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.
This talk concludes a series of explorations of the neuroscientific discoveries about how mindfulness of breathing meditation restructures important neural pathways during the process of awakening. The topic for this discussion reviews some of the progressive steps in mindful breath awareness as they are manifested in important neural pathways to promote samadhi/passadhi (stable attention/emotional balance), and how that supports vipassana (insight) during the process of awakening.
Next week’s discussion will begin a series of explorations of how various difficult mental processes such as depression, anxiety, addiction and substance abuse are beneficially addressed by mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practices.
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 of Buddhism. The teacher, Peter Carlson, has been teaching this course periodically for over 20 years, and approaches this practice as a profoundly spiritual psychology (or a profoundly psychological spirituality?). The topic of mindfulness is currently being very thoroughly investigated scientifically, and applied to relieving distress associated with workplace stress, recovery from addiction, as well as general anxiety and mood disorders.
Each evening’s meetings will include a training meditation focused on mindfulness of breathing, a practice fundamental to all the Buddhist traditions and applicable to all faith traditions. The course fee is $50, payable to the Orlando Insight Meditation Group, a non-profit corporation, and pays for the rental of the facility as well as subsidizing the cost of retreats for those who want to experience the benefits of intensive mindfulness training.
This retreat was themed around mindfulness of breathing practice with the intention to cultivate “a peaceful abiding”, that is, a quality of awareness that is undisturbed by thoughts and unaffected by emotional urgency. Peter described the general format of the retreat and this was followed by reports and discussion from those who attended the retreat and were present for the talk.
This recording follows the Guided Four Tetrads And Four Foundations Meditation recording posted just prior to this posting. During the talk, Peter reviewed the 16 stanzas/four tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta, explaining that the first three tetrads focus on the cultivation of samadhi/passadhi (concentration and tranquility), primarily through using the first and second foundations of mindfulness (mindfulness of the breath/body and mindfulness of feelings) to set aside the five hindrances to samadhi/passadhi. The fourth tetrad involves the cultivation of vipassana, that is, the direct knowledge of impermanence, which, along with samadhi/passadhi, develops dispassion, liberation from craving/clinging and letting go of the misperception of a secure, enduring self.
During this talk, Peter continued to describe the elements of the fourth tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta, emphasizing the coordinating functions of examining impermanence, dispassion, cessation and renunciation through ongoing breath awareness. The process of awakening can be experienced on two levels: letting go of unwholesome self-states, and, ultimately, letting go of the process of […]
During this talk, Peter briefly reviewed the cultivation of samadhi/passadhi (concentration/tranquility) in the first three tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta, then read a translation of the fourth tetrad, which is focuses on vipassana. The four characteristics to be investigated during the breathing in and out cycle are impermanence, dispassion, cessation and renunciation. The primary focus […]