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Vittoz
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Step 1: Re-establishing Good Sensory Reception:
Living in the present moment in contact with ones body and with the world.
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The first step toward healthy thinking revolves around good access to the sensory input the body receives. Our whole being, all that we are, receives input and stimuli from our five senses and from our own bodies. This input is a reliable source for healthy cognitive thought. Problems arise when we receive most of these sensations automatically, subconsciously, without benefit of the conscious awareness that we are alive, that we exist. Those experiencing nervous difficulties or the aftermath of trauma have a tendency to shut down reception of sensory input in the here-and-now. 

The Vittoz method trains folks to take the time to see what we look at, to hear what we hear, to experience touching what we touch, to smell what our olfactory organs pick up, to taste what we eat, and to pick up the sensations our bodies send us.  We can receive all these stimuli immediately, in the moment we live them, experiencing them purely, without attaching meaning or judgment. 

For example, Vittoz would say :  “I pick up a rock or a stone and hold it in my hand.  I note its texture, its weight, its temperature against my skin.  As long as I stay in contact with the sensations I receive, I am present to the reality of that moment.  I experience the sensation of existing, of being alive.”

In this way a person learns to suspend, for a second or two, and without effort, the flurry of activity in the brain.  He or she simply plunges into the sensations coming his or her way.

To see something is to accept what you see, without effort, without judgment, the colors and forms of objects.  We permit the imprint of the object on the retina, just the way it appears.  Vittoz said, “Look at things the way a small child does when he wakes up in the morning.”

To hear is to receive sounds as they come to us at the moment, without forcing our attention, or giving in to the desire to name the sound.  “Hearing” involves simply letting the sounds into our ears.  For the space of a moment or two the sounds of life from outside replace the rattling on of our thoughts.  These tiny moments give the brain a recess from its constant activity of synthesis and judgment:  a moment of rest.

Touching some object « with intention » is to feel the reality of the object; its form, its texture, its mass, its temperature, honing in on what is really there without applying judgments from the past, or comparing it to something else.

The same thing is true of the senses of taste and smell.  The odor of something enters my nostrils.  I receive it, notice it, without pulling back, without applying judgment from the past.  I notice the taste of something, the texture of the food I eat, inside my mouth.  I notice the movement of my jaws and mouth, the sounds of mastication, the temperature.

In the same way, we can also learn to notice and accept the sensations our own bodies send us ; for example, the sensation we get when we move our fingers slightly, or our hands or wrists.  We can notice the sensations of support at certain points on the body when we’re not moving at all.   We can notice the natural movement of breathing, inhaling and exhaling.

The scientific community has made great strides in understanding how the brain and nervous system work since Dr. Vittoz intuitively guessed what we now know to be true:  When the mind enjoys receptive thought, it enjoys a rest, and gathers energy for other endeavors.

 
   
 
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