Upcoming Intensive Study Group

by Peter Carlson on February 11, 2017

Peter has been facilitating an 8-week intensive study group for several years.  The intention during the group is to cultivate a regular daily 4- minute meditation discipline and develop ways to integrate the benefits from this practice into daily life routines.

The meetings are in Peter’s home office at the same address as the regular Orlando Insight Meditation Group meetings in Winter Park.  The format is similar to a seminar, with Peter in dialogue with each participant followed by general group discussion of the practice points emerging from the exchange.

The meetings are from 7:30-9 PM Tuesdays.  Participation is limited to 6 persons, and the fee is $160 for the course, payable to Peter, in a lump sum or incrementally. There are currently 3 committed members.

Peter will be gone during the month of March for an intensive residential retreat at the Forest Refuge in Massachusetts, and the group will begin in April as soon as there are 6 committed participants.

Email Peter for more information or to enroll.

The Importance Of Intention

by Peter Carlson on February 9, 2017

This evening’s meeting focused on the crucial role cetana, the Pali word translated as intention or volition, plays in the ongoing process of self-state organization.  Cetana is a “universal mind conditioner”, functioning in each moment of self-state organization to coordinate the various conditioning factors involved in the process.  Intention operates through the each of the “six sense bases”, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, body sensations and cognitive processes.  Using the concept developed in the book “The Mind Illuminated”, Peter described how intention shapes the perceptual processes in each of the sense bases; the most potent of the products of the various sense bases will be further processed by emotionally charged memory associations and will emerge into consciousness.  The benefit of cultivating the intention to mindfully and persistently investigate the sensation of breathing is the manifestation of samadhi/passadhi, a flow of conscious awareness that is stable and tranquil.  This unifies the sense bases and produces the conditions most effective for the practice of vipassana, that is, insight into the conditioned nature of personal experience, liberating the mind from distress and confusion.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE IMPORTANCE OF INTENTION

There will not be a posted dharma dialogue next week because of the one week residential meditation retreat.  On February 22, participants in the retreat will review their retreat experiences for posting on the website.

Transforming Sensations Into A Self

by Peter Carlson on February 3, 2017

This talk continues to explore the suggestions offered in “The Mind Illuminated” that help understand how prior experience makes meaning of raw sensational data.  Peter first quotes part of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness that focuses on what Thanissaro calls “the six sense media”, then describes Culadasa’s “sub-minds” concept that provides a more contemporary and psychological understanding of transient self-state organizations.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Transforming Sensations Into A Self

Understanding How The Mind Works

by Peter Carlson on January 26, 2017

This talk continues to explore practical suggestions from the book “The Mind Illuminated”.  The current focus is on the concepts of “Focused Attention”, “Peripheral Awareness”, “Strong Distraction”, “Strong Dullness”, “Subtle Distraction” and “Subtle Dullness”.  Following on the post of January 18, Peter emphasized the importance to cultivate these wholesome mental qualities: “Ardent, alert and mindful”, which are mentioned repeatedly in the Satipatthana Sutta, among others in the Pali Canon.  These three wholesome qualities enhance Focused Attention to overcome the self-state organizations of distraction and dullness, thereby setting the conditions for the practice of vipassana, insight into the conditioned nature of experience.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Observing How The Mind Works

This talk was preceded by a recorded guided meditation that fostered experiential understanding of “Focused Attention” and the other above mentioned concepts, and is also posted here.  During the meditation, the cultivation of “ardent, alert and mindful” focused attention was emphasized.

Stages Of Breath Awareness

by Peter Carlson on January 20, 2017

The evening’s activities included a guided meditation posted below: “Looking Closer Meditation.mp3”, during which Peter provided suggestions supporting a more persistent and intimate awareness regarding the sensations of breathing.

During the talk following the guided meditation, Peter drew on a book entitled “Right Mindfulness” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (available as a free .pdf download from: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/rightmindfulness.pdf ) to emphasize the importance of being “ardent, alert and mindful” regarding breath awareness.  The word ardent means heartfelt, actively interested and engaged.  The above quoted phrase is mentioned multiple times in the book, which draws from the Pali Canon as the reference.  This investigating function supports increasing stability of attention and tranquility, setting the conditions for vipassana, investigation of self-state organizations.  There are 8 stages mentioned in the commentaries to the suttas, and these were described during the talk.  This was followed by general group discussion regarding the importance of persistent, intimate breath awareness.

Here are the notes prepared for the talk:  STAGES OF BREATH AWARENESS

Book Review of “The Mind Illuminated”

By Peter Carlson I’ve been studying and practicing Buddhist mindfulness meditation for 35 years, with an emphasis on how modern scientific research supports the concepts and practices of traditional Buddhism.  Because of this interest, I bought “The Mind Illuminated-A Completed Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom And Brain Science”.   It was written collaboratively by Culadasa (John […]

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Why We Meditate

During this talk, Peter provided the participants with a worksheet:  MOTIVATIONS FOR MEDITATION.  On this sheet, folks were invited to note three considerations: the benefits of meditation, ways to reinforce commitments to daily meditation practice, and ways to integrate those benefits into daily life routines.  Peter then talked of his experience in regards to these […]

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