Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 2)

Unstack

Reference: Mindfulness Approach

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Mindfulness is seeing things as they are. It provides the discipline for looking and contemplation

The following exercises help you see things as they are. You may do them while sipping coffee in a café, or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed, and then patiently observe the world go by.

If something does not make sense, then recognize that it does not make sense. Do not try to justify it. Justification simply puts the blame somewhere without resolving the inconsistency. When you are faced with an inconsistency, and you feel an impulse to explain it away, then be alert to what you might be taking for granted. At times it may take some out-of-the-box thinking to realize what is going on.

We associate the idea of sense organs with eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. We use them to observe physical objects, such as, chair, car, house, etc. However, the mind is also a sense organ, which senses ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. These are mental objects. When being mindful, recognize both physical and mental objects for what they are.

Let the mind un-stack itself naturally through patient contemplation on whatever comes up. Observe the issue uppermost in the mind, and then the next, and the next. Let the mind deal with issues in the order it wants to.  There should be no effort to recall, to dig for answers, or to interfere with the mind in any way.  Simply look at what is right there in front of the mind’s eye at any moment. The mind will never present anything overwhelming when allowed to un-stack itself.

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EXERCISE # 1: Something incomprehensible

PURPOSE:  To discern that something incomprehensible is, indeed, incomprehensible. 

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 1).

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you simply become aware of something that is incomprehensible and do not try to explain it away.

  2. Notice the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  3. Notice if there is something that does not make sense.

    For example, Kantian philosophy says that pure knowledge cannot be sensed because knowledge becomes impure the moment it is sensed. Recognize this as Kant’s idea that does not explain how Kant “sensed” it. Do not pretend to understand. Simply become aware of the incomprehensibility of it.

  4. If there is an impulse to explain it away then become aware of it. Do not avoid, resist, suppress, or deny any other thoughts or feelings arising in the mind.

  5. Let the awareness of what does not make sense continue to be there. Simply look at it more closely without explaining it away.

  6. If this area can be researched using a dictionary, encyclopedia, or Internet then do so. Just keep looking until the mystery goes away by itself.

  7. If you recognize a contradiction or inconsistency, then check for any assumptions involved. Be alert to what you might be taking for granted. Verify any doubts.

  8. If there is criticism that does not make sense, then check to see if it points to a real workable solution. If it does not then it is just “blame” that is pretending to be an answer. Ignore all attempts at blame and move on.

  9. If it is an explanation for some unwanted condition that does not make sense, then check to see if it has ever led to a workable resolution. Ignore all explanations that have not led to resolution in the past and move on.

  10. Expand your span of attention to as wide a context as possible, and let the physical and mental perceptions pour in, while doing this exercise.

  11. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  12. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  13. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 2: Mind as a Sense Organ

PURPOSE:  To discern that mind is an organ that senses mental objects.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 1 above. 

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you become aware of mind as a sense organ.

  2. Notice the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  3. Notice if there is something that does not make sense.

  4. Notice some physical objects in the environment, such as, the wet feel of water, the sight of the trees, the sound of birds chirping, the smell of flowers, and the taste of coffee.

  5. Notice that memories, visualizations, thoughts, evaluations, conclusions, emotions, impulses, etc., are mental objects being perceived by the sense organ called the mind.

  6. Recall a memory from your childhood. Notice that it is a mental object that is made up of physical perceptions received in the past. Such perceptions are reflections of physical objects.

  7. Visualize your favorite activity. Notice that this visualization is a mental object made up of the rearrangement of perceptual elements that are derived from physical perceptions.

  8. Think of some thoughts, such as, physical, mathematical, and philosophical. Notice that these thoughts are mental objects made up of patterns in the mental matrix made up of perceptual elements.

  9. Observe some mental evaluation going on. Notice that these are association being activated and settled very rapidly within the perceptual matrix where the mental objects are formed.

  10. Look at some conclusions you have arrived at recently. Notice that these are associations that have been settled within the perceptual matrix where the mental objects are formed.

  11. Feel some emotions, such as, fear, anger, and boredom. Notice that these emotions provide feedback on the general stressed or relaxed state of the perceptual matrix.

  12. Feel some impulses in the body or those, which move the body. Notice that these impulses are responses in and of the body to potential differences in the perceptual matrix.

  13. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  14. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  15. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 3: Un-stacking the Chaos

PURPOSE:  To discern the approach to un-stacking the chaos faced by the mind.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 2 above. 

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you become aware of the approach to un-stack the chaos faced by the mind.

  2. Notice the physical and mental environment in a causal, easygoing manner.

  3. Look at the physical and mental objects present in the environment. You may find physical objects to be relatively stable, but mental objects to be in a chaotic state.

  4. Use physical objects to stabilize your attention. Do not avoid, resist, suppress or deny the chaotic state of the mental objects. Allow them to settle down on their own accord. Do not interfere with them.

  5. Identify the topmost issue that needs to be resolved to calm the mind. Start observing it from various angles.

  6. Notice, if there is something on this issue that the mind is trying to avoid, resist, suppress or deny. Observe it closely to see if something is being justified. If you spot a justification then simply become aware of it and move on. Spot as many justifications as you can.

  7. If the issue is still persisting, then observe it closely to see if something does not make sense. In other words, look for an anomaly (discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency). If you spot one then simply become aware of it and move on. Spot as many anomalies as you can.

  8. If the issue is still persisting, then observe it closely for a shock. It is a shock containing pain, loss, or confusion that pins the issue in consciousness. If you find a shock then carefully re-experience it from beginning to the end. Re-experience it several times until its shock-value is gone.

  9. As long as the issue is persisting continue looking for justifications, anomalies and shocks. Its persistency shall start to reduce, If another issue now becomes topmost then repeat steps 5 to 8 with this new issue. You can always go back to an earlier issue if it starts to dominate again.

  10. All these issues are entwined with each other. Always follow the most dominant issue until it loses its dominance.

  11. Never dig into the mental matrix looking for answers. Let the chaos un-stack by bringing up justifications, anomalies and shocks to view.

  12. If there is dopiness then let it run itself out. Do not interfere with it. You will become alert after some time.

  13. Expand your span of attention to as wide a context as possible, and let the physical and mental perceptions pour in, while doing this exercise.

  14. This exercise is done for at least 20 minute. You may do it for a longer period if justifications, anomalies and shocks are coming up easily and running out. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  15. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  16. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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