According to the Buddha- in essence- meditation is all about overcoming the five hindrances- suppressing them, smashing them- to get to the jhanas, so that you can see the way things truly are. Meditation is suppressing the five hindrances, but what has mindfulness to do with the five hindrances? This is an important point not only to your success as a monastic and to your harmony with friends and other monks, but also to your progress in meditation. We have to also put the focus of our mindfulness on the space between the observer and the observed. That's where you find the play of greed and hatred, desires and aversions, wanting and disliking, and that's where you start to make something of this world which is no inherent in it.
Physical and mental factors of experience worked together to produce personal experience ( that gives the illusion of a self) and personal choice) . For example:
1. Form -As you walk in the garden, your eyes come into contact with a visible object.
2. Consciousness.- As your attention focuses on that visible object, your consciousness becomes aware of visible object as yet indeterminate
3. Perception( labeling, association, judgment, pre-conceived notions)
- the mind figures out what the object is.
Your aggregate of perception will identify that visible object as, let us say, a snake
4.Sensation/ Feeling ( Pleasant, Unpleasant, Neutral) .
-Once that happens, you will respond to that visible object with the aggregate sensation/ feeling of displeasure, or more specifically that of fear.
5. Volitional Formation- actions of body, speech and mind ,accompanied by intention (volition). When you are unaware of this process, what often result is a conditioned response or a habitual reaction instead of an intentional action.
- Finally, you will react to that visible object with the intentional action of perhaps running away or perhaps picking up a stone.
It is this kamma which gives rise to future rebirth or ' rebirth according to sahkhara'. Certain beings arise in different realms according to their actions of body, speech or mind. These actions and reactions ( conditioned responses) can either be meritorious, de-meritorious, and in- between. The subconscious layer of your mind carries a collection of impressions created by previous actions and the habit energy stored up from countless former lives and earlier in this life, engraved conditioned response or tendencies.
Note: The khandhas of perception, feeling (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral) and volitional formation (habitual reaction or intentional action) is the space in which we must watch, according to Ajahn Brahm. Because these are the places where it becomes a personal experience that creates desire, aversion, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness, doubts ( From form to conscious awareness of the object it has not becomes a personal experience yet) . Being aware or infusing mindfulness into this unconscious zone makes it easier to handle the the hindrances before they get out of hand and effect our lives.
In all our daily activities, we can see how all the five aggregates work together to produce personal experience. As you let go of attachment to them and allow the aggregates of Form, Consciousness, Perception, Feeling, and Volitional Formation settles into stillness ( in sitting meditation ), they disappear. You realize everything is a dream, and you are unaffected by the dream.
Now, consider focusing your mind by chanting a mantra while using a buddha bead bracelet or a buddhist bead necklace. As you touch each bead let your focus shift from the form to sensation to perception to consciousness. Find the stillness as the mind becomes focused on the mantra and on the japa meditation practice.