Exercise: Mind as a Sense Organ

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

We associate the idea of sense organs with eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. We use them to observe physical objects, such as, chair, car, house, etc. However, the mind is also a sense organ, which senses ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. These are mental objects. When being mindful, recognize both physical and mental objects for what they are.

Meditation Exercise:

Mind as a Sense Organ

Purpose:

To discern that mind is an organ that senses mental objects.

Pre-requisites:

Complete Exercise: Something incomprehensible.

Instructions:

In this exercise you become aware of mind as a sense organ. You may do this exercise while sipping coffee in a café or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed. Then patiently observe the world go by.

Notice things like the wetness of water, the sight of the trees, the sound of birds chirping, the smell of flowers, and the taste of coffee. These are perceptions of physical objects by the physical sense. Notice also a memory, a visualization, a thought, a conclusion, an emotion, an impulse to do something. These are perceptions of mental objects by the mind.

Recall a memory from your childhood. Notice that it is a mental object that is made up of physical perceptions in the past. Visualize your favorite activity. Notice that this visualization is a mental object made up of the rearrangement of perceptions received. Think of a mathematical equation. Notice that this thought is a mental object. Look at what you decided to eat for dinner. Such a decision is a mental object. Think of something that makes you angry. Notice that this feeling of anger is a mental object because you can look at it. Feel some impulses that move the body. Notice that these impulses are mental objects too.

Continue this exercise for at least 20 minutes. You may repeat this exercise as many times as you wish.

End of Exercise:

When you can recognize the mental objects as different from the physical objects, and that they are sensed by the mind, then this exercise is passed.

NOTE 1: At any point you may return to a previous exercise if you feel that you need to complete it.

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