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Saturday, July 2, 2011


Everyone experiences absorption probably more often than they realize. You are watching a movie and become so caught up in it that you feel as though you are with the actors and experiencing what they are supposedly experiencing. You are one with the action. You are totally unaware of your surroundings. Your heart is beating faster, your palms are sweaty, you are not even aware of the person sitting next to you, the edges of the screen or the theater itself.

There are many other examples of absorption. Imagine being in terrible pain, lost in music, or hanging on the edge of your seat with your favorite team on the one yard line and a chance to win the game. Although you are in the moment, you are not aware of being in the moment. And since you are not aware of your self or the surroundings other than what you are immersed in, you are in a very narrow experience. This might seem to the the same as waking sleep, we talked about yesterday,but it isn't. In absorpltion, the mind is completely immersed in the object and there is no sense of what the boldy is doing or what's going on around you. In waking sleep there is still some sense of what your body is doing and vaguely what's happening around you.

Absorption can also occur while daydreaming, in deep thought, reading a book, staring into a fire, watching an athletic event, television show, a Broadway play, listening to someone giving an interesting speech or just about anything.

In absorption, you may scream a profanity at someone or even hit someone. Later, when you look back at the event you may feel embarrassed or remorseful, and even say "I just lost it, I was not myself." And, in fact, that is true because there was no experience of self present. Drugs such as alcohol and marijuana are very good at getting people absorbed so much so that they completely lose sight of who they are and where they are. The effects of absorption can be recognized best after you have experienced it. Coming out of absorption can be interesting because it's much like having been asleep and oblivious to yourself and the immediate surroundings. Interestingly, when you come out of absorption, it appears as though time as passed very quickly. You may take a look at the clock and say something like, "Where did the time go?"

Absorption can take many forms. We can find that most of our entertainment includes being absorbed as an escape from the drudgeries and demands of the practical world. Even intentional, deep problem solving can be an instance of absorption. An example would be the absentiminded professor who is lost in his head.

When I was in undergraduate school I had a chemistry professor whom we all called Doc. Doc was known for his absentmindedness in school as well as around town. His wife told this story to my mother. Doc drove to town one day with his two children and walked home by himself. When he got home his wife asked him where the children were. He was so absorbed in his head he forgot that he drove to town and has his children with him.

The third level of conscousness is attention. Tomorrow we will take a look at this familiar level.

1 comment:

Mibeloved said...

great exposition about absorption