Insight Meditation Online

Orientating to the Six-Sense Doors

Meditation is not confined to a crossed-legged posture, especially not insight meditation, which is a dynamic practice of paying close attention to what you are doing in whatever posture or situation you happen to be in. In fact, the first base in insight meditation is to establish an orientation to the sense doors.

The way to orientate yourself in this practice is to literally 'come to your senses'. That is, a strategy of being fully aware of all your activities through a conscious orientation to the five senses and the 'sixth sense' - the consciousness. The Six Sense Doors is the name for the five physical senses: eye, ear, nose, tongue and body and the sixth sense — which is a collective term for the five kinds of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, etc.

So, the practice is to be present and consciously attentive at the predominant door or sense base. For example, being on guard at the eye-door allows you to notice the effects of the contact between the eye and the visible objects and how you are relating to them. This orientation to any sense door brings awareness of what is happening during any sense impression and with it the ability to monitor the associated feelings and consciousness that arise.

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