Chapter 02: My First Experiences with Nine-Second Stops

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    I am one of those who came to PaB never having meditated...well not consciously. I had no real idea what meditation meant at the time I came in to PaB. I was eager to hear others talk about their experiences. To my great surprise I later learned I had been meditating at times without knowing it. During periods of stress or pain, I had learned that a form of breath meditation focused one away from the pain. I often had used breathing in the dentist chair. I also had focused myself away to verdant forest paths while the dentist was manuevering earth-moving-equipment in my mouth.

    My first reported response to trying the nine-seconds came 24 hours after the first session, in my third PaB session. I told everyone that I was hearing sounds, that is, I was was focusing on the sounds around me, hearing things that I normally would be blocking out. I did not know it, but here I was truly stopping whtever it was that i was doing and focusing elsewhere. It seemed inconsequential at the time to me but it was demosntrating what the exercise was intended to do. Until now I was not doing the exercise regularly as I reported two days later. At that session I learned about the mindfulness bell and we talked about logging our stops. Figuring I might as well give this PaB thing a chance to work, I decided to start a log. 

    I use two or threee different computers during the day, so a simple computer document would not do for a log. I could have decided to do a paper log but I no longer can read my writing. I instead chose to use blog software. I figured it would be unlinked and so private. Ha! My logs turned out to be an open book. The blog being public offered two unforeseen advantages, it made me more diligent about stopping and recording, and it brought on friendly advice from others.

    Keeping a log dramatically affected my experience with stopping because I began to see patterns and change. I was doing more than hearing sounds. I was beginning to focus on my body.. on the breath going in and out through my nose. I began having thoughts, little snippets. Others later referred to these as twittering. I began thinking about the roles as my avatar as well as me as a real person. I did not realize it at the time but this was my introduction to the concept of "self". That was all on the FIRST day of logging!

    The second day of logging I was becoming more engaged and my recorded thoughts are more diverse. I began to focus on some themes that touched on Being. For example I began thinking of the atoms making up my body, i.e. seeing them as something independent but still me. I began thinking about the mind in relation to the body. I begin to notice thoughts lurking, just out reach...the first step in learning to watch thoughts.

    The log has allowed me to see the circular nature of my thoughts but as I go round and round, I see lateral movement too. Often I see more, or see more clearly on subsequent trips around the merry-go-round.

    The next day I begin to notice feelings of peacefulness beginning to emerge often when I stop. For me this was the beginning of acceptance of the idea that there were no rules for what should happen when stopping. I began to relax more and with that came a sense of serenity. I also began to focus on the moment, beginning to appreciate the notion of just being alive. In these first few days, I was beginning to see the world differently.

    Next: Chapter 3: The Beginnings


    -Adams Rubble

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