Four Foundations of Mindfulness
Four Foundations of Awareness
(four aspects of our experience)
1st foundation: THE BODY & ITS SENSES
Tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory sensations
2nd foundation: THE THREE FEELING-SENSATIONS (vedana)
Liking, disliking, indifference. Feel them arise in the body and evolve into emotions, stories, actions.
3rd foundation: MENTAL & EMOTIONAL ACTIVITY (chitta)
Thoughts, emotions, memories, impulses, intentions, consciousness.
4th foundation: DHAMMAS
Dhamma as any thing that exists: any object or internal or external phenomena
Dhamma as law or truth: how things work; the laws of nature
Dhamma as path: actions or ways of living that are aligned with the way things are
The four foundations encompass every experience we can have.
To cultivate stable awareness of full experience, build from the ground up:
1st SENSING IN THE BODY The first foundation, the foundation of all foundations, is the body.
Rest attention in the sensations and movements of the breathing body. Whenever you become dull or
distracted, return to the sensations and movements of the breathing body.
2nd FEELING-SENSATIONS When you can rest in sensations as they arise and fall, then include in
your awareness the instinctive feeling-tones of liking, disliking, and indifference as they arise. These
feelng-tones are somewhere between physical sensations and emotions.
Whenever you notice youíve been distracted by something, donít try to stop being distracted ó just
gently return to the sensations of the breathing body. When you can rest again in the breathing body,
then open to liking, disliking, and indifference as they arise.
3rd MENTAL & EMOTIONAL ACTIVITY When you can rest in sensations and feelings, then
open to thoughts and emotions as they arise. Donít try to reject, control, or generate certain thoughts or
emotions or mind states ó just include them as they arise and fall in your awareness. Whenever you
become dull or distracted, return to experiencing sensations as they arise and subside. Then include
feelings too. Then include thoughts and emotions too.
4th DHARMAS Finally, rest in the experience of everything ó sensations, feelings, thoughts and
emotions, and activity ó as they arise in experience.
Gradually, over weeks and months, by cultivating stable and clear awareness in experience as it arises,
you will begin to see the connections between sensations, feelings, thoughts, and actions. This clear
seeing (vipashyana) is the discernment that leads to the end of struggling with experience. For more on
cultivating stable and clear attention.
Taken from Natural Awareness.net. Visit www.NaturalAwareness.netOther terrific resources from the website: http://www.naturalawareness.net/resources.html You will find MANY excellent teachings.
DBT Self-help resources:http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/dbt.htm and self-help downloads: http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/gallery.htm
Cognitive behavior self-help resources: http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/index.html
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