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.”