Here are two articles that are worthy of the read. Maia Duerr’s guide on how to meditate and a publication by Mark Lau and Andrea Grabovac on a Buddhist psychological model are two works that integrate ancient teachings with current frameworks of practice and theory.
Maia Duerr of Liberated Life Project has written a very useful blog post on meditation. Bringing together the teachings of various Buddhist teachers like Bhante Gunaratana, Roshi Joan Halifax and Sharon Salzberg, she has integrated the intertwining perspectives of meditation into a useful whole that transcends schools of thought. The final product is a user-friendly guide which clarifies for the beginner meditator some of the aspects of meditation that can be confusing or misleading. Longer-term meditators also benefit from reading this post carefully. Too often, time on the cushion can cultivate a type of autopilot that fosters a reverse ignorance (I already know that!) of practice. Duerr’s approach is steady and firm, busting the myths of meditation and gently pointing us to the reality that practice is about effort, patience, and openness to our experience.
Grabovac, Lau and Willett have taken on the enormous task of putting the Buddhadharma into current psychological terms in the hopes of bringing the original framework of Buddhist psychology back into Mindfulness-Based Interventions. A daunting task given the dynamic of the secular and religious that kept many an MBI teacher from uttering the “B-word” (Buddha/Buddhist) in their classes. Times change – which is the first teaching of the Buddha. And because of that we evolve in our self-concepts – the second teaching. And we find the heart center of our practice – the third teaching. (Conventionally these three are impermanence, nonself, and the cessation of attachment to concepts and are the hallmarks of a practice devoted to the end of suffering.) It’s good to see that the Buddhist perception of how we evolve as humans is validated in the maturing world of Mindfulness-Based treatments.
Grabovac et al. have done well in explaining the ways we work towards an awareness of our situation in this moment. Through the cultivation of attention and the openness to insight, we intercept the hijacking of our thoughts and feelings. Methodically, they pull together a complex set of Buddhist principles and present them in language that is, at the same time, accessible yet honouring of the original intent of the ancient teachings. Whether you are a health care professional who wants to understand where the “Mindfulness” is “Based”, or an MBI teacher, the article provides a wealth of information that also translates well into practice.
You can read it here: Mechanisms of Mindfulness – Buddhist Psych model.