• October 12, 2017

    I am still having trouble understanding what you mean by the stalking exercise.

    The hunter tracks his prey by knowing its likely behavior in certain circumstances. How does it approach the water hole? How does it move in rocky terrain? When does it feed and when does it sleep?

    Impartial observation of self brings a similar clarity. I see what my behavior is in specific situations. My aim is to see without bias or analysis. Attention itself brings about change. Disclosure itself is powerful medicine. But I also accumulate knowledge as a hunter does. I learn when I am likely to have the sensation of envy, when I become fearful or when I get bored. It is possible to think of these situations and produce in myself the physical reactions that would arise in them. Can I make use of this knowledge?

    Stalking is a way of using what I have learned about myself to provoke a change in my response to ordinary situations.

    Let’s suppose that I have observed a particular reaction I have to an unnecessarily talkative person. I signal my disinterest by partially turning away and I have an involuntary reaction of impatient irritation which expresses as a sensation of tightening in the chest and a dismissive gesture of the hands and head. I have decided that when this reaction begins, I will face the speaker, smile and listen with apparent courtesy (whether genuine or not). I observe the effects on myself and others.

    You cannot do this exercise if you have not previously observed yourself impartially many times. Impartiality brings separation and dis-identification from the state and these are the very qualities that enable you to remember to stalk yourself in this situation. Otherwise, you will forget your aim and your life will continue in its habitual form.

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