Daydreaming and Practice

Daydreaming (from SUS07: Sutra Session (questions) 00:15:37.90 - 00:21:22.00)

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Ken: Okay. One more person. What happened when you did this? No takers? Yes.

Student: I started just daydreaming about a peripheral neutral ...

Ken: Ah, okay. You’re very good at running away. [Laughs] I should study with you. [Laughs] Okay.

So, now we have three different things going on. We’re going to do this again; we’re going to spend a little more time with it.
Breathing in, I experience the situation.
Breathing out, I experience the situation.
Now you’re not trying to change the situation or do anything about it. Just experience it. And one person starts daydreaming. Well when you start daydreaming, you’re not practicing. Now there’s nothing you can do about the daydream as long as you’re in the daydream. You’re in another world, but the daydream doesn’t last forever. It usually lasts for only a few seconds. And there’s this moment of recognition like “Oh, I’m daydreaming.” What you do at that moment is the most important thing in practice. At that moment when you say “Oh,” you come back to your practice, or you go on with the daydreaming; those are the two options. If you go back to the daydream you’re not practicing. If you come back to the practice you are. That’s it.

And so what practice consists of is making that choice each time. I come back, I come back, I come back." Now we’re working with an uncomfortable situation so this requires that you actually have the intention and are willing to experience that discomfort. And the reason that most of us are willing to do this is because we know that avoiding the discomfort creates even more discomfort later. So, we come back and at least we’re going to explore--experiment--experiencing the discomfort right now. So that’s what we do in this case.

And then the second gentleman, he said, “Oh that leads to this problem, which leads to this problem which leads to this problem.” And suddenly you’re seeing this whole situation in a very different light, right? Now, that can bring us a lot of understanding and insight that may very well be useful, but it’s a more subtle way of actually avoiding things. So what I would like you to experiment with is, “Oh, okay there’s that situation, yeah and there’s that one." And rather than keep following them she noticed that that’s happening. Just say, “What am I experiencing in my body when I open to this situation or open to all of these situations? What do I experience in my body?” I’d like you to explore that. Is that okay? Do you have a follow up question here.

Student: I think there’s a realization sometimes that the problem isn't really--there's not intensity to it but the intensity is coming from somewhere else.

Ken: Okay, so you go to where the intensity is and then go to the body. Okay. So what’s very important is that you end up in the body. Okay.

And then we have the third comment: this person is actually feeling the physical reactions associated with the situation. That was your experience, right? Okay because now we’re going to introduce the second step. The first step is:
Breathing in, I experience the situation.
Breathing out, I experience the situation.
The second step which evolves quite naturally out of the first one is:
Breathing in, I experience my reactions to the situation.
Breathing out, I experience my reactions to the situation.
Our reactions may be daydreaming. It may be following the sequence. It may be physical reactions. For other people there’ll be a whole bunch of emotional reactions.

What I’ve found here is if we’re going to work with this in the way that’s most fruitful, the best place to start is in the body. So we’re going to do this again. I want you to take the same situation that you worked with. We’ll do it a little bit longer. Last time we only did three breaths; we’ll take it up to five or eight. And what I want you to pay attention to is, how your body reacts. What happens in your body when you allow yourself to open to this situation. Any questions before we try this? You game for this? Okay. So let’s do this together.