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Posted by on in Alcoholism

In daily life, we have many experiences.  Sounds, smells, physical sensations, tastes, sights, thoughts, and emotions fill our lives.  Although we are constantly being flooded by stimuli, we still have time to add a lot to our direct experience.  There is a big difference between our direct experience and what we add on to it.

Direct Experience

Our direct experience is often lost with everything going on inside us.  Our direct experience is the sensation we are experiencing.  Without adding on anything, our direct experience is simple.  Pain in our knee, the smell of coffee, or the sound of cars passing by are all direct experiences.  Direct experience can be painful, pleasurable, or neutral.  However, our direct experience is just this, and nothing else.

Without judgement, our direct experience is more than enough to focus on.  Practicing mindfulness, we become aware of what are bodies are telling us.  Through body scans and walking meditations, we learn to be mindful of the sensations in our bodies.  Hearing meditations help us become aware of the sounds that we experience every day.  Through these meditative practices, we become more aware of our direct experiences.  We have innumerable experiences throughout the day if we are being mindful of them.  With focus on our direct experience, we are able to be mindful of and grateful for the world around us.

Add-Ons

What happens after we have an experience?  We add-on.  We feel pain in our knee, and we begin thinking about how out of shape we are, how we shouldn't have worked out so hard, or how we will be in even more pain shortly.  These add-ons are thoughts in our heads that are stealing us from the present moment.  Add-ons are not helpful for us, as we are not maintaining our mindfulness.

When we are being mindful, we focus on the direct experience.  When we begin adding things on, we are acting unskillfully.  Add-ons are stories we make up in our head, are the result of delusion and attachment, and prevent us from living mindfully.  Add-ons often rule our lives.  Most of our thoughts and emotions are actually add-ons rather than direct experiences.  As we add things on to our experience, we spend the majority of our days focusing on add-ons rather than the sensations.

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