Focus on Sensations.

“I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension” – Freeman Dyson

Going beyond comprehension happens in two directions. One way, is when attempting to conceptualize something so complex, so elevated and abstract, so intricate and grand - that the mind gets a glimpse of the transcendent. For a brief moment, the puzzle pieces line up, and the solution flashes in front of your mind’s eye. But this never lasts, and isn’t accessible to all. Thankfully there’s another way.

“As you never may find the forest if you ignore the tree, so He may never be found in abstractions.” - Kabir

Instead of working with abstractions or ideas - you come back to the here and now. To go beyond comprehension, you can situate yourself before cognition or after it. The former, which is available to everyone, simply means distinct awareness of bodily sensations. As S.N. Goenka says: “Sensations provide the nexus where the entire mind and body are tangibly revealed as impermanent phenomena. They are the most direct contact we have with the external world.”

Learning to become distinctly aware of our bodily sensations gives us the “power to grasp bare reality as it is, in the precise present moment, without disturbing it, without conceptualizing it” - Sunlun Vinaya.

Stepping in front of our minds, and feeling the world before thinking about the world - gives us a taste of the sublime. The sublime is freshness, novelty, wonder, awe.

“A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary” - Seneca

If you want to become aware of how often we mediate our reality with thoughts - try a cold shower. Long ago, I made a commitment to take them daily - but every morning I debate, convince and prepare myself to turn the knob. I suffer more than is necessary. The shower isn’t even on yet, my body isn’t dealing with any new stimuli - and yet I’m already worrying. Jump in, think less (when the stakes are low), and deal with sensation as it comes.

At least with one activity this week - focus exclusively on the felt sensations. This is where the magic is - in feeling things as they happen. This is where the line between God and mind begins to blur. Consciously feel the world before you think about it -especially when cutting vegetables.

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” -Alan Watts

It is as it is.