Orlando Insight Meditation Group

A Contemporary Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation Community For Central Florida

Breaking The Spell Of Sense Desire

This dialogue follows upon the previous week’s exploration of the hindrances, particularly sense desire.  Peter described how MRI research shows that the more times a particular neural pathway is activated, the more enduring and “self-defining” it becomes.  This was related to how much our consumer culture feeds unrelenting dissatisfaction and desire.  Peter pointed out that hindrances not only interfere with meditation practice, but also disturb peace of mind and clarity during daily life routines.  He also emphasized that spiritual enhancement is hindered when meditation practice is dominated by the intense mental preoccupations and energy turbulence arising from the action of the hindrances.  This was followed by discussion of the impact that group members experience related to the hindrances.

How To Recognize And Set Aside Sense Desire

During this talk, Peter described how stimulation through the “sense bases” is transformed into the disruptive and energy draining process Buddhism calls panca nivarana, the Five Hindrances.  He described the nature of sense desire as a hindrance, focusing on the activities of the amygdala (fear orientation) and nucleus accumbens (associated with addictive behavior) are examples of craving and clinging from a classical Buddhist perspective.  Setting aside sense desire frees up the internal energy flows, cultivating joy, one of the awakening factors, establishing an internal source of happiness, rather than the false promise of the objects of sense desire.  Next week’s discussion will explore the hindrance of aversion and ill-will.

Second Night: Five Hindrances

Pursuing the development of a more integrated personality prior to spiritual transcendence, Peter described sentient beings as “energy transformation” beings, emphasizing that the five hindrances (sense desire, aversion and ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and skeptical doubt) are “energy dumps”.  The first steps on the path involve developing the ability to focus attention on breath awareness to concentrate and calm the mind, combined with the ability to be mindful of distractions away from breath awareness and to turn attention away from the distractions and back to the breath.  Each hindrance was described as to characteristics and impact on the body/mind processes.  Classical antidotes for the hindrances were also described.  The freed up energy from ongoing breath awareness can then be available for cultivating vipassana, which is the ability to note the emergence, fulfillment, and dissolution of self states, in order to further personality integration.

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