Friday, October 30, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I found the following Here: http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/MindClearing.html
Mind Clearing Exercise
A gentle, positive exercise for clearing some space in the mind.
Freely adapted from Ernest Wood's book, Yoga (Pelican, 1959)
by Gerald Grow
One of the most important things in learning -- and in life -- is the ability to pay attention when attention is required. This is a simple exercise I teach that helps students clear a space in their busy minds to let something new come in. I learned it because I needed it myself.
Think of the mind as an old roll-top desk with a row of little cubbyholes in it. You can stick something in a cubby, and, when you need it, you can pull it out, spread it on the desktop, and look at it.
Sometimes, though, the desktop becomes cluttered, and all the cubbyholes get filled. Then, before you can bring in something new, or even pay attention to something old, you have to clear some space on your desktop.
This is a gentle, positive exercise for clearing some space in the mind.
If you are leading a group in this exercise, first tell them this will take however long you have alloted (start with 10 minutes). Also assure them that what they write now is private: They will not be required to share it with anyone.
Sit with pencil and paper. Allow your eyes to rest gently on the blank paper. Pay attention to what you are experiencing. When something comes to mind (a thought, an emotion, a memory, a sensation), follow this direction very carefully:
Write down just enough that,
if you wanted to,
you could remember what you just experienced.
Then let that experience go, and return to letting your eyes rest gently on the paper. This is important: Do not think about what you wrote. Do not analyze it. Do not resist it or fight it or try to change it. Do not connect it with anything. Simply accept it, note it, and let it go. Then return to an open receptiveness to your present awareness.
To keep yourself from being drawn into the words on the paper, and the thoughts behind them, rotate the page about 15 degrees after writing each thing, so that, as you write more, the words appear on the page as a roughly circular series of jottings.
If a thought recurs, just put a check by it. If it keeps recurring, sit with it a while to make certain you have noted enough about this experience so that you could fully remember it if you wanted to. Then let it go and return to an open-ended focus on your present awareness.
Continue doing this for 10 minutes.
When you have the time, continue the exercise as long as thoughts keep coming. Then continue an open focus for about 5 minutes after the last thoughts came to you.
When leading this with a group, ask them what their experience was, searching to see if they feel afterwards that they have more attention availble.
I recommend that students use this mind-clearing exercise before any activity that requires full attention--such as an exam, an interview, or a date.
This is a very simple, pencil-and-paper example of the kind of exercise taught in the Vipassana school of Buddhism. For a detailed account, see Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart (Bantam: 1993).
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Kyudo is life.
Practicing Kyudo, with awareness, gradually transforms other aspects of life. At the same time, this awareness makes other experiences in life meaningful and relevant for the Kyudo practice itself!
In the first few weeks of my Kyudo practice, Ed Symmes Sensei mentioned that the traditional method of learning Kyudo in Japan was quite different from the modern method: The former relied much more on pupil's "observation" of the Sensei and much less on formal verbal instructions. Since Ed Sensei mentioned this, I was curious about the differences between the two methods. The modern learning method seems more efficient, so why did the traditional method exist at all?
I came to find an answer in an unexpected place. In the book, "The Inner Game of Tennis," Timothy Gallwey advocates an alternative method of learning tennis, and more generally, any physical activity. The basic premise is that the body, unhindered by the process of analytical thinking, has an extraordinary capability for learning. As children we all learn basic activities this way, but we grow up to become more accustomed with instructions, and self-criticism brought up by our analytic minds. He suggests that in order to re-activate this capability, one needs to refrain from judgmental evaluations of his or her performance, maintain an awareness in observing himself and his teacher, and let the body learns on its own.
Often times, explicit instructions by the teacher are less effective than non-judgmental observation, and to the extent that they provoke evaluations of actions by analytic mind, are in fact counter-productive.
We can extend this line of thought to the Kyudo practice, and realize why traditional Kyudo learning was mostly observation-based, and hence was regarded as a natural "way" to discover the awareness at the core of all Zen practices.
Today is relatively dry :)
Heavy rains in the forecast for Wed and Thu ...
And I am obviously depressed.
Not just because of rain and such.
The past couple of weeks have been strange.
Like old days ...
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
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