Hello, everyone, and happy day to you!
Yesterday in the ongoing “Five Skandhas” online class we began exploring the third skandha, which is “perception”. (A “skandha”, which means literally “pile” or “heap”, is one of the five elements that make possible our experience, according Buddhist teaching.) This week we’ll be investigating the ways in which we tend to conceptualize our perceptions, such that we end up living in relationship to our ideas about things, rather than to the things themselves.
Yesterday I asked the people in the class to practice perceiving the outward objects of awareness (the trees, cars, sunshine, people, food, and everything else) purely, without labeling them or in otherwise turning them into ideas. Today I’ve asked people to take this even deeper, and practice perceiving the processes they encounter in their experience with that same pure, non-conceptual perception. I’m thinking you might enjoy practicing this too, today, and so I’ll offer the same assignment to you in case you’d like to follow along….
Here it is:
“Good morning, classmates!
Yesterday I suggested that we practice perceiving through our eyes without conceptualizing, as best we could, what we saw. Let’s take that a bit further today, and practice pure perception in relationship to the various processes going on.
Life is process, essentially, the way I see it. There are innumerable processes happening in nature all the time. In the human world there are mechanical processes, relational processes, psychological processes, and spiritual processes occurring constantly, Pay attention today to what you see on this process level.
Let’s focus in particular today outwardly. What do you perceive to be happening between the various people who you interact with today? Between those people and you? What do you perceive to be happening between the different facets of nature that you observe? Said another way, how are the things that are happening, happening? Said yet another way, what are the relationships between the objects of your awareness? Again, practice perceiving as best you can without labels or interpretation.
This is not about meeting certain standards or expectations, or doing it right, or anything like that. Don’t forget that. This is a challenging practice, and you will not be able to do it perfectly, most likely, or anywhere close. As with everything we do, just practice with this today and to see what arises. Whatever you become aware of as a result will be useful, and exactly right for you.
Take care, friends, be well, and have a beautiful day!”