Author Topic: Brief practices: Total Awareness  (Read 890 times)

Offline Galen

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Brief practices: Total Awareness
« on: May 27, 2015, 09:46:25 pm »
Total Awareness

This is a brief practice that can be done with a flash of attention

This technique comes from the Buddhist tradition of Mindfulness and is similar in part to a body scan but less formal

•   Easy to do
•   Reduces stress
•   Can be done anywhere, anytime
•   Benefits can be achieved in less than a minute.
•   Quickly increases the amount of meditation done every day.
•   This meditation powerfully slows the mind - the mind cannot exist when asked to notice everything inside and outside at the same time.
•       Helps to ground you in the present

For beginners there are three steps to this meditation

1 Take a deep breath in and out; close your eyes.
•   Allow your attention to notice individual sensations inside your body.
•   Notice sensations in your belly, your shoulders, your neck, in the small muscles around the eyes, the anus, the forehead.
•   Notice any tastes that are there.                                                                                               
•   Widen your attention to include two or more areas at once, such as the belly and the shoulders, the forehead and the chest.
•   Now widen your attention and become aware of all the sensations at once.

2 Take a deep breath in and out
•   Allow your attention to notice individual experiences outside your body
•   What can you see? Name them to yourself.
•   What can you hear? Note what sounds are present.
•   What can you smell? Note what fragrances are there.
•   What tasted are there?
•   What sensations are there? Notice what your body is in contact with.
•   Allow your eyes to become unfocused and take all of this in at once.

3 Cast your awareness wide to take in everything at the same time.
•   Inside you
•   Outside you

More experienced meditators, simply move to step three. You may initially want to look at individual points inside and outside, such as the colour of a rose and the inside sensation of your belly, or different pairs of  inside/outside sensations - such as the fragrance and your shoulders, the colours outside and the muscles in your forehead. Eventually, become aware of all experiences outside and inside you at the same time. One powerful way to improve meditation is to ask questions about what sensations you are experiencing.

For example, ask yourself, what is happening in my belly? What is happening in my shoulders? describe for yourself what is happening there. how do the muscles in my chest feel? What's happening in my neck, in the small muscles around my eyes, the muscles in my forehead? Are there sensations of heat, warmth, coolness, tingling or tightness anywhere? Even check for areas in the body where no sensation exists. No sensation is a sensation ...the sensation of nothing.         

Ask yourself, what items can you see? Breathe from your lower belly and as you breathe in and out, gracefully and gently notice colour, scents, sounds and sensations. Allow your eyes to become unfocused and take all of this in at once.

Start in a quiet place and go through the exercise slowly step by step. It seems arduous, but the depth of the meditation is how wide your attention can be, how many inside/outside sensations you can notice at the same time. The purpose is to build your capacity until you can move to the last step, i.e. expand awareness to include  inside/outside sensations at the same time.                                                                                                                   
Common Problems

•   "I get bored." There is nothing inherently interesting in the sensations you notice. The key is to become curious,  like a child, and playfully notice as many sensations as you can. 
     The more you notice, the quieter your mind becomes. boredom is a natural process when you take your attention away from your mind. The key is to simply continue with the
•    "Am I doing this right?"  There is no right or wrong. There is no judgment. whatever you notice is perfect. If you are simply noticing, you are doing this correctly.
•    "I still have thoughts." As long as you are in a body, you will have thoughts. The key is to relax. Let go of thoughts. When they appear, simply return to noticing sensations
       inside your body.         

On Thoughts:

"Pay no attention. don't fight them. Just do nothing about them, let them be, whatever they are. Your very fighting them gives them strength. Just disregarded. Look through."
 Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


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