Last week’s discussion was organized around how stressful contemporary life is, compared to the largely agrarian cultures that characterized the earliest centuries of what is now called Buddhism. The results of culturally induced stress in this consumeristic era were emphasized. This week’s topic was the prevalence of anxiety (18% of Americans were diagnotically anxious in 2007, the latest data found on the internet while preparing this talk; this was before the economic stress of 2008 and beyond!). Peter described the Buddhist perspective on anxiety, again related to the first and second noble truths, that is, stress and how craving and clinging bring about stress. This was followed by quotes from a recent peer reviewed research article, “Neural Correlates Of Mindfulness Meditation-Related Anxiety Relief”, published in 2013, which correlated the difference between “state” and “trait” anxiety and the neurological processes that occur.
Suggestions were offered regarding how the regular practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation can reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of anxiety. Peter also described the varieties of clinical anxiety, which are reviewed in this document: ANXIETY FROM A BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE
Next week’s discussion will focus on depression from a Buddhist perspective.