"Get into it!” -- How to drive progress by improving moment-by-moment engagement
You can use these links for navigation through the course:
Lesson 1 - Inner and outer games, progress, and engagement
Lesson 2 - Sorting Cards into Books for Time
Lesson 3 - Card sorting for time, second series
Lesson 4 - What guarantees peak productivity and well-being at the same time?
Lesson 5 - Monitoring real-time engagement to Improve Emotional Intelligence
Lesson 6 - General four-step approach to accomplishment, creativity, and change
Lesson 7 - What is the zone of peak experience and performance?
Lesson 8 - Build an Engagement playing field
Lesson 9 - The range of our participation
Lesson 3 - Card sorting for time, second series
A second series of three trials
Questions for Lessons 2 and 3:
Again, try to improve your performance. Focus on clarifying and integrating the experiential field, or optimizing inner engagement. The process is one of continually dissolving experiential obstacles as they arise, more and more fully integrating and clarifying our inner resources, thereby increasing our work capacity. This will mean different things to different people.
Try to improve your time, but more importantly, see what you learn. What holds you back from better performance?
Besides moving quickly to sort the cards, balance the sorting movements with a bit of attention on a particular way of breathing: breathe easily, gently, and smoothly through both nose and mouth, with the tip of your tongue on the upper palate just in back of your front teeth. Let the breathing be very smooth and effortless as you quickly sort the cards. (Tarthang Tulku, Kum Nye Relaxation, pp. 38-42.)
Get ready, set, go! . . .
After you finish, make some notes about your experience and insight. As you sorted, what was your experience? What kept you from performing better? What was the quality and depth of your involvement, or engagement? Here again, involvement and engagement are measured by the degree to which one is fully preoccupied or experientially absorbed in whatever is at hand.
Could you work all day long like that? If not, why? Were there any timeless spots? Did you notice any images of a deadline closing in on you? Did the breathing continue smoothly throughout the exercise? Does ambition help, or does it cause you to 'waste time'?
Repeat the card sorting two more times (a total of three) and record your times. Try to improve your time, but more importantly, see what you learn. What holds you back from better performance?
Another excerpt from Results in No Time
Here's another excerpt from Results in No Time in which Jed leads a second iteration of the card sorting exercise for Michael:
Jed offered the cards to Michael: “You want to go for sixty seconds again?”
“Sure. But this time I’m going to use the breathing technique.”
Michael took the cards, saying “Give me a minute to warm up for the next heat.” He relaxed and began to breathe smoothly through both nose and mouth with the tip of his tongue on the upper palate. During the next minute his breathing gradually slowed down.
Jed started the trial: “Ok. Ready, set, go!”
Michael started quickly and smoothly, putting cards on the table keeping a bit of attention on the breathing. It felt a little unusual to move so quickly yet feel a kind of stillness of the breath.
“Fifteen seconds!” Jed announced.
This time Michael wasn’t thrown off by Jed’s announcement. He just went on sorting and breathing. In fact he kind of fell into a ‘groove’ or ‘flow’ where there was no noticeable effort.
Michael felt a bit of anxiety about whether he was ‘on track’ to finish in sixty seconds. He noticed that linear time was just starting to take form around him with a deadline beginning to appear from the future, thirty seconds ‘up ahead’. But he didn’t buy into the persuasiveness of the form. There was no ‘point’ or 'line' to it. He just breathed through the rough patch and went on sorting.
There was a bit of thinking about whether he’d make it, but the thinking didn’t break the smooth rhythm. “There, done!” Michael announced.
Jed quickly glanced at his watch. “Great! Fifty-five seconds!”
“That felt pretty good! I have more energy now than when I started. I might be able to do it all day long this way.”
“Yes. You don’t seem the least bit stressed.”
“So the breathing exercise seems like a great way to keep from getting anxious when you have to get something done quickly.”
“It prevents the pressure and anxiety related to an imbalance in the head and throat centers.” Jed picked up the cards. “I didn’t notice any effort to ‘beat the clock’ this time. Did you notice any times when you tended to get a linear view?”
“There were only a couple of ‘spots’ where linear time started to take form and cause some anxiety. But they weren’t very convincing. And it never even got close to a ‘point’—as it did the first time I sorted—where I was really involved in the linear view and estimating whether I’d win a race against time.”
“The breathing may have helped there too. The continuity of breathing seems related to the continuity of awareness. So there’s less tendency for linear time—with its splitting of a future apart from a present—to take form.”
"Jed, we talked earlier about how our sense of time passing measures how much you’re resisting what you’re doing. I have been aware for years of how I resist doing things. But the resistance I used to notice was always in blocks of hours or minutes. I'm not used to thinking of resistance in terms of seconds as I did during the card sorting. This is a new idea for me.”
Jed continued, “Did you notice what was happening with your sense of identity while you did the sorting?”
“Before the thirty-second mark, the sorting flowed, or got into a groove. It was like I disappeared, and there was just this really open and dynamic movement. It went by itself, with no friction or effort.” (Results in No Time, pp. 68-73)
(Note: For an explanation of how we come to embody our feeling of time passing in our three main energy centers, see Randall, Results in No Time, p. 41