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Home > eBooks > Unpublished Manuscripts > The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity > Exercise 10: Applying the Five Types of Deep Awareness

The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity

Alexander Berzin
July 1999
Revised February 2003

Part II: Uncovering the Talents of Our Mind and Heart

Exercise 10: Applying the Five Types of Deep Awareness

I. While focusing on a photo of a group of people

1. Focusing on a family photo or on a picture of a group of friends

  • Quiet your mind of mental stories, preconceptions, and nonverbal judgments
  • Generate caring concern through a line of reasoning:
    • "Each of you is a human being and has feelings, just as I do."
    • "The mood you are in will affect our interaction, just as mine will affect it."
    • "How I treat you and what I say will further affect your feelings, just as how you treat me and what you say will further affect mine."
    • "Therefore, just as I hope that you care about me and about my feelings in our interaction, I care about you and about your feelings."
  • Focus on each person in the photo, one at a time, with mirror-like awareness, taking in, like a video camera, all visible information
  • Focus on several of them together, in different combinations, with joint equalizing and reality awareness, seeing them all as equally wanting to be happy and never to suffer
  • Based on this caring regard, feel equal love, compassion, and concern for them all
  • Focus on each with awareness of his or her individuality and with respect for each as an individual
  • Focus on each with joint accomplishing and reality awareness, understanding how to relate to each
  • Focus with awareness of deepest reality, see each not only as who he or she presently is, but also as open to all possibilities in the future
  • Repeat several times the sequence of directing each state of mind or type of awareness, one at a time, at the persons in the photo, by using the key phrases:
    • "no stories"
    • "caring concern"
    • "camera"
    • "equal"
    • "individual"
    • "relate"
    • "open"
  • Direct at the persons in the photo an increasingly larger number of these states of mind and types of awareness, by using first two, then three, four, five, six, and finally all seven key phrases

2. Repeat the procedure, placing beside the photo of your loved ones a magazine picture of a stranger and focusing on the persons in both photos

3. Repeat the procedure, placing beside both photos a picture of someone you dislike

II. While focusing on someone in person

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

  • Repeat the key phrase also for the initial generation of each type of awareness and alternate it with "no stories" and "caring concern"
  • For equalizing awareness, focus on two or three persons at once and merely see them with equal regard, without identifying the ways in which they are equal
  • For individualizing awareness, simply regard the person as an individual, without identifying the factors that define his or her individuality
  • For accomplishing awareness, merely extend your energy to each person with the deep wish to relate, without identifying the best way in which to connect
  • For reality awareness, focus not only on the fact that each person is open to change, but also on your own flexibility and openness to him or her
  • When combining the seven states of mind, focus on a particular set of two or three persons for an entire round and then choose another set of persons for the next round

III. While focusing on yourself

1. While sitting in front of a mirror with a group of people, repeat the procedure used in the circle

2. While sitting alone without a mirror, preferably at the start of a new session

  • Quiet your mind and generate caring concern toward yourself
  • Direct mirror-like awareness at the feelings and emotions you are currently experiencing
  • With equalizing awareness, see your present feelings as equal to any others you have experienced and regard them with equanimity
  • With joint equalizing and reality awareness, see the patterns in your feelings and emotions
  • With individualizing awareness, acknowledge the uniqueness of what you are experiencing now
  • With accomplishing awareness, extend your energy with willingness to relate to your experience
  • With joint accomplishing and reality awareness, see how to relate to what you are presently feeling
  • With awareness of reality, try not to identify solidly with your mood of the moment, but see that your moods and yourself are open to change
  • Assimilate and combine these states of mind and kinds of awareness, by using the key phrases as before

3. While looking at a series of past photos of yourself laid out before you

  • Repeat the procedure as when sitting alone without a mirror, but directing mirror-like awareness at the feelings and emotions that each picture elicits
  • Conclude by directing equalizing awareness to regard yourself with equal warmth throughout your life

4. While sitting quietly without any props

  • With mirror-like awareness, open to the entire scope of your personality, by quieting down and mirroring its foundation – your clear light mind
  • With deepest reality awareness, face your character without making judgments or stories
  • Bring your personality into focus and apply equalizing awareness to have equal regard for all its aspects
  • With individualizing awareness, focus on a specific aspect of your character
  • With accomplishing awareness, extend your energy to deal with it
  • With joint accomplishing and reality awareness, see how to relate to this aspect and how to bring it into daily life in a practical way
  • Recognizing its assets and its shortcomings, try to identify methods to enhance the former and to eliminate or at least to minimize the latter
  • Repeat the last four steps by directing your attention toward other facets of your personality
[ Corresponding Chapter 10 of Developing Balanced Sensitivity.]