Recognising Feeling Tone

Referring to Buddhist text, Martine Batchelor describes feeling tone or its Pali word “vedana” as the pleasant, unpleasant and neutral tonality of experience that arises upon contact through the six senses with one’s outer or inner environment. Our distress in part come from our reactive underlying tendencies in connection with experiencing pleasant, unpleasant or neutral vedanas. Investigating the impact of feeling tones could help us identify the neurophysiological blueprints of mental processing, and therefore help us find ways to respond more helpfully to stimulus.

The purpose of this practice is to observe feeling tone, the first or most instinctive feeling or sensation that arises, holding space for it ie not judging them, followed by noticing desires or impulses that arise which are often about ridding or fixing how we feel after the initial feeling tone.

In connection with this theme, we refer to Birdwings, a poem by Rumi

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated 
as birdwings.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Nagara Oyodo, Unsplash

Reference on feeling tone here

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