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  • Brian Tom O'Connor

Bonus Game: The Circle of This

I’ve been playing a new game lately, one that’s not in the Awareness Games book, but that’s been a lot of fun and very effective for me as a present-moment happiness inducer. So for those of you who have the book, consider this a bonus game. And for those who are new to the book, it may provide a good introductory taste of Awareness Games.

The Circle of This

How long can you stay in it?

The basic idea is that you create an image in your mind of “This,” and draw a circle around it, then step inside the circle and see how long you can last without stepping out of it.

What do I mean by “this”? Everything that’s happening right now, right here where you are. As in “Now. Here. This.”

“This” means…

  • Whatever sights, sounds, feelings, smells you’re experiencing right now.

  • Whatever bodily sensation or emotions that are showing up within you at this moment.

  • Whatever body image is appearing to you as it is, here and now.

  • Awareness of all of the above, meaning the “I” that’s noticing whatever is appearing now and here.

“Not This” means…

  • Memories – scenarios of past events that run through your head like little movies in your mind.

  • Plans, fears, hopes of the future – little screenplays of how things are going to be at some future date and time.

  • Opinions about how things should or should not have been, or how they should or should not be in the future.

  • Imaginary conversations with people who are not here now.

  • Imaginary conversations with yourself.

  • Anything that draws your attention away from noticing what’s happening right here, right now.

So here are the steps:

  1. Sit comfortably.

  2. Notice how your body feels right now.

  3. Notice any sounds that are happening now.

  4. Notice anything appearing to any of the five senses at the moment.

  5. Notice any inner sensations appearing right now.

  6. Draw a circle around all of this…your “circle of this.”

  7. See if you can stay in the circle without stepping out into past memory or imagined future.

  8. If you do step out, just gently step back in again, and let whatever drew you out of the circle just float away.

  9. See how long you can stay with just “this.”

Hint: Wordlessness helps. If you’re having a verbal conversation in your head, even with yourself, you’re probably out of the circle.

Another hint: Sounds and your body sensations are your friends and teammates in this game. Including your breathing. This is because sounds, breath, and your body sensations are the most obvious elements of now, here, and this.

Have fun,


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