• 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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  • June 19, 2015

    When you were demonstrating the tapping sequence at dinner, I was building up an emotional disagreement and resisted trying the movements. I enjoyed the attachment to the emotional state, or at least enjoyed telling myself I wanted to stay there.

    Really? You seem to suggest that there was someone there deliberately ‘building up an emotional disagreement’. Was it deliberate or was it a purely mechanical reaction with a corresponding little voice in your head saying that it is in charge, deciding to resist?

    It is useful that you have observed your reaction and confessed the process of your resistance. Can you go further? It seems that you have accepted your reaction as yourself, that is, you have identified with it. In doing so, have you not made it solid, more difficult to move? Can you instead be sceptical?

    Sceptical is well on the way to impartial. Sceptical means you do not know. It does not mean that you have secretly made up your mind but you don’t want to appear unreasonable. There is much to be said for it.

    You could adopt a sceptical attitude to the tapping exercise. This would mean not rejecting it but rather examining it and its effects in you. To be sceptical is to separate from the phenomena…the exercise, learning to do it, noting the results if any…and observe. Implied in this is that you do not take anything too seriously…it’s all just data, completely impersonal. Taking ordinary reactions personally, identifying with them, this is evidence of self-importance, is it not?

    First, you would have to be sceptical of your initial reaction to the exercise. What is your reaction telling you? Can you see the pattern of your resistance as a set of physical facts, particular contractions and sensations, and release them? Your emotions would then likely dissipate. Probably this resistance is habitual, frequently expressed in your daily life. Perhaps it is a reaction to authority or learning something new or fear of not getting it right or fear of looking ridiculous. This is for you to find out. But more important than naming it is observing what it physically consists of.

    Can you get to a state where the exercise can be examined objectively? That would be a practical accomplishment of work on self, likely more valuable than the tapping exercise.

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