It's been several months since the last newsletter. But there's lots of exciting things happening over here at Mettagroup!! Read on for the full update.
Mettagroup's IPF Teachings in a New Study
The first is that Dr. Dan Brown will be presenting the preliminary findings for our study comparing his Three Pillars approach to repairing attachment disturbances with Mettagroup’s The Meaningful Life curriculum at the 2019 London – Congress Attachment & Trauma – Relationships, Consciousness And The Developing Self conference. Read more here.
The Vipassana meditators have higher Reflective Functioning than their attachment classification would suggest. We are endeavoring to find out why that is.
We have already adapted the Three Pillars approach under our new rubric, Meditation x Attachment, because the value of the Ideal Parent Figure protocol’s extraordinary remapping capabilities and the change to the afflictive fixed views of self and other people hold to beneficial views is remarkably pragmatic. This is not a contest to see which approach is better. Rather, it's to understand why the remapping works so well and why other approaches (if they have been able to add secure functions to the long list of attachment strategies most of our students show up with), do not change the original attachment approach. To put it an easier way, we noticed that The Meaningful Life added secure features to the attachment strategies of our students, but did not shift the primary attachment strategy to earned secure.
If you're looking for a good intro to the IPF protocol, check out this short interview with our good friend and Mettagroup student Daniel Ahearn for his #YourZenLife project. Watch the video:
Blowing Our Own Horn
The second thing, in the blowing-your-own-horn category, is that after an interminable 12 years in the making, my new book, The Lower Manhattan Dormitory Effect, A Memoir of 1979 New York in Photographs and Lyric Prose Poetry is in production and will be available this fall. Memoir is the relating of memory—we remember what events mean to us, not what actually happens—what in Buddhism we call, “Dukkha, dukkha, dukkha, blah, blah, blah.” In this case, the story of my journey from Chicago to New York to Los Angeles from 1975 to now. The photographs are from the first series I did in New York in 1979. This memoir is a tracing from the first event in the causation of the creation of the photographs into the fallout (a.k.a. karma). Here are before and after photographs:
Meditation on Dying
The spring before last, at the Big Bear Retreat Center, I spent several days meditating on dying. Using Dan Brown’s instructions from his book, Pith Instruction for A Khrid rDzogs Chen.
I am wildly paraphrasing here: contemplate all the ways that you could die, one at a time, until you are shaking with fear from the thought of your own death. Most days, drifting into unconsciousness, I think I am totally ok with dying. This long life, the carnal satisfactions blunted by aging, “Who cares?” There is after all no self that actually dies!! (Then, I get a bad cold and I am scared to death of dying.) Or sitting in meditation under a two-thousand year old Juniper tree, visualizing each grotesque dismemberment, each slow burning, each passing in my sleep, each falling down dead in the street, realize the depth of my attachment to this lifetime, if you are so inclined, this incarnation. Shaking with fear from the deepening understanding of the short, brutish nature of the human life—this human condition.
Seven Circles Retreat Center
September 20 - 29 (4, 7 or 10 days)
Registration for our Fall Retreat at Seven Circles Retreat Center in Badger, California closes this Friday, September 6th. Come for a few days—or ten—and sit with the very real possibility of your own end, so you can be free to fully engage this, your extraordinary life! Sign up here.
A Video Trip to Myanmar
I will leave you with a compilation of my trip looking for a monastery for our next group to trip to Myanmar in the fall of 2020. Watch:
Love to you,