Written by: Michelle Belanger
In order to perform the assignments described below, you need a good working knowledge of meditation. You don't have to be a master Yogi, but you should be able to block out all the distractions of the world and to find a stillpoint within yourself. Experience with visualization will be helpful as well. The final thing you'll need is enough faith and confidence in your own impressions that you will not second guess everything that you feel during the exercises. You can analyze things after the fact, but when you are doing the exercises, you have to trust that what you're experiencing is real and has the potential to impact the world around you.
Your relation to the world: For this week, focus on how your special sensitivities make you react to the world around you. How do the energies of other places and other people affect you? You don't have to do anything special in order to gain experiences that will give you insight into this. Go to work as you normally do, but instead of just putting your sensitivities into the background of your mind, bring them forward. Be very conscious of how you react to certain people and certain places. Does your work environment inspire an unusual reaction in you? Can you "feel" the emotions of your fellow workers? And when these emotions are negative, how does this affect your own work experience? Keep your spiritual eyes wide open all week long, and try to reflect each night on how seeing with these eyes makes your experience different from the norm.
Your affect on the world: You have already spent a week paying close attention to how the world around you affects you. This week, focus on how you affect the world. Each of us move both in the physical and spiritual realities. How does this extra interaction affect the world around you? Do you subtly control the chaos of morning rush hour so that your car always has the most open path? Do you subtly affect your customers with your energy so they always go away in a better mood? For most of us, these abilities come so naturally that we barely pay any attention to them as we do them. But for this week, try to bring your activities into the conscious realm of your mind. Have you ever noticed that when you're in a foul mood, it gets cloudy and rains? Or if you really want warm and balmy weather, the world complies? How much of this is coincidence and how much is the product of your subtle energy relationship with the world at large? Reflect on your common everyday experiences and see if you can't see the extraordinary there, just beneath the surface.
Feeling the energy of the world: This week, focus on your sense of the energy in the world around you. This is an awareness that is so natural it is easy to ignore in our daily lives. For this week, focus only on the impressions you get from inanimate objects. While going to work, what do you feel from your car? How does energy affect that machine and interact with it? Do inanimate objects have character - maybe even some kind of sentience? Can you feel this personality in the energy, maybe even communicate with it? What possibilities does this open for you? When you're in the city, reach out and feel the buildings around you. How do the older ones feel compared to the younger ones? Can you feel the weight of a thousand remembered footsteps on the path beneath your feet? At night, go out and look to the sky. Can you reach out and feel the distant, cold energy of the stars? Do certain stars feel different? Reach out to the trees and see if you can't connect with their energy, too. Open yourself to all the myriad of experiences around you. Reach your sensitivities out and touch everything. Savor it. Understand it. Then reflect on your experiences and try to record them as accurately as possible in your journal.
Getting in Touch with People: Last week, you opened yourself up to the energies of the inanimate world, feeling buildings, trees, stars, and the earth beneath your feet. This week, reach out and experience your awareness of people. Whenever you interact with someone, try to feel their emotions. See if you can gain a sense of their health and their state of mind. Seek out an impression of their thoughts as well. When you close your eyes in a crowded room, can you feel each distinct person? Can you pick up on the dull roar of all their thoughts and feelings? Can you focus on just one person and pick them out from the crowd? When you touch someone, do the impressions get stronger? What about when you look them directly in the eye? Do you get stronger impressions from people that you know or from total strangers? If you can't feel anything, explore inside of yourself and see if maybe you've constructed unconscious shields to protect you from the babble of all the minds around you. Don't try to affect any of these people with your energy just yet: just try to feel them. Open yourself up and experience as deeply as possible. Reflect on your experiences each day and record your thoughts in your journal.
Expanding your limits: You have spent a week feeling the people around you as they come into your personal space and interact with you. But how about feeling people you cannot directly see? If you live in an apartment or dormitory, lay back some place quiet and try to feel the other people in the building with you. See if you can't gain an impression of what they're doing in their own little homes. Taste their feelings, their ambient thoughts. If you live in a house, start by trying to feel the people in other rooms. If you know these people, and care to share your experiments with them, then you can talk with them later and compare your impressions with what was actually happening. Don't be disappointed if your impressions weren't one hundred percent accurate. The mind works through symbols, and maybe you can see how your impressions fit the situation but in a symbolic sense. Spend the whole week honing these long-distance impressions from the house or apartment around you. If people are sleeping when you reach out your awareness, see if you can't sense their dreams.
A further step away: When you have gained a pretty good feel for the house or apartment around you, try stretching your awareness even further. See if you can feel the other houses in your neighborhood. See if you can get a general feel for the people inside of them, and the emotions they're going through. The further out you expand your senses, the less intense and specific they are going to be: think of it like the zoom lens on a camera. If you zoom out, you can get a larger piece of the picture, but the details will be smaller and harder to see. But you'll still get a reasonably good rendition of the picture. So for this week, ""zoom out"" with your spiritual senses and try to feel your entire neighborhood. Focus on the houses in your immediate vicinity first, but then try to get a general feel of all the people in the area. If there is an emergency nearby, can you feel the emotions involved? If you hear sirens, can you locate where they are going and why? If you hear children laughing and playing in a backyard nearby, can you feel their innocence and their joy? After focusing on this exercise for a while, you'll find that emotions and energies move throughout a neighborhood like the eddies and currents of the sea. If the people of one house are balanced and cheerful, those positive energies stretch out and affect people around them. When a crime occurs, with all the negative emotions associated with it, that stretches out as well, affecting everyone with negative feelings. See if you can get a feel for these currents of energy moving through your neighborhood. What is the overall ""feel"" you get from your neighborhood? Is it a good feel, or a bad feel? What, if anything, do you think could be done to change it?
Touching the collective: In the previous weeks, you have honed your senses for the world around you and the people in it. You have come to get a better understanding of how your energies are affected by the world around you and how your energies can affect the world at large. You have learned to sense the people near you, the people in the same building as you, and the people in your larger geographic area. You have learned that neighborhoods have energy patterns, and that these patterns are affected by the activities and emotions of everyone who lives in that area. Now you are going to reach out and sense things on the widest angle possible, and you are going to affect change.
Just as you did in last weeks' exercises, lay back in a quiet place and start reaching out to the world around you. Let your perceptions extend beyond your body to the people in your house, then extend beyond that to everyone in your community. Feel the households around you and the interaction of all the people within them. Feel everyone's emotions, both happy and sad. Stretch out your awareness until you feel like the whole of your neighborhood is held inside of you - like you are all through it, all around it, embracing everything. Now focus on the currents of emotion and energy that move through the neighborhood, affecting all of its people. Each person contributes to these currents with his or her own energy and emotions, and each person in turn in affected by them. Feel the currents, get a sense of what emotions and sensations predominate in them.
Now, try to change them for the better. If you live in an economically depressed neighborhood and there is a lot of frustration and despair, try to lighten that with hope and joy in simple things. Send these emotions out on the currents you can feel, and see your positive emotions touching and affecting every single person within the neighborhood. If your community is rich but lacks any kind of spiritual depth or tolerance of differences, fill yourself with the feeling of spiritual hunger and of the fulfillment that comes from spiritual pursuits. Fill yourself with love and respect for everyone, no matter their race, religion, or personal differences. Send these feelings out onto the currents around you and envision them touching everyone, filling them too, so that these emotions eclipse the smaller, petty feelings which previously predominated. Do this each night, reaching out to everything and sending out the emotions you think will achieve the most positive change. Watch your neighborhood carefully for the next several weeks. Try to identify changes in people and in attitudes that you can link back to what you've put out there. One person can change the world, and all it really takes is a simple, focused thought.