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The Vedana of Vedana
In ‘Buddha-speak’ vedana is the term for any feeling state we can experience. Vedana can be pleasant, painful or neutral. Pleasant and painful vedana generally sets up craving and aversion, which is the basis of all suffering we experience. So to free oneself of this craving and aversion is to end our suffering and establish contentment, even bliss and finally freedom.
There it is …. Buddhism in a nutshell …. Easy eh!
Ummmm …… well actually wrong! Not easy at all ….. I am deeply, inextricably and unconsciously woven into and addicted to my vedana and it leads me around like a pig’s nose-ring.
So I practice meditation and ethics and gradually, VERY gradually the mist clears and I find there is choice in every situation I find myself in.
Lately there’s been a new development in my practice of the Buddha’s teachings … I’ve become interested in ‘the vedana of vedana’. When I find myself craving something, being pulled (or pushed) around by powerful vedana and caught in the compulsive energy it creates I ask myself ‘What is the vedana of this vedana?’ and I ask it with curiosity and compassion. Where in my body am I experiencing it? Is it visceral or intellectual and or emotional? Is it connected to a young part of me that didn’t get what it needed in some early stage of my life? How strong is it? Is it a ten out of ten vedana on the Richter scale or is it a three out of ten? What do I find when I stop and investigate my craving and aversion rather than acting on it?
So it’s catching the vedana in flight. The good old ‘gap’ as we call it in meditation circles: the creative opportunity afforded to us when we see reactions arise but have the poise to notice what’s happening and respond rather than react and thereby liberate ourselves from being victims of circumstance.
And what I’m doing I guess is hanging out in the gap and taking a good look around. Fascinated to see just what this vedana is made up of, where it might come from, how strong it is and how I might best work with it – and as I write this I see that I’m actually bringing metta to it ….. I’m becoming a loving parent if you like, of my mind.
Lovely! How fortunate are we to have the Buddha’s teachings!
May we all find ways to move increasingly toward freedom
Meditation this week:
Tuesday 6 - 7.30 pm
Sunday 8 - 9 am