Your Portable Private Space
Following on from the experiments of Awareness Before Seeing… we each have our own private space, very distinct from the public face that other people see and we see when we look in the mirror.
- With eyes open, shift your attention back and forth between objects in front of you and then back to your private space. Your attention shifts from attention outside to awareness ‘inside’.
- Rest with awareness of your private space.
- Now move your head and eyes from side to side. Notice how quickly your attention is distracted by the changing shapes and colours of your moving environment.
- Practice turning your head and remaining in your private space. The objects of the environment may become fuzzier and your space stronger. If you wear glasses, your glasses can help make this distinction clearer. Notice your attention distracted by the world beyond your glasses and your awareness behind your glasses of your private space.
- Once you’ve played with this you can take it a step further. From your private space extend your relaxed awareness out into the world around you.
The World Moves Through You
In this next experiment you will walk around maintaining your awareness with your private space and notice how your private space does not change, the world moves pass or through you.
- stand up and bring your awareness to your private space
- walk in a straight line maintaining your awareness of private space
- notice how the things of the environment are the parts that are moving. As your private space, you do not move, the world moves through you.
Returning to Center, by Contrast
- Trail 1: Contrast your public face with the private space you look out of. Have a look in a mirror or on a video call and shift your attention back and forth between your face on the screen and the space that you’re knowing looking out of.
- Trail 2: Shift your attention between the faces of the people (or pictures of people) around you and your private space. Again notice the difference between the form of faces and the formlessness of the space. Douglas Harding called this, “Face to No-Face”.
- Trail 3: Just like Hack 2 except this time using your memory of people’s faces. A more difficult task. Switch between a face in your memory and the space that you view the world from. Shifting between memory and present perception. Again these are dramatically different.
Private Space – A Simple Touchstone
To develop our meta-awareness or awake awareness we need a simple action that we can take in those moments when we remember… those moments when we pop out of our distracted thoughts and notice our discomfort. Coming back to your private space can be that action.
There is no doubt that we need to repeat actions before the brain will rewire and start to act unconsciously in our favour. Once we have familiarity with shifting into your private space, and distinguishing the felt-sense difference between being thought-absorbed and being spacious, all that is needed is repetition. By repeatedly returning to our private space (and out of our public face) we are gradually transitioning the skill into unconscious competency.