Week 13: Mindfulness of Feelings, Part 2

In this session, Joseph Goldstein will continue his discourse of mindfulness of feelings with a deeper look at look at how recognizing the distinction between worldly and unworldly feelings directly plays into our experience of happiness or suffering.  This week Joseph will explain how bringing awareness to these distinctions paves the path for liberation.  He examines how in refining our awareness and noting of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral sensations we can experience a deep untainted sense of peace and joy.  

QUESTIONS:

1. Do you think you could be really happy not seeking and delighting in all the pleasant worldly feelings?

2. What has been your experience when you practice renunciation involved with following the precepts?

3. Buddhism seemingly emphasizes suffering, its causes, and overcoming suffering. Do you overlook the role of joy and happiness in your path of practice?

4. Can you relate your experience to the Buddha’s remark: “What the world calls happiness (wanting of sense pleasures), I call suffering. What the world calls suffering (renunciation), I call happiness.”

5. We constantly receive messages that happiness comes from enjoyable sense experiences. How do you deal with the dangers of attachment to these experiences?

PRACTICES:

1. Notice when you felt sadness or loss because a worldly pleasant sensual experience changed.

2. Practice mindfulness in distinguishing feelings. When a pleasant feeling arises, know it as worldly or unworldly; when an unpleasant feeling arises, know it as worldly or unworldly; same with neutral feelings.

3. Notice when unworldly pleasant feelings arise when you’re practicing generosity, one of the four brahma viharas (metta, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity), or renunciation.