Week 12: Mindfulness of Feelings Part 1

In this session, Joseph Goldstein will continue his rigorous investigation of the Satipatthana Sutta, highlighting the essential role of Feelings. This week Joseph will explain how bringing awareness to feelings can lead directly to liberation, transforming how we live in this world.  Joseph examines the meaning of ‘feelings’ or what is referred to as vedana in the Pali language– referring specifically to experiences of feelings - pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral.  Together we will take a methodical look at how we process our feelings, the habits of mind, deep conditioning, reactivity, and the resulting consequences.  We will then explore how moment-to-moment awareness can serve as the foundation for training our minds to navigate our feelings in a way that minimizes suffering while at the same time cultivating liberation. 

Questions:

1. In the past week or 2 have you noticed the second dart?  first the pain... then the unpleasant mental action causing the suffering? Have you been able to catch yourself at the trigger point before shooting yourself with the second dart?

2. Why, in seeing the possibilities of either suffering or ease, does the mind habitually go to either fear that pain will go on forever, or hope that pain will go away forever? Why doesn't the mind naturally rest in the ease of mindful awareness?

Practices:

1. Notice how many actions during your week are to avoid unpleasant feelings

2. Notice re-training the mind - returning to moment-to-moment awareness of what is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral

3. In meditation, name the feeling tone: pleasant / unpleasant / neutral refining awareness of both physical and mental events

4. When active, notice likes and dislikes, tracing them back to the feelings that preceded them