Search

How to Live Mindfully (Part Two)

Street-View.jpg
I wrote last time about the first way of practicing mindfulness that the Buddha had taught: mindfulness of the body. This is the foundation of all effective mindfulness practice.

The second way of practicing mindfulness taught by the Buddha is mindfulness of feelings. Feelings is a word with many meanings in English. We use it to refer to everything from emotion to sensation. But the Buddha had something quite specific in mind. What he meant by it is noticing the quality of your experiencing, whether sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or thought. Specifically, feelings here means noticing whether what you are experiencing is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

Noticing the quality of our experiencing is important because our attachment to pleasant feelings creates craving. Our reaction to unpleasant feelings creates avoidance of certain aspects of our experience, thereby distorting the world we perceive. Feelings that are neutral may be regarded as boring, and thereby become unpleasant. Experiencing something as neutral is also a kind of delusion in that we close off to certain aspects of what is actually going on in our lives. The breath, for example, may be normally regarded as neutral, so that we pay little attention to it. But once we pay attention to it, we may come to see it as something quite pleasant and enjoyable. Seeing this makes the world we inhabit more interesting.

Mindfulness of feelings can be practiced by simply tuning in to what is happening with us, and and making a mental notation as to whether what we are experiencing is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. “Pleasant…pleasant… pleasant…” Or “Unpleasant…unpleasant…unpleasant…” By doing this, we expand our ability to be aware of life with a consciousness that is open and balanced and free.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The Smile of Mahakashyapa

One day the Buddha stood before 1250 monks, help up a flower, and stood in silence. There was a long pause, until one of his students, Mahakashyapa, smiled. The Buddha smiled back and said, “Today I

Return to the island of Self

As he was dying, the Buddha imparted this advice: Take refuge in the island of self. There is no other refuge. For those of us growing up in the western tradition, John Donne’s famous poem, saying th

Are You Bored? Look Again!

While a lot of the time we complain about having too much to do, sometimes we may find ourselves at the other end of the spectrum—feeling bored. Even though we have more ways of distracting ourselves

Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 7.46.41 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 7.47.18 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 7.47.07 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 7.46.49 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 7.46.58 PM.png

Books