Active Consciousness Newsletter - November 2011 Try the Body Instead of the Breath Most meditative practices encourage you to use a focus on your br


Active Consciousness Newsletter - November 2011


Try the Body Instead of the Breath

Most meditative practices encourage you to use a focus on your breath to slow down, turn off the mind, and get into Now awareness. Personally, I find the breath a more difficult vehicle. It is too dynamic and I get all caught up in how I am breathing! Faster, more grounding, and more effective for me is using the body itself -- the sensation of one's body as it sits in a chair.

As I discuss in Active Consciousness, my teacher Gary Sherman encourages us to use "Feet; Seat; Back". That is, focus first on the sensation of one's feet on the floor, then on one's seat in the chair, and then focus on the sensation of one's back against the chair. Here are some excerpts from Active Consciousness that will help you use this technique. With practice, you will be able to use it to enter Now consciousness within seconds. Particularly helpful is practicing going back and forth between settling using Feet; Seat; Back and then getting up and moving around. By exercising your "settling muscles" over and over, you will be able to engage them more quickly.

Settle into the Now: “Feet. Seat. Back.”

This basic step should be taken at the beginning of every exercise or meditation. With practice, you will be able to settle in just a few seconds.

Sit in a comfortable upright chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Place your hands palm down on your thighs. Keep your eyes open.

* Focus your attention first on the sensation of your feet on the ground. If you are wearing socks or shoes, feel them. Feel your feet and their connection to the ground or floor.
* Next focus your attention on your seat—the sensation of your buttocks sitting on the chair.
* Then, focus your attention on your back—the sensation of your back against the chair.
* Now, let the body relax into these three areas of sensation.

If at any point you find that you are wandering into mind-chatter or emotions, simply re-settle by thinking “Feet. Seat. Back.” and bring your attention back to the sensation of your feet, seat, and back...

Personally, I find the use of “Feet. Seat. Back.” to be extremely simple and effective. It’s quick too. By focusing on the sensations of my feet, seat, and back, I can immediately establish a connection with my body that envelops and grounds me. The still, ever-present sensation of the body—which is always in the Now and possesses a deep and rich way of knowing—provides each one of us with a reliable and speedy gateway to the Self.

Another wonderful aspect of using body sensations to get into the Now is that they are available to you whenever and wherever you are—in line at the supermarket, waiting at a traffic light, or while walking in the woods. With practice, you can even attain a level of body awareness while you are speaking or listening. This makes the use of body sensation especially valuable, since our goal is to integrate deeper states of awareness into our everyday lives.


Books Make Great Holiday Gifts -- for yourself and for others!!

It's just about that time of year again. Why not give the gift of Amy Lansky's books this holiday season? Or treat yourself! Both books are available on Kindle and Nook too.

Visit and today to find out how to order.

sand logo new

Science and Nonduality Conference Provides an Unforgettable Experience

From October 20-23 this past month, I had an amazing experience attending this year's SAND (Science and NonDuality) conference -- the third time this conference has taken place in San Rafael California, just a few miles north of the Golden Gate bridge. This was my first time attending and it was truly worthwhile. The subject matter of the conference is highly relevant to the content of Active Consciousness, so I thought I'd give you all a trip report. Next year, I hope to present a paper there myself.

True to its title, the SAND conference straddles the bridge between science -- especially physics -- and nonduality -- the truth that "all is One" -- that there is no true distinction between the physical, the mind, and the spirit; it is all one continuum of deeper reality. A special focus of this year's conference was the topic of time -- a subject that I also address in Active Consciousness.

The conference featured many parallel sessions that appealed to a broad range of interests: scientific/philosophical talks; talks by a variety of spiritual teachers (including Gangaji, Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, Rabbi David Cooper, Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, Father Richard Rohr); talks that addressed social manifestations of nondual consciousness, such as in art or ecological awareness; and experiential sessions that included Chi Gong, Yoga, and Quantum Light Breath. On the sidelines were additional fun experiences to be had, such as: the Holotope -- a mesmerizing mandala display that provided an amazing 3-D meditative experience; the Geodome -- a kind of planetarium in a tent that took us on a ride through the universe (presented by the energetic president of the Buckminster Fuller Institute David McConville); the Hypnogogic Light Experience (a sound and light experience using strobe technology); and a Bollywood disco!

Highlights (for me) included: the opening keynote by quantum physicist John Hagelin about how consciousness IS the unified field; a highly polished entertaining talk by author Lynne McTaggart that promoted her new book, The Bond; talks about Lucid Dreaming -- especially that given by Robert Waggoner; a talk by Judith Orloff about relationship; and several deep and revelatory personal meditative experiences. It was also fun to see in the flesh the authors of various books I have read.

Most exciting, however, was the atmosphere. Far from being a stuffy academic setting (though there was that element), the meeting was suffused with a kind of cosmic excitement. The event was one big synchronicity. Every person I met, at every turn, was interesting and fun. I felt that every connection taught me something and had occurred for a reason. The meeting invigorated me and excited me to go out and let more people know about Active Consciousness! In fact, I feel that my book embodies in a clear, down-to-earth, and comprehensive way nearly every element covered in the SAND conference.

My advice to you is: read Active Consciousness today and attend the SAND conference next October!

twitter wordpress