Stilltrying

Application of awareness

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Has anyone managed to cultivate and integrate their awareness and apply it to a skill? Maybe even specifically harnessed it for a particular skill or skillset?

 

I know some musicians and athletes have spoken highly of meditation and religions/spiritualities involving it outright

 

Im at a point in life where a lot has fallen away and is still falling away, in good and bad ways to me, and ive gotten to a point where i just want to fully go into a pursuit. 

 

Maybe this is a mid-life crisis? Or just crisis? Im unsure, but its something ive wanted to do for a while

 

Thank you for reading

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It's wonderful to find an art you connect with.  The skills you learn and the people meet can make a world of difference in your life.

 

Working with my dad running a small recycling company was quite stressful.  He was demanding and set up no win situations.  To deal with it I took up martial arts, Aikido.  The physicality and mentality was what I needed.  You attacked hard, threw hard, yet due to its choreographed nature, you rarely got hurt or hurt your partners.  It was great for venting,  learning intricate throws was like solving puzzles.  Awareness and timing were essential.  It had weapon forms, meditation, healing lessons etc.,  I was involved in it for 13 years, it kept me in shape and sane.  

 

Good luck finding your art.  Perhaps meetup.com could be a source to find groups going on around you.  Something nearby definitely has advantages.  Look to what you were interested in when you were younger to point you in directions to take now.  Also consider that a great teacher can be worthwhile to study with, regardless of the art.  

 

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17 hours ago, Stilltrying said:


Has anyone managed to cultivate and integrate their awareness and apply it to a skill?
 

 

 

An excellent question! 

Have you tried just sitting?  A little bit about that, from a piece I'm working on:
 

But usually in counting breathing or following breathing, you feel as if you are doing something, you know-- you are following breathing, and you are counting breathing. This is, you know, why counting breathing or following breathing practice is, you know, for us it is some preparation-- preparatory practice for shikantaza because for most people it is rather difficult to sit, you know, just to sit.

 

(Shunryu Suzuki, 70-02-22: The Background of Shikantaza, “question and answer")
 

 

Suzuki said that directing attention to the movement of breath (‚Äúfollowing breathing‚Ķ counting breathing‚ÄĚ) has the feeling of ‚Äúdoing something‚ÄĚ, and that ‚Äúdoing something‚ÄĚ makes such practice only preparatory.

 

Although attention can be directed to the movement of breath, necessity in the movement of breath can also direct attention:
 

There can… come a moment when the movement of breath necessitates the placement of attention at a certain location in the body, or at a series of locations, with the ability to remain awake as the location of attention shifts retained through the exercise of presence.

 

(Common Ground)
 

 

There’s a frailty in the structure of the lower spine, and the movement of breath can place the point of awareness in such a fashion as to engage a mechanism of support for the spine, often in stages (see A Way of Living).
 

 

And here's a starter kit for you, from Zen teacher koun Franz, who is currently an editor of "Lion's Roar":

 

Okay‚Ķ So, have your hands in the cosmic mudra, palms up, thumbs touching, and there‚Äôs this common instruction: place your mind here. Different people interpret this differently. Some people will say this means to place your attention here, meaning to keep your attention on your hands. It‚Äôs a way of turning the lens to where you are in space so that you‚Äôre not looking out here and out here and out here. It‚Äôs the positive version, perhaps, of ‚Äėnavel gazing‚Äô.


The other way to understand this is to literally place your mind where your hands are‚Äďto relocate mind (let‚Äôs not say your mind) to your centre of gravity, so that mind is operating from a place other than your brain. Some traditions take this very seriously, this idea of moving your consciousness around the body. I wouldn‚Äôt recommend dedicating your life to it, but as an experiment, I recommend trying it, sitting in this posture and trying to feel what it‚Äôs like to let your mind, to let the base of your consciousness, move away from your head. One thing you‚Äôll find, or that I have found, at least, is that you can‚Äôt will it to happen, because you‚Äôre willing it from your head. To the extent that you can do it, it‚Äôs an act of letting go‚Äďand a fascinating one.

(‚ÄúNo Struggle [Zazen Yojinki, Part 6]‚ÄĚ, by Koun Franz, from the ‚ÄúNyoho Zen‚ÄĚ site
https://nyoho.com/2018/09/15/no-struggle-zazen-yojinki-part-6/)
 


And one more, from Shunryu Suzuki:
 

Sometimes when you think that you are doing zazen with an imperturbable mind, you ignore the body, but it is also necessary to have the opposite understanding at the same time. Your body is practicing zazen in imperturbability while your mind is moving. 
 

(‚ÄúWhole-Body Zazen‚ÄĚ, lecture by Shunryu Suzuki at Tassajara, June 28, 1970 [edited by Bill Redican], from cuke.com)
 

 

All that, to "just sit".  And that's just the cultivate and integrate side of things... for the "apply", I think thelerner said it well!

 

Edited by Mark Foote
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On 9/25/2023 at 8:55 PM, Stilltrying said:

Has anyone managed to cultivate and integrate their awareness and apply it to a skill? Maybe even specifically harnessed it for a particular skill or skillset?

 

Awareness can mean different things in this context.

It may mean being very focused and concentrated on a particular activity to the exclusion of all else.

It can also refer to maintaining a more fully open connection to whatever is happening in the present moment.

Two activities I find are particularly well suited to integration in the latter sense are running and taijiquan.

I believe this to be the secret sauce in taijiquan and other internal martial arts.

With practice it is possible to integrate awareness with any and all activity, even sleeping, dreaming, and dying.

This is the foundation of the practice of dzogchen - recognizing and developing stability in clear and open awareness and then integrating that with every possible aspect of life.

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5 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

I'm particularly intrigued by the possibility of applying awareness to relationships, in particular to the listening part of conversation.

That reminds me of Karezza.  As I get older it seems a method worth exploring.

 

Karezza

The goal of Karezza, unlike most kinds of sexual intercourse, is not orgasm but reaching a relaxed state of union with your sexual partner. 

Practitioners of Karezza say they feel energized and full of positive energy after their orgasm-less sexual play, possibly because gentle, loving touch without orgasm subtly raises levels of dopamine and oxytocin, neurochemicals which create pleasure and feelings of closeness, romance, and peace.

 

The Karezza Method: 5 Reasons To Try This Spiritual Sexual Practice

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/karezza-method

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right so a good massage and foot rub is along the same lines but without any chance of making babies, (in a sudden moment):blush:

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I consider a good massage and foot rub as Karezza, if done w/ some sensuality.   

 

A practice I'll occasionally do is having my mate on top of me, and as one breaths in, the other breathes out and you flow with it.  Playing with rhythms and timing.. it can be pretty nice.  

Edited by thelerner

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On 26.9.2023 at 2:55 AM, Stilltrying said:

cultivate and integrate their awareness and apply it to a skill

I don‚Äôt have an answer here but another question:¬†When is ‚Äöcultivated awareness‚Äô a skill (positive connotation) and when is it an evasion/escape (negative connotation)? What is ‚Äöcultivated‚Äė awareness anyways?¬†


Stemming from the Alan Watts quote on another current thread about ‚Äöunduly absorption‚Äė.

 

What is awareness anyways? Recognizing the contents of the personal five (or more senses) simultaneously for a reasonable amount of time? Or is it transcending the five (or more) senses beyond space and time? What Mr. Hume and Mr. Bohm would call the foundational ground being empty.

Edited by stellarwindbubble
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45 minutes ago, stellarwindbubble said:

… ‚cultivated awareness’ … when is it an evasion/escape … ? 

Stemming from the Alan Watts quote on another current thread about ‚Äöunduly absorption‚Äė.


Indeed.

 

On 10/10/2023 at 1:14 PM, mat said:

‚ÄúNo one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†Alan Watts

(my highlighting) 

 

 

Edited by Cobie
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42 minutes ago, stellarwindbubble said:

I don‚Äôt have an answer here but another question:¬†When is ‚Äöcultivated awareness‚Äô a skill (positive connotation) and when is it an evasion/escape (negative connotation)? What is ‚Äöcultivated‚Äė awareness anyways?¬†


..

What is awareness anyways? Recognizing the contents of the personal five (or more senses) simultaneously for a reasonable amount of time? Or is it transcending the five (or more) senses beyond space and time? What Mr. Hume and Mr. Bohm would call the foundational ground being empty.

 

Good questions.  I don't have much in the way of answers but I know over the years my meditation has evolved from getting into a trance state into staying alert and aware.   Instead of relaxing, sealing my senses, quieting yet dulling my mind I keep my senses are on, listening thinking itching and letting go.  In meditation and out, I'm trying to Rest in Bright Awareness.

 

My Aikido sensei would say after 2nd degree black belt, honing technique becomes secondary to honing awareness and state of  mind,  learning to see with calm non-reaching eyes.  

 

 

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10 minutes ago, thelerner said:

and letting go.

I do have to remember that part now and then. Thank you. 

Besides walking meditation (that you mentioned elsewhere) which technique do you do or recommend for that part of letting go / non-reaching? 
 

So awareness and state of mind is not a technique to you (hence the differentiation) ?

Edited by stellarwindbubble

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18 hours ago, stellarwindbubble said:

Besides walking meditation (that you mentioned elsewhere) which technique do you do or recommend for that part of letting go / non-reaching? 
 

So awareness and state of mind is not a technique to you (hence the differentiation) ?

Some of the more advanced classes I had in the martial arts had the instructor saying 'No Technique, I don't want to see any'.  Which led to the confusion of what the hell do we do?  Turns out we tended to do pretty well.  Find sympatico, connect, move strongly.

 

You train (for years) to get muscle memory, to learn correct position and timing.  Then you forget it.  I don't do it enough but I enjoy 30 minute sessions of 7in-7hold-7out breathing**.  Not for itself so much but afterwards I naturally breathe better.  

 

Similarly when I Just Sit, and allow the thoughts, itches to come and go without feeding or suppressing them, I think I go deeper, but depth isn't what I'm after.  It's bright awareness.  Not dulling out into trance.  I want to hear, smell and feel but let it come and go, just like my visual field.  

 

**I've turned a couple of the Breathing Mantra 30 minute breath cycle videos into mp3s.   

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On 25/09/2023 at 9:55 PM, Stilltrying said:

Has anyone managed to cultivate and integrate their awareness and apply it to a skill? Maybe even specifically harnessed it for a particular skill or skillset?

I dance, act and sing.All at once or one at a time.

 

I need constant awareness of my body, in it's entirety and specific parts of it(once at a time or all at the same time), I need to know where I am in the space, I need to be aware of the tempo of a music, etc.

 

And while I'm doing all of those physical actions I am able to be aware of myself, just myself and nothing else.A time for me to connect with my innermost parts, form a bridge between the outisde and the inside.

 

This is still a WIP but I can safely say "yes".

Edited by Zoya
punctuation
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When I meditate, one of the first things I become aware of is my own suffering.  Sometimes my suffering is physical; often, psychological.  Meditation builds up the capacity to sit with suffering without trying to fix or change it.  Perhaps even more to the point, it builds up our capacity to sit with other people's suffering without trying to fix or change it.  This may not sound like a big deal, oh but it is!  This is the magic that allows us to comfort the sick and the dying.  This is the magic of true compassion and unconditioned love.

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I apologize in advance, since this is not directly helpfull for your question, but i got to admit: ive never really understood the deal with meditation… its basically just closing your eyes, is it not? I do that every night!
Sure, sometimes i find it helpfull, when i need to ¬ęground¬Ľ myself, but all in all i think it is kind of boring, i dont have the dicipline for prolonged practice and i cant say it have given me much of value.¬†
What has it given you people? And do you belive it is possible to reach a state of complete silence/no inner voice?

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3 hours ago, NaturaNaturans said:

I apologize in advance, since this is not directly helpfull for your question, but i got to admit: ive never really understood the deal with meditation… its basically just closing your eyes, is it not? I do that every night!
Sure, sometimes i find it helpfull, when i need to ¬ęground¬Ľ myself, but all in all i think it is kind of boring, i dont have the dicipline for prolonged practice and i cant say it have given me much of value.¬†
What has it given you people? And do you belive it is possible to reach a state of complete silence/no inner voice?


Focus on your breathing by doing it slowly and deeply. Regulating your breath will make you feel differently. Regulating breathing is taking a slow deep breath as naturally as you can. Do not hold it but just continue sucking a tiny bit of air through the nose. Exhale slowly until you cannot suck anymore. Then repeat the breathing cycle.

Breathing as deep as you can but not too deep that will cause dizziness. Eventually, you can breathe deeper and deeper progressively in time if practice diligently. Concentrate deeply enough on breathing any environmental noise can be ignored. That is what it means by complete silence.

Edited by ChiDragon
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3 hours ago, NaturaNaturans said:

Sure, sometimes i find it helpfull, when i need to ¬ęground¬Ľ myself, but all in all i think it is kind of boring, i dont have the dicipline for prolonged practice and i cant say it have given me much of value.¬†
What has it given you people? And do you belive it is possible to reach a state of complete silence/no inner voice?

I don't know about complete silence but there are times you get close.  Being at peace with yourself is a challenge.  Overcoming the boredom, the body ache, the addiction for stimulation.

 

With no distractions, just sitting, can we be at peace.. happy?  If so, there is a rejuvenating quality to it, of body, mind and spirit.  Emerson wrote "I restore myself when I'm alone."

 

Early on I wanted to meditate and found it too boring.  I turned to guided meditation audios.  They'd put me into a trance state that was pleasant but they were also crutches.  Sooner or later you have to sit and face the mind and figure out.. not who's boss but what is the technique for peace.  

Edited by thelerner
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