HOW TO GET THINGS RUNNING VERY SMOOTHLY
: FEELINGS and ABSORPTION
The eightfold path is "Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration".(2)
The first 6 steps of this path seem very appropriate and well translated and easy to understand.
The Seventh Step
There are many different translations of the 7th step – i believe it is worth considering the following:
"And what is Right Mindfulness? Herein a monk dwells practising body-contempletion on the body - practising feeling-contempletion on feelings - practising mind-contempletion on the mind - practising mind-object-contempletion on mind-objects, ardent clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome covetousness and greed concerning the world: this is called Right Mindfulness"(5).
For me this indicates that we feel our feelings. Unless we feel feelings as priority before any mind comes in, then we are lost … (also in the 10 step list on the process of How we Relate To Life, feeling in the form of emotions, seem to occur, after perception and before thoughts)
These days we should be feeling the life in our feelings. Not trying to control them. My belief and my hope is that the last 500 yrs were freedom of thought, i hope the next 500 will be freedom of feelings ...
I am also sure that when i practice meditation on my body, at best, then i do this with my body and with the nerves of my body, and not with my mind, … i used to call it bodyfull.
The Eighth Step
The eighth step is usually translated as Right Concentration. It has always puzzled me how concentration with its focussed attention comes after the all inclusive mindfulness. Then I found in the German translation "Richtig Sammlung"(8) which means Right Collection, Gathering or maybe Integration. That started me thinking that this section is actually all about "jhana" which is usually translated as absorption – a state so concentrated that there is no distinction between subject and object – due to being absorbed, or at one.
Right Concentration in the modern western use of the word, with its focussed attention must be wrong. Concentration with its very finite vision cannot be expected to lead to any all inclusive perspective. In meditation just as in life, it seems important to stay fresh by moving flexibly between different subjects and keeping an overview on everything (as i believe da vinci did).
The 8th step must truly be right absorption or right oneness.
And let me say i have absolutely no idea how to acheive this - however what i find fun to experiment with and it may even be relevant - I believe a sense of absorption or oneness can be experienced comparitively easily.
You could check this out personally. Simply defocuss your eyes and be aware of the peripheral vision, all the way round the periphery, (dont forget to blink your eyes). Now the same with the ears, without focussing just listen to sounds all around and miles away, (you will need somewhere peaceful away from electrical noise), but already you might start feeling a little like what i call the transparent person.
I must say, I have no idea where this line of experiment leads, and it is all complete fantasy in comparison to the questioning and researched thought i have put into the previous essay.
But if you are interested, I continue the line of thought in another essay "Taming the Hedgehog". I chose the symbol because I get hedgehogs in my garden and I tame them with walnuts. Like many animals, the hedgehog has this amazing connection with its lower brain - allowing it to hibernate ... and so, I am experimenting with the ability animals have, when they doze, to be fully aware of whats going on around them : i call it Creative Dozing.