This discussion combines Peter’s 33 year history as a mental health professional, certified as an addictions counselor, combined with 37 years practicing mindfulness meditation. Addiction is described as a behavioral disorder that may or may not include substance dependency, laying out five criteria for a behavior to qualify as addictive, referring to the work of Anne Wilson Schaef that suggests American culture experiences addiction at an epidemic level. Peter also described addiction as a full rendition of Buddhist craving and clinging and as a maladaptive attempt to avoid or dull aversion, with desire as the enticement. The Four Noble Truths concept of Buddhism was reviewed to suggest effective intervention into the addictive process. The practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation is suggested as allowing a person to be aware of and tolerant regarding the urgency of craving and investigating the distorted beliefs that are always associated with an addictive process and then using detachment and renunciation to avoid acting out the addictive routine and instead understanding and modifying the distorted selfing story to address the root causes of the addictive process. Meditation is not the sole resolution of the problems of addiction; the practice is a foundational companion for practices such as the 12 step systems of various recovery groups (Meditation and prayer are step 11 of the 12 steps). The explanation of addiction was followed by discussion among those attending regarding the issues of addiction in the U.S.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Dukkha And Addiction Notes
The next talk will focus on sampajjana, the four clear comprehensions of Buddhist commentary as a valuable tool for understanding and adapting effectively to the complexity of current American culture. Please note that a major hurricane is predicted to pass over the Florida peninsula over the Labor Day weekend and this may postpone the usual meeting and posting for a week or so.