Wednesday, February 25, 2009

day 6 of zen retreat - discussion

the senses: what do you detect with each of the senses?
- hear: the quiet rustling of the HVAC, the quiet typing of keyboards (it's early morning, few people in cubicle-land), soft footsteps, the occasional rumble of a large truck (we're near a major road).
- see: um, the monitor? also some of my kids' artwork, pictures, several wall calendars (from different organizations I belong to or donate to), my myPod maxi (hacked iPod mini with a 32Gig memory card, battery upgrade, ...), crackberry storm, skyfi3 xm radio, computer speakers, 3 page-a-day calendars (dilbert, smarter than a 5th grader (so far, yes), and insight from the Dalai Lama), coffee cups filled with pencils, pens & markers, my hutch (filled with CD's, papers, magazines and crap (including a universal joint from the wagon)), day planner, phone, ... (can you tell I'm a high-visual?)
- taste: remnants of breakfast (munchie bar, claims it's nutritious, selected to satisfy my desire to masticate), the citrus/sugar aftertaste from mountain dew (soft drink, the energy drink of the prior generation - coffee for the generation before that).
- smell: coffee (from one neighbor), cologne (from another), the "normal" smell of this building, latex paint drying (some touch-up work was done down the hall earlier)
- touch: the texture and weight of the keys as I type, the warm fuzziness of the wrist pad, the cool hardness of the desk top, the warmth of my riding boots (another motorcycle day), the firmness of the seat of my chair (a good thing, not fond of marsh-mellow seats), the coolness of the air (68.5F, 20.3C) and the breeze it makes.

- and yes, I do feel a bit more calm. it was also a bit odd, using awareness to gather the data, then concentration to glean the best and enter them here... duality or just pairing?

: calming the self through an observational countdown
this was supposed to take 5 min, but perhaps I rushed it, or perhaps, since I just did the "what do you see" thing above, I had an excellent mental map, or perhaps...
5 - 1st 5 calendars
4 - last 2 calendars plus 2 pieces of artwork from the kids
3 - pieces of high tech toys (crackberry, xm & myPod)
2 - computer speakers
1 - and a partridge in a pear tree... um, my computer monitor
I imagine that this would be much more difficult if you were in an unfamiliar place...

-- the main event --
exercise: use each sense in turn (be in the moment) while eating a mandarine (orange) as I have a plain old orange, some of my observations will be different than those who were able to obtain the proper fruit, or those who procured other alternative fruits (I thought about using grapes, until I thought about the 'peeling' portion) 8)

look at it: it's orange, still has a stub of a stem, about the size of a tennis ball (locally grown), texture is mostly smooth with 'pores' and a few bumps near the top.
blindfold: this is weird. fortunately I can touch type...
explore with fingers: picking it up, I found more patches of roughness and bumpiness than were noticed in the initial visual observation (spent more time exploring it), exterior feels almost waxy, and there's a dimple in the bottom (useful to keep it from wandering off).
holding it in hand: about the size of a tennis ball, but heavier - found myself wondering how far it could be heaved - just about perfect size and weight for a throw. if two more were found and juggling to be done, there would be orange juice in no time flat...
smell the exterior: smells different than orange juice - a bit more tart to it.
peeling it: messy - this wasn't easy to peel. cool, wet, slightly sticky (amazingly enough, so is the keyboard - not really, grabbed a paper towel in anticipation of a mess). cheated and used knife to get it started (break a slot in the rind).
peeled smell: due to it being an orange, I have a lot of sub-rind stuff stuck to the orange, so it still has more of a tart smell than expected, but less so than when it was fully encased. in the place where it was gouged, it smells like I expected an orange to smell (leaking)
peeled feel: slightly tacky, cool, damp-ish (except where I put a thumb through it, it's quite wet there), weight is a little less, texture is kind of fuzzy (small patches of rind still there).
first bite taste: as expected, quite orange (it seems almost like synesthesia to describe a taste with a color, but you know what I mean).
feel of chewing: squishy - the wedges have some structure, so with each chomp, more orange flavor comes out. never really paid that much attention to just eating an orange before. look what I've been missing... 8)
aftertaste: smooth, not bitter - um... as I lick my lips, I find drops of juice that still taste quite orange. some bitterness now that the sweet has faded (may have to do with my quality job of peeling it).

oh, and meditate for 10 min
- that did pretty well, getting into the flow fairly quickly, but the "perfect" 10 min has yet to happen. not sure when I should move to 15 min, if I should wait until I can do 10 min with only 1 or 2 interruptions, or as soon as my knees and ankles can take it...

and re-do the body meditation, as I am supposed to be IN the body, not observing and questioning, like a boss visiting cubicle land (first person, not second person)
- tried this, but it didn't work (the way I wanted it to). the best I was able to do was to push the center of the concious 'me' down through my neck and into my upper chest, but then it started squirming around and slipped back up into my head. will try this a few more times, and as long as it improves, it will be considered a work in progress - if not, then it will be time for additional help...


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