This seems to be a very conflicted year in our culture–economic and ecological upheaval, political divisiveness and hostility abound. This talk begins a series of explorations of how the Four Noble Truths are relevant to current circumstances. Peter proposed that as soon as tribalism developed in early human development, politics emerged, focused in two ways: between tribal groups and hierarchical structures within tribes. It seems that these more primitive functions still operate in contemporary society. Buddhist emphasis on training the mind to be presently aware of how environmental circumstances are represented in consciousness, combined with an emphasis on empathic attunement in the form of lovingkindness, represents an effective way to “turn poison into medicine”, that is, political turmoil into deeper, more adaptive wisdom.
Here is the document prepared for this talk: MINDFULNESS EVOLUTION AND POLITICS
Next week’s talk will continue to explore these topical areas, with emphasis on how neuroscience suggests certain traits are associated with political orientations and how mindfulness practices are beneficial in supporting more effective responses to political pressures.