The Beautiful Skills of Meditation
Meditation is attending to the life force at play. This is a loving relationship, in which the life force - the evolutionary dynamic energies of self-renewal that we call life, are continually repairing us and attuning us for survival. When we attend to these dynamics, we enter into the meditation rhythm.
There are thousands of forms of meditation. In The Radiance Sutras, we pay particular attention to the 112 doorways mentioned in the text, as a simpler and more accessible approach, compared to Buddha's 84,000 dharma doors.
Meditation is a basic human instinct, and we use the same neural circuits as when we are loving anyone or anything. The skills of meditation are totally learnable and teachable. Life is rhythm, a play of opposites - breathing in and breathing out, being awake and being asleep, working and playing, loving and being loved. Thus meditation skills are always involved in the play of opposites, or syzygy. Meditation is a play of individuality and universality.
- Meditation happens one minute at a time.
- The skills can be practiced one minute at a time
- Even shorter - some practice sessions can be 15 seconds then 30 seconds then 1 minute
- Many of the skills of meditation are so tiny as to be almost unnoticeable, requiring not effort but a light touch and permission.
- Everyone has already meditated many times, spontaneously, for a few seconds here and there. Learning to meditate intentionally is the realm of skill acquisition.
- Everyone has their own individual preferences for their doorways, their style of engaging with meditation.
Over the last half a century, I have experimented with many forms of teaching, from brief single sessions, to having ongoing follow-up. Very few people can build a daily meditation practice on one meditation coaching session. That is like having one yoga asana class and expecting yourself to practice yoga daily for years with no further instruction.
What works best is for people to have a coherent series of coaching sessions.
SESSIONS 1 AND 2 - WHAT DO YOU LOVE?
The first 2 sessions can be devoted to exploring what that person loves - their natural doorways into:
- Being at home in themselves
- Being happy
- Being in love with nature or something
- Being thrilled to be alive
- A sense of adventure
Notice the Syzygy of safety and thrill. Meditators crave both. We all need both.
Sessions 1 and 2 are really, "What do you love so much that you want to melt into it? Be suffused by it? Blend with it. Hang out with it. Explore it. Drink it in. Engage with it."
SESSIONS 3, 4, 5, and 6 are an intensive in skill building
- In the 3rd session, after exploring their own native and spontaneous meditation practices, plus whatever techniques they may have practiced in the past, we begin to build an individualized practice for the person. Together we explore what works for this person now, in their daily life. We meditate together for 30 seconds, a minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes. The person goes home with a set of instructions to explore on their own, perhaps a morning and an evening meditation.
- The 3rd session and the following several sessions can be devoted to the microskills of meditation - those tiny little adjustments of attention that make all the difference.
- Sessions 3, 4, 5, and 6 need to be close together so that the person gets almost daily supervision. If they do not get this kind of opportunity to share their experiences and receive immediate feedback and correction from the teacher, it is extremely likely that they will develop bad habits that interfere with their meditation and lead them to either stop practicing, or continue, but in an unhealthy way.
Session 7 is the one-week follow-up.
Review experiences and give correction.
Your passion to know and be able to BE with yourself
Play at the edges of your capacity
Make mistakes and quickly correct them
Slow practice - to gain the micro skills
Ease is a skill to be practiced
Outside of meditation •••
- The skill of time management
- Joy of sorting
- How to eat
- Express your soul
- Live your life
- Have boundaries appropriate
••• so that your body is ready to meditate
Session 8 is the two-week follow-up
The skills of:
- letting yourself be flooded with feeling sensation imagery sound
- Being carried away, being carried
- being at home
- Being nourished
- Being gently turned on
- Being near sleep yet continuing
- Diving deep and emerging refreshed in half an hour
- Submitting to the pain of reviewing your mistakes (learning, emotional intelligence)
- Reviewing and discarding the endless propaganda about silencing mind and sitting in church
- Shifting between levels of Vak
- Being in silence, noticing quietude
- Of gentleness
- Infinite tenderness
- Utter simple tenderness
- Of listening feeling mantras as if universe resonating with them
- Of delighting on all the chakras- areas of the body
- Listening to the song of each area
- Engaging all the senses - more and more combinations
- Skill of preparation - cleaning up, orienting, list making, praying, exercising, OR- come as you are
- Skill of asking for help - getting coaching or mentoring or therapy
- Language skills - words are important and shape experience and even annihilate experiences. Skillful use of words allows.
- Resting skills - riding the cycles into deep rejuvenation.
- Giving permission. Much meditative experience is so subtle it will not unfold without full permission
- Skill of allowing embracing entering
- Each instinct needs practice and skills evolve
- Skill of engaging recruiting whole body
- Skill of letting your eyes close of themselves or remain open
- Pulsation skills- heartbeat, breath, 8 R’s, triple Shakti, rest-action, and many-times-per-second cycles.
- Crossing threshold skills - recognizing boundaries and the sensations/emotions of entering (pravesha)
- Skills of being delighted, amazed, appreciative, impressed, rather than resentful
- Skills of receiving from life in all directions and tonalities, through all instincts and senses and all areas of the body
- Spherical skills - being alert to all directions, receiving info and nourishment and energy
- Skills of resting and then welcoming the flow and transition of the R’s
- Skill of welcoming unpredictability and surprise
- Skills of lingering absorbing nourishment digesting energies
- Skills of purification
- Skills of orienting to the inner and then back to the outer
- Skill of transitioning into deep relaxation (as in sleep) and deep absorption (as in sleep) and then to the waking state again.
Session 9 is the 6-month follow-up
Session 10 is the one-year follow-up.
Checklist of Skills for Sessions 1-6
- Salute to the senses - vision hearing smell taste touch temperature motion joint position balance. Peripheral vision, outer and inner sound. Big moves and tiny moves. Recruiting all the senses - engage all the senses
- I am seeing hearing feeling smelling tasting —-
When do you feel
- At home in yourself
- Glad to be alive
RE-PRESENTING - the skill of welcoming the present (the gift) of a great experience into the present moment. Such as the memory of being at home, being thrilled to be alive, feeling LIKE YOURSELF, feeling true to your being.
Sensory aliveness - the skill of welcoming all the senses to become activated by these experiences.
The skill of remembering what you love and accessing your great experiences.
Eyes open and close of themselves
- Review all senses
- Review safety and thrilled to be alive
- I am safe I am alive with energy I am immersed
- Skill of being natural with yourself
- Spaciousness, peripheral vision, skin sensing
- What is calling you?
- What is aching? To be lived?
- When have you felt in touch with this?
- Are there any changes you feel to make to get ready? Usually can just jump in
- Transition skills
Qualities of attention
- Snoozing, purring, being at home
Notice bhavana words
The skill of NAMING what you love, and welcoming the melting, fear, tenderness, tears, vulnerability, and release that occurs when you remember what you love.
The skill of recognizing your doorways and entering the door.
What are you wanting to get out of a daily practice?
What would a daily practice for you look like?
Build a daily practice
- I welcome all my senses
- I welcome all of who I am
- Eyes open
- Move with breathing
- I cherish this moment
- BEING thought
- The skill of not judging - just letting those judgy thoughts flow without worrying about them
- The skill of improvising
- Skill of not putting pressure on yourself
- Welcome challenges
- Welcome all parts of the self
- Giving & receiving
- Giving permission attention gratitude
- Receiving nourishment rest healing support delight
- Taking delight
Review of experiences. How to deal with all the kinds of experiences that arise.
- Millions of thoughts
- Release of tension
- Hearing outside sounds
- Dreamlike thoughts
- Mind wandering
- Losing track of time
- Forgetting the meditation technique
Let the practice carry you
Rest inside then technique
Review of experiences.
Learning to enter and exit meditation skillfully. Transition times.
How to deal with:
- Busy mind
- Eager to jump up
- Not wanting to stop
- Buzzing with excitement
The skills of effortlessness
- Notice when you are pushing and practice doing nothing.
- Notice when you are judging yourself and be neutral.
- Notice when you are blocking an experience and take it easy.
Review of experiences and correction
WHITE SHAKTI BELT
Choose a Quality and Dive In > Continue
Acceptances > Welcome All of Myself
Science of Meditation
Sutras > Gateways to Radiant Experience
I Love Action/Rest
BLUE SHAKTI BELT
Triple Shakti > Rest/Action/Reviewing/Rehearsing
Salute the Senses
Mantra > Levels of Sound
New Language of Meditation
Path of Monk vs. Path of Intimacy
PURPLE SHAKTI BELT
Developing a Wide Range of Skills
Ability to Recognize Situations and Match Appropriate Inner Skills
Ability to Articulate Approach to Others
Ability to Join Meditation with Other Disciplines
BROWN SHAKTI BELT
Time Using Skills in Various Situations
Time Articulating Approach
Time Coaching Others
Time Cross-Training with Other Disciplines
BLACK SHAKTI BELT
Expert of Engaging with Inner World
RED SHAKTI BELT
Master of Engaging with Inner World
Notes from Steven:
Just got done teaching a weekend of meditation for a YTT down in Maryland. It was a great group of people who really got and appreciated this approach. They all get their Green Pranashakti Belts.
This is what we did.
1. We explored the dance between movement and rest. I led a movement flow and would pause after movement to rest in relative stillness, then continue moving again. We eventually made our way down to the ground, continued the rhythm of movement and rest and let that be the vibe of the first meditation. When you love to move, move, when you love to rest, rest. When the mind loves to hear, remember, imagine, etc. let it be free to do so, when the mind loves to just feel the body and breath, let it be free to do so.
2. I explained how there are many, many approaches and definitions of meditation, so the most important ingredient is clarifying what qualities of mind and body you want to be infused with. Meditation is Exercising Consciousness in a way that is balancing, refreshing, satisfying and wonder-full.
3. We broke down the subtleties of the journey and embracing a quality you love. I gave examples of rehearsing and reviewing and how brilliant and important it can be to allow space for that in meditation. We went over dharana (holding), dhyana (reflecting or relating) and samadhi (merging). We discussed the infinity subtlety in what to hold and how to hold, and also how to be held.
4. We went over the science of Herbert Benson and connected it to mantra. We explored the levels of sound and mantra. Everyone created their own mantra and danced between the inners sound, the ripple of the mantra and also the fullness of silence.
5. I introduced them to the Radiance Sutras as doorways to intimate experience with the essence of life. I read the banter verses and a handful of sutras. Of course I read, "Worship is not offering flowers." It is currently my favorite. I explained how reading a sutra or even a line or a word for a sutra can be your home base in meditation.
5. We did practice teaches where they used sensation and mantra as a home base and helped their student groove with the flow of being home and journeying, moving and resting, holding and being held.
6. There was lots of time for discussion, questions and sharing of experience. As each person shared, I highlighted their unique meditation genius and encouraged them all to trust their instincts, senses and skills.
7. I talked often about you and Coby and the Radiance Sutras. They wanted more info.
Overall it was a great weekend and I don't think I would change much, if anything. I'm always amazed and inspired by the simplicity and potency of this technology. Steven LeonardSteven Leonard
Jenn Andrews outline for 12 sessions
12 Lessons Meditation Manual
Name: ___________________________________________ DOB: ________________________
Marital Status: M S D
Children: Y/N Names __________________________________________________________
Pets: Y/N Names______________________________________________________________
Tell me about your natural meditative states (gardening, dance, walking the dog, sex, music): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
What do you love so much that you melt into it?
When you do feel at home in the world or within yourself and utterly glad/thrilled to be alive?
What experiences make you go mmmm, ooooh, ahhhh, wow?
What are some of the natural joyous sounds you tend to make to express pleasure? Examples, when you are seeing something beautiful, tasting something delicious, smelling something intoxicating, feeling something of delight, recognition of something you love. Whatever sound you produce is your mantra (mind-tool, song of the heart). This is your personal Shout of Joy because it is the sound from inside.
Engaging the Senses – The Initiatory Experience
Tell me about any experience, a great experience that you have had. Let’s make it in the present tense and therefore speaking like it is happening right now. Teach me about your inner realm.
*At some point they will stop talking & then just sit and be with them. Then, map it onto all of their senses and therefore, they can embody the experience. This exercise helps us to cultivate the healthiness of memories and to steep our nervous system in health and vitality.
To close this exercise:
Bless/honor/consecrate this healthy memory and experience.
Lesson 3: The Rhythm of Meditation
Radiance Pranava Meditation (RPM) is a meditation practice that is on the path of intimacy. Thus, we welcome, embrace and accept all thought, sensation, emotions, feelings and experiences in our meditation practice. When we come from a place of acceptance we are less likely to be at war with ourselves or our practice. This is a key foundational component so that we may develop a thriving meditation practice where we can lovingly attend to what is essential to the Self.
Explore the best posture for each student and determine if asanas would serve them well, or not.
Review that there is a rhythm to meditation that will lead us on a journey of experience. Our practice encourages us to except the Self rather than deny any of our experience(s).
Explore 30-60 second meditations of the following to help illustrate the call for acceptance in our practice:
Breath –ebb/flow, texture, temperature, contraction/expansion, inner touch, etc…pause 30-60 seconds.
Thoughts – thoughts come in all shapes & sized, literally. They may come in metal still photos, or as mental movies. The photo or movie could be small or like a theater big screen. Perhaps a thought comes by way of sensation, an emotion or a remembered physical moment. You see thoughts can be fascinating & exciting to explore. We don’t want to edit, alter or deny any of our thoughts in our practice. So let’s invite all thought, just as they are in whatever shape & form for a few moments...pause 30-60 seconds.
Speed of thoughts – It is so wonderful to welcome & invite all of our thoughts. One thing we have not talked about yet is the speed of thoughts. There is a varying rate to the speed of our thoughts. At times they may feel like they are “rapid fire” or maybe they are slow and meandering. Adopting the position that it is healthy to accept the speed of thoughts just as they are; absolutely zero requirements for change is paramount for our practice. So, now let’s take some time to explore & get curious about the speed of thoughts remembering to open ourselves to the experience of the pace and rate of our thoughts. Ok? Deep breath in, slow release out…pause 30-60 seconds.
Emotions – The mandala of emotions is rich and full. Every color of our character is in the mandala of emotions. In addition, there is the motion of emotion that we can explore in our practice. Perhaps we have never considered the motion of emotion, but let’s consider it for a few moments…Deep breath in, slow release out…pause 30-60 seconds.
Sensations – this comes last to allow and explore the students ability to recognize when they are feeling emotions and thoughts. It allows them to become curious about the physical sensations/states…pause 30-60 seconds.
Dialogue on how the student can use the above meditations in a way that have the invite the element of acceptance instead of “blocking” any part of their experience.
Encourage the student to keep their eyes open now, to soften their gaze and to expand their peripheral vision and to continue to welcome all that is moving in and out of their awareness with no need to change anything.
Now, “What do you love so much in life that you want to melt into it?” This aspect of life force calls you to dive in, suffuse yourself with it and to fall in love. Pause and let them be in rapture of spontaneous meditation. ~ Then ask them to come up with one, two or three words that capture their love of life. ~~ If they answer “I don’t know” then end the session here and give them the homework to go out and explore and experience for themselves…it is theirs to discover and let them naturally find it.
Let them steep and bathe in the qualities of experience, welcoming all their senses: what do you hear, what do you smell, taste, what do you see in the inner and outer world, how do you move.
Do not deny any of your senses and welcome the pleasure of your sensory awareness, no matter how soft or intensely they may move through you. Distractions and sounds may come and go, welcome it all and stay very neutral to the things you might otherwise see as a distraction or hindrance to your practice.
At some point we will gradually emerge from meditation. Taking several minutes to gently bridge the gap from inner world to outer world. Do not abandon your experiences and sensations through this tender transition. Eventually our eyes will open, our bodies will move and we can move back into the rest of your day being touched by our meditation practice.
Lesson 4: Triple Shakti Model & Rhythm of the Breath Meditation
Begin by exploring how mediation has been going since the last session. Skillful listening means we listen for language, taboos, or any signs of inner struggles. We can then respond in kind and coach appropriately.
Shift to the rhythm of meditation again and this time dialogue about the Triple Shakti Model to provide more substantial information about cycling through the rhythms of meditation.
As you introduce the Triple Shakti Model you can dialogue about the model or draw a sketch…whichever you feel will be more successful with the student you are working with based on their learning style (i.e. auditory or visual learner).
As a suggestion to build upon concept of “Rhythm” lead the student into a Rhythm of the Breath meditation. Use any form of breath meditation that you like as a teacher, and that you sense would resonate more with the student you are working with. Allow plenty of time for them to savor the experience of the breath meditation. Then ask, “Well, what do you feel like?” Respond, “Well, that sounds good.”
Allow some time for discussion about breath, sensing the breath and blessing/honoring the rhythm of the breath.
End session by encouraging them to spend time with what they love and by sensing the rhythm of the breath when they are bathing in what they love.
Lesson 5: The R’s of Meditation
Begin with an exploration of how things have been going since the last session. Make sure to have skillful listening so that you can coach appropriately,
Now that you’ve introduced the Triple Shakti Model it is time for a deeper discussion about the R’s meditation. Rest, Relaxation, Release, Review, Repair/Restore, Reconnect, Rehearse and Remember. Help them to understand that they may cycle thru them as fast as 20 to 30 seconds, or that the cycle can slow down to several minutes. Again encourage them to accept all of their experiences and to not deny any part of themselves or their meditation practice.
As a suggestion, revisit a Salute to the Senses meditation and now incorporate what they love into the experience. Let them be and as a teacher practice getting use to the silence of coaching.
End the session by giving them a little assignment of being with what they love and their senses and to savor the R’s of Meditation.
Lesson 6: The Elements
Introduce the Elements early on gives a student a simple experience and way to meditate where they have lots of freedom and permission to steep themselves in the Elements that can support their practice.
Begin with an exploration of how things have been going since the last session. Continue to refine skillful listening so that I can coach appropriately.
This session we dive into The Elements ~Earth, Water, Fire Air and Space~ . Lead them through a meditation on the elements. You can order the elements any way you like as a teacher, but starting with Space is wonderful way to have them begin meditating with their eyes open… really savoring Space. Encourage them to allow their eyes to close of their own accord as you journey through the elements.
Ask, “Well, what do you feel like after steeping yourself in the elements?” Respond, “Well that sounds good.”
Here we can also review the R’s of meditation and talk more about how we grow and expand in our tolerance for our experiences. We accept all sensations, all rhythms, all thoughts and feelings in the sanctuary of meditation… all is welcome, just as it is in nature.
End the session. Assignment: to meditate with the elements and get curious about your discoveries and experiences. How they delight in Resting, Healing and being in Action with the Elements.
Lesson 7: The Instincts
Begin with an exploration of how things have been going since the last session. Make sure to have skillful listening so that you can coach appropriately.
Time to introduce The Instincts. Discuss the instincts in the outer world and then transition into how to work with the instincts in the inner world and meditation. Be prepared with a list of all the instinctual experiences to help guide them. Allow 30 to 60 seconds for each instinct. On page 24 & 25 of Meditation Secrets for Women you will find a comprehensive list and structure for a meditation on the instincts.
Ask, “Well, what do you feel like?” Respond, “Well, that sounds good.”
Bring the session to an end: assign a little homework of them taking a walk and beginning to recognize the instincts in nature and with any wildlife or people they might encounter.
Lesson 8: A Walking Meditation
Begin with an exploration of how things have been going since the last session. Make sure to have skillful listening so that you can coach appropriately.
Build upon their homework suggestion by taking a walk with them if possible. If it is not possible then discuss how a walking meditation can be a Salute to them. Here, weave in and encourage them to marvel in their balance, relationship with gravity and motion. Again, if it is not physically possible to take a walk, have the student take you on an imaginary walk of their choice. Have them speak as if the walk is happening in the present moment and give very little verbal feedback.
Allow them to go into spontaneous meditation and when they come out ask, “Well what do you feel like?” Well that sounds good.
End the session here and give them the simple assignment of and “Eyes Open Meditation” while taking a walk. Encourage them to have a softer gaze and to incorporate peripheral vision on their journey.
Lesson 9: Bhavana
Begin with exploring how things have been going since the last session. Make sure to have skillful listening so that you can coach appropriately.
Introduce the meditation experience of Bhavana. A word that they want to suffuse with, to experience what it is like to be with the word and to allow their love to infuse them. Give them the experience of “hanging out” with the quality of this word. As a suggestion, review page 219 of the Radiance Sutras for richer language as a teacher and a deeper understanding of Sutra 24.
If they come up with several words encourage them to journal their words, accepting any diversity in their words.
Encourage them to bond with each word and to find a rhythm in thinking or saying the word(s).
End the session here asking, “Well, what do you feel like?” Well, that sounds good. Assignment: To hang out with their word(s).
Lesson 10: Embracing Desires
Begin the session with an exploration of how things have been going since the last session. Continue to strengthen my skillful listening so that I can coach appropriately.
Bases on the Bhavana meditation experience you will have some insight into their Desires. Here is a good opportunity to explore the skill of Embracing Desires. Continuing to discuss this path of intimacy through our ability to embrace our Desires.
Have a discussion and explore the 4 Aims of Life and encourage the student to create a Mandala of Desires.
Lead them into a meditation with their individualized Mandala of Desire. Then, be quiet and allow time for them to savor in their desires. Help them to understand that the inner sparkles are like stars and then we set out to follow our stars.
Allow time for them to experience the connection of Our Aims in Life and our inner yoga. This yoga is the unification of our senses, instincts, the elements, etc. Now we are challenged in all of your resources to follow and fulfill our desires. Ask, “Well, what do you feel like?” Respond, “Well that sounds good.”
End the session here. Assignment: Meditate with their Mandala of Desires.
Lesson 11: Dance with Emotions
Begin the session by exploring how thing have been going since the last session. Skillfully listen to their experiences and insights so that I can coach appropriately.
It is time the dance with our emotions. Our emotions are so connected to our desires. Practicing the artful skill of accepting the richness and full spectrum of emotions is vital to our practice. Our Mandala of Desires and our Mandala of Emotion support our deeper purposes in life. Thus, this intimate practice of meditation allows us to experience life with greater awe and ravishment.
In meditation we can learn to track the motion of emotion. As we practice this skill, we develop more resources for a richer, more colorful life in the inner and outer worlds. As we explore the motion of emotion we discover the life force behind emotion(s). This comes to us by the way of the Alchemical Laboratory of meditation where the transmutation of energy occurs.
Explore a Whole Body sensing mediation and then guide the student to track the motion of the following emotions: Love, Joy, Surprise, Anger, Sadness, Fear & Trust.
Let them bathe in the effects of tracking their emotions for as long as necessary.
Ask, “Well what do you feel like?” Respond, “Well, that sounds good.”
End the session. Assignment: Spend time with meditations that explore their tracking of emotion. Also, be on the lookout for opportunity to track emotions in others.
Lesson 12: Coming Back to the Beginning
Being the session by exploring how things have been going since the last session and respond in kind due to skillful listening.
Ask the student to take you back to the very first session and ask them, “what do you love so much in life that you want to melt into?” Allow them to dive into it and suffuse themselves with what they love.
Allow for this session to have spontaneity and the flexibility to follow the students lead. Invite them to teach you about meditation.
SKILLS OF A MEDITATOR
The ability to meditate is innate. However, there is a set of skills we can learn and culktivate that make our meditation practice healthy, beneficial and deeply rewarding. Below is a list of some of the key skills of a meditator who will thrive in their inner practices:
- You meditate in healthy ways
- You treasure your free spirit and actively collaborate with its renewal and healing
- You welcome all life’s energies as Pranashakti circulating in your body
- You collaborate with the intelligent healing processes of your body, with your nervous system and all your body’s self -renewing energies
- You recognise your ego is individuality and your unique essence, so you can develop a healthy, supple ego (individuality) rather than squash your personality
- Your meditation feels like your own
- It feels natural, native, informal
- You are answering an inner call (which may come in the form of urge, craving, need, desire, passion, longing) rather than imposing someone else’s system upon yourself
- You give your inner life freedom
- You welcome the dynamism of meditation, as Prana Shakti circulating in your body which is when all the body’s repair work happens
- You allow things to change in your meditation – speed, texture, imagery
- You use actively positive qualities of attention
- Your keep your inner world a friendly place
- You allow your mind to roam, drift and daydream. Drifting is a sign of going deeper.
- You don’t delete, supress, edit, filter, avoid or detach from any part of yourself
- You cultivate your inner space as a sanctuary, a place of welcome, cultivating attitudes of non-harming, compassion, wisdom, love, curiosity
- You allow your practice to evolve
- You stay attuned to when a practice seems to become dull or hard to you so that you can take steps to make it compulsive, inviting and delicious for you – something you look forward to doing
- You are not bothered by thoughts, noise or so called distractions – you have learned to bring everything around you into your meditation or to be where you are without worrying about what is happening externally or internally
Your meditation practice is teaching you the skills involved in living a life of intimacy with the world