mindfulness of feelings

Benefits Of Investigating Emotions

by Peter Carlson on October 22, 2015

During this discussion, Peter related the lojong aphorism, “Work on the stronger disturbing emotions first,” relating it to the second Foundation of Mindfulness, Mindfulness of feelings as feelings, not a self.  The integrated operation of the lojong aphorisms was reviewed, emphasizing the importance of regular mindfulness meditation practice to cultivate the emotional self-regulation required to benefit from mindful investigation of feelings, separate from the narrative “selfing story”, which reinforces “buying into” a sense of self that is distressed and confused.

This approach to alleviating suffering is similar to a modern psychotherapeutic intervention, “Exposure Therapy”, which combines progressive relaxation with direct investigation of the distressed emotional tone that a person suffers from.  This exposure, over time, reduces reactivity to the distress, provided the person does not align with a narrative associated with the distress.

After the discussion, there was a lively dialogue among the participants regarding concrete experiences that the practice of desensitization can be applied to.

Here are the notes prepared for the discussion:  THE BENEFITS OF INVESTIGATING EMOTIONALLY POTENT ISSUES

Next week’s topic will explore the importance of non-judgmental reflection on the application of a lojong aphorism.

How Feeling Drives The Self

by Peter Carlson on March 14, 2014

This is the second of two talks about the importance of the practice of mindfulness of feelings.  During this talk, Peter reviewed paticca samuppada, usually translated as dependent origination.  A new rendering of the term was explained, that is, contingent provisional emergence, with clarification of the non-linear, mutually influential functions that affect how the mind overlays a provisional interpretation of raw sense data input, thereby creating a “selfing moment”.  In this creative process, attention becomes fixated on a particular feeling and perception, creating the craving and clinging dynamic that is the driving force of our distresses about life.  Mindfulness of feelings as feelings allows the skilled meditator to avoid “personalizing” the emerging self-organization, providing relief from craving and clinging.

Mindfulness Of Feelings As Feelings

by Peter Carlson on March 7, 2014

During this dialogue, Peter began to discuss the second Foundation of Mindfulness, vedanupassana (mindfulness of feelings).  He talked of how feelings are not emotions as we might describe them in the West, but rather what in psychological terms is affect, the pull towards pleasant experience or away from unpleasant experience.  Feelings are the bridge between physical sensations and the mental creations of meaning and self-organization we experience.  He read a translation of the second foundation, and then led a brief guided meditation that illustrates concretely what to notice as a feeling, a perception and the mental formations that create what the Buddha called “the tyranny of I, me and mine”.  This was followed by dialogues that further clarified the experiences of the guided meditation.

Concentration And Insight

by Peter Carlson on January 30, 2014

During this first of a series of talks exploring the Satipatthana Sutta, Peter talked of the mutually supportive functions of samadhi (concentration) and vipassana (insight).  This was followed by a lively discussion regarding how different meditators cultivate these qualities, both during formal meditation and normal daily routines.

2014 One Week Retreat Review

by Peter Carlson on January 24, 2014

Much of the transformation in the brain during a retreat occurs outside of conscious awareness.  We’ve realized over the years of retreat experience that talking about it, “thinking out loud”, with a group of well-informed people helps integrate the learning and insight, making it more clearly understood and accessible in daily life.  This dialogue reviewed various retreat participant’s experience during the retreat and upon returning home.

The Selfing Story

During this talk, Peter described Paticca Samupadda, usually translated as the principle of Dependent Origination.  This is one of the core concepts of Buddhism, as it explains how the dynamics of self formation and dissolution operate.  Emphasis was placed on understanding that being able to directly experience feeling as feeling (the second of the four […]

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Guided Head Body Scan

During this guided meditation practice, the participants were introduced to vedanupassana, the meditation practice taught by U Ba Khin and S. N. Goenka.  More understood as body sweep or body scan, this involves a systematic, in-depth examination of whatever sensations are evident over the body.  Due to the amount of time available for the demonstration, […]

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