When I was meditating a few days ago, watching all that anger, fear, lust, conceit, sadness, and ignorance, I was suddenly struck by a realisation. Even though my mind and the world throw a wide variety of objects at me all the time I classify all of them as either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. There is no other option. This is it. So I voluntarily shifted my attention from my involuntary thoughts to my involuntary sensations felt in the body, up up and away from the illusory complexity and false uniqueness of my human experience. And it was amazing. Just think about it – all that mess reduced to just those three sensations.
I have also been trying to practice this approach in daily life. When a phenomenon occurs (thought, event, person) rather than trying to exercise dispassion towards it, I simply observe the unpleasant feeling arising and practise dispassion towards the sensation – forgetting all about the object and my thoughts about the object.
I think that this realisation spewed out from the experience I had last week and described here. On that occasion, I realised that I don’t react to objects, rather to my thoughts about them. Now I am realising that I am not even reacting to my thoughts (which I think actually emerge after the sensation itself) – I react to pleasant or unpleasant feelings those objects generate. So – first: object, then sensation, then thinking. It is at the point of contact and the experience of sensation when I get to decide whether my reaction will be skilful (dispassioned attention) or not (craving/clinging).
I have read some of my older posts. This one caught my attention. You may want to have a look. Or not. Kodo Sawaki told me to pull my shit together.