audio, buddhism, trauma

Samadhi & Nervous System Health

A talk I gave at Insight Meditation South Bay on samādhi in the context of the 7 Awakening Factors. After the cornerstone Factor, Mindfulness, this list is divided into 3 energizing Factors: Investigation of States, Energy, and Rapture; and 3 calming Factors: Tranquillity, Focus (samādhi), and Equanimity.

If we read the list as a sequence as well as a set, we see samādhi following Tranquillity, and thus designating states that have deep relaxation and ease as their prerequisite. I emphasize here the aspects of meditative focus that are restful, pleasurable, and deepen inward, and propose the hindrances to this ease (grasping, rejection, and delusion) as synonymous with the Autonomic Nervous System states of fight, flight, and freeze (FFF). If this parallel bears fruit in practice, it will mean that an important foundation of meditative focus would be trauma healing and resilience work like we do in Organic Intelligence and is cultivated in many of the recent somatic healing modalities.

Basically, we need to heal habitual FFF, which is a trauma symptom, in order to feel safe enough to come out of dissociation and deactivate vigilance, frustration, and anxiety. Some doorways then to deepening in samādhi are also the foundations of trauma and resilience work as we practice in Organic Intelligence: orientation to the environment through the senses, and gentle, embodied pleasure. (3.6.18)

Meditation: Focus/concentration arising out of orientation and the pleasurable state of interest in wholesome objects of perception like the breath or body.

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