Stuff your ears with cotton. Suck on a eucalyptus cough drop or some other stinky product to block your sense of smell. Take off your shoes and socks. Close your eyes, or if you're really confident tie on a blindfold. Clear your mind. Feel what the air feels like around you. Notice how the air that is inside your clothing is warmer than the air outside your clothing. Move your hand away from your body and see if you can discriminate differences in air temperature from the floor to above your head. Feel your way over to a wall. Try to feel the difference a wall creates in the air before you walk against it. Put your hands out in front of you and try to find a friend. How close do you have to get before you feel them? Try not to touch, as you're searching for essence. Find them, back off, try again. What do your hands feel like as you do this?
Put your hands behind your back. Stick them in your obi (belt), or pockets. Lean forward and pay attention to how the air feels on your face. Close your eyes. Use your hands' memory and go find a wall. Go slowly and carefully, as you are leading with that which greets others. Attempt to find a friend. Try to identify them by using your face. Take a guess. Wander around, try again. Feel any improvement.
Pay attention to your feet. Sink your consciousness down to the soles or Bubbling Springs and see what you can pick up from the floor or ground. We tend not to pay enough attention to messages of our feet, yet they have the longest nerves in the body connecting reflexology, shiatsu, and acupuncture sites that affect every major organ. What are the old hoofers telling you? Reach out and touch someone. Getting any messages? Aside from blatant erogenous zones, these are the most sensitive nerves in your body. What are they telling you? Walk around some more. Walking is the most important skill in the martial arts, the best form cf exercise, and one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with your environment. It is associated with genius, and many great people have enjoyed the benefits of walking. I have seldom seen a ninja run. Learn to pick up stuff with your toes. Go barefoot as much as possible. Do some taijutsu. Try not to kill yourself.
Close your eyes and boogie around your own house and property at every chance. It's great for training balance and sensitivity as well as memory. If you have a lover it opens all sorts of possibilities for training as well as laughs.
Turn off the lights. Train in dim light. (Bars are usually dark. People attack you at night.) Walk around after dark. Get your night vision back. Eat more blueberries. Sit around in the dark and bullshit with your buddies. Make the night your friend. Guerrilla troops always own the night. Read in dim light. Palm your eyes for a minute or so whenever you think of it. Massage around your eyes at least twice a day. If your eyes are weak, try ginseng and see if they improve. Wear contacts rather than glasses. If you need glasses, try to wear them only for tasks that require them as they become a crutch. You don't have to be in 20/20 all the time. Our eyes are binocular and the corneas are supposed to be adjustable lenses. You ought to be able to consciously adjust them to various levels of light and focus. Wear eye shades as little as possible.
Sit down knee to knee with a friend or training partner in dim light. Empty your mind. Do the Secret Smile and stare into each other's eyes for a few minutes. Try not to blink much, and get your urge to giggle under control. You're supposed to be observing with no expectations. Without breaking your stare, shift your focus a few inches in front of this person's face. Shift your focus behind them as if you were looking through them. Shift back to the face. Shift to the area between the ears and shoulders. Shift to above the other's head. One person should then close his or her eyes and breathe deeply while the other goes through the same cycle of observation. Switch roles. Discuss what you observed, and share your observations with the other training dyads. Some cf what you hear may surprise you.
Put some music on the stereo. Hit the position. Close your eyes. Empty your mind. Pay attention to the back of your eyelids. Try to feel what the rhythm does inside your skull. What area of your brain responds? How does it affect the phosphorous behind the eyes? Try a different piece of music. Put on some baroque quartets. Try a little New Age. Break out the Beethoven; see what Mozart does. Try a Gregorian chant or plain song. Sample the Damn Yankees. Whitney Houston. Ravi Shankar. INXS. Enigma. What really lights you up? Run the Secret Smile to music. Try a subliminal tape. (It's useful to know when they're being used even if you can't do much about it. Keeps down the shoplifting. Increases the confession rate. Increases your chances of getting lucky. Builds your self-esteem. Speeds healing. Reduces vice.) Observe the differences. Figure out the benefits. You have to listen with your feelings as well as your ears.
According to legend, Pythagoras, the inventor of geometry and probability, spent years studying the occult effect of music and sound on the nervous systems of his students and friends. The results of his years at this work were mostly lost when the library at Alexandria was burned. In ancient times when there was no mass printing and all books were handwritten and rare, the burning of a library was a major catastrophe.
There are a few modern musicologists who are esoteric in their interests, and all agree we learn faster when listening to extended notes. Emotions are definitely stirred by music and some portions of the brain more than others. Some instruments and scales are considered very beneficial to meditation and are supposed to affect certain parts of the body as well as influence the chakras. Paul Abel, a local jazz musician, helped me try out some musical effects and wrote some very effective meditative music to support these exercises. Music soothes the savage breast (Willem Shaxpy, sixteenth-century English playwright) as well as entrains the neurological bioelectric systems of the brain. Sometimes when you don't like a piece of music, it has nothing to do with the music, but the associations and paths it stimulates. There's a lot of wonderful meditation music around now. (Hit the position to a Ravi Shankar raga and see what happens.) In the old days music was a privilege only royalty, the wealthy, talented, or professionally religious could enjoy. I suspect there are quantum differences between humming a mantra and wiring yourself into a modern CD sound system. I know there is, that's why I'm suggesting it.
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