Life has the illusion of seeming that every day can be the same. We have the same routines, hang with the same people, do the same job, eat the same food. The mind’s perception then gets stuck on the sameness of reality. The truth is that there are too many different variables for life’s shifting moments to be the same. It takes a fine tuning of your awareness to the details to perceive the subtle changes that are constantly happening in the sameness. When you can heighten your attention to annitya, you clearly realize that holding onto anything is unnecessary it is all going to change. That is the nature of life.
Sensation and feeling
You as a human being have an amazing capacity to feel and feel deeply. The body speaks to you in a language called sensation. Sensation can carry with it emotion or memory. Sensation can be physical gross sensations, or energetic sensations. Sensation can be localized in a particular area, or felt in the whole being. When we practice feeling sensations as they rise and rest with them until they change we can experience the impermanence of change, annitya. The trick is to awaken your witnessing consciousness, the sakshi, where you can watch what you feel in a detached, balanced matter in mind and heart. That means that there is fewer labels, language and reacting to the sensation. When you can rest patiently in the feeling and orient your attention to the subtle details you will notice how does it change, when, does it barely change, what is the quality of the feeling; hot, cold, tingling, prickling, pain, dull, achy? Without reacting you just witness. You practice giving space from the time the observation enters the mind when the mind wants to analyze or judge it. Try feeling more with fewer words.
The Nature of the mind
When you start to practice mindful attention to sensation you may notice it likes to create two scenarios with sensation. One is when you feel something pleasant the mind says. ”Yes, I like this, may this stay and can I please have more.” that creates a desire, (raga), a want, a craving. Craving then turns into clinging, which then turns into an attachment. It can be a trap for the spiritual seeker, that once you start doing these practices, you find a way to feel happy, peaceful and joyful, you expect you have risen to an enlightened plane and therefore won’t feel sadness, anger or loneliness. The mind may also witness a sense that is not pleasing and it may think. “I don’t like this, why is this happening, please go away, I can’t stand this, I can’t handle this.” That creates an aversion, (dvesha), avoidance, which can lead to self medication or disassociated. Often the mind thinks how can I find the good feeling and avoid the bad one? You see it is all in the mind’s perception. A sensation is a sensation. It is how the mind judges or labels what it feels to how you react.
By feeling what you feel, when you feel it, without judgement, you will start to train your mind to remain balanced in pleasure, in aversion. You will learn how to detach, (vairagya), from the experience like it identifies you. You will learn to remain present in the rise and fall of change, engaged yet almost emotionless. When you can rest in sensation, it can start to up root sensations linked to past emotions or experiences that are stored in the energy system and the tissues of the body. These impressions or (samkaras), being up rooted through meditating on sensation and annitya can assist you in a clarity of being. It can teach you how to rest in the pause after you observe an experience which will teach you how to respond in your life with conscious action, rather than unconscious reaction. Teaching you how to trust your choices, because they come from a balanced mindful place. This meditation practice can be applied in seated practice, in yoga asana or in living life. Good luck, may you find balance in all your endeavours.
When you sit for meditation watch the breath at the tip of the nose. This technique is called anapana in the Vipassana tradition. As you watch the breath at the tip of the nose find a relaxed, alert objective state of being. As you scan the body in meditation or asana rest in the sensation until it changes.