Mindfulness and its Discontents

A series of talks on “Mindfulness,” the great universal self-improvement practice. Ok, not quite. But mindfulness is awesome. Just not in the way the magazines want you to think.
We’ll start with the basics of Buddhist Mindfulness. What it is and may not be, how we can discern its presence or absence as an embodied state, why it’s so important, why it’s not as important as pop culture right now thinks it is, when it’s a bad idea…

This is on the heels of a few weeks talking about the Great Demons that manifest as the systemic oppressions, and I think of this as some of the foundational material for engaging with that. And the other way around.

Meditation: Posture as first embodied focus. (6.15.18)

Talk: Mindfulness as a fundamentally somatic presence. (6.19.18)

Meditation: Present Moment Attention. What is this thing we call “presence”? Something to do with time. What is “time”? (6.26.18)

Talk: Some implications of present moment attention: trauma healing, identity deconstruction, social disruption, nondual liberation? All of the above, which is wild. (6.26.18)

Meditation: Mindfulness of body & breath, into memory practice: tracing the body backward through the day. (7.3.18)

Talk: Mindfulness = memory. Memory = remembering. Remembering = the past. The past = time = births-and-deaths, ancestry, karma, beginningless rebirth.

Gotama’s insight into “his” previous homes. Hypothesis: Mindfulness is the training in remembering the past, stitching together the moments, seeing experience, charge, action, result. Everything arising and passing as an endless flow of impersonal conditions. Seeing past births/homes is the purpose. Becoming more “present” is not the goal but the training.

The 4 Foundations describe the landmarks to note as you trace your path backward through the lives. (7.3.18)

Meditation: Mindfulness of body in place, posture, and breath. Connecting and sustaining attention. (7.10.18)

Talk: Mindfulness as “somatic presence.” I discuss “somatic” in terms of body and the senses being primary, and “presence” as a way to talk about time and narrative. Mindfulness as seeing more accurately, resulting in unbinding the narratives that define and constrict us. Unbinding narratives means both individual and social/cultural ideologies and fixations. (7.10.18)

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