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Mindfulness of sensations

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Mindfulness of sensations (Vedanā) is the second part of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness discussed in the Satipatthana Sutta. It is a valuable and important meditation and the main technique used by the S. N. Goenka vipassana centers.

Notice if you have any physical sensations in the body, any painful sensations such as in your legs or stomach or arms. Just notice the sensations. Do not push the unpleasant sensations away, just watch (observe with the mind) them. If you have a pleasant sensation (physical feeling) just watch it, do not cling to it. Inevitably you might cling on to some pleasant sensations, you will see the inherent suffering in that when you “miss” the sensation as it leaves. The practice is awareness and equanimity (balanced mind clinging to nothing). You will notice the impermanent nature of all these sensations.

A typical sensation based technique is to focus your mind in a sweeping form from head to toe and then back again from toe to head. You imagine a small area, like a microscope and check for sensations starting at the top of your head. You just watch the sensations and do not jump around the body with your examination. You slowly move from the head to the toe with your examination with the mind, looking for sensations.

You will also notice that there is no permanent self to be found in your mind-body analysis through the contemplation of sensations. Thus, the meditator discovers reality for himself / herself.

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