Skillful Mindfulness: Mindfulness of Mental Objects II

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness (pp. 216-220)

Mindfulness of Mental Objects is the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness.

The factors or mental objects are:

  1. The Five Hindrances
  2. The Five Aggregates of Clinging
  3. The Six Internal and Six External Sense Bases
  4. The Seven Factors of Enlightenment
  5. The Four Noble Truths

Each of these factors offers an opportunity to be mindful of how our body and mind function and how suffering can arise or be overcome.

The previous talk addressed the Five Hindrances.

The Five Aggregates of Clinging and the Six Internal and Six External Sense Bases are how we experience the world (including our bodies). By knowing about the aggregates and the sense bases, we can understand how suffering arises from clinging or attachment to one of these.

The Five Aggregates of Clinging

The Five Aggregates of Clinging are:

  1. Body (form) Sensations
  2. Feelings
  3. Perceptions
  4. Thoughts
  5. Consciousness

Six Internal and Six External Sense Bases

The Six Internal and Six External Sense Bases refer to the receptors, the senses and the objects.  The six senses are the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body sensations and the mind.  Each of the senses has an object:

  1. Eye/Visible objects
  2. Ear/Sounds
  3. Nose/Smells
  4. Tongue/Tastes
  5. Body/Tangible objects
  6. Mind/Mental objects

Sense consciousness is dependent on the sense and the object.  There can be no seeing consciousness if there is not an eye and an object for the eye to see.

We suffer when we cling or attach to what we know through the aggregates or the sense bases.

Reflection

  • Read this talk every day and reflect on it.
  • When meditating, see if you can notice if one or more of the hindrances arise.  If so, practice mindfulness.
  • With the Five Aggregates and the Sixth Sense bases, can you see that all experiences come through one of these factors.  Can you see that by clinging to one these factors when it arises, that you invite suffering? 

Meditation

  • Daily meditation is a beneficial way to experience these mental objects.
  • Start by quieting the mind with a concentration meditation and then go to a Vipassana (Insight Meditation) to experience the phenomena that arise including these mental objects.
  • Examine them through mindfulness – paying attention moment to moment to what is.

Next: Mindfulness of Mental Objects III
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