Common steps and sub-activities

Staring at gross objects or Savitarka samadhi

If the objective of Sensory deprivation is to remove sensory input, what do you do with your eyes?  One way to deprive the eyes of any form of stimulation is, of course, to close or cover the eyes, but it is also possible to deprive the senses by keeping the eyes fixed on a single object.  In this way, there is no extra stimulus and it also helps to still the rational mind because there is nothing happening. 

Nothing to reason about, nothing to learn.

Thus by staring at objects you combine two techniques  - sensory deprivation of the sense of sight, with suppression of learning.

This is why in some meditative traditions, such as Zen, the eyes are half-closed, half open and looking slightly downward.
And in yet others such as Brahma Kumaris, the eyes are kept fully open but as it were ‘unfocussed’.
In Sufism meditation both approaches may be used; muraqaba with eyes closed is called Varood while with open eyes it is known as Shahood or Fa'tha.
The term "navel-gazing," comes from the observation that those in meditation often used to stare at their navels – down in other words.
All this reduces the input from the senses and by reducing the input, the reasoning and learning function starts to shut down.
The technique in yoga is called savitarka samadhi.

Maintain a steady fixed gaze at a point, concentrate your entire mental energy on the idea of the object looked at; and try not to – in any way – think about the object other than that it ‘is’.  Don’t name it, don’t think about it’s colour or texture, or what it reminds you of, or that [in my case] it needs a good dusting.  Just look and keep on looking.

The objective in all these processes is to “induce a habit of abstraction or concentration of attention, in which the subject [you] is entirely absorbed with one object, whilst he is unconscious of, or indifferently conscious to, every other object, purpose, or action".

And this is what the Jewish person does when they visit the Wailing Wall in  Jerusalem, they stare at the wall and they do it for hours at a time.

 

 

Some suggest that you can look at the point of your own finger, or someone else’s finger. 

Some look at the end of their nose.  The Magi of Persia and Yogi of India, for example used to “throw  themselves into their ecstatic trances by each maintaining a steady fixed gaze at the tip of his own nose”.

But my Mum used to say this was not a good idea………..

 

It helps if the object is just generally a pleasant shape or pattern without being stimulative in any way.  Stones, leaves, eggs, are all good objects to stare at

Or country and garden views as long as you simply look without trying to rationalise, name or interpret.

Don’t alter the focus of your gaze.

 

After closing your eyes for a while
Look into the middle distance

Now let the field of vision extend
To the corners of your eyes

Take the strain out of seeing
Blink, Blink slowly
Blink deliberately, to ease the eyes

Whenever you find you’re concentrating on something
Notice the hardness, the narrowness of your vision
Then pull back the focus of your eyes.

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.