During this second discussion of the seven awakening factors, more emphasis was placed on the integrative function of the factors and how this process transitions from personality integration to spiritual transcendence.  As the “demons” of the hindrances are starved of attention, more free energy is channeled intentionally to nurturing the “angels” of loving-kindness, compassion, generosity, empathic joy and insights about the three characteristics of impermanence, non-self, and the inevitable results of craving and clinging, that is, distress.  This talk also includes the enthusiastic question and answer session that followed.

Continuing the discussion of Right Livelihood as manifesting in a culture much more complex than what the Buddha knew, this dialogue focuses on how relationship dynamics relate to the three characteristics the Buddha emphasized, that is, impermanence, dissatisfaction and interdependence.  Modern research regarding attachment security and how levels of anxious arousal degrade a couple’s ability to negotiate conflict was explored.  We also discussed modern relational psychoanalysis as related to mutual interpersonal influence.

On this last night of the retreat, Peter provided several suggestions for continuing the practice of awakening after the retreat ends.  The value of daily samadhi practice was emphasized as the foundation from which all insights and spiritual progress derives.  During the discussion, yogis offered different ways of mindfully knowing the intrusive feelings that precipitate the emergence of a hindrance.  Recognizing the reality of the three characteristics, impermanence, the dissatisfaction resulting from craving and clinging and the interdependence of life was also emphasized as a practical way to understand life’s challenges.

By Peter Carlson

I have frequently reflected lately on the experience of change while meditating. Of course, impermanence is a fundamental concept of Buddhist psychology and is regarded as an essential nature of reality. My meditation practice over the last several weeks has been an investigation of the flow of change in the mind as it occurs. This makes the concept of impermanence an embodied experience rather than just an intellectual exercise. My goal is to experience changing mind states openly, without preference and with the least amount of emotional reactivity. This is hard to do—the mind easily slips into identifying with the arisen mental states, which creates a turbulence of wanting or not wanting. Read more…