HOW TO DOZEPhase One
Continued from Body and Breathing Exercises.
Our sub-cultures are rich in exercises on the internal tactile awareness of our own body. To my knowledge, they are all effective ways of re-energising, and real-ising yourself, and finding some peace, balance, and happiness.
If you already have an habitual routine and an effective method to contain your thoughts and relax your body and mind, the following exercises may be irrelevant for you. I'd like to summarise a few ideas i've used over the years. Other people may have better ideas on this subject.
Dozing: Body and Breathing AwarenessHumans have forgotten how to doze. When humans doze, we slumber and daydream and get lost in abstract thinking – we have lost the feel for just being.
Dozing is not like panoramic sensing. Panoraming is something which you can do for just a few seconds and it will be effective. But, every animal needs a minute or so before they can settle down and doze. To find any depth, humans need to doze for at least five minutes. 20 minutes would be better, but if only 5 are available, then that is enough.
PreparationCheck through your outer body, where it's touching the floor and the chair, your clothes, and the air on your face and hair. Are you comfortable?
Start with a minute of panoramic seeing and listening. Like any wise animal: check the surroundings before settling down for a doze. Then close the eyes.
The 'Breath-Body'The basis for this meditation is whole body breathing. Let's call it the 'breath-body' to distinguish how the breath feels from the inside, to how the body feels (and looks) from the outside.
Feel the breath-body. Feel your body getting bigger and smaller. Recently, i would describe the feeling as filling up and emptying out. I find 'filling up and emptying out', or 'expanding and contracting', are both good and simple ways to feel whole inside my body.
If you can do this just for ten minutes, then that would be amazing. Most people, myself included, will start to daydream. So let's give the thoughts some sort of stability.
If you use a form of prayer or mantra, build it into the basic sequence, and this will pacify the thoughts. However, looking at it from the perspective of our culture's general psychological approach, conventional meditation methods often use counting with the breaths.
Counting with BreathsThis uses the breathing as a counting measure, and focuses on a sequence of parts in the body. One breath at each focal point gives us a slow rhythm with enough movement to hold our attention. It's something slow and peaceful to do. It's practical.
When i was young i picked up the idea of "conscious i breathe in, letting go i breathe out". I still find this a very useful meditation idea. There are various ways to combine the breathing with 'being conscious and letting go'.
Go through your whole body, step by step - feet, knees, hips; shoulders, elbows, hands; bowels, stomach (diaphragm), lower chest, upper chest; neck, face, head; - at each step thinking "conscious of my feet i breath in, letting go of my feet i breathe out" etc..
Don't worry if your breathing becomes unsteady as you let it go. This is just your lower brain allowing your body to adjust to what it needs and wants, instead of being controlled by your routine habits.
These days i often start a meditation by counting through my fingers. Conscious of and letting go of each finger – from the little fingers to the thumbs – both sides at the same time – then i count through my toes. If i can't actually feel the second and middle toe, i imagine them, i know they're there, so i count them anyway.
Then come back to the whole breath-body, filling up and emptying out, expanding and contracting.
Then, there are two exercises which i have recently found very effective and there is no reason why beginners shouldn't use them.
The most interesting is to count one or two breaths while being aware of the top of the head under the hair, then light (seeing with closed eyes), sounds, smells, and tastes.
Then, from Body and Breathing Awareness : The 5 legged starfish, with one or two breaths starting with the hard ends, then the limbs, the frame, and the soft sensitive middle area. Then build up a full body awareness, from the inside first, adding the frame, then the limbs, then the hard ends. This is a very good way of building full body awareness.
Then always between each sequence, a few breaths with the whole breath-body, expanding and contracting.
Devotional MethodsThere are many ways of combining inner body awareness with devotional practices, and these can be very powerful and successful. For example : breathing in the great spirit, letting it breathe me, and giving myself to it on the out breath.
It deserves mention, but i leave this to each individuals own beliefs and creativity.
ImaginationThe experience and success of whole body breathing depends on if you are in any way physically restricted or stiff (e.g. through injury) or emotionally blocked with stress and tension. 'Being conscious and letting go' can be focused on any body stiffness as a natural healing technique, at the least as an inner massage. Use your imagination in any way you want to heal stiffness.
Extra Body Breath Exercises develops all these ideas.