July 25, 2013

Mindfulness of Feeling: Directly Experiencing Freedom

Dear Dharma Friends,

Please join me this Sunday July 28th for an exploration of the Second Foundation of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Feeling. In Buddhist teachings, feeling refers to the basic response that something is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Very often, when we experience something as pleasant, we immediately move to grasp it or crave more of it; when we experience something as unpleasant, we react with aversion or hatred; and when we experience something neutral, we tend to ignore it altogether.

The renowned Pali scholar Nyaniponika Thera wrote:
"If feelings are seen in their bubble-like blowing up and bursting, their linkage with craving or aversion will be weakened more and more, until that bondage is finally broken. By that practice, attachment to likes and dislikes will be reduced and thereby an inner space will be provided for the growth of the finer emotions and virtues: for loving-kindness and compassion, for contentment, patience and forbearance."
Feelings in this context are much more basic than emotions, and we can learn to work with them in ways that bring an immediate experience of freedom. We'll be looking at how this works, and seeing that mindfulness applied at the point of feeling is very powerful in moving our habits of mind toward happiness that does not depend on the changing conditions of the world around us.

Looking forward to practicing with you on Sunday,

Deb Kerr

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