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Home > eBooks > Unpublished Manuscripts > The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity > Exercise 14: Seeing Experiences as Waves on the Ocean

The Sensitivity Handbook: Training Materials for Developing Balanced Sensitivity

Alexander Berzin
July 1999
Revised February 2003

Part III: Dispelling Confusion about Appearances

Exercise 14: Seeing Experiences as Waves on the Ocean

I. While focusing on someone from your life

1. While focusing on someone close to you who recently upset you with his or her words

  • Recall feeling, "How dare you say that to me."
  • Note the dualistic impression of yourself standing concretely on one side as the victim or judge and of the person standing concretely on the other as the offender
  • To deconstruct this dualistic appearance, recall the bare experience of the arising and hearing of the sound of the person's words
  • Imagine the bare experience like a wave on the ocean of your clear light activity, by experiencing merely a mental feeling of a wave coming from your heart
  • As the experience evolved, the wave swelled, filling first with a dualistic feeling and then with a disturbing emotion
  • Broadening your perspective, experience a nondualistic feeling of the entire ocean from the floor to the surface, without identifying concretely with the ocean and without imagining yourself as a concrete entity separate from it, either in or out of the water
  • Feeling simply like a vast and deep ocean, with waves on the surface, recall that no matter how huge and terrifying a wave may seem to be, it is only water – it can never disturb the depths of the sea
  • Without feeling like a concrete entity being battered by the wave, feel the wave naturally subsiding
  • As the wave gets smaller, the disturbing emotion and then the dualistic feeling quiet down
  • Return to the bare experience of merely hearing the words
  • As this movement of mind stills as well, feel like the placid, yet vibrant sea
  • No longer upset, imagine handling the situation by responding calmly and sensitively

2. While focusing on your response to the person who spoke to you upsettingly

  • Recall speaking cruelly in return and feeling guilty afterwards about what you said
  • Note that in feeling guilty, your mind produces a dualistic appearance of a seemingly concrete idiotic "me" and the seemingly concrete stupid words you said
  • Repeat the procedure to deconstruct this dualistic appearance, by recalling the bare experience of your clear light mind giving rise to your words and perceiving their sound

3. Repeat the procedure to deconstruct dualistic feelings when hearing someone say loving words to you, such as the deceptive feeling of a seemingly concrete "me" who does not deserve love and of seemingly concrete unsettling words that the person could not possibly mean

4. While recalling an unsettling emotion that suddenly arose without necessarily being related to the situation or to the people around you

  • Note the dualistic impression of a seemingly concrete innocent "me" and a seemingly concrete intrusive emotion that I do not wish to experience at the moment, which lies beneath your feeling of alienation or turmoil
  • Repeat the deconstruction procedure, by experiencing the emotion as a swell arising on the ocean of your clear light mind
  • If you are unable to feel something now, apply the deconstruction procedure to any anxiety or emptiness you may experience dualistically at feeling nothing

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, to deconstruct the self-conscious feeling of dualism of a seemingly concrete "me" over here who might not be liked by a seemingly concrete "you" over there

2. Repeat the procedure, while facing a partner, to deconstruct the self-conscious feeling of dualism of a seemingly concrete nervous "me" confronting a seemingly concrete unnerving "you"

III. While focusing on yourself

1. Repeat the procedure, while looking in a mirror, to deconstruct the disturbing dualistic feeling of a seemingly concrete "me" who is not comfortable with a seemingly concrete "myself"

2. Repeat the procedure without a mirror

3. Repeat the procedure, while looking at a series of photographs of yourself spanning your life, to deconstruct the unsettling dualistic feeling of a seemingly concrete "me" of now judging a seemingly concrete "me" of then

 

[ Corresponding Chapter 13 in Developing Balanced Sensitivity.]