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Is a feeling or a sensation a thought?

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

I was wondering the other day about some strange sensations on my forehead, kind of like there was liquid running over it. When i felt the skin it was dry though. So are sensations like that also thoughts? Should one treat them the same way, by taking a step back and just observing what transpires instead of identifying with it?

All this in the interest of not identifying with the body, and not identifying with the thoughts, of course.

Comments

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited March 12

    @Jeroen said:
    I was wondering the other day about some strange sensations on my forehead, kind of like there was liquid running over it. When i felt the skin it was dry though. So are sensations like that also thoughts?

    From what I gather if body feelings and sensations are mentally narrated (AKA given a storyline), eg, throbbing headache...feeling sick...tingling sensation then I guess the answer is yes, they become thoughts, however thoughts are not the actual experience, they just attempt to describe the experience ...

    Should one treat them the same way, by taking a step back and just observing what transpires instead of identifying with it?

    It's interesting @Jeroen, 24/7/365 feelings & sensations are happening throughout the body, most are subtle and go unnoticed (unless that is one intentionally pays them close 'attention') and when a feeling or sensation is more intense, this seems to be when the storyline happens..

    All this in the interest of not identifying with the body, and not identifying with the thoughts, of course.

    I guess free flowing awareness is the key...developing/allowing just enough awareness for acknowledgement (brief encounter so to speak) so as not to get bogged down/too absorbed in the experience...

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Seems like that is not different from feeling an itch - is it neurons misfiring or parasites burrowing? You need to check it out, that's a normal body maintenance function.

    Unless your attention is intensely focused elsewhere - like maybe you are performing brain surgery at the time - a thought follows the sensation. Damn! There's a spider on my head, or the roof is dripping on me, etc. It is only logical to investigate and learn the truth.

    But stepping back and just observing is also an option, and perhaps a valuable mental exercise as well, a way to get free of the habit of thoughtless reaction. Also logical.
    So, I guess, sometimes one approach, sometimes the other.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    24/7/365 feelings & sensations are happening throughout the body, most are subtle and go unnoticed (unless that is one intentionally pays them close 'attention') and when a feeling or sensation is more intense, this seems to be when the storyline happens..

    So it depends on what one does with the attention. If one attends more closely to the body, one notices more strange sensations. The question is, should one?

    I guess free flowing awareness is the key...developing/allowing just enough awareness for acknowledgement (brief encounter so to speak) so as not to get bogged down/too absorbed in the experience...

    It’s a bit curious to have to consciously manage the attention in order to not get caught in the sensations of the body. It doesnt feel right? I tend to just go freely where circumstances take me.

  • ShanJieshi2ShanJieshi2 bahia blanca Veteran

    The thinking self is applying perception to a memory of a sensation...it could be an endless loop.
    Eliminate the thinker =)

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Another zen smell.
    In my world....

    Our identity easily fills itself with thinking about thinking as two mirrors will when reflecting off each other in duplications that flitter off into an imagined infinite.
    While it can be used by a qualified teacher to fill an intellectually oriented student to the point of bursting to show them the futility of such mental exercises, unsupervised it often just leads to a general disheartening of their entire practice.
    Such navel-gazing is usually just another ego play that effectively maintains the very dream that the Buddha tried to teach his followers to awaken from.
    Do you think wakefulness is a subject of your thought
    or
    to a transcendence of being subject to your thought?

    ShanJieshi2Shoshin1Jeroen
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    So it depends on what one does with the attention. If one attends more closely to the body, one notices more strange sensations. The question is, should one?

    It’s a bit curious to have to consciously manage the attention in order to not get caught in the sensations of the body. It doesnt feel right? I tend to just go freely where circumstances take me.

    If I understand Vipassana meditation, when one encounters these sensations one labels them with what they are. A tickling sensation on the brow is something you bring your attention to, label it as "tickling" until the sensation diminishes, and return to your breath. A memory or imagination you are distracted by is labeled "memory" or "imagining" until it diminishes and your attention returns to your breath.

    I think these things are done to practice not being distracted and not feeding the distraction with your attention. So while I believe one should acknowledge the sensation, if it is not pressing, it should not be fed with further investigation thus allowing the attention to remain focused to a greater extent on the attention's target.

    Shoshin1
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    @Jeroen said:

    So it depends on what one does with the attention. If one attends more closely to the body, one notices more strange sensations. The question is, should one?

    You know when you do a body scan, you become aware of sensations occurring in the part of the body being scanned...From what I gather one acknowledges the sensation then carries on with the scan, an as @FleaMarket has mentioned just label it, for example "ache" "tingling" "pain" "throbbing" etc etc...

    It’s a bit curious to have to consciously manage the attention in order to not get caught in the sensations of the body. It doesnt feel right? I tend to just go freely where circumstances take me.

    Normally when one is doing a body scan, one is consciously managing their attention as their attention systematically moves over their body, however some may just sit and home in on where the sensations occur ... (six of one and half a dozen of the other)

    I think the important thing here @Jeroen, is the empty nature of it all, the sensations come and go...... and it's all about developing 'an openness' to awareness...

    Bearing in mind (pun intended) Awareness-Consciousness-Mind (often interchangeable) all seem to have one thing in common, which is they are that which knows... intrinsically knowing

    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual-before thinking splits experience into subject and object...It is empty and so can contain everything, including 'thought'. It is boundless. And amazingly it is intrinsically 'KNOWING !"

    how
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited March 14

    Thoughts are expressed in words.
    Feelings, sensations, emotions are experienced before the words come out.
    Anger and fear are sensations in the body. They are felt before they can be expressed.

    Fear = an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm according to the dictionary

    They are all phenomena that arise due to causes and conditions.

    You can become aware of your thoughts.
    Awareness encompasses everything you experience or know. EVERYTHING...

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