Robert Fripp is, in addition to being one of the world's great guitar treasures, a man of no small insight and erudition. The following is from his online diary (highly recommended for further exploration.)
The URL for the entry in which this gem was found is http://dgmlive.com/diaries.htm?artist=&show=&member=3&entry=22951
The question came from his record company's website guest book.
Q: When one is surrounded by what you’ve termed basement commentary, how does one avoid being sucked into it?
A: By being present.
Easy words. Fortunately, the practice is not, in principle, difficult to grasp. The application is more so. Even better: how-to-be present may be learnt, pretty much as one would learn to play a musical instrument.
If we are not present, we are subject to all the forces and pressures of the daily world. If we are present, we remain subject to all the forces and pressures of the daily world, but we may not be swept away by them. We may even, in certain circumstances, be able to re-direct the current. The fundamental key to presence is the power of volitional attention.
So, how does one avoid being sucked into the noise and confusion of Basement Living? We begin by practising the attention.How do we begin practising the attention? By Doing Nothing – as much as we can!
In a similar vein, I recommend this, as well: http://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes.html.
Many thanks to Anne! These two finds materialized after an email from her pointed me in their direction. Might be coincidence, might just be the way things are.