The first one is an exercise called “Noticing”. I’ll put Frank’s
explanation here and then attempt to expand on it a bit, because he has a
great way with words:
So, at first glance certain aspects of Frank’s explanation seem to be a bit“Noticing what?
Well, nothing at first, there’s not much to see really but blackness,
but then after a short while, I may see that perhaps one part of the
blackness is not quite so black. Perhaps there was just a brief flash
of something, then maybe a sensation of a movement somewhere
else. Maybe I just heard someone call my name. Hmm, that’s
interesting, I might think, I wonder where that came from. But I
don’t get too curious I just keep noticing. I might see swirling
areas of not quite so black as the rest. I might see flashes of this
and that. As I am offering myself these images, my attention is
steadily becoming more fixated within.
As my attention becomes fixated within, from the act of noticing, at
this stage I am not aware of my physical body. Part of my
awareness realizes that somewhere in the background is a physical
body, in bed, etc. but I have phased away from it. Before, the
forefront of my awareness was my physical and 180 degrees turned
around from that, in the background of my awareness, was the
non-physical. But now there has been a “phase shift” i.e. a turning
through 180 degrees. Now, my previous foreground (physical) is
my background, and my previous background (non-physical) is my
confusing to people. Frank does give the general basics of it, I’ll try my
best to fully explain how the process relates to me and hopefully you can
apply some of this knowledge to your own practices.
First, the entire point of the noticing exercise, as Frank puts it, is to
“become fixated within”. That’s really the end goal, as that is where the
non-physical lies, within us. It is nowhere exterior that you “go to”.
So, how does the noticing exercise help us to become fixated within?
That’s where the actual noticing part comes in. You can’t just sit/lie
there and “look” at the blackness, because that will do absolutely
nothing and you’ll eventually become frustrated thinking that it’s not
working for you which will end up with you quitting. You need to
actually do something for this to work. This is a problem that I hear
people complain about a lot. They say stuff like, “So I sat there for an
entire hour staring into the blackness but nothing happened!” Simply
put, you won’t phase using the noticing exercise unless you actually
Now, here’s the confusing part, “to notice” is something you have to
actively do, however you have to remain “passively aware” while doing
it. I know, that sounds confusing, but let me describe how “I” notice and
I’ll go from there.
When I actually get to the part of my routine when I begin “noticing”, I
stare into the blackness. It’s the same blackness that you see when you
close your eyes (however non-uniform it may look). My goal is to notice
any changes that happen within that blackness. It can be literally
anything, as Frank put it, it could be a flash of something, or perceiving
some kind of movement. When you begin to see anything (again, do not
outright dismiss anything you see) consciously zero in on it. Your goal is
to “passively observe”, this means (and this is very important) to keep an
air of curiosity about what you’re seeing. As I see this stuff, I kind of
talk to myself while observing it, but I do so without actually talking
verbally or thinking it.
To explain that last part, take a piece of paper. This piece of paper is
going to represent the “blackness behind your eyes”. Draw a single dot
in the middle of the page then hold the page up to your face and stare at
the dot (it is okay to allow the dot to become unfocused, actually that’s
encouraged as it allows your eyes to relax). The dot represents your
fixated gaze within the blackness (or in this case the whiteness of the
paper). Now, consciously take in the rest of what you can see of the
paper, but don’t actually look around, use your peripheral vision. Try to
see any irregularities in the paper. There might be a speck of something
somewhere, or a small crease somewhere else that you didn’t notice
before and you might be noticing that the paper isn’t uniformly white
and you begin to focus in on these new-found items of interest. Notice
these irregularities and retain that air of curiosity regarding them.
Become more and more curious and take your consciousness deeper and
deeper with each and every aspect that you notice in the paper. The
more you do this, the more you will begin to forget about the physical
world around you and the more your consciousness shifts within that
which you are gazing at. This is the act of becoming fixated within.
Alternatively, you could also do that exercise without the dot in the
middle and just allow your eyes to slowly drift around the page. This
also works well as you’re not too focused on sticking your eyes to a
single place and the slow movement of the eyes still feels natural. Then
translate that over to the “blackness behind your eyes” and just allow
your eyes to slowly drift around. Either should work just fine as long as
you’re actually passively observing.
So now that you’ve just done that with a piece of paper and with your
eyes open… close your eyes, visualize that dot in front of you (or don’t
use a dot, up to you, I like to use a small swirling vortex) and do it again,
although this time you will be staring at the blackness behind your eyes
instead of the whiteness of the piece of paper. Remember to never
verbalize or think about the things you’re seeing and noticing. Try to
keep that “air of curiosity” about it all.
One more thing I have learned about noticing that I would like to share.
You don’t just “notice” something and then move onto the next thing.
It’s not an exercise in “Oh, there’s something… and there’s something
else… oh and over there is something again,” it’s a kind of “build-up”
exercise. Each time you notice something, it builds upon the focus that
you’ve already put in moving into the blackness. The more you notice,
the more you move within, and the more you move within the more you
phase your consciousness away from this physical reality and push it
towards the non-physical.
If you’re noticing properly and your focus is fixating more and more
within, you’ll no doubt start to see what we call “visuals”. You can see
anything from the slightest sense of movement within your field of
vision to seeing full objects. When you start to perceive these visuals,
you’ll be within Focus 12.
To continue directly into the non-physical from Focus 12, it’s a matter of
allowing the shift into Focus 21 to naturally occur. This part can take
some practice as most people find it hard to “allow” themselves to do
anything like this, but it should come almost natural, like a snowball
rolling down a hill, it naturally gains the speed it need until the “pop!”
and you’re there. So too will your consciousness snowball towards
Focus 21, just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t impede yourself
by trying anything more than noticing. The shift from Focus 12 to
Focus 21 can be a gradual thing where some non-physical environment
will seemingly melt into place in front of you slowly or it could, as I
said, pop into existence in front of you kind of abrupt.