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In my human development group we did an experiment where we explored in our private minds an emotion. This was after we had discussed for quite a while what the methods and parameters we would be. The idea was to use the common method of a short talk on the values of quiet meditation, and then at a signal we would all be quiet for a period of time, about two minutes, and then move on. I suggested a general strategy based on Sunday’s blog post, Learning from a moment of forethought, a moment of action, and a moment of meditation. The paragraph below is expanded for clarity.

What, we as a group, ended up with was to choose a time keeper whose function was to call out, “Begin your 30 second self analysis meditation.”, after 30 seconds say, “Begin your internal emotional self challenge.”, and after another 30 seconds say, “Begin your quiet analysis of what happened.”, after 30 seconds say, “End your meditation, and the person to my right briefly state your experience and observations – if you wish to.”.

Someone asked at the beginning, “Where did you feel the bodily sensation, while you were doing the self challenge part of the meditation?”. Each person as they gave their experiences mentioned a particular part of their body that had been filled with an energy. One mentioned their face, chest and arms, another palms of hands, another the solar plexus, one a dizzy feeling in the head, another in the throat and swallowing, another a stiffness in the heart. That variability was surprising because we had all seemingly done the same thing for 30 seconds.

The emotions explored varied too, and as we had been discussing coping with anger earlier several people chose that emotion for meditation, some didn’t want to go to anger and they chose a positive emotion like elation, and a few chose not to talk about what they had thought about or done. This experiment was totally internal and private so a person could explore anything that they considered important, that is anything that came up in the first 30 second period of self exploration. The self challenge could go as deep as they chose to go, and the brief afterthought also was totally personal, and the conversational statement to the group was also personally controlled. There was nothing invasive about the experiment, but for me it turned out to be an opening onto something I had never considered before in my entire life, and yet I knew immediately was important to who I am. Several people expressed a similar thought, and I hope group will choose to do this brief meditation again.

This loud variation on quiet meditation reveals unexpected opportunities.