A Cognitive Experiment that could Involve Bees or a Scrapyard or…

Exercises described “out of school”–kind of uncool to do, if it’s a real esoteric school. But sometimes our experience in working gives us a chance to come up with our own little variations. One exercise in awareness I like is, taking a walk, to look at things with a new three dimensionality, more inclusivity in seeing, in a particular way. This could be done with anything–a scrap yard, even–but I walk near gardens and tend to use flowers, plants, whatever’s there. Garden hose included. It’s like this: I stop and look at some lavender plants, in bloom; I see bees going from one to the next. Beside them are some yellow flowers. I deliberately try to see the lavender plants first (arbitrarily picking them) in as focused a way possible, then I keep that focus and awareness of them, in the present moment and maintaining some sensation of the body, and I then include the bees. I see the bees too, the way I see the lavender, both; then I include the yellow flowers. Then, perhaps, a stick lying amongst them. Then a bit of concrete nearby, in the same view.

I keep the awareness of each of these objects simultaneously in my vision, in the present moment with sensation of the body, having added them one at a time, and I get a sudden additional quality of three dimensionality. The point is the simultaneity of perception of each thing, to the degree possible. I then include the space between them–but that is perceived mostly as a sort of field of feeling. I maintain my attention to the body, keeping all these things in my mind. I then add sounds, if I can. I try to keep this for a few moments–it’s not easy.

The process, for me, yields remarkable results. Again, it could be done with a pile of tools and some cardboard, too. It doesn’t have to be something “pretty”.

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