So here--if I can remember, after being away for awhile--we are getting ready to experience being oriented. That is, if you have been practicing the exercises in the first two classes, you will be well prepared for catching on to the experience of being oriented.
This class is designed to be done with you while you are sitting there at your monitor.
Hello Anonymous. Hello Deirdre. Hello to anyone here.
In some of the studies in this school, the question is "Who am I?" And in others, it is "What am I?" and "How am I?" But in today's class, the question is "Where am I?" That is the way to get oriented. "Where am I, in the space?"
In fact, please actually pause and try out a couple of answers to that question right now. "Where am I?" Write your answers down on a piece of paper. And you can look at them again when you have finished this class.
You can use your ability to become focused--to shift your attention to anything with your senses of sight, hearing, and feeling, and "bring that into high relief"--to help you to become oriented in this way.
So, again, as we did before, there is that background that is on beyond your computer monitor, that you can bring into that "high relief." Check it out again, please.
Now, as you can probably see, there is some amount of space between that background and your monitor. See if you can see that that space is there.
Now, you can see that your monitor is there in front of you. "Turn that on" again, so to speak, with your awareness of the actual "suchness" of the monitor that is there, I mean.
You can see that that's kind of a heavy, solid thing. Without reaching over and touching it, can you get a "feel" of that?--a "verisimilitude," I mean, of its solidness and heaviness.
Now here's something you may not have noticed before, in the times that you've been seated at your computer there. Between the front of your monitor, and the front of your body, there is *a space* in there.
Put your hands out into that space between the screen of your monitor and the front of your body. And feel that space, very sensitively. Feel how soft it is. Take your time.
Now, put your hands down on your desktop, and feel how relatively hard that is.
Now, put your hands onto your own face and scalp and a few other places on the surface of your body, and feel how relatively hard that is.
Chances are, if you press down, your scalp feels about as hard as your desk. Yet they feel different, perhaps. See if you can feel any differences between your scalp and your desk.
Now you can tell, by verisimilitude, that the background back there is rather hard -- the space between the background and the monitor is rather soft -- the monitor itself is rather hard -- the space between the front of the monitor and your body is quite soft. (You have already checked that out, experientially.) And your desk and your body are relatively hard. Would you agree?
So within the confines of the space that you are there in, you have just shifted your focus of it from the farthest edge, and inward towards you by several progressions of: hard, soft, hard, soft, hard desk, and your own hard body. This is pretty close to being oriented.
Now please feel the slight sensations of contact of the bottoms of your feet with the hard floor below. You can feel this in shoes, or not.
Now feel the same kind of sensations on the underside of your body, where you are sitting in your hard chair.
Gravity is holding you down--without your even asking for it. You are being held down by gravity to solid ground. And you can feel that.
Your hard solid body is bounded on the outside by your contact with the ground below you, and by the space around you, in front and all around.
And the space around you is soft. Without turning around, remember that there is more of that space behind your head and behind your back and the back of your chair. And remind yourself that that space back there is soft space.
And remind yourself that this hard body is sitting there with you in that hard chair, surrounded on all sides by soft space.
Now, there is one more step in being oriented that you may be able to take, and that is to "step inside that body" itself, and feel your body *from the inside.* See if you can do that. Can you feel being inside there in your body?
When you're on the inside like that, you can look out through your eyes in front, and know that you are back inside in there--because you can feel it that you are in there.
And you can feel inside there that there is a hard, solid "heap" of your body sitting there, so to speak. You can sense that with your sense of touch.
These are all just awarenesses.
Now, this next exercise is called "facing up to life." It has to do with feeling that you have a face out there. No matter what it looks like! What it looks like doesn't matter. This simply has to do with the fact that you have a face up there, that you can actually feel there on the front of your skull.
Squinch your face up, this way and that. And see if that brings the feeling of your face into higher relief.
You can actually move your face around in such a way that the upper half and the lower half move independently of each other. See if you can figure out how to do that.
And you can feel it from the inside, as you do. Remember how we talked once about shifting the focus of your attention from where it happens to be in a given moment, to an intelligently chosen place for having a valuable awareness, or insight?
As you go through your daily life, it can be very worthwhile to check in once in awhile to have an awareness of how your face feels--whatever are the sensations that you can feel there. Face up to it!
Your face is like a "barometer" of your whole body, that shows--in a single "guage" that can be checked all at once, to find out--just what's going on in your whole body in terms of uptightness or relaxation. This can be a valuable insight. Go to your face now with your awareness, and see whatever you can feel of either tenseness or looseness in there.
In the awareness game, we play for having the face relaxed, with no tensions in there. This doesn't mean putting on a "false face" and pretending to other people that there are no tensions in there. It means feeling it, the way it just happens to be at the time you check in . . . . . and seeing, with your sense of touch if there are any tensions in there, or not. If there is nothing to be tense about (as we may sometimes see by insights) then we don't have to keep doing that. We can let it relax, naturally.
When there are tensions in the little muscles in there, because of something that does matter, at least we can know, experientially, that we're being uptight about it. And when what we can feel is relaxation here and there throughout the musculature of our face, then we can know that we are truly being at peace.
The face squinches up at things in life that bring emotional and upset reactions to our bodies as a whole. We can see these little muscular reactions in other people as natural (that is unposed) facial expressions. When people are angry, when they are afraid, or sad, we can see these different natural expressions on their faces--unless they make a strong effort to hide it. We can see this in ourselves by feeling our faces from within like this.
When you are looking at another person, they can fake their expression--especially if they are practiced at it, and they don't want you to know how they feel. But when you are looking at your own face, from within, with awareness, even when you can force a placid look on your face (for others on the outside), you can feel the sensations of tensions that are in there, and know.
A quick glance at your face from the inside will tell you immediately if you are being uptight or not. Imagine the usefulness of this! Most of the time, when people are being uptight they don't even know that. It is in the realm of shadows, and they go right on doing whatever they do, being uptight without knowing it.
If you tell them that they're being angry, they might even growl or scream at you when they claim that they are not. Perhaps they will argue that it's just a question of right and wrong! And they are "not being angry, dammit!" They are being "right about it!" But if you are awake, you will be able to see that they are being angry by looking at the expression on their face, as well as by listening awarely to the tone of their voice. They may even have their fists doubled up without even knowing it . . . . . and you can -- aha! -- have an awareness of that.
Salient coaching hint: One who practices this exercise of checking in with the barometer of their face somewhat regularly may be able to head themself off from some bad trouble some time when they discover this insight that they are--at that moment--being uptight. If they are "heated up" about it in the shadows--whatever the matter entails--dealing with it while being uptight might not be the best way.
Now, when you are in there, inside your body, so that you can feel your face up there on the front of it, and you can check it out from the inside and feel and know if you are being uptight or not . . . . . and you can feel your feet on the ground and your body being held down by gravity, and you know that there is soft space all around you, and your hard body is inside there like a tangible "heap" in the middle of that soft space . . . . . and you know, experientially, that you are truly at peace . . . . . then you are pretty well oriented indeed! You are ready to move out into this world and be oriented, no matter what you do.
I think this is enough for today, whatever I said I was going to cover. I'm tired and a little distracted. Yet, I'm oriented here now, too. And my face is kind of squinched up with fatigue. See you next time. I'm gonna take a nap. Practice these things, if you can remember to, for a few days. I practice them myself every day . . . even now, as I turn my body over to some sweet rest.
Be oriented in the world you are living in. Soft space. Hard stuff. Your hard body on the ground, in there, in the middle of soft space.
Oh, yes. On those answers I asked you to write down before . . . on the question, "Where am I?" Did you write down things like, "in my office," or "in the den," or "in the kindergarten at this website," or "in" someplace outside there "around you" where you are? In your house? Or building? In your neighborhood? City? In the Solar System? Universe? That's all true, and pretty close, but it isn't being "oriented." Being oriented is a "more local focus" than all of that. Or did you write down, "I am in here, in this tangible heap that I can feel sitting right here in my chair?" That's being pretty oriented in the space, after all.
Where am I? -- "I am here now," is the answer . . . . . but only if you know that experientially, by having an awareness of it.