August 19, 2014
This issue is now obsolete. For latest references please see: KHTK Mindfulness. The specific reference that updates this issue is The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness.
This was part of a basic series of essays, which started this blog. These essays were later revised and the original versions were deleted. However, these essays were then added back to maintain a complete record.
The basic idea introduced in this essay is being there with mindfulness.


Here is a general purpose exercise. In this exercise the guide may occasionally check, as necessary, to make sure you are looking and experiencing without thinking and resisting. The guide must take care not to interrupt when you are deeply absorbed in the exercise.

Exercise 2-7

1.    Find a place where you can sit comfortably and be there for a while without being disturbed or distracted.

2.    Simply observe with your eyes open. If you find your mind adding more to what is plainly visible, simply notice that fact and continue.

3.    Once you can comfortably notice what is there, and can differentiate it from what your mind tends to add to it, you may close your eyes.

4.    If you just see blackness, then observe that blackness. If you see a play of light and darkness, then observe that play of light and darkness.

5.    Observe the various sound and smells as they offer themselves to you. Do not strain to perceive them.

6.    Observe what your senses present to you, such as, the temperature in the room, the pull of gravity, or the taste in your mouth. Do not look for anything in particular. Just be there comfortably experiencing what is there.

7.    The mind may present “pictures” of the current and past events, some flattering and some not so flattering. Simply experience them without thinking. The scene may shift around continually.

8.    The mind may present emotions, such as, embarrassment, guilt, anxiety, anger, fear, grief, and even apathy. Simply experience whatever comes up without trying to judge it, or justify it.

9.    The mind may present various sensations, twitches in muscles, pain, effort to do, or not do something, etc. Do not avoid, resist or suppress these back. Just experience them fully. They will all clear out eventually.

10. There may be tendency to squirm, move or change position. If the discomfort lasts, readjust your body to a more comfortable position, while keeping your attention on experiencing the effort.

11. If you find yourself getting involved in thoughts, or mentally doing something else, then simply recognize this fact, and continue. Do not suppress anything. Do not add anything.

12. Let these feelings, emotions and sensations play themselves out. Do not speculate on reasons and possibilities. As you persevere, the uncomfortable feelings and sensations will clear out.

13. Try ending this exercise at a point when some persistent emotion or effort has just left, though this may not always be possible.


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