ignoble treatment. Then he began lapping up the portion of the vile substance that had landed on the floor, probably catching a buzz from it. It was not my finest hour. I've had some low points, but I've never seen anything I would call rock bottom. Even prior to my first epiphany, my life could have been much worse. The above taxonomy has no pretense of being exhaustive. However, it is useful to consider the manner in which the world can be reshuffled in terms of subtractions/addictions of physical objects and properties rather than in terms of mental entities. Many cases that are usually explained by appealing to additional mental entities can thus be easily revisited in terms of a different carving out of the environment. Not only does one become blind to selected color components. One becomes blind to whole groups of objects and properties--namely, whole groups of objects and properties are removed from the subset of the world that is one's consciousness. As we will see, the most common cases are represented by subtractions, postponents, and filters. So far, I am not aware of physiological alterations that allow subjects to increase the set of perceivable objects, although certain hallucinogens might indeed work in this way. A lot more frequent is the other case, namely the subtraction of something from one's world because of physiological impairment, sensory stimulation, and cognitive processes. The actual mechanisms that achieve such deep alterations of perceptual processes are complex. However, with respect to the contrast between appearance and reality, the total disappearance of an object or property is just a shrinking of the subset of external objects that are actual causes of one's internal processes. It is not a change in a mental domain.

Remarkable cases of removal of objects or properties are the lilac illusion, motion blindness, and inattentional blindness. In the case of the lilac chaser illusion, because of complementary adaptation and various mechanisms at various levels from the eyes up to the visual cortex, magenta-ish blobs disappear from one's visual field. A subject is cut out from something that is located in the surroundings. Something is there but it is unable to produce any effect on the subject's body. Something along the causal chain goes amiss. Of course, the external object still produces effects, to some extent, but the causal chain is incomplete as shown by the fact that the subject is unable to use such a perception to check the existence of blobs. At least, when they are invisible. Analogously, motion-induced blindness is a phenomenon of visual disappearance or perceptual illusions, in which stationary visual stimuli disappear as if erased in front of an observer's eyes when masked by a moving background. Before writing or checking an email, take a breath. Is this really important to do right now? Reflect for a few moments on the key message you need to get across, and remember it's a human being receiving this message - not just a computer. After sending the message, take time to feel your breath and, if you can, enjoy it. Notice how easy it is to be swept away for hours by the screen. When the telephone rings, let the sound of the ring be a reminder for you to be mindful. Let the telephone ring a few times before answering. Use this time to notice your breath and posture. When you pick it up, speak and listen with mindfulness. Notice both the tone of your own voice and the other person's. If you want to, experiment by gently smiling as you speak and listen, and become aware of the effect that has. When you get a text message or other ping sound from your smartphone, just pause for a moment.