The following handout “Self Awareness and Observation Exercises for the Stomach Organ Energy System” is a sample of the handouts used in the OES class.
Since the primary focus of the class is to provide experiential ways to learn about the body, these handouts are designed to help the student observe and study both the positive and negative aspects of how well an organ system is functioning in him/her. After doing the observation exercises for an organ system, positive change exercises are provided that can be used to create conditions that will help the student upgrade the functioning of the organ system being studied.
When a student has completed the Organ Energy Systems Class, s/he will have a complete workbook for continuing to progress in the upgrading of their organ energy systems which can be used for a life time.
Exercises for Self-Awareness and Practical Techniques for
Improving the Functioning and Capacities of the
Stomach Organ Energy System
Self-Awareness and Observation Exercises for the Stomach Organ Energy System
1. Attitudes and Assumptions
Observing, exploring, and more closely examining what you think or tell yourself about the world outside and what you feel threatened by or have internal voices of protection and guardedness about.
Walk down a busy street looking at people. Observe and body sense your thoughts, feelings, reactions, and judgments.
Observe and catalogue attitudes and assumptions that come up for you during the day.
Observe and catalogue attitudes/assumptions/beliefs/prejudices about what you can or can't handle and/or regard as potentially good for or harmful to you.
Ponder which of all of the above seem like mirror images of opinions in the prevailing culture. Ponder which of them, given your past and present experience, seem to be legitimately warranted and justified, and which might be hindering or cutting you off from potentially valuable opportunities and experiences.
2. Like and Dislike
In a similar, but more narrowly construed vein than in 1 above—reassessing our likes and dislikes and our whole perspective on the liking and disliking phenomenon. Likes and dislikes are more seemingly gut-like reactions and responses to things, even if there are also accompanying thoughts that condition your willingness to engage and/or take particular things in.
Turn your attention to like and dislike. Observe and body sense what gets a yes and no from you as you go through your day.
Spend some time with people/things that you dislike, or have negative attitudes about. Observe and body sense what you notice, think and feel about each person/thing and yourself in the process of doing so. Do the same thing with people/things you like and have positive attitudes toward.
Pick favorite foods, least favorite foods, and foods you dislike and eat them slowly. Observe and body sense what goes on for you. Ponder and record what seems to make them favorable, less favorable or totally unattractive to you.
Trying to be as neutral and open as you possibly can be toward them, re-try doing or taking in things you had previously decided you disliked but that clearly pose no danger.
In reference to all of the above exercises ponder how your experience is similar to experiences you had previously or what you imagined might be the case? How is it different? What is it about the thing itself and/or yourself that contributed to your past experience, past non-experience or present experience of it?
In looking at your lifestyle you can look at both what you do and how you do it. The next two categories are very closely linked and can at times be difficult to separate/differentiate, especially since they so directly interact with and condition each other.
3. Life Content
Exploring the role the content of any specific day and week plays in the degree of meaning and satisfaction you derive from your life.
Survey and review what you have body sensed and self-observed about the content of any individual day and of your entire week. End of Day Review. End of Week Review.
Ponder what is truly necessary, what's wasteful, what's optional, what's nourishing and what's not, what could potentially be helpful, what's somehow problematic, and where and when it's a question of the absence of something or too little of something, too much of something, or a bad mix of things in the ways they usually get combined or overlapped with each other (this is conduct as well). Look at what about the content of your life separates and alienates you from other people, the environment, and what the world around you has to offer. What about it causes systemic stress and backup as well as an impairment and corruption of your ability to develop genuine taste and discernment with regard to who and what, when it's a question of choice, you include in your life.
Conduct experiments to help you more directly pinpoint and get useful data about the actual facts of the particular elements of your day and week:
Take anything you do regularly, on any given day or in the course of a whole week—don't do it for a day, several days in a row or for an entire week. For example, if you eat sweets every day or drink caffeine daily, pick one or both of these and go without it. If you read, watch TV etc. while eating, skip doing so during meals. Other examples of things to skip: getting together with a particular person, social time on the telephone, shopping and running errands for anything other than that day's necessities, talking on your cell phone while driving, listening to radio/CD’s while driving, writing letters, being on the internet, going to the movies, working overtime, eating out at restaurants, going for a walk, taking time alone, etc.
Try doing something regularly over the course of several days or weeks that you don't usually do, such as dancing, hiking in nature, eating outside, smiling at everyone you meet, watching the news on TV, cleaning up as you cook in the kitchen, being alone with yourself, taking a ten minute walk each morning, etc.
For all of the above exercises, what differences do you notice/feel as a result? Ponder the possible reasons for these differences.
4. Conduct of Life
Exploring what and how much you feel you need, the degree of satisfaction you acquire from the content of your day, and how these are conditioned by your conduct of life—how you set up for and approach things.
Experiment with devoting yourself to prep (preparatory) time activities such as: better transitioning, more intelligent beginning and end of your day, pacing yourself, more consciously planning in advance and doing whatever you are doing. Try out helpful and practical suggestions made by others knowledgeable and more experienced with particular activities. Use End of Day Review to assess the results of these experiments.
Eat all your meals for the week sitting down. Pause one minute before eating each meal for the week. Other things you could try: smiling at everyone you meet walking down a sidewalk or hall for an entire day, being silent around others for a set period of time, every day taking two minutes to look at or listen to and really take in something you like without thinking of anything else during that time.
Observe and body sense signs of half-digested experience that leave you with a sense of incompleteness and lack of satisfaction, things whirling around and feeling unsettled in you and the uneasy feeling that conclusions you reach about things are perhaps shaky and faulty. Half-digested experience can result from too much content to allow any opportunity to properly process it. In this case we are talking about it resulting not from too much content, but because of not being fully present and not allowing proper space and time, things haven't been fully processed, chewed and digested and have not had a chance to sit with and settle well in you and ultimately get properly sorted out so you know what they really are/could be about for you.
(Examples of questionable conduct of life—running without setting up properly first, rushing out the door after eating, eating without even looking up from your plate, spending time interacting with co-workers without even looking them in the eyes or taking time to register how they are doing, going straight from the door into the car without looking around, getting out of the car and on your way to whatever you're doing next (such as into the grocery store) in an instant without even looking around or shaking out the body, letting anything and everything in sight distract you and occupy your attention.)
5. Reactive Behavior
Throwing things up and out, reacting to things instantly, being defensive, not listening closely to and taking in things other people are saying or expressing to you.
Observe and record what you think are, or might be, reactive or protective behaviors in yourself and the situations internally and externally that seem to engender them, and the thoughts, feelings, mechanisms that trigger and/or are involved with them.
Ponder why and where in your past experience these things may have originated. Ponder whether or not they serve any helpful or useful purpose in your life or if are they blocks and barriers to being, becoming all who you can.
6. Risk Taking
Expanding your experiential boundaries—engaging new, different, and perhaps for you, more unusual and challenging situations.
Make more eye contact with people than you usually do. What feelings/sensations does this bring up?
Take in feedback - not responding, reacting, defending or justifying yourself, but taking the time to assess it more deeply.
Let go of control—let other people be directive and set up situations and opportunities for you (i.e. trust walks, trust falls, anything they think might be new, helpful, unusual or potentially nourishing for you).
Try things you previously have not wanted to do or were afraid to do (i.e. do yourself up and dress very differently and/or behave out of character at work or in other situations (the plus side of what people like and appreciate about Halloween, Carnival, etc.)).
With regard to all of the above observe and body sense the more positive and negative dynamics of what went on for you. Ponder them for clues as to original causes of the negative dynamics of your experience.
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