Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Playing with perception - Awareness pointers

Training sense of direction
Start with physical: direction cues - sun position, shadows, wind
Try to continually keep orienting yourself in space

Foundation for dancing: Proprioceptive of body: 
Maintain awareness of the body position all the time
Try to move blindfolded for some time.

Sense of separateness: Created by thinking
To reduce sense of separateness - Just relax and not describing things/thinking in concepts
To increase sense of separateness - Break down each thing in your mind, think heavily in concepts, use lots of nuanced verbal language with each emotion, object, quality distinctly expressed

To train hearing processing for music
Try to hear each track in a song separately - drums, bass, strings, vocals etc.
Try to hear the music distinctly one by one in 3 frequency ranges - low notes, mid-tones, highs
Try to hear the softest tone and loudest tone.
Ask yourself: What exactly am I feeling when I hear this song? What are the memories, emotions, mental images? It will be different each time you hear the song so pay close attention to every element and its intensity.

To increase visual perception: Visual artist training:
Look at what your seeing and see it as one giant elliptical screen with no depth and separation. Just one unified picture.
Now do the reverse, see things as distinct objects as far as possible - sky, clouds, buildings (roof, windows, frames), artificial lights, people etc.
Look at the different qualities of what you see: shadows, lighting, colors, gradients,  color composition of the entire scene, radiance (halos), brightness

To enhance any ‘Body sensation’:
Continually concentrate on that sensation and it will start to grow in your awareness
Lock on to it and gauge what is its intensity.
For Mental feelings or a particular kind of mood:
Continually project that feeling outwards: For example: if you want to project excitement, think about a time in your life when you were really excited or use your imagination and make up a fantasy story. Now capture that projection and project it into the current physical reality.

(Note: It is easier to do when you already have a trace of the feeling you want in your body, in other words its easier to blow up an already existing feeling that to create a totally new one. In actual reality everything exists at the same time but certain feelings maybe too subtle to expand sufficiently)

Mental Clarity: 
See everything separately - Seeing, Hearing, Smell, Taste, External touch, internal body sensations, mental images, mental talk, mood,  mental movement in thoughts - tendencies/desires/drives.
See the dynamic flow of everything in time.

Do the mental clarity step, then surrender and relax INTO it. Let everything be AS IT IS with no thoughts about changing anything.

Synchronicity of events:
Pay attention to everything that happens and find patterns where things happened to you in a very meaningful sequence. Pay attention to all the stories in your mind that tell you that everything that happened to you is filled with meaning and you are evolving towards a higher intelligence.

Look for for and encourage any thoughts and patterns of randomness you see in your life. Why did you bang your knee to the table today? Why did it suddenly rain? Why did I miss my bus? etc.

Increasing the mapping between words and objects: Increasing the verbal processing and working memory
Firstly the object should mean something to you and you must want to remember the word.
The intention is primary in anything we do, it is like the fuel. Always ask yourself: Do I really want to? and why?

Imagine an object completely with all its qualities and then keep the whole thing in mind and then repeat the word for the object until its strongly imprinted. Find all the associations you have with this object and describe each feature in your mind in the most imaginative way possible. Get a FEEL for the word and the object it denotes and hold on to it. Each associative pathway strengthens the memory.

E.g.: Mapping a person's name and face when we meet them for the first time. Or remembering a particular shop name in a particular street.

To feel real belonging: The opposite of dissociation
Look at the feeling of dissociation hard and ask yourself again and again: Who is looking, seeing and feeling this? What kind of heady/mental sensation do I think is me? Continuously look at that. Try to locate this invisible wall and identify: what is it protecting me from? Look at the present moment and stop thinking, and absorb all the direct perceptions in the moment. Ask yourself where else can I be? where else would I want to be? and then just open up to let everything in. Its just an act of trusting again.

Its like urging a turtle to get out of its shell. It needs to feel extremely safe and have total trust to do that. The shell is mental numbness to things that are painful and disliked.

Feel expansion of body:
Visualize I am space. Imagine you are the space for all objects in this room, in this locality, city etc. Imagine when your talking to someone, you are the empty container/space for that entire experience.
Imagine you are the space for everything you are feeling right now.

Try to find every single contraction in your mind (grasping, attachments etc.) and body (sensations) and release that energy and allow it to spread wherever it chooses to.

Floating feeling - like air
Try to imagine hard that you become air and the breaths you are taking is air inside air. Combine this with the "I am space" feeling to increase its intensity. Identify all the feelings of solidity in your body and imagine them disintegrating into airy vibrations and spreading across the whole room like a perfume.

To feel an artistic detachment - especially for sexual images
Look at a super arousing photo and then:
- Try to see the image as just an image on paper or on a screen. Feel the surface of the paper or screen to confirm that to yourself. See that it is just a flat piece of material. See the pores in the paper and pixels on the screen. Look at the shades of color minutely. Squint your eyes and try to see the image as a innovative wax candle or as a sculpture, monster etc., you can use your imagination.
- Notice that the feeling in your body is because of your projection to that image which is nothing but just some pixels on the screen or pores on a paper.

To love an annoying person:
Think about what kind of imaginary personality would love this annoying person. Maybe another equally annoying person - so he finds belonging, maybe someone who enjoys the domination and anger of this person, a masochist who enjoys being psychologically harassed etc. User your imagination and think about what kind of traits would his imaginary personality carry. As you think about this, your feelings of hatred etc. get diluted.

What would be the ultimate bodily experience possible:
Visualize and intensely imagine the best bodily feelings possible. Use the help of memory: all previous experiences where you have been extremely happy. Imagine those feelings slowly increasing in intensity as you are turning up the volume control knob.

What would absolute freedom feel like:
Imagine that suddenly you realize that your current reality is actually a lucid dream. What's the first thing you would do. Think of a series of actions that would follow.Imagine it vividly.

Directly feeling 'Ways of thinking':
Logic, Linear: Think of a sequence of steps. Think of the sequence of your morning chores and run through it in your mind. Try other sequences. What does it feel like to use this ability? What is the essential experience of linear thought?

Verbal: Try to remember the names of all the people you know at your school or workplace. Try to list out the names of all the objects in your room. What does using this faculty feel like?

Temporal: Think about the passage of time. Keep track of the time interval of each second passing by. Ask yourself how long will it take to cook food, walk to the grocery store. Think of a new far away place and imagine how many hours/days of walking will it take you to reach there. Try to run this through your mind and concentrate on your temporal calculations and feelings.

Rational: Think about what is the best thing to do right now and watch yourself thinking through this decision. You may weigh different factors such as immediate feelings, to-do lists, the calendar date, long term goals etc. What does it feel like to think in this manner?

Analytic: Look at your computer and break it up into its individual parts - screen, keyboard, touch-pad. Now look into the keyboard and count the number of keys. How many colored keys are there. How many colors are there in your laptop? etc. If you had to recreate your room in a computer 3-D language. Think about how you would approximate and break down everything you see. What would be the modules, sub-modules. What would be the smallest unit you would use? Feel what it feels like to break things down into its individual parts.

Abstract: Look around you and ask yourself, how do you know you are in your city, locality. Imagine whats behind the wall of your room based on your previous knowledge. If I can walk through walls and walk around 200m north from my current location where would I be? What would it look like?

Symbolic: Imagine a person your know making various facial expressions denoting different emotions. Imagine all the traffic signboards and signals. Look into how you map meaning to the symbol.

Numeric/Digital: Count the number of rooms, windows in your house. Count the number of keys in your keyboard. Count the number of lights. Count the number of plastic pieces on your window blinds.

Intuitive: What is the person next to you feeling and thinking based on his facial expression, context etc.? Look at the painting in front of you and think about where that place would exist in the real world? Intuit which of your friends would like to visit such a place?

Holistic: What is your overall mood right now? (look at all the feelings at once and decide). Try to look at all cycles in nature and yourself and see similarities. The orbits, rotation and revolution of the earth, breathing, day and night, wakefulness and sleep etc. 

Non-verbal: How does each color in VIBGYOR make you feel? What imaginations come with each color? (Red - imagination of blood, blue - sky or water etc.) What song would represent your current mood? 

Non-temporal: Imagine you have lost all memory and all you know is what is in front of you. Nothing is even recorded since even that has been lost. You just experience the immediate moment and that's all. Imagine this and see the timeless feeling it creates. 

Non-rational: What happens after we die? What is your intuition about what will happen 1000 years from now? How are you going to feel tomorrow morning? 

Synthetic: Think about how the droplets of water get together to form the ocean. Think about how all the employees together make a corporation. Think about all the bricks that have come together to make a concrete building. 

Analogical: Think about some analogy and feel the connecting of 2 groups of ideas. e.g.: How our life is like music and its about the journey more than the end point. How corporations and sports work on the same ideals. 

Feel your table, wall and feel its presence and concreteness. Feel the weight of your laptop. Feel the weight of your body. Feel the solidity, frozen-ness of everything.

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