This week, Joseph explores the sixth sense of thought in Buddhist teaching and how to gain insight from our thoughts during practice.
The Sixth Sense (Opening) – The realm of thought is one of the most predominant senses we possess. Joseph explores the sixth sense of the mind discussed in classical Buddhism. He reminds us of how much of the time we are lost in thought and how mindfulness practice brings us out of this cycle of thought and into the present moment.
“Thought is the object of mind. In the Buddhist scheme of things, the mind is considered the sixth sense. So, it is really just like another sense field, but instead of an external sense object, like sounds sights or smells, the object of this sense sphere is thought.”
Emphasis on Awareness (7:25) – Joseph shares methods of practice that allow us to meditate with an emphasis on being aware of our thoughts.
“Thoughts will arise and often carry us away. The tendency is, as soon as we are aware that we are thinking, to jump back to the body or to the breath. I think it is much more helpful to actually take a second in that very moment of waking up from being lost in the thought. That moment is very revealing because it’s showing us what the awake mind is like.”
What is a Thought? (12:55) – Thoughts run our lives, often in a very uncritical way. Joseph has us think about what our thoughts really are and he guides us in meditation where we can put everything learned today into practice.
“All of this is so remarkable because when we are aware enough to even just poke at it a little, and ask what a thought even is, there is hardly anything there. It opens up a place of tremendous freedom to make choices as we understand the emptiness and transparency of thoughts. Then we understand that they are not in some essential way who we are, just this conditioned phenomena that is quite empty of substance but very seductive.”
Question on the Path (29:25) – Joseph takes questions from his live audience and provides insight on difficult questions around spiritual practice that we all run into like, “Who am I, if not my thoughts?”, “How to discern thought from intuition” and “What do I do with the challenge of boredom in practice?”