Practice 5th: Mind (3rd Foundation: Mental Volition)
We're aware of the body in the sitting posture and we let the mind rest on the body just as the body rests on the cushion. And without losing this embodied form of mindfulness we will now proceed through five spokes in the wheel of Satipatthana meditation. Three contemplations of the body, contemplation of feelings and of mind. But before that, we take a moment to formulate our intention that which motivates us to practice meditation.
And having formulated our intention, we start with the anatomical parts. Understand, we will do it in a single flow. Skin. From the head, moving down to the feet.
Flesh. From the feet, moving up to the head. And the bones. From the head, moving down to the feet.
And we are aware of this body in the sitting posture made up of skin, flesh, and bones. Cultivating an attitude of non-attachment. And the elements done continuously.
Starting with the Earth element. From the head to the neck, shoulders, hands, torso, hips, legs, and the feet.
And continuing with the water element. From the feet, to the legs, hips, torso, and the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and the head.
And the fire element. From the head to the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, hips, legs, and the feet. And the wind element. From the feet, to the legs, hips, torso, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and the head.
And we're aware of this body in a sitting posture as pervaded by these four elements with an understanding of their empty nature. And we connect to the breath as that which connects us to life.
And we bring to mind the image of a skeleton or any other stage of decay to remind ourselves of the ultimate fate of this body to fall apart. And with every inhalation we are aware this could be my last breath. I cannot be sure. And even if it is not the last breath it is certainly one breath closer to death.
And with every exhalation we relax and let go. Relax and let go.
And feelings. Starting with pleasant feelings. Aware of the head area, checking in if there's any pleasant feeling in the head area. And from the head to the neck, both shoulders, the arms, and the hands, and torso, and the hips, and the legs, and the feet.
And we're aware of this whole body in the sitting posture of any pleasant feelings manifesting anywhere in or on this body.
And unpleasant or even painful feelings. Starting from the feet, checking in if there are any unpleasant feelings in that part of the body.
And from the feet to the legs, hips, torso, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and the head. And we're aware of this whole body in the sitting posture of any unpleasant or painful feeling manifesting in or on this body.
And neutral feelings. Starting with the head, checking in finding any neutral feelings in this part of the body. And from the head to the neck, shoulders, hands, torso, hips, legs, and the feet. And we're aware of this whole body in the sitting posture of any neutral feelings manifesting anywhere in or on this body.
And whatever feelings there are in or on this body, we open up the rest of our awareness to other feelings manifesting more predominantly on the mental level but not such a clearly distinctly discernible bodily component. Pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Aware of the effective dimension, the hedonic tone of our experience.
And with all of these feelings, aware of their impermanence. Every feeling is a message of impermanence, message of change. Changing feelings. And whenever possible, also exploring the push of feelings. The conditionality. The way the influence of our mind.
That which reacts to feelings, which knows feelings, that which knows the breath, the body, that is the mind. And we turn our attention to discerning the mind that which knows its condition. And due to the Satipatthana meditation done up to this point, chances are fairly high that this is a mental state in which mindfulness is present.
We familiarize ourselves with the texture of this state of mind, its flavor, its characteristic. The mind when mindfulness is present there's an openness perhaps or maybe a softness, gentleness, receptivity. We find out what it feels like for us when mindfulness in there. Maybe alert, alive.
Developing intimacy, intimacy with a state of mind in which mindfulness is present. This enables us to clearly recognize when mindfulness is there or else when mindfulness has been lost.
And this is the main thrust of contemplation of the mind. To keep monitoring what is happening within. Not all attention towards what happens without the objects of our experience. The mind, what is happening within? How is the mind? What is its present condition? With mindfulness or without mindfulness? This is what we want to know, observe, understand and experience.
And sooner or later as we are practicing Satipatthana meditation, mindfulness is lost and mind wanders off, some distraction or the other. Reminiscing the past chasing after the future. And as soon as we realize, smilingly, smilingly we realize, "Oh look mind has wandered away.".
If it is a short distraction, we simply notice the loss of mindfulness and come back to mindfulness established. But if it is a longer distraction, we explore, "Let me see. Let me see if this fantasy, sustained thought, daydream, was that predominantly in the mode of lust or predominantly in the mode of aversion. Or neither of the two predominantly in the realm of just delusion.".
And for discerning these three feeling comes to help. If the mind was in a state of loss, chances are at that time worldly pleasant feelings were present. If the mind was involved in aversion, anger, irritation, chances are at that time worldly unpleasant or even painful feelings were present.
And if the mind was just involved in deluded associations, rambling here and there, clouded state of mind, chances are worldly neutral feelings were present.
Contemplating in this way we begin to gain a better understanding of the distinction between worldly and unworldly feelings. And that better understanding in turn helps us to more clearly discern the condition of the mind. The underlying current beneath the surface of thoughts.
And having discerned the type of distraction that we had experienced, for a moment will remain aware of our present condition of the mind. The pleasantness of the mind that has emerged from this. Emerged from aversion, emerged from diluted distraction. Savoring, favoring that pleasant condition of the mind. In which these three defined states are absent and mindfulness as present.
And as we keep practicing like this, we come to notice how much the mind keeps changing. Mind is also impermanent. Even that their knowing quality, although it is continuously present, still it is also just the process.
If it were not changing it would forever be frozen in the condition of knowing just one single thing. The very fact that it knows different things shows that this knowing quality also is impermanent, changing.
And we also realize we are not in full control even in our own mind. Sitting down to meditate with the clear intention to stay in the present moment, you'll find sooner or later mind goes off on its own. Even in our own mind we are not in full control. Mind is not self, empty of self.
And with this third Satipatthana, we come to a comprehensive realization of the three characteristics; body, feeling, mind. Impermanent phenomena. Changing phenomena. And what is impermanent? Cannot yield lasting satisfaction. [00:19:40] It does not go. [0.0] Unsatisfactory. Ultimately unsatisfactory.
And what is impermanent ... all for nature to change? Or could this be the self? Empty phenomena. Body, feeling, mind. Impermanent. Unsatisfactory. Empty of self.
And with this understanding inside realization we proceed to our open practice. Opening up to whatever occurs, manifests however experience unfolds at the sixth sense doors. Rooted in whole body awareness. That filled sense of change. In mindfulness present. Mindfulness well established in the mind.
And that insight, that understanding, whatever manifest is impermanent. What is impermanent? Cannot yield lasting satisfaction. And what is impermanent? … for nature to change? Cannot be the self. It is empty.
Planting the seeds of wisdom. Growing the seeds of insight. Step by step. Step by step we are progressing on the path to complete freedom of the mind.
Keep practicing like this.