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I have a question about the Self-Directed Attention exercise.

Hey there folks. Lex Samu here writing in from Queens, NY USA. Well it's been quite a week for me with the SDA exercise. I posted several times over the last couple of days about certain things going on with me recently in recovery. About 3 months ago now I started doing the SDA exercise usually 5x a day for 10 minutes each time. I would say I have been practicing the SDA exercise for around 10 months cumulatively, usually anywhere from 1-3x a day before these 3 months I am speaking of. I thought I would only do the 5x a day thing for 2 or 3 weeks to see what happened, but it seemed like I just fell into this routine, and I was getting these really good glimpses of not having a lot of fear for a certain period of time every few days. But, this week, as I mentioned in another post which I'm not sure got posted yet as I just wrote it last night, I felt like I crossed a kind of threshold where my mind wanted to pay more attention to the breathing, rather than the crazy thoughts running through it --- at least sometimes anyway! At other times, my mind really rebelled against this A LOT! But, now, I feel I am able to apply the instructions about how to use the SDA exercise in daily life with much more success. (This is on pg.13 of J+C's new book). So, in the new book they are saying only do this exercise for 10 minutes at a time, once or twice a day. My question is now about anyone else's experiences in doing this. Now that I am much more easily able to apply the instruction to do the SDA exercise in daily life, I am thinking I should, perhaps, cut back the times I do the formal SDA exercise with a timer for 10 minutes to 1-2x a day. Even if I have other times when I can sneak away for 10-20 minutes. Perhaps, during those times it would be more effective if I just sat and paid attention to the sensation of the breath in my nostrils without counting or anything else. I would love to hear opinions of people who have been practicing JOL/SDA longer than I have and who may have insights into what gave them the most benefit. I mean the literal instructions are 1-2x a day for 10 minutes and, then, pay attention to the sensation of the breath in the nostrils if disturbing thoughts arise. This was my original plan when I first embarked on practicing the SDA exercise, but my attention wasn't strong enough then to keep my attention on the sensation of the breath in my nostrils when disturbing thoughts arose. So I felt I needed to 'compensate' for that by spending more time doing the actual formal SDA exercise with a timer to build my focused attention so it would become stronger. Has anyone else had this experience as well?

Ok, just re-read what I wrote and I think it does make some kind of sense! Opinions very much appreciated. All the very best, Lex

p.s. - Carla, if you feel that some of my posts I wrote in the last couple of days are repetitive, you don't need to feel obligated the post them all. I realize I repeated a couple of things just saying them in different ways.

As I wrote in response to another of your posts...

You have practiced SDA a lot. I would suggest that you continue practicing, maybe once or twice a day for 10 minutes, but focus more on using the control you have already acquired over your attention in your daily life. This will help you develop even more control. You don't even need to count the breath at this point. Just move attention away from what is disturbing you.

Thanks so much for the advice Carla. I really appreciate it. Yes, I just replied to your comment on the other thread. 1-2x a day of the formal SDA and, then, the rest of the time focusing on the breath in and out of the nostrils. When I say, 'the rest of the time', I am meaning when disturbing thoughts arise for me. I assume disturbing thoughts arise, or have arisen in the past, quite frequently for most of us here - which motivated us to find a place like this! Not only am I grateful for finding you guys, but I'm grateful I've gotten my focused attention strong enough now through practicing the formal SDA exercise to apply it in my daily life. I will post updates on the survey thread as I feel practical benefits occurring. Wishing you and John all the very best! Lex


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