EMPATHY WITH ANIMALS
Chapter 5 :
Chapters 4 and 5 belong together. Body and breathing awareness is a basic part of empathy with animals.
This Chapter is necessary because we have forgotten how to doze. The problem is, when humans doze we slumber and daydream and get lost in abstract thinking – we have lost the feel for just being – and so we need to work to get it back. The question is then : how to work in a pleasing and thus self generating way.
If young children were encouraged to maintain their inner awareness, it wouldn't need so much work.
I'd like to give a starting point for beginners. But, i want to make clear that i am a thinker, not a meditator. I am still experimenting with how to combine broadband sensing with body and breathing awareness, and then with Chapters 6 and 7, our own taste and the smells around us.
BODY and BREATHING AWARENESS
Creative dozing and meditation mean much the same thing to me. My first and central advice is always meditate experimentally to avoid closed mindedness ... and only do the following exercises if they are interesting or enjoyable.
Check through your outer body, where it's touching the floor and the chair, your clothes, and the air on your face and hair.
Check inside your body for earth, where it's harder; and the softer watery blubber around and inside. Notice the fire, the feeling of warmth and vitality. Then notice the belly 'air-pump'. If you can keep your eyes open then good – but it's probably easiest at first to just close them.
THE WHOLE 'BREATH BODY'
Just breathe, conscious and letting go of the breath-body. Don't worry if your breathing becomes unsteady as you let it go, it's just your lower brain allowing your body to adjust to what it needs and wants, instead of being controlled by your routine habits.
Experiment with: 'conscious and letting go' or 'filling up and emptying out', or 'expanding and contracting'. There is no need to decide which you prefer, all are good at the right times.
If you use a form of prayer or mantra then build it into this basic sequence.
If you can do only this for ten minutes, then good. Most people, myself included, will start to daydream.
We have a choice, we can either
Some people are looking for truth or reality, some peace, some beauty or creativity, even magic. Some people want and need something solid and eternal, and others want something changing and flexible. Some want and need to develop will power and concentration, others need to feel free.
Focussing and concentrating on a beautific image, a new lover, anything awesome, is easy. But i find focussing single pointed on something which has no emotional or spiritual meaning is pointless, and i get bored. I don't enjoy meditating with concentration and will power, maybe you do.
If you already have an effective method to contain your thoughts and relax in body and mind, then what i'm suggesting with broadband sensing and body awareness, shouldn't hinder or harm that in any way. Please continue to use your basic method, but consider using broadband sensing and body awareness in a secondary role. You can build them together however you want, and the following exercise may be totally irrelevant for you.
A FLEXIBLE ROUTINE
COUNTING WITH BREATHS
One breath at each focal point gives me a slow rhythm with enough movement to be interesting. It gives me something slow and peaceful to do. It's practical.
Repeat the sequence if you want to intensify the sensation. But i wouldn't generally advise a third repeat because then the possibility of needing will power to concentrate arises, - it depends on the individual.
Then come back to whole body breathing, for a few breath-body cycles.
Give yourself 3 or 4 breath-body sequences just to daydream, just to see how it feels to have an 'organised' and time-limited daydream ..
Then come back again to the whole breath-body and this time combine it with listening and, with the eyes closed, seeing light.
Even without reading Chapter 6, you could start to include a rudimentary exercise on taste and smell in your sequences. Counting one breath each, being aware of: tastes, smells, light, and sounds.
Now you could repeat the feet, hips, shoulder, hands etc. exercise again with fresh energy.
Then be conscious again of the whole breath-body for a few breaths.
Whatever you do, please DON'T follow the above instructions exactly. Be flexible, do what you feel is good. It will probably work best if you just stop reading now, and for 10 minutes do whatever you can remember.
Appendix B has additional ideas. The above is as good a start as i can imagine at present.