You have done the looking. You've been practicing self-directed attention, and you can see that your relationship with your own life is changing. You want to tell your friends and family about it. You are anxious to let them know that they don't need to be miserable and that there is a way out of the general discontent and dissatisfaction that afflicts most human beings.
You have tried telling them about it, but you don't know if they really heard you. Maybe they told you they're not interested. What to do?
Don't push the looking on them. Wait for the right opportunity. Don't tell them anything about the fear of life or the theory behind the act. Your only goal at this point should be to get them them to look. Nothing else.
And, once they try it, what they tell you about their experience really does not matter. The work of the looking is done below the level of consciousness. If you give them the instructions clearly and they look at themselves in the moment, the act will do its work on its own.
So, what's the right opportunity? Simple. When you notice that a friend or a family member is disturbed, feeling down, angry, experiencing fear, anxiety, worry, etc., tell them there is something very simple they can do that will make them feel better right now.
Tell them to try to get a taste of the feel of "me". It's a sensation, not a thought. Most likely experienced in the chest. You might ask them:
What does it feel like to be you?
How do you know that you are here?
Use your attention to look for this sense of "me" that makes you certain that you exist. Do not name it or explain it. Just feel it.
Looking at yourself means feeling the sense of "me", trying to get a taste of yourself with your attention. Move your attention inward, trying to find that feeling of being "me". That feeling is always here, so it's usually not noticed. Look for it. Use your attention like a flashlight.
That's the beginning. Nothing else is needed at this point. Give them time. If they have questions, they will come back to you. Then you can tell them to come to our website. If they don't have any questions, it's okay too. The looking will do its work anyway. Guaranteed.
If you experience hyperventilation when doing the Self-Directed Attention Exercise, it is possible that you are trying to manage your breathing. You may be unconsciously trying to accelerate it, slow it down, make it kind of rhythmic, or trying to make it remain in compliance with your counting speed. This may lead to hyperventilation and even raise your blood pressure. You may experience heart palpitations.
To overcome this problem, try to relax your focus on the sensation in your nose. You can be completely focused on the sensation but relaxed at the same time. Try not to control your breathing. Just count the in-breaths or out-breaths as they come, without making them regular or irregular or changing them in any way. Most often, when we start paying attention to our breathing, it gets more prominent and regular and even deeper. The trick is to try to catch your natural breath, as it would happen without you watching it.
Paying attention to the air flow as it goes through your nostrils - cool air goes in and warm air goes out - is the best way to do this. Using this technique instead of paying attention to the movement of your chest or abdomen in your breathing, for example, naturally makes your breathing less deep and more shallow. (Sent by Tamara, USA).
If you are having difficulties getting a taste of yourself, try this. Close your eyes and just watch your breath for a little while. Nothing special about it, just rest your attention on the feel of your breath as it comes into and goes out of your body. Breathe in... Breathe out... Focus your attention on the sensation of the air coming in and out of your nose. Do this for about one minute.
Now try to bring to mind a memory of an event from your childhood. It doesn't need to be anything special. Just relax, and wait for a memory to appear.
When a vivid memory appears, see whether you are remembering it as if you were watching a movie, watching yourself as a character in the movie, as the memory unfolds in your mind. If you are, try now to go inside the scene, within the memory itself, to get the subjective feel of it.
Now see if you can get the subjective feel of your experience at the time, as the memory unfolds. Sink into it. For instance, try to feel the air temperature on your skin: does it feel hot or cold? What is the light like? Is it dark or is there plenty of light? Can you smell a particular scent? Can you feel the texture of an object when you touch it? Do you hear any sounds? Try to have the feel of that experience as you did then. And don't worry if you can't seem to feel the memory in this manner. Maybe you could try a different memory.
As soon as you get that subjective memory in mind and sink into the feel of it, try to see what it felt like to be you then, in the background, experiencing it all.
And now, move your attention one more time—this time to what it feels like to be you now.
This may seem silly. But hear me out, maybe give it a try. Sort of a game. Let's play pretend. Pretend someone else wants to know what its like to be you. In this game they have the ability to jump into your body and get that feeling. Pretend this person now jumps into you. Show them what it feels like. Don't pay attention to the thoughts about it, just feel it. When you feel it, pretend guy/gal naturally fall away. And there you are. Hope this is helpful.