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    1. #1
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      DawgBone's Dream Yoga Workbook (Digital Ashram)

      Basic Skills, Lesson #1: Sensory Awareness Meditation

      "A meditation in which you become hyper-aware of the real physical world around you. This class of meditation involves developing an awareness for how your brain is always limiting and filtering the sensory stimuli that actually ends up being perceived."

      Version 1: Listening to a Noisy World

      Level 1:
      Sitting at my computer desk, I close my eyes and move around my environment with my sense of hearing. There is a crow cawing in the backyard. There is a mockingbird in the bush by my window. A truck passes the house out front. My fan makes some low-level white noise. Occasionally a jet passes overhead. I am also softly playing a CD. It is not one sound, but a whole constellation of different parts: vocals, drums, bass, guitar, etc.

      Level 2:
      I'm going to concentrate on the CD. When listening to a song, I usually mostly hear the lyrics. But songs have multiple parts. We probably focus on the lyrics because words have informational content. But I'm willing to bet that a drummer clearly hears the drum part, and a bassist focuses on the bass line. A technician mixing the parts together would have to hear ALL the parts simultaneously, without bias. That is what we are striving for. We are learning to produce a mix of our sensory environment.

      I add the individual parts one at a time. This is tough! The lyrics demand the most attention, but with effort I can simultaneously hear 3 or maybe 4 parts. I bet Bach could hear 8 or more parts simultaneously. I can't. But this is a technique "to be practiced for years." I listen to a lot of music and will make this mediation a regular part of my listening.

      Level 3:
      I jog some, so I will try to listen to my foot falls and listen to the environment as I run. The sounds will include my own breath, birds singing, wind blowing past my ears, cars passing in the street nearby, in addition to the sound of my foot falls.

      I usually run for about 40 minutes. I'm wondering how long I will be able to sustain simultaneous perception. One minute? Five minutes? I will probably start and stop multiple times, hopefully getting better each day.


      Homework for Basic Skills: Lesson #1

      My own version of this meditation will be a combination of version 1 and version 2. I will listen and feel while I am jogging. There are countless physical sensation when your run. Your lungs are working hard. Your heart is working hard. You can actually feel your pulse in different parts of your body. You can feel the thump of your heart and the bellows-like action of your lungs. You can feel and hear your foot falls. You can feel that soreness in you Achilles tendon. You notice the small pain in the small of your back. You feel your body slowly warming up. You begin to sweat. Your muscles begin to work more smoothly as you warm. Your pace becomes more efficient and natural as you get into a groove. Etc, etc.

      Combining even some of these sensations with the many sounds of the environment will be a real challenge. I will start with maybe two sounds and two sensation, adding more as I become more skilled.


      This is a terrific lesson, I think. Right on target and very exciting!
      Last edited by DawgBone; 06-21-2012 at 07:49 PM.
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    2. #2
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      Thich Nhat Hanh on awareness:



      "I've told them that if each one can meditate an hour each day that's good, but it's nowhere near enough. You've got to practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, and work, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, drinking tea, talking to friends, or whatever you are doing. While washing the dishes, you might be thinking about the tea afterwards, and so try to get them out of the way as quickly as possible in order to sit and drink tea. But that means that you are incapable of living during the time you are washing the dishes. When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you're drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. When you're using the toilet, let that be the most important thing in your life. And so on. Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act is a rite, a ceremony. Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. Does the word 'rite' seem too solemn? I use that word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness."

      Great stuff! I should make myself read that every time I get up in the morning ...

      The quote is from The Miracle of Mindfulness.
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    3. #3
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      Dream Yoga Basic Skills: Lesson 2, Awareness of the Mind

      Diffuse Vision

      This technique is the visual version of "Listening to a Noisy World". The idea is to take in ALL the visual stimuli in your visual field, rather than to focus on individual objects.

      I'm thinking that sharp visual focus may be related to rational, top level, analytical thought. Softer, peripheral vision may be related to general awareness.

      When I am walking in the park, taking in the entire environment, trying not to focus on individual objects, my internal dialog slows down. This is definitely a form of meditation leading to a quieting of the mind. When you are absorbing the entire visual environment in a soft focused way, it is easier to just shut down our usual brain chatter.

      There may even be a physical, neurological explanation for this. The area of sharp focus in the eye, the fovea, has an equivalent area in the optical center of the brain. Those neurons in the optical center may be linked to and directly stimulate the most rational, top-level, analytical areas of the brain. Those areas are word-oriented and probably produce our internal dialog. If we don't stimulate that area with sharp focus, it may be easier to just be aware and to avoid our constant internal chatter.
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    4. #4
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      In The Second Ring Of Power, Carlos Castaneda wrote that his teacher, Don Juan, told him, "Instead of teaching me to focus my view, as gazers did, he taught me to open it, to flood my awareness by not focusing my sight on anything. I had to sort of feel with my eyes everything in the 180-degree range in front of me, while I kept my eyes unfocused just above the line of the horizon."

      Don Juan often discussed the concept of "stopping the world". By this he meant seeing reality in a new and original way, escaping the conventional interpretation and structuring of reality. Today we might talk about thinking "outside the box."

      Diffuse vision may help with this effort.
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    5. #5
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      I think learning to still the internal dialogue is directly related to lucid dreaming skill.

      Our constant brain chatter is a mostly autonomous process. It requires very little in the way of awareness and attention. Indeed, it is the antithesis of awareness and attention.

      Non-lucid dreams are like a visual internal dialog. They are autonomous and basically happen to us without much in the way of awareness or attention. And the two types of dialog may be related! Learning to stop one may help with the other.



      Stopping the visual internal dialog is lucidity.
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    6. #6
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      Well, it's been almost a year since I started this workbook and no reply from the teacher.

      Perhaps he's trying to teach me patience ...
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      "Learn well, Jake Sully. Then we will see if your insanity can be cured." -- Avatar

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