So we’ll begin with the sense of sight and the idea here is that the eyes see without needing our thinking mind to label what we see. So, not unlike this crystal, the way that I put it in front of my shirt and it becomes that color, in front of my neck and it becomes that color, it picks up the colors that are reflected through it. In the same way our mind is able to think different thoughts at different moments, but it always remains clear.
The senses are not what we tell them they are. They have their own information. So, in the case of the eyes, you can see there is a reflection on the surface of each facet and there are different reflections as it moves. In the middle facet here you can even see some changing reflection as I move it. That is like the thinking mind. On the surface of the body or senses the mind has different undulations, but if I see the mirror or the window here I can see reflected that is not the window, that is a reflection.
In the same way, our thoughts are not reality. They are interpretations and appearances in the mind. They are representations of knowledge we have and it is part of our incredible capacity and buddha nature that we can generate thoughts and think about things.
Sometimes when people are learning to meditate they might feel like they want to stop their thoughts, but in this approach we’ll see that that is not necessary, that in fact thoughts are not the problem to begin with. Taking our thoughts as real is the mistaken perception that leads to suffering, but having thoughts is the capacity to express compassion and the teachings and also our own perspectives to each other, so it is kind of a good thing that we think.
When we work with a sense perception like sight, we can pick up an object such as a flower or a crystal or anything we have around, a coffee cup. We can also just look around the room. Either way, whether we pick one object and look at it or we look around at a number of objects, we are looking and just seeing. As we look, if our thinking mind projects crystal onto the object, we see that as happening in the space of the senses and we notice the thought as a thought and return our experience to the senses.
When we get lost in thought, we eclipse into labeling and we get lost in the storyline of our thoughts and we lose touch with reality, we are in our own version, like a dream. So seeing that process of projecting will be part of this meditation. “Oh! I’m labeling!” Normally we might think “I need to stop labeling!” In fact, in this case, that is not true. We just need to notice labeling and then we continue to return to the appearances and our sense fields coming through our eyes, the colors and shapes.
So in this meditation we will just spend a little bit of time with the sense of sight in this way, looking around if we like, or picking an object.
It’s just that simple. Throughout our day, we can remember to practice the five senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, five seconds with each, and then layering all five, letting all of them be together, letting the family be together. Throughout our day, when we remember, flashing on the senses will bring us back from getting lost in thoughts and connect us with our world.
This is part of a whole series! Have a look…
Come Back To Your Senses Introduction
Come Back To Your Senses – Sight
Come Back To Your Senses – Sound