Awareness of the body is orienting toward direct, non-conceptual experience. Not staying in your head. I use the term “dropped attention,” which comes from aikido. We drop out of our head and into direct experience, what’s often called the “felt sense.” We have views and opinions about our experience, but here we are talking about knee pain as a direct experience, not our view and opinion about knee pain. Direct experience of knee pain is about twisting, burning, expanding, contracting, pulsating, coming in waves, whatever it may be. That is knowing knee pain, and there are so many different awarenesses that arise out of that. You immediately see that it’s not a solid experience.
In modern terms, we are deconstructing phenomena. We are looking at moment-to-moment phenomena as they arise. The Buddha was the original deconstructionist, the original phenomenologist. The body is a great laboratory for practicing deconstruction. We can experience phenomena, rather than the soap opera of our lives that goes on up in the old coconut. “Oh, my knee hurts. What’s gonna happen to me in the future? I’m not going to be able to walk!” We get outside that story and start to see the phenomena in deconstructed form. We start to see the non-self aspect and the dukkha, and we see that it’s always changing.
feeling ourselves in time and space is not always pleasant…..and yet always grounding and real and connected to the depth of our living ways….
inquiry for today~ what do you really feel from gut to heart in five breaths?
Eventually, seeing things as they are shifts from being an activity or a process we engage in to a state of being, a stance of open awareness in relation to the phenomenal world, which returns to confirmation without words. Such moments can serve to remind us of the preciousness of this human life, its fleeting beauty, and the need to awaken to a responsible life.
As we learn to abide in natural awareness, with our sense perceptions open, we come to experience the vast, ocean-like power of our deepest nature. When we connect with this part of ourselves, when we partake of the liberating wisdom of things ass they are, everything is saturated with this spacious, open, warm, luminous awake quality. This reality is nothing other than innate wakefulness, an unimpeded, flowing field of energy, a perpetual fount of creativity- and the fundamental quality of our life.
~Lopon Elizabeth Monson