When we switch ON a computer, there is a BOOT software which starts running. This software initialises all the hardware present like the Hard drives, USB drives, monitor, keyboard, mouse and all such things. Then the computer goes onto a loop – check keyboard for input or check mouse for input or check if there are any inputs from any device that is connected. It constantly keeps checking for input and keeps processing the inputs. That is what it is made for.
We, human beings, are somewhat similar in the concept that we are also constantly looking for inputs – inputs from sensory organs like eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. The brain is also constantly looking for inputs from the organs to know that everything is going well. That is how the brain is made and this is such a brilliant design.
But those times when we want to sit still, doing nothing (I find this extremely challenging) or just staying with the breath (refer to my previous posts Awareness and Breath) needs sometime where we can distract the brain to stay away from the constant input checking program.
We can work to achieve this state by gently closing our eyes and stop visual input to the brain. It might be very challenging to do so initially for we are not used to sitting quietly with eyes closed for long times. But we can gently cajole and bring the brain to accept such a calming state where the visual input is off.
Now when the visual inputs are off, the ears and nose work extra to give more inputs to the brain. And the skin’s sensitivity to feel sensations doubles up. It is during these times that we practice mindfulness – where we observe inputs through the other 4 channels and make them a part of our background. When we do this, we are not startled by sudden inputs to these 4 channels, all the time training the eyes to remain closed.
For some this can be really challenging but it is an exercise worth trying for the benefits are just too many.
So, let’s try this:
- Sit in a comfortable posture – one in which you can stay still for sometime.
- Relax shoulders, forehead, jaw, abdomen.
- Now try closing eyes for a count of 10. Observe how it feels. Then open your eyes.
- Try step 3 for a few times.
- Then try closing for a longer duration.
- With eyes closed, observe sounds, smells, sensations – identify them. Become comfortable with all other inputs while eyes are closed.
- Now the body is comfortable with this posture. Gently take your attention to your breath! Stay with it as long as you can.
- Just be!