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The Buddhist Archives of Dr. Alexander Berzin

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The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity

Alexander Berzin
July 1999
Revised February 2003

General Structure for Each Training Session

I. Initial procedures for each training session

  • Turn the attention from previous activities
    • Breathe normally through the nose, not too quickly, not too slowly, not too deeply, not too shallowly, and without holding the breath
    • Count as one round the cycle of exhalation, a quiet period of rest, and inhalation
    • Count eleven rounds of breath twice
  • Reaffirm your motivation
    • Wish to achieve balanced sensitivity to be able to use your potentials for the benefit of everyone, including yourself
    • Feel your energy raised and directed toward this aim
  • Consciously decide to concentrate
    • If your attention wanders, you will bring it back
    • If you become dull or sleepy, you will wake yourself up
    • Imagine adjusting the fine focus dial on the lens of your mind so that your mental state is sharp and crisp
    • Adjust your posture by sitting up with your back straight
  • Modulate your energy level
    • To raise your energy if you are feeling sleepy, focus between your eyebrows with eyes looking upward and head remaining level
    • To settle and ground your energy if you are feeling nervous or tense, focus on your navel with eyes looking downward, head remaining level, and gently holding your breath

II. Procedures for each part of an exercise

  • Looking downward or closing your eyes, settle your mind by focusing on the sensation of the breath passing in and out your nostrils
  • Generate or access a certain attitude or feeling toward someone
  • Direct it at the person and regard him or her in that way
  • Looking downward or closing your eyes once more, let the experience settle by focusing on the feeling gained from the exercise.
  • Regain your composure by focusing again on the sensation of the breath passing in and out your nostrils

III. Concluding procedures for each training session

  • Wish that the positive energy of any insight or experience you have gained adds to your network of positive experience.
  • Wish that this network expands and deepens so that you reach balanced sensitivity and thus are of more benefit to yourself and to others
  • Wish that everyone may gain balanced sensitivity