SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE SOCORRO, NM—With an unexpected morning off, I hiked up the hill above camp with no intention other than a little exercise and appreciation of nature.
On the hike back down, I saw a rock in a clearing. I sat down on the rock, and—since I had recently given Michelle the task of sitting for two hours while imagining a frog sitting quietly next to her (based on my own frog master experience), and having mentioned the same thing to Joyce when she stopped by—I decided to practice what I preached and do likewise.
Though I had seen no trash over the last two hundred yards, sitting right next to the rock was a broken glass figurine which may have formerly been an elephant. I took that as a sign that She wanted me to do this practice, and so used the figurine as a stunt double for my frog.
This practice (if you’d like to try it) will help you—quite literally—perceive your false self (the personal self). It’s very simple:
- Set the timer on your phone for two hours. Verify it is indeed counting down (trust me, if you don’t check it, an hour later you will find yourself doubting that you actually started the clock).
- Sit/stand in nature for two hours. Feel free to alternate between sitting and standing, just don’t walk around. If you aren’t comfortable being alone in nature, take a friend, but don’t talk—remain silent.
- Keep your eyes open. Look at stuff, but don’t try to explain or analyze anything. Just look and appreciate.
- When you catch your mind drifting, bring it back to what you are doing: sitting and looking at nature.
- The whole time, imagine that there is a frog sitting next to you, doing absolutely nothing. Again, trust me, a frog has no problem sitting for two hours doing absolutely nothing. Indeed it seems to come quite naturally to these little bastards (you’ll be swearing at him too if you do this practice).
- If you start to feel physically uncomfortable, feel free to shift your position, stand or sit, but as I said, no walking or talking.
- When you feel you are going absolutely bonkers, ask yourself, “Why is it that a frog can happily sit doing nothing for two hours, while it is driving me completely nuts?”
- Recognize that it is your thoughts and your sense of self that are your own worst enemies during this exercise. Try to perceive this false self inside you. It’s important to actually perceive this false self (collection of thoughts), not just to understand it rationally.
- When you perceive this false self, mentally imagine grasping it with your hand and pulling it out from inside your body and dropping it away to your side.
- Now ask yourself, “What is it that is ‘me’ in here? What is left of ‘me’?” If there is anything left, grab that sucker, pull it out from inside of you and drop it away.
- Experience what if feels like without a personal self.
- Again, keep your eyes open the entire time. This is not a visualization, it is an experience.
- Repeat over and over until the timer on your phone goes off.
- Try not to look at the timer during the practice. Not knowing how long you have left helps to drive you nuts (which in this case is a good thing).
If you do this (and I understand it may be something you have to schedule and plan for), please post your experiences in the comments below.
If you are serious about waking up and you don’t do this, then ask yourself why you are resisting (and also consider if maybe it isn’t time to find yourself a different “spiritual hobby”). 🙂
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