Frontdooring: A New Form of Quiet, Visual, Subjective-Intuitive Meditation
Sunday October 10, 2021
Over the years I’ve been contacted periodically by curious folks who wonder what I think about different types of meditation.
A lot of the meditations out there are sensory-focused, and outside of the sensory realm you’ve generally got hypnosis-oriented meditations. The hypnosis-oriented work is typically based on the concept of using someone else’s script.
So there’s this gap: What if your subjective-intuitive gifts could use some expression in support of your normal psychology? Is there a form of deliberate, conscious meditation that could be applied?
And one thing that’s always bugged me is: What’s a good, natural Ni-related form of meditation to practice? (Ni being one of the eight Jungian cognitive functions, and one with which this blog has quite a large conceptual intersection)
With this post I’m formally introducing this new concept.
Frontdooring is an intuitive meditation activity that taps into your current context and interests, and offers an immediate transition to calming, interesting, imaginative, and introverted activity.
In Frontdooring, you write, draw, perform, or otherwise create your own script. The script can be referred to or reviewed later, for relaxation or meditation purposes.
The benefits of Frontdooring include increased familiarity with the capabilities of human imagination, a deeply underappreciated superpower.
The process of Frontdooring works like this:
- Go about your normal tasks, hobbies, or projects
- Pay attention to any surges of interest-energy
- Let the interest play out in your imagination a bit
- If it feels good, decide whether & how to Frontdoor the point of interest
- Example: Visualize it in your mind, draw it, play it musically, or write it? Or a combination?
- Begin the Frontdooring process, releasing yourself from the current context
- End whenever you like, using the formal wrapping-up steps
- If desired, review and analyze the Frontdooring outcome
- Add this and any other simple notes to your ongoing Frontdooring Journal
As a result of the Frontdooring process, you should feel more calm, introspective, and connected with a deeper, more interesting outlook on life.
The Frontdooring process can have the following benefits:
- Release from life’s current demands
- Relief from sensory functions
- Relief from the day’s little tasks
- Increased ability to process big-picture life issues
- Increased receptivity to life’s meaning or messages
- Increased awareness of upcoming issues or changes in life
- A new, enhanced ability to analyze the current situation or context
In providing relief and release from the immediate situation or context, Frontdooring can also help you rebuild the energy to return to your daily needs or tasks later. This practical, restorative, productive usage is part of the day-to-day value of Frontdooring.
How to Start?
The Frontdooring process above will feel more natural for some personalities than others. Please review the basic example below. If it seems interesting, you may want to read the advanced example as well.
In the future, I hope to add more materials to describe and support the process for those who feel it is less familiar.
A Basic Example of Frontdooring
Annick is attending a family reunion. It’s the early afternoon, and she needs to get some rest before the evening’s activities begin. She has been very busy in catching up with family so far today, and could use some help getting to sleep.
She lays down and reviews topics that seem interesting recently.
Earlier in the morning, she was watching a detective film with her cousin, and it really caught her interest. Then, later, she felt intrigued by the idea of re-reading the book Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Annick concludes that she is in a detective-like mood. She imagines a location and environment where she’s going to be detecting, as a fictional detective. The first place that comes to mind is an old English manor.
Annick rests her head comfortably on her pillow and imagines herself at a writing desk in the old manor. In her mind’s eye, she can see herself opening her journal, and writing,
It’s a new week, and I must make progress on the case. My travels will likely take me far into the mountains of eastern Europe. I will pack the following…
Annick continues this fictional journaling in her mind’s eye, and gradually falls into restful sleep.
A More Advanced Example of Frontdooring
Below I’ve shared a personal example, in which I journaled my way through a basic Frontdooring activity, with my laptop open. If you haven’t already selected some journaling or writing software to use, please do so.
Just prior to writing this journal entry, I was struck by some interesting imagery while watching a retro-computing video on Youtube. This kind of activity, engaging in personal hobbies or interests, will often make it easier for a Frontdooring exercise to begin.
I felt my mind’s eye taking me back to a favorite type of environment from my youth: A computer software store. I decided to use this Youtube video and the resulting mind’s eye imagination as the “front door” and dive into this fictional, imagined world in a conscious, intentional way.
As it seemed appropriate, I wrote out the visualization as if I was playing an interactive fiction adventure game. The lines beginning with “>” indicate what I was imagining myself typing, but in reality I have imagined the entire thing, both my typed commands and the responses.
(The example starts below)
Welcome to the software store. It is 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed.
> Look around
You’re inside a store, after hours. It’s about 1996, maybe?
The lighting is low, and some corners of the store are a little bit dark, though streetlight spilling through large windows on two walls does naturally bring up those levels a bit.
You see rows of double-sided shelves, some desks with demonstration computers and software, a computer repair desk that’s remarkably well organized, and a checkout stand.
In one corner of the store there’s a little glass fridge stocked with drinks and a few snacks, and nearby there are a few tables with chairs. This corner of the store has a tile floor. On each table there’s a standee on top of a little pile of interesting books about computers. Weird! But creative, different. Kind of a reflection of the industry itself.
You see a flight simulator game high on one of the longer shelves running along the walls. Screenshots on the box show some neat-looking aircraft gauges, with the ground being green, and the sky a dark blue.
> Imagine playing that game
You see yourself bringing the game home. It’s rainy, and getting dark. You pull into your driveway and enter your house. It’s quiet; you live alone. The house is clean, organized inside. It has a lovely aesthetic.
You sit down at your computer desk and peel the plastic off of the game box. You smell the manufacturing process, and it’s a happy smell. Your brain seems more than familiar with the burst of fascination that hits after that smell.
You remember your new desktop publishing software from last month, and recall that using it is also a lot of fun. In fact there are a lot of titles like that sitting right across the desk.
Your computer, a Pentax Optimus V, is fictional. It is a 586 which you have equipped with a 3D graphics card supporting the “bonus 3D texturing features” also shown on the game box.
You insert the install disc and type “PINS” which is a handy Pentax alternative-universe shortcut which can be typed into an MS-DOS-equivalent text input GUI. The command searches available drives and prompts you to run whatever installer it finds.
Within a few short moments, the game is installed. You turn up the speaker volume. BOM BOM BOMMMMMM, the music starts.
BOM BOM BOM BOMMMMMMM, it continues.
RATATATATAT, it goes. Then there’s a 3D animation of a really slick alternate-universe German bomber aircraft flying over Vietnam.
Within the next 30 seconds your eyes and ears are bombarded with various hypotheticals. They light up the furthest reaches of your brain.
And 30 seconds after that, you are flying a training mission. The control scheme is ingenious and adapts well to dum-dums like you. Or at least, that’s how you imagine the internal documentation reads.
With the mission completed, even the landing goes well. You manage to park the aircraft roughly where it’s supposed to go, and now your 3D character is standing on the tarmac.
> Get him a drink for god’s sake
You buy him a drink at the bar, and you notice there’s someone sitting near the back of the room, at a small table.
> Talk to that guy
“Hejjj,” he starts.
Oh my god, this part of the game was never translated. Funny! You look in the manual and see that the development team is based in Stockholm.
> Teleport to the development team HQ
You are now facing N, standing in a parking lot. In front of you is the entrance to a well-lit modern glass & steel building. It is 3 a.m.
The environmental temperature feels close to freezing.
> Go inside
The door is locked.
> Use the back door that’s unlocked
You’re right about that. You enter through the back door and a curious Swede looks up at you from his coffee.
“Hej,” he starts.
> Shake your head and break the news to him
You hold up your hand and shake your head. “It’s not translated fully yet,” you tell him.
“The game, look, it’s unfinished.”
Your raised hand projects a beam of light at, and into, his forehead. His eyes begin to move rapidly, as if looking at something just past your current surroundings.
“Oh my god,” he says.
“This man in the game, I need to know what he is telling me.”
“He is telling you to come to Stockholm, for some kind of a meeting, I think.”
“So? I’m here.”
“You need to crash somewhere until Thursday. He says he’ll send further word then. Do you want to sleep on our couch?”
(End of Frontdooring example—you can read the benefits of this exercise below)
More About the Advanced Example
The first big benefit of this example is satisfying the needs of the intuition. As you can see, there was quite a bit of imaginative, intuitive energy available for the exploration of this internal world. So, it felt really satisfying to write this out, like uncorking some built-up pressure somewhere.
The second benefit is the “duh” message inside this little story I wrote, if you sort of zoom out, or summarize: “You can make progress, and some interesting things are in store, but you need to wait.” In this case, it really did turn out that I needed to wait until Thursday. And I was able to consciously breathe again, no pressure, take a break until then!
So, this wasn’t just a fancy little exercise, but it had immediate practical, reassuring, therapeutic effect. I was able to make better decisions with that information in mind.
The third benefit is the expansion of the limits of the personal imagination. This is a very advanced topic, but it’s my belief that this is an extremely important benefit to all of mankind. Most of us have extremely limited contact with these internal worlds and symbols.
And, the more comfortable we become with the rare & ever-more-useful subjective-imaginative skill, the better the world we will be able to conceive and construct together.
This may all sound fancy or even ignorant! But have you ever made a plan, worked to a plan, and accomplished something? That plan was fueled in part by your imagination at work.
That’s what I’m talking about, and much more. The practical value of this kind of work is not something we can fully grasp at this stage of our evolution as humans. But it doesn’t help that we have trained ourselves in many ways to think of the imagination as unrealistic or unproductive.
Stop dreaming and get back to work!
(What if those dreams really were relevant to the work, and could help to save time, save effort, fix strained relations, and generally make life easier for everyone?)
For this reason, I consider Frontdooring a past-present-future-focused meditation, in that it brings symbols from the past forward, to describe the current state, and contribute to practical, beneficial future outcomes. It helps to open a door to our future evolution as individuals and as a species.
In its advanced mode, Frontdooring can be even more helpful as you build up a personal symbol vocabulary. This vocabulary helps you to 1) identify your current interests, 2) identify and experience the possible meanings of those interests in your life right now, and 3) consciously transfer the psychological energy from these interests to your current set of problems. Further, you can 4) advance the integration of those interests at longer timelines, so that you are able to solve even more complex problems that would have blocked your path before.
This is similar in benefit to what Carl Jung termed “making the unconscious, conscious.”
This new practice is in active development. In the future I hope to write more about how it can be done, and what makes it unique.
In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, you can find my email in the sidebar.
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