For those of you who could not make the recent meditation conference in Melbourne (Australia), or asked to hear the presentation again, here is a shortened version of the talk recorded recently. I must apologize for the quality of the audio at the beginning. But it does come good about 2 minutes in.
You may also like to know that the content in the video is being developed into course material for future retreats. Retreats that will include (1) foundational theory that will give participants an understanding of traditional Buddhist psychology and epistemology recast into modern secular language. (2) Practical applications of said theory, in order to begin recognising patterns of dysfunction. And (3) meditation, (as outlined in the video) as a means of refining one’s attentional skills so as to better serve (1) and (2), as well as begin to cut through the cognitive hyperactivity that reifies the mere-I.
Now, someone might ask, why do others and indeed myself not put this into practice? Why is it that we continue to do the things we do? “I mean, I know that I should not (insert your own problem here) but, I just can’t seem to stop”, I hear you say. The answer is, in fact, quite simple. The answer is that we do not see the psychological connections between our actions, attachment-narrative or anger-narrative, and the mental imbalance out of which these stories arise.
Now, in Buddhist psychology we list six main types of mental factors that afflict the mind—attachment, anger, pride (the bad kind) and so on. These six are said to be the main source of life’s problems. Yet, when these afflictions arise, they do so within a narrative, not in isolation. Tiger Woods, for instance, probably believed that he was going to find some kind of lasting happiness, all the while knowing that he was harming himself and his family. When attachment came calling it did so embedded in an elaborate ruse. Just like Descartes’ “evil demon”, Tiger was deceived by his attachment-stories.
If we can begin to tease out these patterns of dysfunction, we can begin to isolate the various mental imbalances from which they arise. We can begin to draw connections between how we act, the stories we’re told, and the underlying causes.
Therefore, a combination of theory (learning the meanings and definitions of various psychological imbalances), practical application (how to recognise patterns of dysfunction) and mental training in order to refine introspective skills, if done properly, is what will allow for a paradigm shift in one life.
The following notice is in response to several requests I have had from readers.
For those in the U.S and Europe: the possibility of retreats in your country is currently being looked into. Whether or not these retreats go ahead, however, is largely dependent on finding enough time and people interested in making it happen. And therefore, if you or your organisation would like to host a retreat please contact me directly for details. Also, please note that no dates or venues have been set at this time.
If you cannot see the video, click here: http://vimeo.com/14373748
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