Last time around we discussed Mindfulness of the Body as the first component of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness in the Buddhist scheme. This time to continue getting our “meditative swole on” we will be discussing the second of the four foundations, Mindfulness of the Feelings.
So let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is meant by “feelings”? As simple a question as it is most don’t initially catch the drift right away. When we think of feelings we commonly think “Well there’s happiness, sadness, anger, etc.” And that isn’t per se wrong. What the Buddha meant by feeling is the initial impression we receive of a thing we perceive. Feelings in this scheme are of 3 kinds namely: pleasant, unpleasant, and, neutral. And if we really stop and examine any incoming sense datum it’s really that straight-forward. Anything you have ever experienced left you with a pleasant, unpleasant, or, neutral feeling towards it.
So the theme to keep with throughout your “Mindfulness of Feelings” practice is exactly what it sounds like, as inputs come are they pleasant, unpleasant, or, “meh…”? When you begin to really notice these feelings train your attention to the rise and fall of them. Find their edges, where do they start? Where do they end? If you to get really fancy see if you can trace the backwards. Why? Why does this sight, sound, etc. pleasurable, or un-pleasurable? The real work starts when start asking ourselves “But why though…” Sometimes the answers we get while we use this introspection are very telling of traumas we haven’t yet realized we have or realized we haven’t let go of.
You may also find while using this method of mindfulness which particular sense input you attend to the most. Yea yet another thing to observe and trace to a point of origin. So take this and apply it to your practice. What kinds of feelings do you feel throughout the day, what causes them, what do they feel like, why are they here. All these are valid points of focus with this practice. So give it a try if you want to shake up your mindfulness practice. You might be surprised what you learn about your own mind.