The Union of Mind and Body: Some Exercises in the Enhancement of Awareness

Introduction

These exercises, which have variously described amongst other things as journeys into kinesic/kinesthetic awareness, Zen and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), have been developed to provide a vehicle for the awakening of the awareness of the mind/body system, the ultimate aim being union of the whole.

There are indeed elements of various 'systems' used herein, (mirroring/rapport from NLP, detailed body awareness from Zen, body movement and use of peripheral vision from martial arts/sports and so on), but the essential source of what is presented here is non-interventional observation of the body-mind system of others and particularly of self.

By observing yourself, you can find how you work: the problem is, for all of us, that we find it so difficult to observe ourselves because of the constant preoccupation with the chatter between our own ears.
These exercises are not NLP as such but use NLP terminology - which currently appears to provide the best means of describing how the human mind operates in practical, day to day situations (ie the real world, rather than a world of philosophy and fantasy) - as a descriptive aid. In NLP terms, the primary external Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory receiving mechanisms (VAKOG) are always with us in normal waking consciousness. Sometimes, owing to null, or minimal, input they may appear to be dormant: at others they are either ignored or crowded out in favour of other 'attention' demanding inputs - the internal, seemingly interminable thought processes manifesting through sequential chains of Vi (Visual internal) and Aid (Auditory internal digital) as the nervous system creates it's own largely irrelevant noise by sequential triggering of associated neuronic patterns. Aid is often called 'thinking' by the ill informed, but analogue visual and auditory imaging and physical sensation also play a part in real 'thinking', Aid itself comprising a series of grouped, conditioned analogue symbols.

Suffice it to say that these internal processes are secondary and, given sufficiently strong external stimulus - examples in various modalities are a bright flash/loud bang/hot poker/smelling salts/curry powder - they can be readily interrupted. Rather than introduce such sudden interrupts, the exercises/activities provided here divert attention away from, and thus break up, normal 'conscious' behaviour by presenting alternative directions and means of using awareness - directions which have always been present but ignored.

Once new ways of using awareness are accessed, they inevitably open the door to the access of other ways: the scheme is thus self-perpetuating, can't really be 'unlearned', and users begins to discover new means of extending the new-found awareness for themselves.

A number of the exercises are purely kinesthetic in that the kinesthetic modality is the fundamental one. Seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting are ultimately all physical, material processes - as is thinking, if we disregard various so called 'spiritual' dimensions and philosophies, all of which exist as mere theories and have no place here. Here you get pracical, hands on 'spirituality' without philosophy or religion: that 'spirituality' manifests directly in the acquistion of enhanced awareness and sensitivity. Since the physical body - insofar as any hard evidence and practical, everyday experience demonstrates - provides the means of human awareness, then this, in a practical schemata such as presented here, provides the area worthy of attention and exploration.

The essential nature of the activities presented herein means they are pragmatic, they work from the 'ground' up, and are available to anyone who might choose to use them irrespective of intellectual, philosophical or religious background - indeed, religion, psychology, philosophy and the like have no part in the material presented, which deliberately represents a framework of 'do and observe what happens.'

Belief, speculation, argument and discussion have no place here, indeed for some of the exercises they are likely to be an impediment; the means offered are experiential.
This practical structuring represents a conscious act. Although little doubt exists that certain sages can achieve enhanced stales of awareness by sitting in contemplation in a mountain retreat or the like, such behaviour remains virtually impossible for anyone actively engaged in the modern world - too much interference exists, too much physical and mental 'noise'. Additionally, for anyone to even subject themselves to the hardship and deprivation of a monk-like existence that is supposedly needed to reach a 'religious' state of heightened awareness, a measure of 'faith', dedication and adherence to a system of some kind exists as an actual or implied prerequisite: the scheme outlined here demands nothing of that sort. Indeed, an open mind, and a willingness to experiment and observe remain the only requirements. Approach the exercises with such an attitude, and you may learn something about yourself - and then again you may not. There is no compulsion, no financial cost, and no guarantee of anything.

Regarding overall structure and presentation, the later units do tend to build on the earlier ones, but each and every single unit can stand alone.
Numbering is obscure (1,2, Blue, Green, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 on this page at present - but see other pages), which reflects the non-linear way I originally published these in Usenet. Exercise 8 does not yet exist.

Future Exercises, in course of preparation, include Shifting Modalities, Sound Sensitivity, Reverse Anchors and Thought Tracking 2: the squeaky wheels will get the oil.

At some future date, I may publish a note on the nature of awareness itself: I welcome feedback from others on the fundamental awareness/attention issue, especially people who have worked through the exercises and are thus better placed to comment.
The ultimate essence and processes of awareness lie at the very root of what we understand as 'being'.

In regard to actually 'doing' the exercises and repetition, no hard and fast regime is advised - indeed the breakup of strict regimes lies at the root of much of what gets explored in here - but the user must be aware that the more s(he) partakes of a given exercise the more they are likely to enhance ther direct awareness and systematically break down and interrupt their current cultural and physical conditioning.

Running through the entire series every day for a week would be uselessly obsessive and shallow, whereas doing each one once would be uselessly superficial: one or two a day with focussed intent susch as to discover what works and what doesn't is sensible; from there, concentrate more on the ones that give best results, noting that some of the more advanced techniques might occupy attention for hours at a time once set in motion.
The nature of many of the procedures given here is that once 'practiced' several times - such that direct body awarenesses are invoked as real and tangible features in consciousness - then it will 'occur' to the practitioner, through direct body awareness, that they might do an exercise in a given situation.




Exercise 1: "Figures in Front of a Mirror is Only the Foreplay" (Castaneda)

To carry out this simple exercise you will need a large mirror, preferably full length, and some time with it in solitude.

To begin, stand before the mirror and move your an arm about, watching your reflection with your peripheral vision as you do. Be aware of your body movements, FEEL them, as you watch yourself: the 'feeling' of your body & co-ordinating feeling with vision is an important part of this.
Move, and accelerate/decelerate, quickly then slowly.
Move in different directions: twist, turn, hold, punch, grab, stretch fingers and so on. Then extend from this simple single arm movement into something more complex - e.g. touch your nose, brush your hair with your hand, scratch your ear and so on.
When you've got the hang of that, use your other arm and then both being sure to be aware of your body - observing it kinesically, feeling it - as you observe visually.

When you've had enough of arm movements (your body will let you know) start pulling faces at yourself. Pull your tongue out, smile, grin, grimace, pout, talk to yourself and watch your mouth, arch your eyebrows, etc. This is why you need solitude: if anyone sees you doing this you'll probably get dragged away by the men in white coats.

When you've had enough of grimacing, start on your legs. Move first one, then the other being sure to watch peripherally and feel at the same time. Walk around a little, turn, lean, bob up and down, stand on tiptoe, kick, paw the floor and so on. The more different movements you can think of to make the better. Now, time for more subtlety. Repeat the complete sequence of actions you have made above and, as well as watching, LISTEN in order to join your sense of hearing to body movement.

Have a short rest. That's enough (and that's a serious comment - you may find someone very close to you is enjoying this and wants more).
Get close to the mirror and be aware of your blink rate, observe how your head, shoulders and torso move as you breathe and make tiny movements to adjust your balance. As you do this, be aware of your heartbeat: see if you can detect it visually as you do. Next move away slowly, maintaining your awareness as you back away as far as you can. Now approach the mirror again. Be more aware of your breathing - don't force it, just let it be what it is. Be aware of the sound of your breathing, the feel, and try to detect it visually using your peripheral vision.

Now for the challenge: put all your actions together and be aware of as much of what's going on as you possibly can. If you can't catch it all, focus your attention on the various parts of the body in rapid succession. There endeth Exercise 1. It was near perfect 'mirroring' from start to finish (near perfect as you'll ever get, the imperfection being due to the delay in the light travelling from you to the mirror and back). The purpose was to synchronise your normal major sensory channels (sight/hearing) with kinesic awareness and help you subtly co-ordinate them: this will be of use later. In the meantime, it should help you become far more aware of the subtler body movements of others - which you can calibrate to their speech content if you are observant and patient.

Repeat the exercise as often as you like. Hope you enjoyed it.




Exercise 2:The Stand

For this basic exercise you need peace and quiet at first in order that you can pay attention without unwanted interruption. You can conduct the exercise indoors or out: when you become more proficient, you will be able to do it anywhere in the presence of any number of people. You are about to learn something about yourself. You are about to learn what a major part your subconscious mind, acting through your body, plays in your everyday life without you even noticing.

As a matter of FACT, it is consciously impossible for you to carry out what you normally consider the simple act of standing in one place - your subconscious mind does the job for you. You are about to observe this and become aware of it. Find a suitable space away from any obstacles and stand with your feet slightly apart. Look at a spot on the ground say three feet in front of you, keep your eyes open, let your hands hang by your side and relax. Now, as you stand there, become aware of the tiny shifts in balance taking place as you breathe. Be aware of the varying pressure as your toes, feet and legs tense and relax to shift the load about to retain balance. Feel your body swaying slightly forwards and backwards and from left to right. Notice the minute movements in your torso and arms as you shift to maintain balance.

You are normally blissfully unaware of all these movements - your subconscious does the job for you and has been doing so for years - and as you become aware of them little by little, you may find some interesting things begin to happen.

That's the end of Exercise 2. Once you can do it in a quiet place, try it elsewhere - a bus queue, waiting to be served in a shop, on a train (far more action!) and so on. Do it barefoot, in shoes and boots, in a wind: feel the difference.




Exercise Blue

You are about to learn something else about yourself. You are about to learn even more about your subconscious mind which, acting through your body at an incredible speed, affects your everyday life without you even noticing. Then you are going to attune to it and change something very fundamental to you.

As with standing, it is a matter of FACT that it is consciously impossible for you to carry out what you normally consider the simple act of walking - which 'you' (in reality the body) learned to do a long, long time ago. Time for you to observe and find out what's been going on..

Part a)
Find a suitable space away from any obstacles and distractions (particularly people) with room to move about in: the terrain should preferably be flat an relatively smooth, but it doesn't matter too much. Relax and either look straight ahead or at a spot on the ground say ten to fifteen feet in front of you, keep your eyes open, let your hands hang by your side and gently move into 'The Stand'. Now, SLOWLY start to walk forwards and be aware of the dynamics and corrections in balance taking place as you lift your leg, lean, stretch your leg forward, place it down and lift the other leg. Be aware of the varying muscle tones as your legs, toes and feet tense and relax to shift the load about to retain balance. Be aware of your arms moving as counterbalances. Feel your body swaying slightly forwards and backwards and from left to right. Notice the minute movements in your torso and arms as you shift to maintain balance. You need to do this slowly at first since there is so much going on that, if you attempt to walk at your normal pace, you'll most certainly miss a lot of it. Be alert and try to capture the whole process. That's the end of the first part of Exercise Blue.

Once you can do it slowly in a quiet place, try speeding up and try it elsewhere. Go up and down hills. Walk the streets. Walk some rough terrain and observe how your feet effortlessly, and without the intervention of thinking, manage to avoid the obstacles. Do it barefoot, in shoes and boots, in a wind: feel the difference.

Part b)
When you have accustomed yourself with the basics of part a) of this exercise, you may wish to move on and actively change the way you walk: this is the concern of part b).

Walking, as with many of our activities, was learnt at an early age in an undiscriminating fashion and is thus a habitual, semi-mechanical process. The root of habit is repetition and, to break habit, it is necessary to avoid its repetition. Now you are aware of your own walking process, you are placed to disrupt the repetition.

A simple way to do this is to become aware of the walking process and then (in action - not word) set one's mind to feel and slightly modify the walking mechanics such that one 'never takes the same step twice'. Try that and see if anything interesting happens.




Exercise Green: More Walking, Different Steps

For this exercise you appear to take a step backwards. In Exercise Blue, you should have become aware of your walking kinesics and how it is possible to change the haphazard way you walk. This exercise, since the content is closely related, has three parts, and should be conducted in peace and quiet at first so you can give your full attention. When you become more 'proficient' in your body awareness, if that's the correct word (you already are proficient), you will be again able to do it anywhere in the presence of any number of people without appearing to behave strangely - unless you want to.

Part a)
By now you should have learned to walk consciously so that no two steps are the same, you did this by conscious interference with your natural gait. Using the same process of interference, try to re-arrange your walk so that you move about as lightly and gracefully as you possibly can. Slowly at first remember, since you need to be alert to the detailed mechanics (focus on eliminating, or rather negaiting, the muscular actions and sways that are making you clumsy or awkward: do this by observing cause and effect - experiment with it).

Practice this for a while until you've got the hang of it and then up the speed. Once you've got to grips with that (there's a little more later) be sure you know and LEARN PHYSICALLY, not in word, the bodily 'feel' - i.e. the overall bodily tension/posture for the gait. Now emulate another walk - perhaps a firm, confident stride and repeat the learning process, remembering to note the 'feel'. Then learn another mode. NB It might be worthwhile learning an inconsequential looking shuffle (if you don't naturally have one in your repertoire) as some of the other walks can attract too much attention at times. Learn other 'walks' as you see fit - think up your own.

Part b)
In the second part of Exercise Blue, you were enjoined consciously to vary each step & not take the same step twice. If you paid proper attention to the first part of Exercise Blue, and to the first part of the present exercise, you should have noticed that you never ever do take the same step twice - there are always minute variations. The purpose in asking you to consciously change your steps lay in showing you that the gait can indeed be changed and, rather than being a random affair, be reset as indicated in the first part of the present exercise.

Realise that once you have shown your subconscious mind what you want, and assuming he/she agrees and he will happily take charge and run the shop. Forget trying to change every step you take and leave it to the big guy from now on.

Part c)
All this has been a little dry so far: now for some fun. If you've diligently carried out the exercises so far, you should now - if you so wish - be incredibly light on your feet, although you might need to develop it a bit [cf Exercise 19: Walking with Grace]. Here are a couple of games which you can use for practice:

1) walk across a hard (wooden/concrete/tile etc.) floor as quietly and smoothly as you can. Do it slow and fast (and be prepared for some puzzled looks if anyone's watching)

2) creep up on people from behind - but don't 'creep', use your 'light' walk (no, don't frighten anyone, just appear by them as if by magic)

3) if you're good, see how close you can get to a cat or dog from behind If you want to make an entrance, use your 'confident' walk. If you wish to remain invisible, use your shuffle.




Exercise 5): Flooding the Normal Visual Attention

For this exercise you are going 'out on the streets'. You are advised to run Exercise 1 in front of the full length mirror before you go in order to prime your sensory awareness, but if you can't manage that it doesn't matter. Whatever you do, be sure to have a book or a newspaper with you. The exercise has three parts and, although peace and quiet is the last thing you are looking for here - you want a fair number of people about but not a large amorphous crowd - you will need somewhere where you can sit or stand in a relatively crowded area, which can be either indoors or out.

Ideal places are a bench in a busy square or shopping mall, a cafe where you can get a window seat, a bus terminal and so on. Find yourself a place where you can settle and open your paper/book. Don't bother reading it, indeed be sure not to, just rest your eyes over the top edge of it: it's your prop to prevent you from appearing to be behaving strangely.

Part a)
Let your eyes take in the view, but DON'T FOCUS on anyone or anything and DON'T FOLLOW the movement of anyone or anything. If you find yourself looking directly at anyone (i.e. pointing your eyes towards them) point elsewhere.
Now, slowly become aware of the movement of everything within your field of view. Don't fix on anything whatsoever, unless it become absolutely necessary - like an interruption by a waitress - just let the movements happen and pass around, across and through your visual field. This exercise will accentuate the sensitivity of your peripheral vision. Do it for as long as you are comfortable, rest, then try it again and again.

Part b)
When you feel comfortable with part a), and this isn't going to happen in two minutes - you'll need to practice with these 'unfamiliar' senses - try to become aware of the sensations passing through your body as the movements within your visual field take place. The sensations are there, and always have been, but you are now about to become aware of them.
Feel what's happening to you in the chest and abdomen area (don't exclude anywhere else though, it's just that the given areas are likely to be easier to feel) and notice how those sensations synchronise with the movements you are observing with your eyes.

Part c)
Have a rest. If you feel fatigued, go for a walk and perhaps change location. Then reset yourself as in part a). Without looking directly, choose one moving 'item' within your visual field - this could be a person, a machine, an animal a tree, but preferably something that is likely to stay around for a few minutes. Without looking at the chosen 'object' directly, become aware of its movement, and its movement alone, through your peripheral vision. When you have it, become aware of your bodily sensations and how they relate to the object and its motion. Hold this for a while, then break off and select another object and repeat. Do this with as many different things as you feel comfortable with. Don't fixate (hold for more than 30s) on anything.




Exercise 6): Exploring Aural Attention

For this exercise you are again going 'out on the streets'. The book or newspaper will again be a useful device to have handy: even better would be a pad of blank paper and a pen/pencil. You can do it anywhere you choose, but a similar setting to that used for the previous visual exercise (Exercise 5) is recommended such as to give a reasonable amount of activity without too much confusion and disruption.

To make this exercise 'stand alone' the location description is 'you want a fair number of people about but not a large crowd' - you will need somewhere you can sit or stand in a relatively crowded area which can be either indoors or out. Ideal places are a bench in a busy square or shopping mall, a cafe where you can get a window seat, a bus terminal and so on'. Add to this list a quietish bar, a bus station, a beach, etc. One thing you should avoid is any venue playing repetitive music as, initially, it is likely to intrude overly.

Find a place where you can settle and open your pad/paper/book. Don't bother 'reading' it, indeed be sure not to, just rest your eyes over the top edge of it, or in the case of the pad look at the empty page as if you were about to write or draw something: the device your prop to prevent you from appearing to be behaving weirdly. You can do this without a book, etc. by staring at something in the distance - but take care not to look like some kind of axe murderer.

Part a)
Try to ignore naming or following what your eyes are registering (that's why the pad is best, you can look at the blank page) and take in the sounds around you as they come and go. That means don't 'listen' to anything, as in the visual exercise. DON'T FOCUS aurally on anyone or anything and DON'T FOLLOW the aural movement of anyone or anything. That means don't listen to a conversation or let your attention follow any particular stream of sound. Let one sound be superseded by the next as they come and go. Let the sounds happen and pass through your aural field.
When the higher volume 'close up' sounds fall away periodically, be aware of the lower amplitude sounds that are there (and probably have been all the time). See if you can detect them when the 'close up' sounds return. This exercise should accentuate the non-directional sensitivity of your hearing.
Do it for as long as you are comfortable, rest, then try it again and again. If the location you have chosen has a lot of sound repetition then move somewhere else.

Part b)
When comfortable with part a), and again this isn't going to happen in ten minutes - you'll need to practice with these 'unfamiliar' senses - try to become aware of the sensations passing through your body as the variations in your field of hearing take place. The sensations are there, and always have been, try to become aware of them. Again, feel what's happening to you in the chest and abdomen area and also your feet (don't exclude anywhere else though, it's just that the given areas are likely to be easier to feel). Notice the synchronisation with the sounds.

Part c)
If you aren't already at such, find a location where you can either sit at a table or on a bench with arms. Have a rest if needs be and re-run part b) for a minute or two.

Now, without breaking off, rest your elbow on the table, or arm rest, put your hand against your head and put a finger, or thumb, of the same hand firmly - but unobtrusively - in your ear such as to block out the higher frequency sounds on that side. Keep on listening, and feel what's happening in your body. Were those 'new' low frequency sounds there before, or have they just appeared? How are you registering them? Play with it: unstop your ear, then try the other one, try both, at all times being aware of your bodily sensations.

In time, and with practice, it will be possible to exercise this awareness, and the 'others' - as you become bodily aware of them you should become aware that they are one - in everyday situations. It will need PRACTICE. All of us have been so conditioned by word to perceive the world as a visual and aural construct that our body awareness has become atrophied. To merely discuss what is presented here is to fall back into the same trap. Good news is, in my experience, that the practice is wonderful fun.






Exercise 7): The Invisible Dance

Now to put exercises you've learned so far together out on the streets. {I'm posting this in rapid succession to Exercise 6) for a reason which is explained in a separate note.} The task is to walk, simultaneously being aware of body feelings, peripheral vision and incoming sound. If you have made something like a reasonable attempt at the previous exercises, the walk should be effortless and exhilarating, as if a dance when felt internally - but external observers will see nothing but someone moving smoothly amongst them.

Technique
Do Exercise 1) if you can before you venture out - this will key your awareness to be visually - and kinesically - aware of body movements. Next find a suitable place: same as previously an area with a number of people about but, since you are going to be mobile this time, make sure there's plenty of room to walk around freely.

Find a quietish spot to stand, then run the aural exercise for a minute or two. Without breaking the aural exercise, overlap it with the visual exercise, also for a minute or two. Become aware of your body feelings and then begin to WALK ABOUT AS QUICKLY AND SMOOTHLY AS YOU CAN, 'naturally' avoiding obstacles and passers by. Be aware of your walk, don't run and don't stutter if anyone gets in your way - just glide past noticing how they move. Be aware of how your body/ears/eyes synchronise and naturally and smoothly move amongst the obstacles. If you have become sufficiently aware, and can maintain that state, your attention should be flooded and your internal dialogue closed down.

If it isn't, feel your legs moving and balancing you. Enjoy the beauty of the dance. When you feel happy with this, move into denser crowds and try it again (I've found there is a limit) and 'dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free'.




Exercise 9: Simple Mirroring

If you have performed and repeated all the previous exercises diligently (ho, ho: of course you have, and now you'll reap what you've sown) your body should be significantly more sensitive than it was when you started. Specifically:
1) your muscular awareness, especially in your arms and legs, should be enhanced above what was once your 'normal' state
2) your peripheral vision has been exercised and sensitised, and can pick up lots of things outside your direct line of sight, even events that are taking place concurrently
3) you should be able to 'hear' rather than listen to anything in particular
4) you are aware of the peripheral movements of others within your field of consciousness
5) you are aware of the presence of others within your field of consciousness
6) you know that your body itself has a swift and 'parallel' intelligence, which if you are alert, you can become aware of. You also know, as a matter of undeniable physical fact - not intellectual debate - that your body can, and does, learn things.

If you don't feel that items 1) to 6) above have become part of you - as direct experience, part of your body learning, then you haven't carried out the exercises properly: up to you to remedy the situation - carry on if you like, but some of what follows may not work at first.

Basics of Simple Mirroring

You are looking for DYNAMICS, movement, which is a bodily PROCESS. Body positions, which means posture, the way someone sits, smiles, holds their arms etc. are content and are for manuals on sales technique and the like. Postures may or may not give you a 'message', but they are often unreliable. A man may smile at you because he's happy, on the other hand he may be hiding something: he may grimace because he hates you or he may have an aching tooth: if he takes a swing at you - a dynamic - the message is certain. If you follow what's to come, you are likely to learn far more about people than you could ever learn by posture. Body dynamics, this is where the word kinesics comes from (some, particularly USA, use 'kinesthetics'), take several forms thus:

i) the part or parts of the body that move
ii) the direction they move in
iii) their relative movement with respect to each other
iv) the velocity of their movements
v) the accelerations of their movements
vi) the rate/frequency of repetitive movements
So, put simply, the task is to pick up the body part, or parts that are moving, observe the direction, velocity and acceleration of each of such and coordinate those movements in one's own body. Simple. (rate/frequency comes in later). And it IS simple.

The trick is the use of 'body intelligence' and peripheral vision: that was the purpose of the previous exercises, to raise your awareness such that it can function effectively. If you attempt to mirror using your 'direct' vision and normal consciousness, you haven't a chance: IT'S LIKE TRYING TO STAND UP or WALK - hence the exercise on standing and walking.

An Easy Exercise
You can do this in the safety of your own home and get some basic experience. Take that normally useless object in the corner of the room (aka TV), turn it on and select a News program or something where there is live, non-selfconscious action. (see warnings below). Focus on someone's head movements, try to use your peripheral vision (you'll have to do later when you get on the streets again), and try to copy the little nods, shakes, direction shifts, turns, anything they do. Now look at their arms/shoulders and do the same. Now watch their mouths (do all this with the sound off by the way) and try to emulate their mouth movements. Now, notice they are blinking: match their blink rate (is it steady or varying?), speed of blinks (fast or slow, on head turns or not?), how are they breathing, what are their eyes doing? You may find it difficult at first, but if you persist you should find your body 'learns' the quirks and movements of whoever you happen to be watching. When you get confident with single actions, put a couple of them together, then a few more. Persist until you can emulate the person you are watching. Then try someone else, and someone else etc.

You should find that everyone seems to have their own kinesics, their own unique true 'body language' and repertoire of physical expressions as surely as they have voice tones and language patterns.

If you find you are struggling with this then go back to Exercise 1) and start again: what follows soon will demand far more speed, awareness and caution.

Warning Avoid mirroring drama/film/advertisements and the like. Body actions in such are contrived & to mirror them is, for your body, like sitting down copying liars. (Also, with old films, I'm not sure what the consequences of mirroring dead people are... Hmnnn.)

[Later Note: For more advanced mirring (live, which is something far more fascinating and magical than that presented in the simple exercise above) follow the 'Mirroring - Pacing, Lock On and Leading' link given below.]




Exercise 11) Breaking Thought Sequences

Thought, and the general description used here (which will be further discussed later) is 'the reaction of memory to stimulus', being to a large extent language dependent and in every way associative owing to the associative nature of memory, is sequential. This is not to say that the day to day operation of the mind is sequential, for it is not: in day to day behaviour there is an ongoing process of 'random' (and not so random - see Exercise on Thought Winds) inputs to the senses which, as well as stimulating the relevant Visual (V), Visual Internal (Vid), Auditory (A), Auditory (Aid), Kinaesthetic, Gustatory and Olfactory sensors may stimulate 'thought' as a memory response based on the input. Consequently there occurs a temporal, broken pattern along the lines event/observation/event/observation/thought sequence/event/obeservation/thought sequence/event/obeservation/thought sequence and so on. [Note Vid and Aid refer to word-modulated Visual & Auditory - sometimes known as digital in NLP parlance.] Note also that there need not be external input for the 'thought' process to operate & that memory sequences will quite happily respond to themselves in the form of non-essential noise generation.

The foregoing paragraph is provided as a general description of a process which this exercise is designed to disrupt - hence its inclusion. Although all this may appear to the reader to be theoretical at this stage, future exercises will demonstrate the veracity of the statements made. Note that the exercise given below will still work whether the reader accepts the content of this introduction or not.

So, to give a simplified example: Man hits thumb with hammer (V, A, K input). Internally, he may remain silent and still - which is a null response of thought. On the other hand he may think in words (and yell!) 'Ouch that hurts!' then access visual images of similar circumstances, what he did then and further think in words about what he's going to do now.
Suddenly, there's a thunderclap ('A' input). He processes this, accesses the image that thunderclap means storm means rain and that he'd better cover up the timber construction he's been working on, so he thinks 'tarpaulin', accesses in memory where it is located. Then as he goes to get it, his thumb begins to hurt - and so on to the next input. As stated above, normal thought is sequential in that word patterns and image associations are necessarily sequential, but the interaction of particular sequences in particular individuals will vary. The principal sequence mechanisms are internal voice based thought (Aid) - otherwise known as 'internal dialogue', and internal visually imaged thought (Vi) - pictures in the head. In the practical case, either of these can stand alone as self referential systems or more commonly combine to give a rapid stream of self perpetuating, sequential memory responses as word reciprocally stimulates image. Note that this need not be a strict word cycle/image cycle/word cycle (w/i/w) alternating structure: it is random & depends upon how an individual's particular memory is structured. This is further discussed in the thought tracking exercises.

One observation that can be made here is, that without varying external stimulus, the w/i/i/w/w/i/i/i/w/w/i/ etc. cycle of 'noise' more often than not becomes self perpetuating and can develop into various forms of potentially unhealthy, introspective speculation, nostalgia, worry and fears. The lengthy preface above is necessary to establish in rudimentary form the mechanisms at work before describing the exercise proper & thus provide some theoretical basis.

As the title of this exercise infers, the purpose is to 'break thought sequences': these can be of any form, but the exercise will be particularly useful with the long-chain introspective type. In the past, mind-numbing, repetitive mantras (which themselves are simple sequences) have been used to interrupt thought sequencing, the problem being of course that the mantramic pattern supplants the original: the techniques offered below have nothing to do with such.

a) Sequence Breaking by Random Input
The exercise can be carried out in any location, although there should be at least some minimal incident light available. You can be sitting, standing walking, running, driving, even lying down; the one thing you must avoid is direct conversation with anyone else otherwise, as you manage to break the thought sequences, they will be unwittingly re-installing their own. Incident conversations, in which you are not involved, don't matter - indeed you may even use them as a tool.

The basis of the exercise is to 'randomly' and rapidly - before the mind has chance to start associating - shift attention from one 'object' or action to another, from one mode of the Visual, Audio and Kinesthetic trio, (O & G are rarely strong enough/have sufficient variation), to another whilst actually thinking (Aid) or naming the the sensation & then quickly moving on to the next. This builds a contiguous stream of unrelated words, a stream that will not readily fit into memory, nor invite response from it either. You may find this difficult at first, for the mind is like quicksilver. Don't worry, it'll come.

If you catch yourself daydreaming, or thinking something about the given word you've chosen, you aren't moving on quickly enough. This is further discussed in the thought tracking exercises. Try to make at least some of the words verbs and adjectives etc. [NB the way to test for memory fit is to do the exercise for say 1-2 min and then see if you can remember what you were thinking a minute ago: if you can, then you're doing it wrong.]

Since there are so many multiple variations on the theme, an example is given below for (say) sitting in a quiet cafe with a window view.

"Man/dog/flying/leg itch/'who's next?'/puddle/hand/warm/sneeze/music/slip/chair/breathing/shouting/table/shining/cigarette/cross legs/child/clock/window/coming towards/"

That list represents about 30s worth of observations.

b) Not Walking the Talk
"The guy can't chew gum and walk straight' was one public comment made about a former President of the United States. He probably could. Walking (habit) and chewing gum (habit) are things that the subconscious mind is very good at - in isolation or alone. As discussed previously in this series, walking is something we take very much for granted and normally leave to the subconscious to get on with. Now, since walking is actually a very difficult thing to do if it is interfered with it demands tremendous attention to actually maintain a vertical posture. This fact forms the basis for this exercise. You need to find a place away from people for this, either that or go out in the dark when there are few people around.

The actual mechanics of the exercise are simplicity itself. Find somewhere relatively flat and smooth, walk along with your normal gait and then, at 'random', begin to deliberately interfere with the way you walk. Take a large side-step. Stop suddenly, take a large step, a small step, a step backwards & then turn for a pace in the other direction before side-stepping again & walking a pace or two backwards. Make the moves large and unpredictable (ie don't plan them in advance - let your body take you). Oh yes, it might look funny to onlookers, but don't have any. You should find, with all the effort you're having to put into staying on your feet by using non-rhythmic, non-sequential movements, that something happens to your thinking as well.




Exercise 12) Thought Tracking Part 1

Preamble
And so to 'thought tracking'. This exercise is one step from the big one of silent choiceless awareness, and has facilitated the acquisition of observational data for some of the other exercises in this series. The technique given, if you can manage to be alert enough to observe what goes on, should significantly improve your self awareness and shed light on not only how you behave, but why. You will need some measure of choiceless awareness to be successful in this - try noticing the gaps between your thoughts as an preliminary exercise, or perhaps do one or two of the kinesthetic exercises as a warm up: once you have it, the process is cumulative. The best places I personally have found to do this are when I'm driving or alternatively when I'm alone mooching around the local town. If you are with other people, particularly in the early stages of trying this, then you will inevitably find them distracting; better to do it alone.

On paper, the exercise is simplicity in itself, but you'll find it rather more challenging in the flesh - especially if you aren't too attentive - but with practice you'll get there. In a way, what you are going to attempt to do turns the earlier sequence breaking exercise on its head. Previously, in sequence breaking, extended response of Aid and Vi (internal dialogue and internal imaging) and their interaction was stifled by rapid, random input. The present objective is to make no 'deliberate' inputs at all, rather to let them be what they are & determine their effect on your system. So, to write that out in a simplified form:

Event - thought - thought -thought - thought - thought - thought - thought might be a typical sequence of events (it can get more complex than this, but that will be discussed in Thought Winds 2: walk before run - and believe me, you'll find the present exercise difficult enough).

Now 'thought' in this context means either auditory internal talk/dialogue/commentary (Aid), which will be in words, or internal image/visualisation (Vi), which will be in pictures of any kind (e.g. symbols, scenes, activities, word images, people) and may be still or animated. These two INTERACT. [There is also a kinesthetic (K) reaction which is outside the scope of this note & may be discussed in a future one. As for O & G, there is no noticeable influence -unless you happen to be tasting wine or such].

To use NLP or neurosemantics terminology, Vi and Aid symbols are anchored together (a broader word is associative) and reciprocate: a word or word sequence may trigger an image, which in turn may trigger another image or another word sequence and so on. Accordingly, in the sequence given above (Event - thought - thought -thought etc.), 'thought' can mean word sequence or image. Those are observations, so all the hard work's been done for you: all you need to do is verify or not.

Thought Tracking 1
The objective is to discover how your thoughts come about, how they got there and why. The raw material exists within your everyday experience - as does the laboratory: it's right between you ears. So, how does thought tracking work? Demonstration by example.

Well suppose, you are walking down the street and you suddenly become aware you are thinking about roses (see footnote). Your mission (should you choose to accept) is to discover how you happen to be thinking about roses. Did the thought appear like magic from some endless void? Is there some telepathic hypnotist putting things into your mind? Or did it come from somewhere else? So, adopting the 'somewhere else' approach, is it possible to backtrack through the entire chain of thoughts that brought you to the point you are at and to determine the original EXTERNAL (VAKOG) stimulus that triggered the sequence? I say it is: I can do it. If I can do it, so can anyone else. I'll preface the typical example below with 'V' for a visual image, and 'A' for a word or word sequence. Some of the content has both (V precedes A or inversely)

[Example (note this is in reverse order last event first): VA Roses, V new coat, VA boots, A wife's birthday next month, A 18th, must pay my Visa before 18th, VA need some stamps, A why did I come down here?, Bloggs Street. The thread starts at actually seeing the Bloggs Street wall plaque. Before that thought stream commenced, there was a (short) silence in the discontinuity between it and the previous one - which I have now back tracked to.]

I know that sounds difficult, but I assure you it's not impossible (most orinary thought sequences don't last for more than a few seconds without new or sustained stimulus). If I couldn't back track to the 'Bloggs Street' visual input, it doesn't matter since the thinking process would come to a natural halt at the last thing rememebered and thus the silence/ discontinuity would kick in regardless.

The prize is that you get to find out a whole lot about how your mind actually works - in the flesh - and work backwards to access previous 'silent' or non-sequencing states. When you reach that silent, non-sequencing state, THAT is what you achieve - a state of choiceless awareness. There is nothing more to add really with respect to the technique. This is probably the most difficult exercise yet posted in the series - the nervous system is enormously fast and elusive. The trick is to actually notice you are 'thinking' rather than just carrying on in the 'thinking' sequences (see below). The act of noticing, and subsequently tracking back to the silent state, is in itself a sequence 'interrupt'.

Footnote:If you have access to a watch or timer with an alarm that can be set to go off (say) every minute or so, such can be used as a reminder to examine thought and start tracking.




Exercise 13) Thought Winds

This practice utilises and builds upon what has been learned in Exercises 5) (Visual Attention), 6) (Aural Attention) and 12) (Thought Tracking 1). Given some proficiency in the aforementioned techniques you should now know for yourself that your peripheral vision and hearing are capable of registering much more than your directed vision and hearing, and further that you mind operates in sequences of interlinked internal visual image and internal dialogue which are triggered by external events.

Furthermore, if you have studied and practised the sections on mirroring, you will recognise that physical bodies actually interact with each other through empathetic mirroring.
I wondered for a long time whether or not to include this section in the exercise series. Superficially, studying 'thought winds' doesn't obviously assist mind-body union. I ultimately came down on the on the side of inclusion since there is a fundamental lesson on awareness to be learned here: our behaviour as individuals is influenced by those around us. It is a reciprocal process, in ways that normally by-pass our conscious awareness. As for the phrase 'thought winds', well that's a brief, apt description: a more scientific term might me 'reciprocal human conditioning', but that's a bit of a mouthful & I'll leave the jargon for the psychologists to re-invent when they pick up on it.

The implications of this phenomena, whatever name it is given, are profound since on the pure basis of number, the lowest common denominator will always control mass (cultural) behaviours - as will the LCD input from mass media. As human beings do not live in a vacuum - and furthermore since they are subconsciously aware visually, aurally and kinesthetically of the inputs around them, (ways that you should, by now, have learned to be somewhat consciously aware of) - they subconsciously interact. [Note that elements of what follow certainly have relevance to the behaviour of crowds.]

What follows refers to plural groups of 2+ people occupying a common space and interacting overtly within their own groups, but generally ignoring other groups - the kind of situation that occurs in a cafe, a bar, etc. In any place where humans meet in groups there are continuous subconscious interactions taking place. The particular 'ideas or behaviours' that are present in any part of any particular venue at any particular time can, and do, physically migrate from one group of people to another without overt communication.

The mechanism for this is as follows:
a) the surroundings will provide a broad, common backdrop of stimulus
b) although various groups of conversing people may not be consciously listening to other groups, they can still hear them subconsciously
c) in most venues, the majority of people - although having individual ideas - will share a common culture and social conditioning
d) people rarely speak about intimate, personal matters in public places. Conversation topics are likely to be relatively commonplace
e) there will be a modicum of reflective body language between members of groups and across groups

In consequence:
1) a lot of the external input is common & likely to provoke similar responses [a), c), and d)]
2) similar vocabularies will be in use [c), and d)]
3) subliminal aural inputs are continually being made from one group to another [b)]. Some of these inputs will be words, words detected as external events
4) remembering that in the thought tracking exercise an external event causes an internal sequence of thought along the lines of: event - auditory thought - visual thought - visual thought - auditory thought - visual thought etc. until the next 'external' event, the response by any individual to an 'event' (which might be a word, phrase or sentence, or an action by some other person, or some observation on the environment, etc.) is likely to be similar according to c).
5) in a conversational setting, trains of thought, 'thought winds', as initiated in 1), 3) and developed in 4) above migrate across disparate groups of people occupying the same general physical space

The reason the phrase 'thought winds' is used will become apparent to the reader upon observing the phenomena.So much for theory. As always with these exercises it is the verifiable, concrete mechanism of practice that is the proof. The venue suggested for this is a crowded cafe or bar with not too much movement of people in and out. As for noise, noise from people is essential & music is acceptable provided it is at a relatively low or background level: you must be able to hear the conversation of the majority of the people around you for this to work.

There are two ways to conduct the exercise:

a) Alone
Take station amongst the throng and 'listen' without direction as in Exercise 6), only this time take note of the various words being spoken around you without following any particular conversation thread. Get an idea what the conversations are about and be aware of the shifts. Particularly pay attention for words used in one conversation that suddenly (usually almost immediately) get repeated and pop up in another one nearby & observe as words, phrases and conversation topics ebb and flow around the room. You are observing thought winds.

b) With Accomplices,
Two minimum required - there are several ways to work this. In the first, the accomplices take station at say a table and discuss a list of prearranged topics in relatively loud voices. The observer sits out of earshot with a list of the topics, waits until a local conversation changes to the topic (oh yes it does!) and then signals for a change. In the second, the accomplices and observer all stand together. Accomplices talk as before and the observer, who remains silent, notes changes in neighbouring conversations.




Exercise 14) Passive Kinesthetic Awareness

This exercise is pure simplicity in itself. Although described as kinesthetic awareness, owing to the nature of our bodies, attention, and the noisy world we live in, there will inevitably be intrusion by the sense of hearing - even in a setting of complete silence. The procedure will first be described as if Aural inputs were absent & then the mechanism of dealing with them given.

WARNING:
this exercise can cause drowsiness and should not be carried out near machinery, whilst operating moving vehicles or in any situation where a loss of consciousness could cause harm.

a) The Basic Exercise
Find a semi-dark, quiet place. In particular there should be no distracting background sounds originating from 'speech' channels - conversations, TV, radio and the like (since they will initiate thought sequences) - and no rapid, intrusive variations in light. Sit, or lie down, relax, make yourself still and comfortable and then close your eyes. A favourite chair is a good place, provided you can get the quiet. Since the exercise is good for insomnia, bed is also a good place.Once settled, and don't worry if you have to move about from time to time to get comfortable - you'll soon take all that in your stride - WITHOUT NAMING THEM (indeed most don't have any names, which is a big help, so don't make any up) pay attention to the feelings in your body. Notice how you have various sensations - maybe in one foot, then an arm, then the torso, then the back, then maybe a knee or the top of your head. Just let them come and go. If you notice you are thinking, run the thought tracking exercise until you find the root of the thought sequence and then - in the blank that you'll get when you've rooted the thought - go back to feeling.

Follow the sensations as they move about your body: these sensations are with you, in various configurations, every day of your life, but you've never taken time to notice them before. As you notice these 'new' feelings, you are likely to become curious about them: that will make it easier for you to follow them, to observe what's going on.

b) Incorporating Sound
Even if you can find a soundproof room somewhere, or wear earplugs, you will not be able to eliminate Aural input entirely since the body generates noises of its own - breathing, heartbeat, digestive noises, slight movement against objects, etc. Accordingly, rather than attempt to ignore the body sounds - and any slight extraneous noises - just let them be part of the awareness process. If a sound aquires your attention, then so be it: it won't hold it long since it will be superseded by either a body feeling or another sound. Just don't bother naming anything (it is naming that sets up thought sequences, remember?) and let it pass. If you do name, thought track as given above.


Exercise 15) Thought Interrupts A

As indicated in previous exercises, and hopefully as directly understood by now, 'thinking' works in associative sequences and loops. This is an entirely necessary and natural process which has evolved throughout the millennia. Without structured thought, the engineering and scientific benefits of our manipulation of physical substance would be impossible & we would still be living in caves or some similar places.

Unfortunately, the very tool which lends itself to our physical and material well-being is also the means of our potential destruction: we use symbols - particularly word symbols - to devise systems of symbols and then assume they have some actual being in the real world other than as collections of organised sequences of grunts or marks. The present exercise is directed towards disruption of the 'grunt' systems as espoused by the spoken word.

Spoken words are far more powerful than the written alternative in that they are delivered rapidly, in stacked groups, and give the listener little or no time to question and/or analyse the content (which is often of little consequence) or the structure (which is commonly of major consequence - as any half-decent demagogue can testify - in terms of nested presuppositions, omissions and generalisations which can be arranged to lead to absurd conclusions). With the written word, the reader usually has the opportunity to review at leisure - additionally, the written word lacks the immediacy, emotion and nuance available in speech.


WARNING
Before the exercise is given, the reader should be aware that this technique (as with the others given in this series) is likely to progressively disrupt his/her 'world view'. In order to make the transition from that effortless and seamless, the reader is strongly recommended to carefully consider what their factual knowledge base of the world is. That is, 'what are the unbending, ordered, verifiable, factual, known things I know, live by, work with, relate to, the things that do not depend upon opinion, elongated obscure word strings or ambiguous debate?' I shall give one or two examples to assist - then it's over to you: I tap my kitchen table and say 'This is a table.' Ii squeeze one of my fingers and say: 'This is a finger.' I hear a sound and say: 'This is a sound: I can hear.' I eat some food, and I can recognise the taste. I smell a flower, and can detect a scent. Two plus two equals four.

I am fully aware that all the preceding statements can be argued about and made ambiguous by redefinition, but that's not the point here. Those day to day facts are your shields, your point of reference and return, as you enter the wonderland of ambiguity: to return, you need to reset your attachment with reality and fact (physical activity is most useful in this respect, the body is as real as it gets).

The Exercise
This will perhaps seem quite trivial following the previous statements, but it is not: the effects are far reaching, so don't overdo it in the beginning. Try it a little, then return to home base, then a little more and so on. Again, this exercise again involves that normally useless object in the corner of your room - the TV set - (we have the technology!).

Arrange to be alone, turn on, set volume control to medium volume, hold infra red remote in one hand, tune to a speech channel, close your eyes, and listen. When the speaker gets half way through a sentence, change channels - preferably to another speech channel, but if you hit something else just change again. And then do it again and again and again, never listening to any full sentence by any speaker. (Have you ever wondered about the deeper meaning of the word 'sentence'?} That's it, except to remind you not to overdo this one & to regularly return to your home, factual base.

Apart from pressing a button semi-randomly, and listening passively, that's all you have to do: the rest will happen spontaneously. Be discriminating in speech and listening: right speech.




Exercise 16) Atonal and Arrhythmic Chanting

See separate page (follow link below)




Exercise 17) Invocation of Grace by Body

Stand still,
pefectly still;
and hold balance.
paying attention to the body's movement
it's soft drawing of breath
the gentle beating of heart
the delicate swaying and shifting
as it effortlessly maintains equilbrium
and becomes aware,
without choice,
of the panorama of surrounding sounds.

Listen
without direction,
feel
the tiny body movements,
listen
with great attention
listen
listen
feel.

Now walk;
no need to hurry,
forever has patience, so touching gently with the feet
delicately and quietly
on this myriad carpet of stars
laid out before;
let the body feel the wholeness
measuring each effortless step
paying direct attention
to the entire movement.

Let the body flow,
for well it knows how,
unimpaired
quietly
harmoniously
gracefully
these ageless multitudes
one with their surroundings
in silent attention.

So grace comes into being
the stillness
and silence
of the immeasurable,
the whole.

So let it be.

Exercise 19) Allowing the Access of the 'Subconscious Mind'

Note at the very outset here that this does not mean that the conscious mind somehow accesses and uses the subconscious mind, rather the reverse.
In this exercise, techniques are presented which permit the conscious mind, which has over the millennia become overrun and preoccupied with the incessant conditioning effect of language, to temporarily move into 'park' mode and allow the subconscious - with its wordless insight and wisdom - to impart correction as it sees fit. Realise now that this so called duality of mind is in fact merely a means of describing what in actuality is a unity, albeit a disintegrated unity, and that the well-being of both is necessary for the well-being of the whole: mankind's conscious mind is sick.
In order to understand what follows, and the word 'understand' in this context means to experience at first hand as hard fact - not to discuss in word form - the reader will require an understanding, in the terms just defined, of the exercises given to date in this series.

What follows is by necessity given in words. In NLP parlance it is a 'map' - but it is only a map of the first few paces of a journey onto a beach, a beach of new perceptions and opportunities. What the map provides are preliminary directions for accessing the territory that lies beyond the beach, and each reader will make their own map and discover their own beach/territory and the vast forests that possibly lie beyond. The new territory is, a priori, an unknown, wordless land which exists beyond the map, and may permit itself to be mapped if it sees a need. It is important to understand that on this journey, the 'sees a need' rider is dependent on the volition of the keeper of the territory and not the would be map maker.

Language and the Conscious Mind

There is no doubt that language is useful. It can be used as a practical tool for the exchange of factual information between one person and others. Arguably, it is the thing that separates humanity from the animals and without it the few of us that managed to survive might very well still be residing in caves. That's on the one hand. On the other, much of what passes for communication in words in our modern world, and in consequence saturates the attention of the human species with internal dialogue (Aid), is irrelevant chatter of one kind and another. There is much needless thinking and talk of the past (gone), speculation about the future (projection of the past), fascination with personalised gossip and soap opera, infatuation with the self and all the rest - the majority of which, upon close inspection, comprises hollow, habitual repetitive language patterns that have little or no intrinsic meaning and are delivered in mechanistic response chains of cause and effect. There is little need for the me to describe this in any great detail: anyone who has practised the preceding exercises in this series should be keenly aware of the continuum of habitual Vi, Ad and Aid loops.
The reader of these exercises should by now be aware - by actual observation rather than intellectualising - that words - the constant stream of verbiage - is self propagating, both internally and externally, in streams of action/reaction.
To briefly review, Exercises 11) and 12) should have demonstrated how this reactive system operates internally, and Exercises 13) and 15) how it works with an external series of inputs. If the reader is not aware of what occurs, then he/she should stop right here and review what has gone before. This is not a game.
Diligent practice should have demonstrated to the reader that it is not possible to actively still this incessant tide of words - such an effort in itself being an effort of will, which is in itself a movement of words - but that the internal dialogue can become spontaneously stilled when there is the arising of a state of non-verbal attention.
This is the basis of what follows.

The Means of Opening the Door

As has been known for countless centuries the manoeuvre is to bring about the ending of the internal dialogue. With this objective in mind, this is where several of the exercises given so far are brought together, the objective being to fuse them and, as far as possible, to put the fundamentals together in one wordless, movement.
The elements of the exercises to be used are as follows:
a)(K)Exercise 1)......Awareness of Movement of Body of Self
b)(K)Exercise 2)......Awareness of Body When Standing (Used when static)
c)(K)Exercise Blue)...Awareness of Locomotion (Used when walking)
d)(K)Exercise Green)..Awareness of Locomotion (Used when walking)
e)(V)Exercise 5)......Visual Awareness without Focusing
f)(A)Exercise 6)......Aural Awareness without Focusing
g)(V)Exercise 9)......Mirroring (Used Passively. Unfocussed awareness of movement of others)
h)(K)Exercise 11b)....Breaking Rhythmic Sequence
i)(M)Exercise 12).....Awareness of Thought Sequence
k)(A)Exercise 13).....Awareness of Impact of Surroundings
l)(K)Exercise 14).....Awareness of Body of Self.
m)(A)Exercise 16).....Blocking of External Input/Self Quietening
That appears to be a lot at first sight, and it is, but broken down (the principal modality precedes the exercise number in the list above), there are six Kinesthetic areas to be mindful of, three Aural, two Visual and one Mixed modality one. Additionally, not all these will be in play at any given time - and a simplification is given below anyhow. As an example, standing in say a bus queue would perhaps involve a), b), e), f), g), i) and l) from the previous list to be deployed simultaneously.

The Impossibility creates the Possibility

Impossible! Be aware of my balance, the movement of my own body and that of people around me, hear the wind whistle by, notice - but ignore -the idle chat of the people around me, traffic noise, the itch on my nose, my ongoing thoughts and where they are coming from! Impossible!
Yes, it is - and that impossibility actually creates the opportunity. By attempting this impossible task attention becomes flooded, and as there is a non-verbal attempt to direct attention in a number of 'non-ordinary' directions - there is a lot of Kmode to attend to, a lot of non-focused V and A, so many many 'non-word' things going on, that Aid becomes starved of energy and the internal dialogue, slowly and surely, falls away.
Attention, which in almost all of us has been an almost permanent prisoner of language since we were in our infancy, becomes free, free to explore all the other things that are incessantly going on unnoticed within and around us.

The Type and Use of the Exercises

The exercises, although each is valid in its own way as a 'stand alone' can, for the purposes of this paper, be split into three basic groups as follows:

Group 1: Passive Kinesthetic
(K)Exercise 1)......Awareness of Movement of Body of Self
(K)Exercise 2)......Awareness of Body When Standing (Used when static)
(K)Exercise Blue)...Awareness of Locomotion (Used when walking)
(K)Exercise Green)..Awareness of Locomotion (Used when walking)
(K)Exercise 14).....Awareness of Body of Self.

Group 2: Passive Aural and Visual
(V)Exercise 5)......Visual Awareness without Focusing
(A)Exercise 6)......Aural Awareness without Focusing
(V)Exercise 9)......Mirroring (Used Passively. Unfocussed awareness of movement of others)
(A)Exercise 13).....Awareness of Impact of Surroundings

Group 3: Active
(M)Exercise 12).....Awareness of Thought Sequence
(K)Exercise 11b)....Breaking Rhythmic Sequence
(A)Exercise 16).....Blocking of External Input/Self Quietening

Groups 1 and 2 above represent states of passive or choiceless awareness which will automatically come into being when internal dialogue is stilled - either by a deliberate direction of attention into the appropriate K, A, V mode or spontaneously.
With groups 1 and 2, it indeed takes practice to say become silently aware of one's feet, or aware of passing sound or generally visually aware without interference by thought, but it is possible to do, and in time it will come: this is where the 'stand alone' function of the exercises is valuable. Using the bus queue example, if one finds the attention wandering into thought, one could rapidly redirect it into Exercise 2) The Stand, and become aware of the kinesthetic mode.
Additionally, this is where the importance of the group 3, the active exercises comes in. These latter are in fact direct PATTERN INTERRUPTS, devices intended to break the habitual (patterned) flow of internal dialogue, and I deal below with particular circumstances in which they can be used in the composite scheme (the reader can still use these as 'stand alone' exercises regardless of what follows).

Use of Exercise 11b)
Rhythm and pattern underlies language. Language prosodies can initiate speech and thought trains - in much the same way that the tapping out of a musical rhythm can initiate the recall of a tune: both these facts are verifiable by observation. Exercise 11b) can be deployed when the reader (spontaneously) notices personal behaviour occurring in an overly fixed, rhythmic pattern of some kind, (walking, breathing, performing mechanical body movements), which is giving rise to rhythmic or repeated thought patterns. Similarly, 11b) is useful to interrupt when there are external rhythms - repetitive music or behaviour of others. Regarding the use of 11b), it is of course possible to pattern disrupt other than by using the feet, and such is indeed recommended when circumstances demand. Kinesthetic means are best pattern breaks since they don't encourage mode Ad (which would lead to music/other rhythm) or and in turn Aid. Hand tapping, adjustment of breath rate, finger moving, moving/holding the body discreetly in awkward directions/positions all work in this context.

Use of Exercise 12)
This may be deployed whenever the reader, during the course of carrying out the 'gestalt' exercise or not, becomes spontaneously aware of the fact of verbalised thinking, (Aid). There are natural, observable gaps in every thought stream and back tracking any given thought train will reveal its original source and automatically return to the natural silence or gap that existed before that train became active.

Use of Exercise 16)
This technique is particularly useful for creating internal silence when there is either an overabundance of self perpetuating internal dialogue or an overabundance of external speech creating excessive internal disturbance. In a crowd situation, it is possible to chant quietly enough under the breath to remain unnoticed, yet at the same time loudly enough to drown the impact of impinging words [see Exercise 13)]. Note that when sufficient internal calm has been gathered, external speech is irrelevant as a disturbance provided the reader can avoid registering it by internal (Aid) response. It can be noticed and permitted to flow past as per Exercise 6).

And Then...

Once the door has been pushed ajar - and that is a misnomer, rather 'when one has taken one's foot away from the door' - the light may or may not begin to gently shine through: that's up to the light, and you'll never force it. Given flooded attention and attention in directions other than the prison of words, there will be a change - new perceptions. This can be a little unnerving at first, but it's only because it is new - the reader is admitting a new state of reality by letting go of words and the state of everyday reality continually constructed by words up to this point. There is nothing at all to be afraid of since the body and subconscious are well able to cope - and are far more alert to any potential hazards than the conscious. A state of choiceless awareness will slowly come into being and the reader should gradually become aware of things that he/she wasn't aware of before, things that might have been there all the time.
A few pointers to this are:
1) a slowly emerging increased sensitivity, sharpness and alertness: the reader will build upon what is given here and develop his/her own non-verbal techniques for insight
2) certain puns, plays on words and poems may suddenly acquire a deeper meaning
3) the reader will perhaps notice significance in apparently trivial events and become increasingly aware of meaningful synchronicities
4) certain words and phrases (continuous or contiguous) - both in the written and spoken form - and shapes and actions may appear to 'stand out' and take on importance in the reader's immediate context
5) metaphors in word, shape and action might suddenly appear as if from nowhere
When these such as signs appear, they are the signposts for the reader's new map - and they should be noted down for they are often subtle, fleeting and easily forgotten
6) hitherto unknown feelings of peace and well being might spontaneously occur

24th May 2005: See also new page on 'Beginnings of Learning' at: http://www.angelfire.com/nd/kinfo/beglearn.html (or follow link below).

Other Things on this Site

Dan Scorpio Index
Prince and Magician Index
Mirroring - Pacing, Lock On & Leading
Novel Language Pattern
Neologism and Cliche
Atonal Arrythmic Chanting (Exercise 16)
Exercises 21 and 22: Toning and Dynamic Kinesthetic Awareness
The Beginnings of Learning
Therapeutic Metaphor
Overcoming Conditioned/Habitual Behaviours

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