Consciousness arises dependent upon an object and sense organ, or mind and mind objects (feeling, perception, mental formation, volition). It cannot exist independently. Consciousness too is impermanent and constantly changing. Movement of mind or body creates oscillation of duality, and therefore the arising of consciousness. Hindrances ( desire, aversion, restlessness, sloth and doubts ) are various disturbance in the body and mind which causes their movement. Examples of some very subtle hindrances are: trying to understand things, inner chatter, getting sleepy and getting upset, doing, desire and craving.
According to the Buddha- in essence- meditation is all about overcoming the five hindrances- suppressing them, smashing them- to get to the jhanas, so that you can see the way things truly are. Meditation is suppressing the five hindrances, but what has mindfulness to do with the five hindrances? Another important thing is where you focus that mindfulness, where you direct it. Some people say you can be mindful of anything. you can be aware of sweeping, you can be aware of laying a brick, you can be aware of putting food into your mouth, but that is not where mindfulness should really be put.
Where do the five hindrances live? Do they live in your body? Do they live in the food you eat? Do they live in the bricks you lay or in the broom or the leaves that you are sweeping? This is an important point not only to your success as a monastic and to your harmony with friends and other monks, but also to your progress in meditation. Those hindrances do not live in the broom, nor do they live in your citta. If you think the way to liberation is to put mindfulness on the objects of your senses or to put it on who's watching or what's watching, that will never get you anywhere. They don't look at the middle- in between them- at the hindrances themselves, at ' the doing', the ' controlling', ' the ill will', and the ' aversion'. For example, when Ajahn Sumedho was first in Wat Pah Pong he was having a hard time, and Ajahn Chah asked him, : Is Wat Pah Pong suffering? Is Wat Pah Pong dukkha, Sumedho?" If Wat Pah Pong is not suffering, so what is the suffering? Is the citta suffering? The suffering was at the point where Ajahn Sumedho was adding onto the experience ( the aggregate of feeling, metal formation and volition ). And if we don't put mindfulness in its right place then we miss that. We think it's Wat Pah Pong's fault, so we want to leave that monastery. Or we think it's our fault so we watn to destroy ourselves or get into a guilt trip. This is wrong mindfulness; we're putting it in the wrong place. It's not the monastery's fault, and it's not the fault of that monk who is upsetting you. You are putting mindfulness in the wrong place if you put all of your focus on the object and think that is the cause of suffering. We have to put the focus of our mindfulness on the space between the observer and the observed. That's where you find the play of greed and hatred, desires and aversions, wanting and disliking, and that's where you start to make something of this world which is no inherent in it.
The Calming of Oscillation Through Awareness of Feeling/ Sensation, Perception, Mental Formation and Volition
Physical and mental factors of experience worked together to produce personal experience ( that gives the illusion of a self) and personal choice) . For example:
1. Form -As you walk in the garden, your eyes come into contact with a visible object.
2. Consciousness - As your attention focuses on that visible object, your consciousness becomes aware of visible object as yet indeterminate
(Note: Stopping the intake of sensory enjoyment through the five-senses, to give Citta a rest. Renounciation/ Withdrawal)
3. Perception( labeling, association,judgement, pre-conceived notions)
- the mind figures out what the object is.
Your aggregate of perception will identify that visible object as, let us say, a snake
(Note: Centering on one object only to gives this aggregate a rest)
4.Sensation/ Emotion ( Pleasant, Unpleasant, Neutral) .
Once that happens, you will respond to that visible object with the aggregate sensation/ feeling of displeasure, or more specifically that of fear.
5. Samskara- (Volition & Mental Formation)
* Mental Formation is a collection of impressions created by previous actions and the habit energy stored up from countless former lives, engraved conditioned response or tendencies. It is the subconscious layer of your mind.
* Volition is the action/ reaction . When VOLITION is mixed with MENTAL FORMATION, and influenced by FEELING, what you usually get is a conditioned response or a habitual action. As we know, habitual actions can sometimes be good for you, sometimes bad for you.
- Finally, you will react to that visible object with the aggregate of mental formation or volition, with the intentional action of perhaps running away or perhaps picking up a stone.
Note: The khandhas of perception, feeling (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral) and samskaras (conditioned response, habitual action) is the space in which we must watch, according to Ajahn Brahm. Because these are the places where it becomes a personal experience that creates desire, aversion, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness, doubts ( From form to conscious awareness of the object it has not becomes a personal experience yet) . Being witness or infusing mindfulness into this unconscious zone then this unconscious zone also rests.
In all our daily activities, we can see how all the five aggregates work together to produce personal experience.When the aggregates of consciousness, perception, Feeling, and Samsakara rest, all your samskaras disappear. They are burnt away, and you start witnessing , your awareness happen, and you realize everything is a dream, and you are unaffected by the dream.