Phenomenon: Cycle of the mind

Sensation –> perception –> conception –> motivation –> action –>

In meditation, you learn first to cease action, then motivation, then conception.
When these cease, you become quiet and still.


8 thoughts on “Phenomenon: Cycle of the mind

  1. Funny. According to this one book I’m reading, an introduction to Zen, the order of the cycle should rather be ‘sensation, perception, conception, motivation, action (perception being the interpretation of all external stimuli resulting from sensation). With Zen meditation, the purpose is to return to the first mode of sensation (almost like becoming aware of the stream of thoughts, instead of being carried away by it, or so I like to think).

    1. You are right. I’ve made a mistake here. It should be ‘sensation’ before ‘perception’. Thanks for pointing this out.
      An important goal in zen, I feel, is to experience the state of pure consciousness, where one is aware only of awareness. And with that experience, one could then begin to cleanse the mind.
      As to your point on ‘first mode of sensation’ and ‘awareness of stream of thoughts’, I don’t understand the link between them. Perhaps you like to clarify?

      1. Firstly, in my reply I should have written ‘first mode called sensation’, instead of ‘first mode of sensation’ (this reply will clarify it, hopefully).
        ‘Stream of thoughts’ is a metaphor I like to use to describe our day to day consciousness, one where mindfulness isn’t practiced. Because of this, we get carried away by our thoughts, we get carried away by the stream. Becoming mindful of these thoughts, as I like to see it, stops us from being carried away by them (or the very least, begins the process). With Zen meditation, and particularly the Soto tradition, any thought that arises during meditation is registered, and then cast aside. You become mindful of your thoughts, and instead of them carrying you off on some tangent or narrative, you arrest them and holt the process (a kind of de-automatization of one’s day to day consciousness).
        You stand still in the stream.
        Sensation as the first mode of consciousness or awareness (the point where you become aware of being aware) requires one to first stand still in this stream, whereby one truly becomes aware of these arising thoughts without attachment. You let them float away, until the very stream itself disappears. Given my understanding of things up until this point, Samadhi involves a level of concentration (concentration which is either centered on your breathing or a single object, or both) where the ‘defilements a of the mind’ have been removed. It also involves sensation, and a breathing rhythm that gives the illusion of ‘one not breathing.’ The first mode (of consciousness) called sensation allows one through Samadhi to experience Being or Pure Existence (the stream of thoughts clouds Being, something that occurs due to the second mode (of consciousness) called perception, the next phase/stage in your cycle).
        I hope this made sense, or at least 50% of it. I’m still ironing out my ideas/revelations…

      2. Yes, what you’ve written makes sense. From my personal experience, it is through mindful practice that one ‘speeds’ up one’s awareness fast enough to capture the ’emptiness’ between thoughts. And this ’emptiness’ is simply the base sensation of consciousness, which once apprehended, becomes a perception.

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