Focus your awareness on the point where the breath enters and exits. If thoughts or feelings surface -and they will -simply return your attention to your breath. Do not judge or follow your thoughts; simply return to the breath. Count 10 full breaths in and out. When you are finished, slowly become aware of your surroundings. When you are ready, open your eyes. The purpose of ihis meditation is to help you quiet your mind and to be able to observe the flow of thoughts that arise as you do so.
The content of the thoughts is irrelevant. What is important is the insight that the mind is in constant motion, and that it is very difficult to stop or control that motion. We also observe that as thoughts arise, so also do they pass. Try this meditation every day for at least one week; you may choose to make it a regular part of your training. At first you may only be able to count a single breath before thoughts and feelings come crowding in.
This is normal. If you persist - just letting the thoughts pass by like boats on a stream - you will be able to distance yourself from your thoughts and feelings. This distance will allow you the space to name and describe your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. Suggested Reading: Any book or tape by Fr. Thomas Keating or Thich Nhat Hanh. You need not be Catholic or Buddhist to appreciate the universality of the meditation techniques they teach.
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Along with awareness of your inner workings, it is important to cultivate awareness of your physical self. Most submissives find it very difficult to hold their bodies still for any length of time, but this is a vital skill for a slave. Activity: For this activity, you will need a watch with an unobtrusive alarm function, ideally one that emits a single beep. You will be carrying this alarm with you through your day. Set the alarm to sound at 11 minutes past the hour.
When the alarm sounds, bring your attention to your physical posture: Where are your hands? Are your legs crossed? Is your back straight? Your jaw tense? Do you feel any pain in your body? Are you moving any part of your body jiggling your leg, chewing on a pencil? Now, reset the alarm for the next hour.
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Activity: Do you remember the card game Memory? In it, a special deck of cards or two complete standard decks are dealt out face down in even rows. The first player turns over two cards. If they match, the player removes them from the table and takes another turn. If they do not match, the player turns them back over and the other player takes a turn.
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Whoever makes the most matches, wins. Try this game alone or with a friend. It will help you to develop better observation skills. Lesson 8. Obedience II: Awareness of Others The slave-in-iraining has to strike a careful balance between self- observation and awareness of others. A slave is often called upon to respond to requests indicated by the slightest hand gesture, the half-smile, the raised eyebrow.
In this lesson, you will learn to tune back in to the important messages. Exercise: Think of someone you've met in the last day or two. Can you give the following information about the person: eye color? How would you characterize their mood or state of mind at the time you met them? Now, think of someone you see daily who is not a close friend.
This might be the person who sells newspapers on the corner, the counter person at your Training with Miss Abernathy Can you answer the same questions about them? A variation on this activity is to read the name tags many retail workers wear and address them by name. List five non-verbal cues for each emotion.
Nierenberg and Henry H. Calero is the classic book on body language. Note that their study focuses on white Americans; people of other cultures and ethnic groups within the United States and abroad may use other cues. Activity: Go to a busy public place, like an outdoor cafe or a park. Close your eyes. Using your other senses, locate the person who is physically closest to you.
What can you say about that person?
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Can you identify their gender, age, or ethnicity? What can you say about their voice? Can you smell perfume or some other scent?
How heavy is their tread? Based on the information you gather, how would you describe this person? Now open your eyes. How accurate was your assessment? This activity will teach you three important things: first, to use your senses to their fullest; second, to be aware of the limitations of your senses; and third, to notice the extent to which your assumptions can influence what you perceive and how you interpret sensory input. It will help you sharpen your observation skills and hone your menial abilities.
Perhaps you found that you slump. Or you chew your nails. Or you chatter when you get nervous. Not only are these habits inappropriate for a slave, but in dealing with them early on in your training, you will gain the added benefit of developing another vital skill: self-discipline. Activity: Continue to practice the focusing meditation described in Lesson 7. Meditate for 10 minutes daily, and gradually increase your practice until you are meditating for 20 minutes at a sitting, twice a day.