The Six Doors to Freedom
There are five doors by which we make contact with the external world: eyes, ears, tongue, nose and body. However, we also can make contact with a sixth door: the mind. The mind acts as both, a sense contact and consciousness: for instance when there is “eye” and an “external object”, “seeing” happens, but to be really aware “consciousness” must be there. Consciousness glue everything together, and that gives rise to the idea of “I am seeing…” The same happens with hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling… or even thinking…
Attentiveness or “presence of mind” at one of the sense-doors impression is the way to practice. For example, most people are predominantly visual, so being attentive at the eye-door allows you to notice the effects of the contact between the eye and the visible objects and how you are relating to them.
The process is this: there is the eye (the internal base), and a visible object (the external base). With contact or a sense impression between the sense-door and external object, consciousness arises followed by feeling. The moment of consciousness ordinarily is too rapid to catch while the feeling tone can be more easily known and apprehended.
This orientation to a sense-door brings awareness of what is happening during the moment of contact or the sense impression, and with it the ability to monitor the associated feelings and consciousness that arises. When this feeling tone is apprehended, the link to liking and disliking is broken and therefore one is free at that moment from conditioned suffering.
Try an exercise in Orientating to a Sense-door
Check! Where is your attention at this present moment? What sense impression is predominant now? Is it the eye-door attracted by some visual object, the ear-door taken by sounds, or the touch sensations of the body’s contact on the cushion or chair you are sitting on? This moment is the time to establish the habit of being consciously present at a sense-door and notice what is happening during a sense impression.
So during the day or during your meditation stop for a few minutes, choose a sense-door (during meditation observe the mind-door), and be attentive to what is happening there, what feeling is present, what is the quality of that feeling, is it pleasant, unpleasant or neutral; and particularly notice the changes. It is useful to make a habit of asking yourself during your daily routine: what sense door am I at?, what is happening there, and what are the associated feelings that arise?