Peter’s 2014 Year-end Retreat Report

by Peter Carlson on January 1, 2015

During this talk, Peter reviewed his experience on the recently completed 2 week self retreat.  Emphasis was placed on consistent breath awareness, using the notion of “channeling energy” to the breath, rather than trying to “make the internal narrative stop”.  This channeling process was associated with the scientific evidence that the neurons that are most activated elicit the most glucose “fuel”, and that shifting the flow of this fuel to body awareness is comparable to directing the flow of watered fertilizer through the hose, being careful to only feed the flowers, vegetables and fruits rather than weeds (the five hindrances).

This channeling strategy also applies to the practice of vedanupassana, mindfulness of feelings, called ”body sweep” meditation.  Peter explained that the body sweep, combined with mindfulness of breathing, cultivates the seven awakening factors, particularly mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena, energy/effort, and concentration.  The emergence of the awakening factors of joy, tranquility and equanimity are manifestations of the process of awakening, enhancing the practice of vipassana, which is direct, clear awareness of impermanence, non-self, and the presence or absence of the dissatisfaction that arises due to craving and clinging.

Next week’s dhamma dialogue will begin a long series of discussions and trainings organized around the Anapanasati Sutta, the discourse describing the liberating capacity of mindfulness of breathing.

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