Mental restlessness is an insidious and pervasive hindrance that most meditators struggle to overcome. We can refine our skills for working with the modes of thinking that distract us from being mindful and disrupt concentration: obsessive planning, worrying, lustful thoughts, judging, memories, internal commentaries, to name a few. This course will explore a sequence of strategies for dealing with obstructive mental patterns derived from two discourses taught by the Buddha (The Discourse on Two Sorts of Thinking and The Discourse on the Relaxation of Thoughts). The program will include study of the discourses of the Buddha, discussion, and meditation practice to gain experiential insight and meditative strategies for overcoming distractions.
To identify thoughts and mental patterns that are either helpful or harmful; discover how habitual thought patterns function, recognize what feeds them and know where they lead; apply a traditional sequence of strategies for removing distracting thoughts; practice letting go of unwholesome patterns and freeing the mind from restlessness and conceit; enhance the ability to think clearly, reflect wisely, apply attention skillfully, and effectively organize commitments; and investigate the patterns of thought, emotion, and attachment that construct and sustain the concept of self.