Today, as you observe silence, focus your attention on your sense of touch. Throughout your day, perhaps in intervals, direct your attention on what it is you physically feel. What is the sensation of clothing on your body? How does it feel to have someone touch you? Do you feel the wind on your face or in your hair? How does it feel to stand or sit? When the day is complete, answer these questions:
- What was it like to focus my attention on my sense of touch?
- Am I a person who reacts strongly to physical touch?
- In what way did my sense of touch impact my thoughts, emotions, or spirit?
- How does what I touch affect my physical energy?
- Did my capacity to touch meaningfully either increase or decrease with my focused attention? Why might that be?
Take time to ask yourself the following:
- Of the information I have learned up to now, what stands out as vital?
- What information seems least relevant to my spiritual development?
- Which of the practices seemed to move me spiritually, and which had little impact?
- Of the information I have learned so far, what would be best to review? (take time to do so now)
This was a ridiculously difficult day for me. As I’ve determined, I’m a person who has willfully repressed her sense of touch. I know that I really do love it when people touch me. When I’m with my mom, for example, we often cuddle up together on the couch as we watch TV, and it is the safest, most wonderful feeling I can imagine. My friend Johnathan, too, is quite the fan of touching me. If we’re sitting together, he drapes his arm around me, plays with my hair, rubs my neck, or any other random physical token of affection. Frankly, I love it when he does this and find that I do tend to actually relax when he does. But these are the only people in my life right now that touch me…and since I live far away from both of them, it is a very rare occurrence. I think that I’ve subconsciously blocked out how nice it is to be touched, and that’s led to a general lack of notice for all touch sensations. It’s also led to my mind wandering far and wide when I am trying to experience touch, which is infinitely frustrating. I don’t feel anything because I’m thinking about getting a job, what I’ll make for dinner, the twists and turns of the last mystery plot I read…basically anything in the world but the sensation of being touched.
If I really focus on it, the touch sensations are exquisite. The feeling of rain falling into my hair is intensely pleasurable and cleansing, and the wind whipping around me flings all my mental dross away. But these feelings are fleeting and my focus fails quickly.
I think this is pointing to a problem I’m still working through: intensifying my focus. Meditation is still something I work at. Frankly, I’d be well served to just suspend 366 altogether and work on nothing but meditation for three months. Maybe I need to work through some sort of determined meditative system instead of randomly picking and choosing random exercises. I should give this more thought.