Article by Ron Kurtz...
The Right Context for Self Study
Experiments in mindfulness aren’t done until several other important things have happened. As a session begins, the practitioner puts him or herself into a loving state of being. The state of loving presence is created by focusing on those qualities of the other person that inspire and support it. It is a form of attention. As we practice the method, this way of paying attention becomes habit. With loving presence setting the general mood, the person usually responds to it, either consciously or unconsciously, by feeling safer and calmer. The practitioner then begins to gather a particular kind of information. This information comes from observing the person’s nonverbal behaviors, the kind of behaviors that are not usually focused upon.
With loving presence setting the general mood, the person usually responds to it by feeling safer and calmer.
“The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. ”Kahlil Gibran
The information needed for experiments is not normally gotten by asking questions or from the conversation. It’s gotten by observing behavior. At this early stage, the behaviors we’re especially looking for are the signs of the person’s present experience. These signs are found in posture, gestures, facial expressions and tones of voice, things like a shrug of the shoulders or a slight redness starting in the nostrils. Paying constant attention to these signs requires a kind of present awareness that needs as much practice as loving presence.
Information like this allows the practitioner to let the person know she is paying attention and is aware of what the person is feeling. It allows the practitioner to respond to the person’s moods and needs before they’re spoken about or even noticed by the person himself. Knowing and responding to these things without having to ask about them seems the very best way to establish intimacy and safety.