The fourth close application of mindfulness concerns the Sanskrit term dharmas
, which in this context refers to all phenomena. Mindfulness of phenomena is all-encompassing. As we progress from coarse to subtle phenomena, the very nature of our experience can become a source of profound discoveries.
The most subtle of these practices, mindfulness of events—also referred to as mindfulness of phenomena, encompasses all the practices discussed so far. From the gross to the subtle, we have in the previous posts been exploring Mindfulness of the Body
, Mindfulness of Feelings
, and Mindfulness of Mental States
. In each of these practices, the emphasis has been on directly applying our attention in order to closely inspect a specific domain of experience.
In these last practices of the program on the Four Application of Mindfulness
, we first closely observe internally those factors and activities of the mind that disrupt the mind's equilibrium that nurture and sustain the balance, the poise, the mind's sanity.
In the very last practice, we then turn awareness outward to shine a light on the interactions of our everyday life and their underlying aspirations.
We are in interaction with the world around us. We are engaging. Our presence here influences the presence of others, as their presence or activities influence us. Observe. Closely attend to this dynamic interchange, this interaction as the phenomena that arise in your world influence the phenomena that arise in the worlds of others.
And so, the only authentic aspiration is to strive for the well-being of us all, together. And this awareness is the fruit, one of the sweet fruits, of the practice of the close application of mindfulness to the body of oneself and others, to feelings, to mental states and processes, and to phenomena at large. Wisdom is the basis for compassion. Wisdom and compassion: the two wings with which we fly into the space of awakening.
—A. Wallace, quoted from the session "Awareness of outer phenomena"
Start the course:Mindfulness of Phenomena
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