Orlando Insight Meditation Group

A Contemporary Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation Community For Central Florida

Mindful Coping With Pandemic Distress

This talk is meant to complement the talk on March 24, 2021 that focused on how the stress in 2020 from the pandemic created anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress or addiction problems for many people.  The focus for this talk is on how mindfulness of breathing meditation can be helpful in coping with the above mentioned conditions.  The presenter, Peter, has integrated mindfulness principles and practices into a 35-year career as a psychotherapist and addictions counselor.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindful Coping With Pandemic Distress

Here are notes to accompany the discussion of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, an effective way to address depression:  FIVE SCHEMA DOMAINS

Peter will be on a self-retreat from April 2-16; the next talk will be on April 21 and will involve a review of his retreat experience with the hope it will be informative for others who consider attending a residential retreat.  The Orlando Insight Meditation Group will produce a residential retreat at the Deerhaven Retreat Center in Lake County, at the southern border of the Ocala National Forest October 16-23, 2021, which will be led by Peter.

Buddhism and Mental Health During the Pandemic

This talk reviews the stresses we all endured during 2020, and how they affected most people, as related to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and addiction.  These disorders were reviewed during the talk, as Peter has been a mental health professional for over 35 years and has integrated his psychotherapy practice with Buddhism.  These problems were associated with the First and Second Noble Truths, Dukkha and the Causes of Dukkha, identified as attachment to a view that life should be predictable and controllable, which was significantly affected by the societal disruption resulting from the pandemic and the political controversies.  This was followed by discussion among those participating in the Zoom meeting, including an individual who was made severely ill by the COVID-19 virus.  The talk next week will focus on the Third and Fourth Noble Truths, Liberation from Dukkha and the Noble Eightfold Path and will associate mindfulness meditation to addressing the mental health problems mentioned above.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Buddhism and Mental Health

Reviewing Buddhism And Neuroscience

The intersection between classic Buddhism and neuroscientific research is remarkable in how much the content of Buddhist concepts and the practice of meditation overlap with the development of highly sophisticated computer-driven technology.  This talk reviews the development of this research, much based on the interested support of the Dalai Lama and Western scientists such as Richard Davidson, whose use of contemporary technology provides the leading edge of understanding how to reshape the function of the brain and thereby alleviate the distress and confusion in the mind during these trying times.  The talk describes various areas of the brain that are benefited by regular meditation practice and an example is provided that describes how the process of mindfulness and neurological regulation operate.  The description is followed by questions from those attending.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  How Mindfulness Benefits The Brain

The topic for next week’s talk will be how Buddhist mindfulness and lovingkindness practices are applied to promote better mental health.  The presenter Peter has combined the principles and practices of Buddhism with contemporary psychotherapy throughout his career as a mental health professional since 1986.

Reviewing Exclusive Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation, March 10, 2021

This talk reviews the meditation practices represented in the Visuddhimagga, the common reference source for Theravada Buddhists.  This approach to meditation is intended to lead to the extraordinary levels of consciousness called jhana, and which are only found in Theravada Buddhism.  During the talk, the progression of practicing meditation from using intensive investigation of breath sensations to overcome the five hindrances, through what is called access concentration and on to the four jhanas of form.  These four progressions of concentrated attention are described, related to the teachings and the personal experience of the presenter, Peter.  The description also includes comments that assess the relationship between the high levels of concentration required in this practice to other systems developed by Buddhist teachers termed dry vipassana; these practices were described in recent previous talks.  This was followed by opportunities for those participating to add comments or ask questions.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Review of Classic Theravada Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation  Additionally, here is a document downloaded in preparation for this talk and which is referred to at the end of the talk:  VIPASSANA AND JHANA

There is a guided meditation entitled “Guided Exclusive Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation” recorded the same night at this talk, which can be found in the archives.

The topic for next week will be a review of the ways the structure and functioning of the brain are changed by dedicated mindfulness of breathing meditation as discovered by contemporary neuroscientific researchers.

Guided Exclusive Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation

This guided meditation provides training in the cultivation of highly persistent and detailed mindfulness of breathing meditation as recommended by the teachings of the Pa Auk Sayadaw, who is an acknowledged master of jhana practice.  The goal of this practice is to cultivate unitary focused attention on the sensations noticed in the area around the rim of the nostrils in preparation for extraordinary states of mind called jhanas.  This presentation is intended to accompany the Dharma talk of the same evening, March 10, 2021, entitled “Reviewing Exclusive Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation”, and which also reviews the characteristics of the Theravadan cultivation of the Four Jhanas.

Review of Body Scan Meditation Practice March 3, 2021

This talk reviews a practice Peter learned from attending several retreats that followed the teaching of S. N. Goenka that he called vedanupassana, mindfulness of feelings.  During the talk the history of this form of “dry vipassana” is reviewed and Peter describes how he applies this sort of mindfulness meditation practice on a daily basis.  The talk is followed by general discussion among those participating.  There is an accompanying guided meditation recorded just prior to this talk entitled “Guided Body Scan Meditation”.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk, including URL coding for accessing other guided body scan meditations recorded by Peter and by Ayya Khema:  S N Goenka Body Scan Notes

Next week’s topic for review will be the cultivation of jhana as taught by the Pa Auk Sayadaw, the teacher of Shaila Catherine, who has led previous retreats produced by the Orlando Insight Meditation Group.