R/L Practice: 14 Days of Exercises

Day 1
Today’s topic:  Laughter

R/L anything you want to about laughter, anything that lights you up about laughter. Take all the time you need. Have fun!

Here are possible places to look:
Your own experiences and memories, readings, songs, places, pictures, videos, poems, etc.

Day 2
Today’s topic:  Dropping the story

R/L anything you want to about a story you have dropped. Perhaps record what life was like pre-drop and what it’s like post-drop. Maybe say some things about a story that’s waiting in the wings to be dropped. If you have a story (or two) that keeps clinging to you, ask the Mentor for guidance.

To the best of your ability, bring a sense of humor to this assignment!

Day 3
Today’s topic:  Adventure

Today, R/L your adventures.
Merriam-Webster defines adventure as “an exciting or dangerous experience; a remarkable experience.”

Some questions you might consider: Do you think of yourself as adventurous? (If you’re doing awareness practice, you are!) Can you see even painful experiences as adventures? Can you see that you are you living out a remarkable adventure right now?

Day 4
Today’s topic:  The spirit of inquiry

Light-heartedly question something that goes through your head that you usually don’t question. Ask as many questions as you can think of along the lines of “How do I know that? Where did that information come from?” Record the entire process.

Remember, they’re just voices in your head. The only way they can hurt you is if you believe their malarkey (another old Zen term).

Day 5
Today’s topic:  Animals

R/L anything that touches you about the subject of animals. Are there experiences, readings, songs, places, pictures, etc., that light you up regarding your favorite animal or animals in general?

And remember, we are animals.

Day 6
Today’s topic:  Process mapping

As a Sangha, we have used process mapping for years. What is process mapping and how does it work? There’s a blog about it.  (You’ll find many other blogs here too, all great for R/Ling!)

Consider a recurring process in your life—a series of sensations, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Perhaps it’s around family, food, or relationships. Make a little process map about what you see, with kindness, and then R/L.

Day 7
Today’s topic:  Enthusiasm

The definition of enthusiasm at thefreedictionary.com:

Great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause. He has much enthusiasm for Recording and Listening practice.

A source or cause of great excitement or interest. Recording and Listening practice is her greatest enthusiasm.

R/L your experience of enthusiasm, both the feeling (#1) and the thing (#2). Consider these questions: What is the source of enthusiasm? What bodily sensations do you associate with it? What have been your greatest enthusiasms? What are your current enthusiasms?

Day 8
Today’s topic:  Play

Consider spending a little time today (an hour, a few minutes, a few seconds?) playing as if you were a six-year-old with unfettered imagination. If possible, play with a six-year-old with unfettered imagination.

R/L anything that arises about this.

Day 9
Today’s topic:  Color

What’s your favorite color? What do you like best about it? How does it make you feel? Can you look around right now and find it? What does it feel like to actively direct your attention toward your favorite color?

Do you have lots of favorites? How many of them can you see right now?

R/L what you see about color.

Day 10
Today’s topic:  Food

Now here’s a loaded topic! Many of us have a huge amount of conditioning around food, so let’s focus on the best of our relationship with food. What do you like best about your favorite foods? What’s your favorite meal of the day?  For instance, if your favorite meal is breakfast, can you sing a little Ode to the Joys of Breakfast?

Consider making a gratitude list about food. R/L your list and anything else you saw. This is another topic to which you might bring your sense of humor.

Day 11
Today’s topic:  Directing the attention

See if this is familiar:
You’re going about your day, doing the things you normally do. Mostly, you’re on auto-pilot. There is a faint hum of thoughts drifting around in your mind, like a radio playing in the next room, not quite tuned to the station. You aren’t being besieged by egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate, but neither are you as present as you could be. All seems well.

Suddenly, you’re suffering. That innocuous train of thought has led you down a track to a big GOTCHA! The sensations in your body are being interpreted as embarrassment or regret or longing or depression or anxiety or fear or despair or defeat or…. The thoughts have revved to a fever pitch and are urging you to do something about __________(fill in the blank).

Here, our best practice tool is simply to redirect the attention. No need to DO anything about the pit ego-I has just led you into. It’s not real. It feels real, but it’s not.

Make a recording or two of your experience of this process. Two of ego-I’s favorite times to launch its GOTCHA are before we go to sleep at night and as we’re waking up in the morning.

Day 12
Today’s topic:  Inspiration

Feeling inspired? Wonderful! R/L about that.

Not feeling inspired? Consider reading some of the Africa blogs, older to newer. R/L what you see.

You can read and subscribe to current Africa project updates.

And remember, your generosity is making this work possible! (Really take that in and let it inspire you.)

Day 13
Today’s topic:  Your best friend

The notion of being your own best friend is popular. (We Googled “how to be your own best friend” and got 6.7 million results.) In our practice, how to be your own best friend might be made clearer by sitting for a while with these questions:

What are the qualities and characteristics of a best friend? (Make a list.)
Can you be these ways for yourself today?

R/L what you see.

Day 14
Today’s topic:  Courage

Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

— Rumi

What do you think Rumi is pointing at here? With your sense of humor firmly in hand, consider forgetting safety, living where you fear to live, destroying your reputation, and being notorious.

R/L all that arises.