Exercise: Assumptions

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

Familiarity makes one assume certain things to be there. The visualization is already there in the mind, and it gets superimposed over what is there. However familiar something is it is never permanent and it may not actually be there.

Meditation Exercise:

Assumptions

Purpose:

To discern the influence of assumptions on the perception of what there is.

Pre-requisites:

Complete Exercise: Desires and Expectations.

Instructions:

In this exercise you simply become aware of the assumptions that are accompanying your observations. You may do this exercise 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. Then patiently observe the world go by.

Notice the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner. See if your mental visualization match what you are observing. For example, you may implicitly assume that an ostrich should be able to fly since it is a bird. The fact is that an ostrich is a specie of flightless birds. Isolate the assumption if any.

As you observe, see if you are being judgmental about some situation. For Example: You may look at a person of certain sex, color, profession or cultural background. This may bring up certain preconceived ideas. Separate the actual perception from the assumptions in the mind. You do not have to do anything more than becoming aware of your assumptions. This reduces their impact on your viewpoint.

As you observe, notice if there is something that does not make sense. Underlying that there might be an assumption, or simply missing information.

Expand your span of attention and let the physical and mental perceptions pour in.

Continue this exercise for at least 20 minutes. You may repeat this exercise as many times as you wish.

End of Exercise:

When you can discern the influence of assumptions on your perceptions, then this exercise is passed.

NOTE 1: At any point you may return to a previous exercise if you feel that you need to complete it.

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