The aggregates offer us a map for the exploration of our sense of self. Working with form, feeling, perception, identification and consciousness as we go through our daily lives, supports us in our pursuit of an equanimous state of mind. And, most importantly, it will help us manage our emotions, help us self-regulate with greater efficiency.
The primary skills we need to cultivate are concentration and insight. They are necessary so we can make skilful decisions. As we navigate through our twenty-four hour cycle of day and night, this map can keep us focused, especially in our digital world, where many of us feel constantly overstimulated. All the more reason to remain attentive to body, speech, and mind.
The first aggregate, form, deals with the body, our foundation; please keep it healthy. Feelings, the second aggregate, are endless and ever-present. A basis of comfort needs to be developed – comfort to address and modify our feelings. Then, overwhelm doesn’t stand a chance, and balance can be restored in a reasonable amount of time. Perception, the third aggregate, is the entrance into our memory. The past that is stored in our memories can lead us to feeling triggered, uneasy, or moody and throw us off balance. Developing consistency with the practice of mindfulness helps us make healthy adjustments during those challenges. Identification, the fourth aggregate, is where we can gain insight into our patterns. With discernment and investigation of our sense of self, we can let go of behavioral patterns that no longer serve us. Then, consciousness, the fifth aggregate, allows us to respond authentically in every moment.
Using the five aggregates as a set of tools within the system of the four noble truths, we support healthy behavior and exemplify maturity for our community.
Ralph also recommends reading his article “Mindfulness Emmersed” regarding subtle energies, which was recently published in the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Environmental Medicine’s “Subtle Energies Magazine”. Click here to view the webpage for this issue of the magazine.