TRAINING IN MINDFULNESS (OLD)

mindfulness03

Here is the updated version of this post: TRAINING IN MINDFULNESS

Skip the following version.

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The following exercises are designed to train a person on the 12 STEPS OF MINDFULNESSThese exercises use the following list:

LIST: Look at the following instances one at a time:

  1. When you were happy.
  2. When you climbed a tree.
  3. When you ate something good.
  4. When you received a present.
  5. When you enjoyed a laugh.
  6. When you helped somebody.
  7. When you threw a ball.
  8. When something important happened to you.
  9. When you played a game.
  10. When you jumped down from a tree.
  11. When you won a contest.
  12. When you laughed loudly.
  13. When you met someone you liked.
  14. When you flew on a plane.
  15. When you were at a beautiful place.
  16. When you jumped into a pool.
  17. When you enjoyed a beautiful morning.
  18. When you went for a walk.
  19. When somebody teased you.
  20. When you sat in a coffee shop.
  21. When you danced with joy.
  22. When you raced with someone.
  23. When you completed something important.
  24. When you were pleasantly surprised.
  25. When you met somebody after a long time.
  26. When you were caught in a rain.
  27. When you heard a thunder.
  28. When someone smiled at you.
  29. When you played with a pet.
  30. When you held someone’s hand.
  31. When someone picked you up.
  32. When you were spinning around.
  33. When you read a good book.
  34. When you felt breeze on your face.
  35. When you saw a beautiful flower.
  36. When you smelled a rose.
  37. When somebody called you.
  38. When you were in a play.
  39. When you sang aloud.
  40. When you watched a movie.
  41. When your team won.
  42. When you rode with friends.
  43. When you visited a beautiful garden.
  44. When you played in water.
  45. When the weather was stormy.
  46. When somebody gave you a hug.
  47. When you liked somebody.
  48. When you slid down a slide.
  49. When you ran toward someone you liked.
  50. When you enjoyed beautiful weather.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 1

SCOPE: Look attentively at what is right there in front of you.

It is easy to see a physical object that is right there in front of you in the physical space. The trick is to see what is right there in the mental space.

The physical objects are chairs, tables, walls, etc. The mental objects are ideas, thoughts, pictures, and even the mental activity itself. It is easy to get distracted when looking at a mental object.

This exercise helps one develop the skill of seeing what is right there in the mental space without getting distracted.

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STEPS:

  1. Spot some physical objects existing in your physical space.

  2. Spot some mental objects (ideas, thoughts, pictures, etc.) existing in your mental space.

  3. Go to the list above and pick an item from it randomly.

  4. See if a new mental object appears as you read that item.

  5. If not, then see what mental object is currently there.

  6. NOTE: The current object may be  a desire, expectation, speculation, or some other mental activity. It is possible that there may not be any mental object at all.

  7. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until no effort is used in doing these steps.

  8. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 2

SCOPE: Observe things as they really are, not as they seem to be.

It is quite common to look through the filter made up of desire, expectation, speculation, etc. For example, one may be looking at the profile of a person, with only one ear visible; but may take it for granted that the person has two ears.

Or, when one looks at a person wearing priestly robes; one feels respectful and believes that this person can be trusted.

Or, when one looks at a rope lying in the dark; one may think that it is a dangerous snake.

Or, when you are considering starting a business; your mind may add success to it before it actually happens.

This exercise helps one develop the skill of seeing things as they are apart from judgments resulting from, desire, expectations or speculation. 

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STEPS:

  1. Read an item randomly from the list above.

  2. Dwell on that item for a few moments.

  3. Notice if there is a desire or expectation influencing your perception of that item.

  4. Notice if there is an idea or thought prompted by speculation over that item.

  5. Notice if there is current mental activity associated with that item.

  6. Notice if there is any judgment being added by the mind to what is there.

  7. Continue with this exercise (steps 1 to 6) until it becomes effortless.

  8. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 3

SCOPE: If something is missing do not imagine something else in its place.

When one is asked a question, usually the mind provides an answer. In the absence of an answer the person may feel obliged to make up an answer. Mindfulness requires that one should be aware of the absence of an answer.

This exercise helps one recognize with confidence if there is a response to a question or not.

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STEPS:

  1. Read an item from the list above.

  2. Notice if some instance has come up in response to the item. 

    • If yes then notice that response.

    • If no, then notice the absence of a response.

  3. Move to the next item.

  4. Continue with this exercise until you can effortlessly tell if there is a response or not.

  5. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 4

SCOPE: If something does not make sense then do not explain it away.

Those things that do not make sense are called inconsistencies. For example.

    • The nature of medium, such as, air or water, determines the speed of sound waves through that medium. The speed of light is constant in space, so it must be determined by space. Yet we cannot find space to consist of any medium. 

    • A person says that he has a happy married life, yet his wife is often seen crying. 

    • A person fails. He blames it on himself or on the circumstance, but his condition does not improve.

When there is an inconsistency, either something is hidden,  or things are being viewed differently from what they really are. If you dream up an explanation, then what is really there remains unknown.

This exercise helps one look closely at inconsistencies to discover what is really there.

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STEPS:

  1. Spot something that does not make sense. 

  2. Recognize that this is an inconsistency. Do not try to explain it.

  3. Look at the inconsistency closely to see what is really there.

  4. Clarify all symbols and ideas associated with that inconsistency.

  5. See if there is something that you could be taking for granted.

  6. Keep looking more closely until you see what is really there.

  7. Continue with this exercise (steps 1 to 6) until it becomes effortless.

  8. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 5

SCOPE: Use physical senses as well as mental sense to observe.

We associate the idea of sense organs with eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. But the mind is also a sense organ. The mind senses mental objects, such as, ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, etc.

Here we do not consider mind as a computer. Any computing activity is looked upon as a mental object that is in motion.

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STEPS:

  1. Look at a physical object, such as, a chair.

  2. Look at mental object, such as, an idea.

  3. Look at a physical object, such as, a table.

  4. Look at mental object, such as, a thought.

  5. Look at a physical object, such as, a wall.

  6. Look at mental object, such as, a feeling.

  7. Look at a physical object, such as, machinery.

  8. Look at mental object, such as, computing.

  9. Continue looking alternately at physical and mental objects until this exercise seems effortless.

  10. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 6

SCOPE: Let the mind un-stack itself.

Let the mind bring up responses in a natural order. Look at the responses in the order they appear, without any interference from you.

There should be no effort to recall. There should be no digging into the memory. Let the mind unwind or un-stack itself naturally.

When natural un-stacking is allowed, the mind will never present anything overwhelming.

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STEPS:

  1. Consider the question, “IN WHAT WAY HAVE YOU BEEN RIGHT IN YOUR LIFE?” 

  2. Look at the response that appears in the mind. Do not interfere with it.

  3. Consider the above question once again.

  4. Look at the response that now appears. If it is the same response then look at it more closely.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as long as there are responses appearing in the mind.

  6. Let the mind un-stack itself naturally on the subject of “rightness.”

  7. When there are no more responses review the un-stacking that has taken place.

  8. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise.

  9. Practice un-stacking whenever you find that there are more than one response to some item.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 7

SCOPE: Experience fully what is there.

An important aspect of mindfulness is to fully experience what is there, such as, feelings, emotions, efforts, etc. But before you do that, make sure that your environment is safe and free of disturbance.

The mind should be free of stimulants.  If the mind is racing, then simply experience that racing phenomenon without contributing to it.

There should be no resistance when experiencing. Fully experience whatever the mind is presenting naturally.

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STEPS:

  1. Make sure that your environment is safe and free of disturbances.

  2. Read an item randomly from the list above, at the beginning.

  3. If an emotional response comes up then dive into it and experience it fully. 

  4. Move to the next item.

  5. Continue with this exercise until you are able to experience without holding anything back.

  6. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise. 

    • [Note: the following steps may be done optionally.]

  7. Find something that you have been avoiding to look at. Observe the feelings or emotions that appear when you try to face it. Experience those emotions without resisting or suppressing them.

  8. Move around the house leisurely. Look at various objects, touching and feeling them. Experience any emotions that come up without holding back.

  9. Look at your old family album or any old pictures that you may have kept.  Experience any emotional response without holding back.

  10. Go for a walk in the neighborhood. Look and notice things. Experience them without resisting until you can unconditionally accept them being there.

  11. Go to a coffee shop, sit there and observe the surroundings and other people. Experience whatever feelings come up until you no longer are avoiding, resisting or suppressing anything from yourself.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 8

SCOPE: Do not suppress anything.

One should never try to make the mind blank by suppressing thoughts. Most difficulties in life are caused by suppressed perceptions, memories, imagination, etc.

Let the mind bring up thoughts, and exhaust itself of past suppressed thoughts. If something shameful appears then you observe and experience the shame. If something threatening appears then you observe and experience the threat.  

Do not pre-judge and avoid something because you consider it to be painful. By not suppressing you establish complete integrity of yourself.

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STEPS:

  1. Simply observe your surroundings.

  2. Notice as the mind starts presenting the following.

    • Labels – For example, the mind may present the thought, “This is a lamp,” when you look at a lamp.

    • Evaluations – For example, the mind may present the thought, “This is an expensive lamp,” as you look at a lamp.

    • Conclusions – For example, the mind may present the thought, “I will never buy this lamp,” as you look at a lamp.

    • Speculations – For example, the mind may start imagining all kinds of lamps and may wander off into day dreaming.

    • Other ideas, assumptions, expectations, suppositions, conjectures, etc. – The mind may bring up all kinds of thoughts and considerations.

  3. Do not suppress anything that the mind is presenting.

  4. Do not interfere with the mind in any manner.

  5. Simply observe the mind as it exhausts itself.

  6. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise. 

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TRAINING EXERCISE 9

SCOPE: Associate data freely.

Let the data be presented by the mind without being interfered with.

Let the mind associate that data freely on its own.

Mindfulness is observing the very activity of thinking itself.

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STEPS: 

  1. Simply observe with your eyes open. Once you can comfortably notice what is there close your eyes.

  2. Observe your breathing and let its awareness ground you. 

  3. Observe what the mind presents to you. Watch it shift around continually.

  4. Let the mind move from one thought to another freely.

  5. Continue observing this activity of thinking without interfering with it.

  6. Do this exercise until it is effortless.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 10

SCOPE: Do not get hung up on name and form.

Simply be aware that name and form may act as built-in judgment of what is there. Your task is to see things as they are.

There should be no effort to be judgmental by deliberately supplying name and form to what is there.

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STEPS: 

  1. Simply observe physical objects with your eyes open.

  2. Recognize the name and form of the physical object you are looking at.

  3. Continue looking at that object until name and form don’t matter.

  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you can do so effortlessly.

  5. Close your eyes.

  6. Observe the mental objects as they appear.

  7. Recognize the name and form of the mental object you are looking at.

  8. Continue looking at that object until name and form don’t matter.

  9. Repeat steps 6 to 8 until you can do so effortlessly.

  10. Review your understanding of the scope of this exercise. 

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TRAINING EXERCISE 11

SCOPE: Contemplate thoughtfully.

Let non-judgmental observation provide accurate input.

Let free association provide thoughtful contemplation.

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STEPS: 

  1. Simply observe the physical and mental objects that are there.

  2. Make no effort to judge them.

  3. Make no effort to interrupt the dynamic associations that are taking place among them.

  4. Continue until you have understood the scope of this exercise.

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TRAINING EXERCISE 12

SCOPE: Let it all be effortless.

In this exercise practice all aspects of mindfulness that you have learned so far until you are not even thinking of them. Any effort would come into play only when any of these aspects are violated.

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STEPS: 

  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. Continue until this exercise becomes effortless for you. This may take several sessions. Try not to end this exercise when some unpleasant emotion or effort is persisting. It is understood that this may not always be possible.

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Comments

  • vinaire  On March 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    I feel good about the first three exercise above. More needs to be done on the rest. Any help would be appreciated.

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    • Chris Thompson  On March 26, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      I really think that you’ve begun something that is broadly useful. “Mindfulness” training in a nutshell is what I have been doing for most of my life with the exception of my Scientology years. This is what a person does when they simply look naturally and attentively at the world around them and begin to understand what they are looking at.

      I have just unraveled for myself that Scientology “processing” processes in a 180 degree vector away from mindfulness and natural mental unstacking. Scientology processing processes toward the condensation and reinforcement of the ego and 180 degrees away from unstacking the mind. This is huge for me — or should I write, the lessening of the me?

      I’ve written three posts in a row beginning with this link. You don’t have to get as carried away with this as I am — it is just sort of the end of the road between me and Scientology.

      • vinaire  On March 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        Thanks, Chris. I feel that way too.

        Buddha taught mindfulness. It has now taken me a couple of years to understand what he was talking about. This is more basic than communication.

        I am still learning about mindfulness by creating and experimenting with these exercises. Somehow I feel that this is the fundamental of all fundamentals where methods of enlightenment are concerned.

        Mindfulness is a tool. Once this tool is perfected then it can be applied to resolving any inconsistency that one comes across.

        It is the resolution of inconsistencies that marks the progress towards enlightenment.

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      • vinaire  On March 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        In most Scientology auditing trouble comes when one expects a response to be there. This can fool the mind and even the e-meter. That is the route to conditioning.

  • vinaire  On March 28, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    I have now completed up to TRAINING EXERCISE 7.

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  • vinaire  On April 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    I have now completed all mindfulness training exercises to the best of my ability. Improvements shall be made as I get feedback on these exercises.

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