The eyes squeeze closed, the mouth opens wide, the ears flatten out against the head, the nose quivers, arms and muscles stretch out, and people get offended, "Am I boring you?"
I never figured out why people think yawners are bored. It feels good. We set each other off, yawning. Even Walter the Cat, who is an accomplished yawner, triggers Freddy and me. We all yawn in each others faces. Then smile.
A Sensory Yawn is just as satisfying, even beneficial.
Move one or both of your hands out to the side and, without turning your head or your eyes, see how far you can detect them.
Your eyes gather light from 180º horizontally and 90º vertically. They do. Check it out right now.
First you were only aware of a small fraction of the light entering your eyes. The words on the computer display. When I suggested you notice the full extent of your vision, your conscious mind (ours actually since I suggested it) shifted its viewpoint deeper into your visual communication center and you instantly became aware of a far greater expanse of vision - side to side, up and down.
Keep being aware of as much of your vision as possible while reading this and now listen.
If you have music playing, or some other loud noise you can cut off, please do that. What I want you to listen to is the background sounds.
What sounds can you hear if you really listen? Wind? Cars? Air conditioning? Birds? Crickets? What? Listen carefully. Any low background noises that you were filtering out before?
Before I mentioned your hearing, you were unaware of these other sounds, now you hear them. But they were there all along. You moved your consciousness deeper into the web of perceptions flooding into your mind each second.
Keep being aware of those sounds and your peripheral vision and feel your skin.
Feel the skin on your feet. The instant you focus on the soles of your feet you can "feel" them. What is touching your skin? Identify whatever is touching your feet, determine its characteristics by feel.
Now feel the clothes on your body.
Feel the skin on the back of your legs and your buttocks and your back.
Move your mind to these areas and focus on the flow of feelings from your skin, the temperature and pressure. Feel the skin on the back of your neck. You can feel the back of your neck even if nothing but your hair is touching it.
Feel the skin on your hands. On your face. Are there any air currents touching the skin on your face?
Before I mentioned it, you were unaware of these feelings, now you feel them.
When you notice these signals you are moving your conscious focus into the communication web of the pressure perceptions. There are millions of signals a second from pressure sensory cells in your skin. You are expanding your awareness into areas that are normally outside your boundaries of perception.
What can you smell?
You are surrounded with smells, some faint, others stronger. You filter most of them out of your consciousness, but now smell - the smells are there, try to detect them.
Don't forget about your vision, hearing, touch, while smelling.
You should do this exercise three or four times a day or whenever you remember to do it. Pay attention to details when you yawn, not only the details of your sight, hearing, smells, touch, but how you feel, what emotions you notice, when you are in a state of expanded awareness.
Sensory Yawns are really something when you are looking at a beautiful scene - such as a scenic wilderness overlook, or a panoramic seascape.
When outdoors, begin by fixing your attention on some small thing, a leaf on a tree, a bright spot of color in the scene, whatever - something with detail. Then zoom out your awareness of your field of vision while maintaining as much detail in the point of fixation as you can.
Strive to combine an expanded field of vision with an increased amount of detail (all the information is there, you just have to focus on it).
Notice how well you can see motion in your peripheral vision, such as the movement of clouds, motion you don't "see" when you look right at the clouds.
Incidently, at night, when you can't see a damn thing, if you expand your vision this way you will be able to see a good deal more of your surroundings.
Next move on to your other senses.
Start with a fixed point, the most notable sensation, and expand outward to the periphial sounds, touches, smells.
Do one sense at a time and then add the next one on top, maintaining your sensory "watch" on the focal points.
Can you detect any new sensations that are difficult to detect when you listen or touch or smell normally? (This is a test).
When you have reached the full extent of sensation you can hold in consciousness, see how long you can do this.
Try to expand the length of time you can do this every day.
Don't be discouraged if you have a hard time doing this at first - expanding these four senses to full awareness is something that improves with further training. Like anything.
After you become proficient in this, while in a state of full awareness, begin concentrating on the inner sensations.
The stream of information flowing from your muscles (sense of balance)
The pulse and flow of your circulatory system,
The feeling of air (and the need for it if you hold your breath, from your lungs
Information from your stomach, your taste and sensations in your mouth.
Enter, mentally, into as much of your inner body as you can. Move your point of observation into different parts of your body and sense there.
You do this very well when something is wrong with a part of your internal anatomy, feeling your liver or stomach or whatever with perfect fidelity if they hurt. What about feeling them when they don't hurt? When they are just fine?
Try it, you will be amazed at how much of your own body you can visit with your consciousness.
Yawning your senses feels really good. Unlike respiratory yawns, you can do sensory yawns right in front of other people - right in their faces - and they never know it. At least I don't think they do. But there is more to this exercise than feelgood.
Our ultimate mission is to enable our conscious mind to experience the Thread of Awareness on all of its many levels.
Part of the reason we have a hard time doing this is because the human mind is often trapped in its commentator role. A large portion of our communication web is filtered out so the conscious mind can focus on communicating.
Experiencing the Thread of Awareness requires gaining conscious access to as much of your communication web as possible. Gaining control over the mind filters that are normally automatic. To do this, we simply move the focus of our conscious awareness into as much of the rest of your mind as it will permit. And this exercise is a good, comfortable way to flex the circuits. Like a big hearty yawn moves air into the deepest levels of the lungs and shakes the woofies out of the muscles.
The ability to sense inner feelings will serve you well in several ways. If you pay attention to your inner feelings when they are normal, you will know what they should feel like. If they begin to have a problem, you will be able to detect this early. Maybe even be able to know why the organ or system has a problem (food, stress, lack of exercise and lack of awareness are usually at fault, and all of these are something your conscious mind does to your body). Your own body will begin to tell you what it wants.
If you need evidence that the rest of your mind is tuned into the whole field of vision while you are excluded, try sneaking up on somebody from behind and moving your hand into their 180 degree side to side vision. The person will be concentrating on something in a narrow field of view but will leap out of their skin long before your hand comes anywhere near their cone of conscious focus.
There are more senses than the usual five of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Guy Murchy in "The Seven Mysteries of Life" (Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1978) lists 32 senses including radiation senses, feeling senses, chemical senses, mental senses, sense of balance and the spiritual sense. You can expand any of these, too, but you don't have to. Once you latch onto the Thread of Awareness they all open wide in a real soul shaking sensory yawn.
Check out some interesting ways to apply this. On a coral reef in Fiji.
Get going on some outdoor exercises.
Find out about another good way to detect your deeper mind using the Pendulum.