The Benefits Of Gratitude November 25 2015

by Peter Carlson on November 26, 2015

Since our meetings are on Wednesday nights, each year on the eve of Thanksgiving, the discussion is organized around the Buddhist view of gratitude.  Peter emphasized the interaction between generosity and gratitude, using examples from his own practice experience since 1982.  This was followed by sharing among the assembled people of their own experience of gratitude and how the practice of mindfulness supports that awareness.

Here are the notes prepared for the discussion:  THE BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE    Included in the notes are downloads from the website Greater Good-Science For A Better Life relating the multiple benefits of the intentional practice of reflective gratitude.

Next week’s discussion will resume the exploration of the lojong commitments with “Don’t put a horse’s load on a pony”, focusing on not taking on more than is workable.

Compassionate Relationship

by Peter Carlson on November 19, 2015

This discussion began with a quote from the Upaddha Sutta: “…Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life…” because the emphasis for this week focuses on the lojong commitments regarding interpersonal responsibility.  Three commitments were described: “Don’t indulge in malicious speech or sarcasm”, “Revenge is not sweet, but toxic”, and “Don’t throw your pain at others”.  These commitments were modified by Peter to be more applicable to contemporary relationships from a Buddhist perspective on Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.

After the explanation, participants offered their observations regarding how these principles bring benefit to relationships.  Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  RESPONSIBILITY IN RELATIONSHIPS

Next week’s regular meeting will occur on Thanksgiving Eve, so following the routine for at number of years, the discussion will be organized around the benefits of gratitude for daily living.

Working With Unpredictability

by Peter Carlson on November 12, 2015

This talk focuses on the lojong commitment “Don’t Rely On Consistency”, which emphasizes how social norms put pressure on individuals to conform, even when such conformity violates the Buddhist principle of benevolent intention.  One example would be the pressure to conform with materialistic drives regarding the upcoming holiday season–the perfect party, the perfect gift, etc.  Another example is the conformity of ethnic prejudice, that is, the culturally conditioned feeling of aversion around someone who looks Muslim.

The discussion also focused on the struggle of individuals to conform to their own conditioned expectations of themselves, and the frustration experienced when one doesn’t meet a standard of performance.

During the discussions, Peter repeatedly referred back to aphorisms discussed in prior meetings, such as being a “child of illusion” and the importance of daily meditation practice to build the capacity to be mindful and nonreactive to cultural pressures that conflict with benevolent intention.

Here are the notes for this discussion:  Working With Unpredictability

The Value of Benevolence for Spiritual Practice

by Peter Carlson on November 9, 2015

“These five are a person of integrity’s gifts. Which five? A person of integrity gives a gift with a sense of conviction. A person of integrity gives a gift attentively. A person of integrity gives a gift in season. A person of integrity gives a gift with an empathetic heart. A person of integrity gives a gift without adversely affecting himself or others.” AN 5.148

This quotation from the Buddha points to the value of dana, which is the Pali word for generosity.

Those of you who are reading this may not realize that the Orlando Insight Meditation Group was founded in the early 1990’s as a nonprofit corporation. It has been our intention all these years to provide instruction and training to those who are interested in exploring the path laid down 25 centuries ago by Siddhartha Gotama, who is commonly known as the Buddha, the Awakened One.

Nonprofit organizations such as ours rely on the generosity of the surrounding community for support. Since OIMG was founded, almost all the funding has been generated by the introductory courses we have provided. Donations from others is another source. All monies are dedicated to furthering the practice for people who want to attend retreats but don’t have the financial means to do so. As the number of retreats and need for scholarship has increased over the years, income from introductory courses and donations has not kept up.

Please consider helping us continue our tradition of providing scholarship on retreats. If you’ve been on retreat before, you know the benefit. OIMG welcomes donations from those who are reading this posting who would like to help others be able to go on retreat. Donations can be provided through the website as well as through checks payable to the Orlando Insight Meditation Group and sent to 245 Stevenage Dr., Longwood, Florida, 32779. OIMG is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for your interest in the path of awakening. We wish you well.
–Peter Carlson and Tommy Harrison

Avoiding Toxic Ego Food

by Peter Carlson on November 5, 2015

During this evening’s discussion, modern neuroscientific research was reviewed which suggests that activated neural pathways become more richly connected when “fed” by increased blood flow.  When unwholesome self-organizations are repeatedly enacted, the result is toxic.  A distinction was emphasized regarding external and internal “ego food”, that is, how modern entertainment and distractions provide external stimulation, while internal processes are either enhanced or depleted in their power by the amount of attention given to them in the mind.  Peter read the excerpt from the Four Foundations of Mindfulness discourse that describes being aware of the transitory nature of self-organizations (fourth foundation, regarding the arising and passing of the five aggregates of clinging).  These principles support the awareness qualities found in the lojong mind training commitments.

This review was followed by a lively discussion regarding the prevalence of external “junk food media” and how  being mindful of how the internal processing of the stimulation can be used to practice tonglen, that is, the ability to transform internal processes with compassion.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  BENEVOLENT EGO FOOD

Next week’s discussion will focus on the lojong aphorism “Don’t rely on consistency.”

Last Introductory Mindfulness Course of 2015

There will be another Four Foundations Of Mindfulness course offered at the Women’s Club of Winter Park, on four Monday nights from 7 to 9, from November 23 to December 14.  This course will be the last intro course offered until March of 2016.  The course reviews the Satipatthana Sutta, one of the key discourses […]

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Turning Humiliation Into Humility

This talk addresses the problems of perfectionism, which often manifest as internal narratives that are shame-based.  Various lojong mind training aphorisms were reviewed to clarify how the applications of the aphorisms can support transforming feelings of shame and humiliation into humility.  Humility can be understood as recognizing the enormous complexity of external and internal conditions […]

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