Anxiety And The Dharma

This talk explores the current understanding of anxiety and how regular mindfulness meditation practices can foster relief.  As a mental health professional, Peter included in the notes the various clinical diagnostic criteria and an overview of the various anxiety disorders.  The cultivation  of samadhi/passadhi (stable focus of attention/tranquility) was emphasized as a way to reduce heightened levels of anxiety generated by current cultural conditions.  This quality of serene awareness provides a stable point of reference from which the cognitive distortions associated with anxiety can be investigated and successfully challenged.  Increasing tranquility addresses the Buddhist craving aspect of anxiety, while mindful investigation disrupts the dysfunctional thought processes and addresses the element of the Buddhist perspective on clinging.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  ANXIETY AND THE DHARMA

The anticipated talk next week will involve a report from Mike Maldonado on the lovingkindness meditation retreat he is currently experiencing at the Southern Dharma Center in North Carolina.  The anticipated talk the following week will focus on a specific anxiety disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and what mindfulness meditation can offer in providing relief from that highly disruptive condition.


Buddhism And Anxiety

During this talk, Peter provided an overview of the diagnostic categories related to anxiety, describing the common characteristics and symptoms of modern psychological understanding regarding anxiety disorders, which are at an epidemic level in this culture.  This was followed by descriptions of how the cultivation of mindfulness and lovingkindness provide ways to alleviate or at least reduce anxiety.  After the descriptions, those attending asked questions or made comments about the topic.

Next week’s discussion will focus on depression and how Buddhist practices can provide a buffer against depressive episodes.

Following this post is a document containing the notes Peter prepared for this talk.  Part of the document provides a more in-depth description of significant anxiety disorders from a contemporary psychological perspective.

Dukkha Is Stress

This recording introduces a new topic for ongoing discussion and application.  The typical translation of dukkha has been “suffering”; many modern students of Buddhism prefer the term “stress” as being more appropriate for our culture.  During the talk, Peter described the psychological and biological aspects of stress, the cultural values that produce stress and the prevalence of current stress and stress-related physical, interpersonal and psychological problems recently discovered by researchers.

Following this post the notes prepared for the presentation will be posted.

Over the next several meetings the various manifestations of stress will be explored from psychological and Buddhist perspectives.  Next week’s discussion will describe anxiety in the culture, reviewing the characteristics of anxiety, what happens to a person suffering from anxiety, and what Buddhism has to offer as a factor for alleviating anxiety.