Author Topic: Debbie's Practice: Storyline  (Read 994 times)

Offline Galen

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Debbie's Practice: Storyline
« on: May 30, 2015, 09:08:01 pm »

Out of the four people I'm sending this to, three of you have had this email
from me before with this particular exercise.  Along with the "I have room
for..." exercise, I find it the most powerful one.  If I do it for too long
I start to disintegrate in my sense of self--which is theoretically what
we're aiming for, but too much at once can be overwhelming.

You could do this exercise for a large chunk of time (e.g. 3 or 4 hours), or
ideally you could do it for 15 to 60 minutes every day, for it to have the
maximum impact.  If you're able to do it easily, keep increasing the daily
amount of time until it's a bit of a stretch but not overwhelming.

It's important to make a specific time chunk for it, and to try to focus on
it as much as possible in that time chunk. A place where many people go
adrift with this exercise, is not in picking a start and end time, and
sticking with that precisely.  I see that as a very important part of the
exercise, because the purpose of it is to keep doing it even when it's
uncomfortable or boring or difficult.  Pick a small enough time chunk that
it's not too daunting--even 15 minutes a day is good.
During the time you selected, each time you notice that you are not
completely in the present moment (ie you are thinking about the past or
future, and not just in a quick, functional "which day is best for me to go
to the dentist?" type of way), you do this:

1--drop the thinking as soon as you notice it (no exceptions)

2--if it's easy to drop, go to step 3; if it's not easy, or if the same
    topic keeps returning, see if you can notice what emotion or discomfort
    keeps you from dropping it easily and ask if you are willing to feel that
   (e.g. Am I willing to feel...uncertain, angry, anxious, left out, insulted,
    hurt, grief, sad, useless, stupid, groundless, bored, annoyed) and ideally
    just be with that feeling in your body and drop the thinking again

3--go back to your body, noticing your body, e.g. what your hands are
     touching, your bum on the chair, whatever, to bring you back into the present

     During the time you're doing it you will be cutting most of your thoughts
     that you notice, and even some of your talking, since most of THAT is also
     "story line". And usually you will be encountering some feelings you're not
      thrilled about that are hard to be with.  What people usually end up
      noticing 'first-hand' from doing this exercise is:  Most of our thinking is
     an attempt to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, so we layer
     over/explain/analyze to distract ourselves from the feelings.  Once we
     accept the feelings into our bodies, the thinking around that issue often
     subsides or at least lessens.
     I find if I do this exercise for a long time, or a lot, it can be
     overwhelming; it usually uncovers feelings I wasn't aware of, sometimes at a
     rate that is hard to absorb.  It also moves me much more fully into the
     present, though.

Offline Merwin

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Re: Debbie's Practice: Storyline
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 07:47:15 pm »
Good summary, but this is basically what meditation is, right? Or is there a difference in emphasis that I am missing?

I found it nice to read. I recently realized that for a long time I was under the impression that I've been properly meditating but I was actually trying to forcibly calm my mind instead of really accepting whatever feeling was going through me, which led to frustration and friction in my mind. I guess it comes from the image that you have to be completely calm and peaceful while meditating and the feeling that the meditation is not "right" if I am not in that state of mind.


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