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Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Four Foundations of Awareness


(four aspects of our experience)

1st foundation: THE BODY & ITS SENSES

Tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory sensations


2nd foundation: THE THREE FEELING-SENSATIONS (vedana)

Liking, disliking, indifference. Feel them arise in the body and evolve into emotions, stories, actions.


3rd foundation: MENTAL & EMOTIONAL ACTIVITY (chitta)

Thoughts, emotions, memories, impulses, intentions, consciousness.


4th foundation: DHAMMAS

Dhamma as any thing that exists: any object or internal or external phenomena

Dhamma as law or truth: how things work; the laws of nature

Dhamma as path: actions or ways of living that are aligned with the way things are

The four foundations encompass every experience we can have.

To cultivate stable awareness of full experience, build from the ground up:

1st SENSING IN THE BODY The first foundation, the foundation of all foundations, is the body.

Rest attention in the sensations and movements of the breathing body. Whenever you become dull or

distracted, return to the sensations and movements of the breathing body.


2nd FEELING-SENSATIONS When you can rest in sensations as they arise and fall, then include in

your awareness the instinctive feeling-tones of liking, disliking, and indifference as they arise. These

feelng-tones are somewhere between physical sensations and emotions.

Whenever you notice you’ve been distracted by something, don’t try to stop being distracted — just

gently return to the sensations of the breathing body. When you can rest again in the breathing body,

then open to liking, disliking, and indifference as they arise.


3rd MENTAL & EMOTIONAL ACTIVITY When you can rest in sensations and feelings, then

open to thoughts and emotions as they arise. Don’t try to reject, control, or generate certain thoughts or

emotions or mind states — just include them as they arise and fall in your awareness. Whenever you

become dull or distracted, return to experiencing sensations as they arise and subside. Then include

feelings too. Then include thoughts and emotions too.


4th DHARMAS Finally, rest in the experience of everything — sensations, feelings, thoughts and

emotions, and activity — as they arise in experience.

Gradually, over weeks and months, by cultivating stable and clear awareness in experience as it arises,

you will begin to see the connections between sensations, feelings, thoughts, and actions. This clear

seeing (vipashyana) is the discernment that leads to the end of struggling with experience. For more on

cultivating stable and clear attention.

Taken from Natural Visit

Other terrific resources from the website: You will find MANY excellent teachings.

Mindfulness—Meditation—Slowing Down in Our Daily Lives


Additional Resources:

Dialectical behavior therapy


DBT Self-help resources: and self-help downloads:

Cognitive behavior self-help resources:

PDF of Four Foundations of Mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and All Phenomena

             Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!