The practice of meditation

A series of talks looking at the practice of meditation in detail. We discuss different types of instructions, what’s happening in the nervous system, how to work with emotion, thought, and sensation, how the practice develops, and more.

Part 1: Two broad styles of meditation instruction that differ in how we use our attention, and have different results. And an introduction to how practice develops as we move through layers of personal material.


Meditation: Two necessary qualities to cultivate: Rest and Focus.

Part 2: The Hindrances that prevent deepening in focus and calm, and how they can be worked with as activation in the nervous system. How all the hindrances are manifestations of the 3 Poisons: greed/lust, anger/hatred, and delusion. And how this means that they’re also manifestations of the primal defense and survival instincts of fight, flight, and freeze.


Meditation: Settling in your center, then skillful observation and intervention as distraction and activation arises.

Part 3: A discussion of the Buddha’s discourse called “The Removal of Distracting Thoughts” (Vitakka­saṇṭhāna Sutta, MN 20) in which the Buddha teaches 5 increasingly forceful interventions for ending repetitive unwholesome thoughts. We talked about how this style of practice is so different from the Bare Awareness style of meditation in how active it is in responding to charged thinking, and how it uses (wholesome) thought to defeat (unwholesome) thought.


Part 4: How letting go, or renunciation, can be seen as the whole path, and the primary activity in meditation practice. Thinking about meditation as essentially a subtractive process: removing the hindrances to clarity, and deactivating the residue of ancient wounds (in other words, karma), revealing the ease and pleasure of stillness as always available.

Meditation: Letting go. With the Refuge & Precepts pūja.

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