In the last month, we explored the relationship of the heart and the mind to consciousness. This post brings what we learned to practical use by applying it to a three-part experiment. To get the most out of this experiment, avoid reading the instructions of the next step before completing the present one. A six-minute classical piece is divided into three parts. We aim to listen to each part (approximately two minutes) while being aware of ourselves.

Begin with the first experiment: listen consciously to the first piece while maintaining your sense of “I am.” Aim at duration. Do not suffice with intermittent attention, but pay the same attention to being aware of yourself as the musicians must pay to playing their instruments. When associative ‘I’s come – ‘I’s about the music, ‘I’s about the weather, ‘I’s about tomorrow – dismiss them and reaffirm your effort to Be.

Before moving to the second experiment, take a few moments to assess your success in the first. Did you deviate from your aim? If so, which ‘I’s distracted you? Even if you feel you were successful, it is unlikely that you had no ‘I’s at all. Unnamed ‘I’s will reappear.

The second experiment builds upon the first. Aim to Be throughout two more minutes of the same classical piece, but now add the help of your mind. Each time you catch yourself lapsing from your aim to Be, intone (internally) the command ‘hear.’ This will serve as a mental reminder to leave distraction and focus on hearing the music consciously.

Before moving to the third experiment, assess your success in the second. Did the same ‘I’s distract you? Was it helpful to counteract them by intoning ‘hear’?

The third experiment builds on the previous two. Aim to Be throughout the final two minutes of this classical piece, again intoning ‘hear’ whenever you find yourself lapsing. But for this third experiment, attune your efforts to your breath. While listening to the music, be aware of your breathing, and when you find yourself losing the thread of consciousness, intone ‘hear’ on the exhalation. This will add a physical element to your effort and harness your body to your aim.

Performed by the Advent Chamber Orchestra with David Perry and Roxana Pavel Goldstein (downloaded from Wikipedia).

Consciousness is separate from mental, emotional, or physical activity. Nevertheless, thoughts, emotions and sensations can be harnessed to support consciousness. In the first experiment, we tested the naked power of our consciousness. In the second, we harnessed to it the power of our minds. In the third, we harnessed to it the power of our bodies.

What did you learn from this experiment? Share your observations in the comment section below.