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Satipatthana Sutta, Third Foundation: The Personal and Impersonal

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2011-07-12
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



The personal evolves into the impersonal with time and exposure to awareness. The less “you” do about this process, the quicker it happens on its own. Simply say when a state of mind arises, “Is this about me?” In one way it is, in another way it is not. Be willing to see both tendencies and investigate each.


How much of your time in meditation is spent working out your personal thoughts and stories? Are there occasions when you experience an emotion or thought as “just this” because you have seen it as a conditioned, impersonal presentation of mind? Say to yourself, “Add nothing to this,” when an intense emotional experience arises. This is not an aversive reaction to the emotion; do not turn away from it in any way. Observe how quickly it defuses when you are not bringing a backlog of memories to the experience. It becomes less personal and much easier to work with effectively. If the emotional reaction continues for some time, explore the personal assumptions behind the emotion that maintain its momentum.


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