Dr. Charles T. Tart, Mindfulness, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology,
Lecture 2, Part 14 of 15 parts. To start class from beginning, click here.
CTT: Any other difficulties in doing the Vipassana method or unclarity about how you actually do this? Because I am going to ask you to do a couple of 10 minute sessions each day all through next week to get some direct experience of this. I want you to feel you know what to do. Yes.
Student: I had a question on something that you commented on earlier.
CTT: Well first; first let’s see if there are any methods questions, because we’re slowly moving up toward the end of class and I don’t want to miss them. Anybody unclear on that…? And of course if you’re not absolutely clear on that, you are allowed to fool around a little and see what happens.
Okay. You’re on.
Student: It’s regarding the method.
Student: This idea of imagined sensations. So is there a rule of thumb on how to make sure it’s imagined sensation?
CTT: You have to learn that yourself.
CTT: I just know for myself that a lot of times I am following a physical sensation and then I slip over into kind of thinking about it, imaging it or something like that, instead of paying attention to the actual sensation. I notice that at some point. I don’t know how I notice it. I guess it’s because I’ve sort of trained myself to come back and focus attention on my physical body every few seconds, and then I may notice I’m actually over in imagination.
Remember when I presented concentrative meditation, I said maybe a quarter of your attention is in monitoring the process? Same sort of thing here.
In doing Vipassana, part of you is just really focusing on whatever the most prominent sensation is, and looking at it with equanimity and all that. But at least some small part of you should be monitoring the process. If not continuously, at least every few seconds. “Am I actually paying attention to my body?” or what have you. And you get to become sensitive to this and notice it.
Now, going back to the comment over here a minute ago, about every thought may have a body sensation, we’re all really interested in psychology. This is the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. But insofar as every thought or feeling has some bodily components to it, by learning to be more sensitive to what’s happening in your body, you’re actually learning to be more sensitive to your thoughts and your feelings. This will become especially true next week when I bring us into the self remembering technique for everyday life.
The process will seem on one intellectual level like it’s all concerned with physical sensations and sensory sensations, but, curiously, it has the “side effect” of making you much more sensitive to your psychological processes, which is a very interesting way to go about it.