head

practice

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enquiry through sensations

There are also different ways of enquiring while you meditate on sensations. Enquiring does not mean thinking as such. It can be better compared to focusing a beam of the mind’s light on a specific point of your experience.

go into the pain

Take, for example, a pain in the knee that starts to bother you while you are sitting in meditation. When you feel this sort of pain, the first thing you do is identify with it, describing it to yourself as 'my pain’ in 'my knee’. You characterize the feeling as painful and unpleasant, and immediately want to be rid of it. However, once the mind has been quieted through concentration, you can use enquiry to go into the feeling in your knee, experiencing the sensation for itself. Then you will feel the pain differently, as a
simple vibrating sensation that moves about and changes in intensity from moment to moment. You can deal with an itch in the same way. Go into the itch with your focused beam of mental enquiry and experience it as nothing more than a faintly pulsating sensation.

notice changes

If you do not enquire- into your sensations, you might perceive them as unbearably intense, and presume they will continue to be so for a long time. However, if you do enquire into your sensations, you will soon notice their evanescent nature. Sensations differ in intensity from second to second, they might disappear totally within minutes. The realization that sensations come and go will allow you to break your tendency to 'permanentize’ and assume that things are more lasting and painful than they could ever really be.

feel the contact

If the body is at ease and there are no strong feelings, then enquire into the bare sensation of contact. Notice the feeling of contact of your hands with each other, or of your buttock with the cushion. Where does one hand finish and the other begin? Where does the buttock stop and the cushion start? Notice the seamlessness of the experience: there is just contact. This enquiry helps you to dissolve your rigid tendency to fix and solidify things. It allows you to realize that experience is fluid, in constant motion.