Temporal Width of the Window of Observation (TWWO): Aspects of Vipassana Meditation Considered from a Systems Approach
"In ordinary, non-meditative consciousness, attention is highly variable and selective, usually being automatically attracted to or deliberately directed toward pleasant sensations and away from unpleasant sensations, or involved in mental or behavioral actions designed to increase pleasant sensations and make them last and/or to eliminate unpleasant sensations or shorten their duration. Both external sensory sensations and internal bodily sensations also frequently trigger long reactive periods of continuous thinking and feeling, “thinking” herein defined to mean forms of internal imagery (usually visual) and internal talking to oneself (with subtle or overt auditory imagery), and “feeling” here meaning emotional components and reactions to such thinking. Sensitivity and receptivity to external sensations or other internal sensations that do not fit in well with the ongoing themes of thought trains and fantasies is reduced in ordinary consciousness. A primary cause of ordinary suffering is a person being so distracted by such internal processes that he or she does not properly perceive information about changes in his or her world or own internal processes that require appropriate action."
Cultivating the Therapist's Seat, My Own Process
"My role as a therapist is partly to model self-care, and perhaps ultimately to model care of others as expressions of greater self. In working with this or any other client, I hope to further support them in this work of caring; I see the primary tool in developing my own capacity to offer this service, to be the continued unfolding of my own relationship to self-care – and this via the further healing of my own experience of self-directed aggression and anger. Van Kaam suggests, “I can be gentle with myself if I can experience myself simultaneously as precious and vulnerable” (p.92). And this is exactly the gift I hope to offer clients. Towards this end, as a therapist I must attempt to do my best to not let my own unconsciously harbored anger (towards the fact of suffering or perhaps some other presenting element of reality) hinder my skillfulness in serving another’s relationship towards his or her own anger. To accomplish this, my own practice of awakening to those areas where anger still lingers within me can only help to minimize any unconscious tendencies I have to project it (my own anger) onto therapeutic sessions – in this sense I, too, am in the role of ‘client’ even when I find myself relationally in the conventional role of therapist."