Conscious Mental Rest - Various Questions
by Gavin - Unlock Your Happiness
(Cape Town, South Africa)
The following questions have been received via e-mail and the person has asked for privacy. So I am posting these under my own name, and will answer each one in turn.
Please note, everyone: The place for CMR practitioners to submit questions or feedback is via this Contact page. The link is also available via the Contact Me button near the top of the main menu. The reason for this is so that others may benefit from the answers too. The CMR course is free of charge, and it is not feasible time-wise for me to reply to every e-mail of questions individually. If you're concerned about your privacy, note that only your first name and location (not your surname and e-mail address) are shown at the top of the page - unless you specifically request otherwise. Thank you for your understanding.
Question: There are occasions during most CMR sessions that I will notice I have been engaged in some chain of thoughts, after or just after the said chain of thoughts seems to have finished or when I'm no longer engaging in them. Would you still recommend returning to the comfort zone at this late moment of realisation or just continue to 'do nothing'?
Answer: Per the course instructions, we always return to the comfort zone when we realise we have been engaged in thoughts, or even simply having our awareness with the thoughts (as this would enliven them and we want to allow the mind to rest).
Question: I remember you mentioning it was best (though, of course, not always possible) to do CMR before breakfast/dinner. With reference to the first session of the day, I had in mind doing CMR near enough immediately or asap after waking up, i.e. when still feeling sleepy, & was wondering if you would recommend this?
Answer: Early is good, but while still sleepy is not so good. Rather wake up, wash your face and be awake for your morning session of Conscious Mental Rest.
Question: I have also been finding that I get different kinds of (annoying) ongoing tunes in my head sometimes during CMR. When this happens, should I carry on without trying to block it out or go back to the comfort zone?
Answer: Don't bother about the tunes; they're just another form of mental activity like thoughts. When you notice them, prefer to go back to the comfort zone. We don't 'try' to block out tunes, thoughts, visuals, feelings, and so on, as that entails giving them attention and enlivening them more. They are part of the CMR process of resting the mind. As the mind rests, it can churn up stuff. This is good. It is part of the normalisation process. As soon as we become aware of it, we head back to our old friend, the comfort zone. The process should be without trying and without effort. That is the key to its effectiveness. And this includes not making any effort to keep it effortless,and not resisting what happens.
If something is very uncomfortable or irritating, we can give that feeling some neutral attention to help it dissipate, without judging or evaluating the feeling/s, and without focusing on what may seem to be cauing them. When the feelings have lessened, and it feels easy to return to the comfort zone again, we do so.
Question: I have also more recently been experiencing some confusion to do with the comfort zone. I remember you mentioning to go to the comfort zone momentarily before letting go. I am having some difficulty with the 'momentarily' part and being comfortable/'sure' that I've found or am in the comfort zone. This in turn has been leading to some anxiety & delaying in letting go of it as I am unsure if I am in it or look to be comfortable with it. After all, is it not part of the reason that it is called the comfort zone so we ought to feel comfortable with it before letting go? I'd also like to know if there was any time limit in finding/going to the comfort zone, as it can sometimes take quite a while due to some of the reasons mentioned.
Answers: The comfort zone is wherever it feels comfortable for you to bring your attention to when moving it back away from the thoughts and thinking. In the Conscious Mental Rest course, the general vague location was suggested, but this may be different for different individuals, and also may shift over time for the same individual. So, just take your attention to that general area, and let go, not bothering about whether of not it is the 'right' place. If it is comfortable to rest your attention there, then that's the right place. Relax about it. There is no need to be concerned about where it is. Also, the instruction is to go back to the comfort zone, and let go. There is no instruction about how short or how long your attention should rest there, and I don't recall using the word 'momentarily' in the course instructions. We simply take our attention there, and then let go, or 'chill' -- until we notice we're again entertaining thoughts and thinking.
Question: On occasions, such as this morning, all there is left to do is to get lost in my thoughts, as it seems that I am unable to find the comfort zone in the first place, or at least not to my liking. Would you have any tips or advice for these instances?
Answer: When you realise that you've been lost in thought, then come back to your comfort zone as described, without trying to 'find' it.
Question: Can I also ask if the comfort zone should always be some kind of visualisation?
Answer: There is no visualisation as such. Using the 'inner vision' or eyes as a vehicle to shift from the thoughts to our own comfort zone is simply a tool to make it easier. With the optional CMR Enhancer, we actually add a second sensory perception to help the shift. The CMR Enhancer is now available to anyone who has been 'doing' Conscious Mental Rest regularly twice a day for two weeks. The link is in the course e-mails you would have received.