That is a function of your sense of touch. You can actually feel that pressure where you are sitting, although it is quite subtle.
Although the sensations of that subtle contact are available all the time when you are sitting there in that chair, the awareness of that is not always with you in your consciousness. In fact you may be there again and again and never feel it at all!
Somewhere on the front of your computer set-up, the names of the companies which have made your monitor, computer, and so forth, is written, and perhaps the models of the equipment you have. Please actually look around with your eyes, and see if you can find that, and take a close look at that.
Thanks. You may be able to tell me that it's true that most of the time, when you sit down at your computer there, you turn it on and start using it without having seen these brand and model names printed on the equipment. (And that's just fine!!!)
They are available in your field of vision--I am pointing out--just as the feeling of your butt in the chair is available in your field of feeling. You could say that these are "in the background," so to speak, when you usually arrive to do some work on your computer there.
Or you could say that they are "in shadows." You might say that you do notice the brand symbol (especially if it's a bright rainbow-colored apple) when you sit down to work . . . you sort of see . . . you know, somewhat vaguely, that that bright apple is always there. But you do not focus on it.
You maybe focus on the screen of your computer right away, even while it's still dark. And while you are doing that, everything else around it there that is to be seen (including you) is out of focus, in the background, so to speak.
In this kindergarten class, we refer to this as "being in the realm of shadows."
It is there! It is real! One vaguely knows about it. It is available when you are there at your computer, at any time! And yet it is usually in the shadows, so to speak. And your attention and focus--do you not agree?--are likely to be on the contents of the screen. (Again, that's all quite okay!)
And whenever you bring something that is in the realm of shadows into focus, into "high-relief," where you examine it very closely with one of your senses, such as sight . . . . . that is referred to in this class as "bringing it into the realm of light." It is "an awareness."
When it's in focus, when it stands out very clearly in high relief in all the finite detail of it, then this awareness of it brings it "into the light," in this class.
And when it's there, but it's vague and out-of-focus in the background, not in awareness, it is referred to as "in the shadows."
(I am emphasizing these terms so persistently here, because this gives us some very concrete experiential terminology to work with as we continue our conversations now and later.)
This is an exercise: try to be in touch with feeling your butt in your chair at the same time as you go on reading here, for as long as you comfortably can. Take your time. (Come back to this later, if you forget and remember again.)
Wherever we are, the world out there is a world that we can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. These five ordinary human senses are our "vehicles" for knowing the world directly. When we are using our five ordinary senses for knowing the world directly, we are living in the light. When we are not, we are living in the shadows.
Oh, we are "living" anyway, all right! And we are out there doing all sorts of things--little things and incredibly complex things. But when we are not using our five senses for knowing the world directly by having awarenesses in this way, we are only living in the realm of shadows. That is one description of *the ordinary human condition*.
This kindergarten is about a whole "methodical" examination of that world that is out there in the shadows. It is about taking what all's in the shadows and bringing it into light, one piece of it at a time, until it has all been in the light for you, at least once, and you have been able to experience this. That's what practicing these whole sets of exercises in the kindergarten here is for--"breaking it down into categories" that you can explore with awareness.
There is a realm of visual sights around you that is in the shadows, while your eyes are focused here on this "content," this coaching talk on the screen.
All of this around you is in shadows while your eyes are focused here. There are also realms of sounds that can be heard, smells and tastes that can be perceived when they are available, and various sensations that can be felt with your sense of touch, which are likely to be in the shadows and out of focus while one is, for instance, focused on reading here.
At any time in our lives, *whatever we are doing*, reading, or anything else, there is a whole lot of living going on, that is going on in the shadows. This living is all in our bodies, real, and available, when we can remember to bring it out of the shadows.
For instance, right now, either your feet are on the floor, or they aren't. Please glance over, without moving your feet, and see if your feet (whether barefoot or in shoes) are in contact with the floor.
Now, please feel for it, from within your body. See if can sense with your sense of touch from within your feet, if there is a subtle pressure there that tells you if your feet are on the floor or not.
If you had any trouble feeling that contact, wiggle your toes, and try it again.
It's subtle, that feeling of contact. Yet, it is real. It is tangible. You can feel it if your feet are on the floor. Now, lift one foot up, please, and compare the difference in the feeling between the two feet.
If it's comfortable to do so, manage to lift them both up, and feel that from the soles.
You can see if your feet are on the ground, or not with your sense of sight. It's a bit of objective truth. You can feel if your feet are on the ground, or not. You can tell that with absolute certainty with your sense of touch.
If we'd started out the class today by my asking you to tell me if your butt was on your chair and your feet were on the ground, you'd have figured all that out instantly. And with your intellectual abilities, your powerful thinking mind, you'd have given me the correct answer right away. You would have been *right*!
But you would probably not have known that experientially. You would not have known that directly with the use of your own senses. You wouldn't have paused, I bet, and actually looked to *see*. You wouldn't have *felt for it*. You'd have reasoned it out. You'd have known it cognitively, intellectually, even *intelligently*. But you wouldn't perhaps have known the direct experience of *the feeling of it* in the real world that exists.
Now, perhaps, you've experienced your butt in the chair, and then later, you've experienced your butt in the chair while you went on reading here for awhile. And then perhaps you forgot about that. Your butt went back into the realm of shadows. (And you're lucky you didn't slide right out of that chair! But gravity held you there, anyway.)
Possibly, this whole matter of your butt being in the chair might have remained lost in the shadows for you for the rest of your life! You'd have been able to figure it out in your thinking right away if anybody ever asked you. But you might never have experienced it directly.
So keep your butt in your chair if you can. Keep it solid there in your awareness, if you do. That won't hurt. And it can help to keep you oriented for having more awarenesses.
Here's another exercise: while *maintaining* awareness of the feeling of your butt in the chair, turn around as you are able and check out the ambiance of the room all around you. Have awarenesses of things you see, and hear, and other things you feel, while remaining at the same time in touch with your butt in the chair.
I remember a student I saw some years ago that I taught the "feet on the ground" exercise to, and we practiced it here in the gymnasium for awhile. That weekend she went out mountain climbing with her boyfriend. The next week she came back and told me there was a point in her hike when she was on a dangerous ledge with a long drop below, inching her way along, when she suddenly panicked, and was afraid she was going to faint and fall off of the mountain.
Everything was spinning, she said. She felt like she had no solid footing. She was losing her balance and going numb. And then, she said, she remembered the "feet on the ground," exercise.
As soon as she felt her feet on the ground and became fully aware of that good sensation of being grounded, she was suddenly okay, she said. She was oriented again, and felt stable and on solid footing.
Although still proceeding with great fear, she was able to step on through the steps that it took, carefully, and get on beyond the narrow shelf that she nearly fell off of. She thanked me for teaching her that with tears in her eyes. She said she thought it saved her life.
Well, that's enough to ponder for now. See if you can do any of this on your own when you're away from this classroom, and even practice on purpose for periods of time, if you'd like to.
Remember to keep your butt in that chair so you don't slide off now. It can be a key strategy in the play of this game. :-)