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How to be mindful of feelings?

Updated: Apr 18




The way to establish mindfulness of feelings was taught by the Buddha in the Great Discourse of the Fourfold Establishment of Mindfulness (Mahasatipatthana Sutta), and here is what he said:


“…when experiencing a pleasant feeling, knows ‘this is pleasant feeling’
when experiencing an unpleasant feeling, knows ‘this is unpleasant feeling’
when experiencing a neutral feeling, knows ‘this is neutral feeling’…”


Guidance for beginners' practice


(1) Become aware of the presence of feeling.


What feeling is present right now?

Here and now, there's mental feeling ~ is it a pleasant, painful or neutral feeling?

Become aware of that feeling that is present here and now.

Recognise it – as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.



“Thus, he lives practising, internally feeling-contemplation in feelings…;
contemplating the phenomena of arising with regard to feelings; or
the phenomenon of passing away with regard to feelings; or
the phenomenon of arising and passing away with regard to feelings…”

That means:



(2) Maintain continuous mindfulness by observing the mental feeling.


What can be noted (=strong mindfulness)?

Here and now, this mental feeling is changing.

Watch, observe (=strong mindfulness) the change in its intensity.

Here and now, that mental feeling is absent. It has pass away.


Here and now, another mental feeling is arising.

What feeling is present right now ~ is it a pleasant, painful or neutral feeling?

Again, become aware of this feeling that's present here and now.

Again, recognise it – as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.

Again, watch, observe

Here and now, this mental feeling is changing.

Here and now, this mental feeling is getting more intense?

Here and now, this mental feeling is reducing after its peak?

Here and now, that mental feeling is absent. It has pass away.



(3) Repeat as many times as the strong mental feeling arises or for as long as you can maintain mindfulness.


If mindfulness (and detachment) is sustained:

Feelings will become clear in due course;

The arising and passing away phenomenon will become clear in due course.


Practising mindfulness of feelings prevents clinging. Clinging leads to pain.


If you're going through difficult times, practising mindfulness of feelings brings momentary freedom ~ it liberates the mind from those pain for the moments they are noted.