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Home > eBooks > Unpublished Manuscripts > The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity > Exercise 4: Affirming and Accessing Our Natural Abilities

The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity

Alexander Berzin
July 1999
Revised February 2003

Part I: Dealing Constructively with Sensitivity Issues

Exercise 4: Affirming and Accessing Our Natural Abilities

I While focusing on someone from your life

1. While focusing on a photo or on a thought of someone with whom you have or have had a positive relationship

  • Create a quiet and caring mental space
  • Looking downward or closing the eyes, remember sitting or walking in a park on a warm, sunny day, and the natural feeling you had of feeling comfortable, content, and happy
  • Letting go of the image, imagine the feeling fills your body and radiates from your pores, as if you were the sun
  • Focusing on the person, imagine that the sunlight of the feeling naturally embraces him or her, without deliberate or forced effort
  • Look down or close the eyes, and let the experience settle
  • Repeat the sequence, recalling the following situations and the feelings that they naturally elicited
    • While writing something, being focused
    • While petting a kitten in your lap, feeling tender protectiveness
    • While tying your shoes, having understanding
    • While removing a splinter from your finger, being careful and self-controlled not to cause pain
    • While watching a beautiful sunset, feeling inspired, energized, and fresh
  • Maintaining focus on the person, regenerate the six feelings in sequence several times, by listening to your workshop leader slowly reciting the following six key phrases or cueing yourself, relying on the image for only a moment, and then imagining that the radiance of the feeling shines on the person
    • "mellow comfort, as when in a park on a warm, sunny day"
    • "focus, as when writing something"
    • "tender protectiveness, as when petting a kitten in my lap"
    • "understanding, as when tying my shoes"
    • "self-control not to cause harm, as when removing a splinter from my finger"
    • "inspiration, like when watching a beautiful sunset"
  • Following the same procedure used for generating and radiating each feeling separately, imagine first two, then three, four, five, and finally all six of the following situations simultaneously and the naturally elicited states of increasingly complex networks of feelings that come from each combination
    • While sitting in a comfortable easy chair in a beautiful room and gently petting a puppy that is sleeping in your lap, feeling an integrated state of mellow comfort and tender protectiveness
    • While sitting in the easy chair with the sleeping puppy, and exercising care not to wake it, feeling an integrated state of mellow comfort, tender protectiveness, and self-control
    • While sitting in the easy chair with the puppy, being careful not to wake it, and noticing that the puppy is shivering, feeling an integrated state of mellow comfort, tender protectiveness, self-control, and focus
    • While sitting in the easy chair with the puppy, being careful not to wake it, noticing it shivering, and trying to understand what is wrong, feeling an integrated state of mellow comfort, tender protectiveness, self-control, focus, and understanding
    • While sitting in the easy chair with the puppy, being careful not to wake it, noticing it shivering, understanding what is wrong, and listening to beautiful music, feeling an integrated state of mellow comfort, tender protectiveness, self-control, focus, understanding, and inspiration
  • Reinforce the integration of the feelings into functioning networks at each stage, by using the appropriate number of key adjectives describing the state
    • "comfortable"
    • "tender"
    • "careful"
    • "focused"
    • "understanding"
    • "inspired"
  • If this method is insufficient, use an appropriate number of key words and phrases reconstructing the image describing the state, flashing back to the imagined scene for only a moment and then returning to radiating the mental and emotional state of balanced sensitivity
    • "easy chair"
    • "sleeping puppy"
    • "don't wake it"
    • "shivering"
    • "cold"
    • "music"
  • Once moderately adept at radiating a field of balanced sensitivity, if you notice a weak element in the system, adjust it by repeating silently only the relevant key adjective
  • If doing so fails to strengthen the element, use the appropriate key word or phrase from the sequence of images

2. Repeat the procedure twice, while focusing on a magazine picture of a different anonymous person each time

3. Repeat the procedure while focusing on a photo or on a thought of a loud, overbearing relative or of an obnoxious neighbor or fellow worker

II. While focusing on someone in person

1. Repeat the procedure while sitting in a circle with a group, by focusing on each person in turn at each step

2. Repeat the procedure while facing a partner

III. While focusing on yourself

1. Repeat the procedure while looking first in a mirror at each step and then, putting down the mirror, focusing simply on yourself with eyes looking downward

2. Repeat the procedure twice, while looking at a photograph of yourself from a different period in the past each time

 

[ Corresponding Chapter 4 in Developing Balanced Sensitivity]