This meditation focuses on the Second Foundation of Mindfulness, Vedanupassana (vey-duh-nah-nu-pah-sah-nah), Mindfulness of Feelings. In Buddhist psychology feelings are not emotions per se, but are the urgency and impulsivity of the body in response to a stimulus; the modern psychological term affect is more appropriate, as it is the immediate response of the body/mind process to the experience. From a Buddhist perspective, feelings are the bridge between what the body senses and the meaning-making that the mind fabricates in response to the feeling. The more mindful and equanimous a person is as the feeling is investigated, the more opportunity there is to modify the meaning-making in more adaptive ways. This ability is essential for a person’s resilience to stressful, even traumatic experiences, such as the current pandemic. The topic for the Dharma talk which will be posted after this one is “Turning Poison Into Medicine” and develops what some contemporary researchers are calling Post Traumatic Growth (Look up the term on Wikipedia!), which is the ability to become more grateful regarding life and relationships and optimistic despite difficult circumstances. During the meditation, Peter made various comments that encourage investigating how the feeling of urgency (craving) is a different quality of experience than the meaning-making narrative that accompanies it (clinging); craving and clinging are core characteristics of dukkha. One can train attention to mindfulness of breathing or the body to interrupt the narrative, cultivating equanimity and increasing stress resilience.
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