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Teaching tips
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5/12/15 8:32 AM
Hello Dharma community,

I'm putting together a speech for Toastmasters on mediation practices. This is daunting with the few minutes I'll have to explain them. 

What are your tips on advice you've given that seemed to work with beginners? We've all encountered resistance. What really got others to practice well?

I've included that practice makes wiring in the brain reliable when a person needs it. Daniel's example of standing in a corner of a dojo and not practicing as an example of what not to do with meditation on a retreat really resonated with me.

I'm also preparing for some internet troll type criticism from the audience and other blowback. As Jesus Christ says "Don't give pearls to pigs" and Seneca says to "keep unto yourself" etc. LOL! emoticon

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/12/15 9:28 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
You might get good traction speaking of "scientifically proven" aspects of meditation. MBSR has truckloads of solid evidence for benefits, it is supported by the NIH. There are some studies showing benefits in sport preformance too.

I'd guess most people know that eastern religions also use meditation so if there is interest in the spiritual aspect I'd take it offline for a personal conversation. If the group is diverse then philosophy/religion risks to be divisive.

The brain studies can be interesting but the impressive results are often shown in very experienced meditators. Most people are interested in short term results and MBSR might be more convincing on that level.

I'd avoid a guided meditation because the person needs to be willing and ready to do that. If someone is not ready they may use the guided meditation to prove it is ineffective. 

Perhaps provide a list of local resources and a brief mention of the meditation style. For example is there MBSR training available locally.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/12/15 1:04 PM as a reply to Mark.
Yeah I think a scientific approach would be safer. Especially the value of lower stress levels on the immune system. Though it would be fun to see the reaction if I went in Nagarjuna territory and inherent existence. Some people have done the equivalent with physics presentations that go over the audience's heads. emoticon

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/12/15 2:08 PM as a reply to Mark.
I've been mulling the subject.  One thing that is meaningful to me, is that if you don't have a fix on your own suffering, you're not going to spend any adventurous energy on speculative growth.  Another: didactic education evaporates with a half life of about, I don't know, 3 weeks?  Experiential education sticks with you for life.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/12/15 3:28 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Yeah I think a scientific approach would be safer. Especially the value of lower stress levels on the immune system. Though it would be fun to see the reaction if I went in Nagarjuna territory and inherent existence. Some people have done the equivalent with physics presentations that go over the audience's heads. emoticon


That is your strength and expertise Richard, your understanding of the Happiness Chemicals and such is outstanding, and you seem really interested in this way of viewing the Dhamma.  You explain it all very well, and in an interesting way.  Just my view anyway.  emoticon

Have fun!

Psi

P.S.  I do like the way Sam Harris explained Meditation, just throwing out some brainstorming thoughts, and he kept it pretty simple, excerpt below.

The practice of mindfulness is extraordinarily simple to describe, but it is in no sense easy. Here, as elsewhere in life, the “10,000 Hour Rule” often applies. And true mastery probably requires special talent and a lifetime of practice. Thus, the simple instructions given below are analogous to instructions on how to walk a tightrope—which, I assume, go something like this:

  1. Find a horizontal cable that can support your weight.
  2. Stand on one end.
  3. Step forward by placing one foot directly in front of the other.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Don’t fall.
Clearly, steps 3-5 entail a little practice. Happily, the benefits of training in meditation arrive long before mastery ever does. And falling, from the point of view of vipassana, occurs ceaselessly, every moment that one becomes lost in thought. The problem is not thoughts per sebut the state of thinking without knowing that one is thinking.As every meditator soon discovers, such distraction is the normal condition of our minds: Most of us fall from the wire every second, toppling headlong—whether gliding happily in reverie, or plunging into fear, anger, self-hatred and other negative states of mind. Meditation is a technique for breaking this spell, if only for a few moments. The goal is to awaken from our trance of discursive thinking—and from the habit of ceaselessly grasping at the pleasant and recoiling from the unpleasant—so that we can enjoy a mind that is undisturbed by worry, merely open like the sky, and effortlessly aware of the flow of experience in the present.Meditation Instructions:
  1. Sit comfortably, with your spine erect, either in chair or cross-legged on a cushion.
  2. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and feel the points of contact between your body and the chair or floor. Notice the sensations associated with sitting—feelings of pressure, warmth, tingling, vibration, etc.
  3. Gradually become aware of the process of breathing. Pay attention to wherever you feel the breath most clearly—either at the nostrils, or in the rising and falling your abdomen.
  4. Allow your attention to rest in the mere sensation of breathing. (There is no need to control your breath. Just let it come and go naturally.)
  5. Every time your mind wanders in thought, gently return it to the sensation of breathing.
  6. As you focus on the breath, you will notice that other perceptions and sensations continue to appear: sounds, feelings in the body, emotions, etc. Simply notice these phenomena as they emerge in the field of awareness, and then return to the sensation of breathing.
  7. The moment you observe that you have been lost in thought, notice the present thought itself as an object of consciousness. Then return your attention to the breath—or to whatever sounds or sensations arise in the next moment.
  8. Continue in this way until you can merely witness all objects of consciousness—sights, sounds, sensations, emotions, and even thoughts themselves—as they arise and pass away.
  9. Don’t fall.
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/how-to-meditate

Psi

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/12/15 8:39 PM as a reply to Matt.
matthew sexton:
I've been mulling the subject.  One thing that is meaningful to me, is that if you don't have a fix on your own suffering, you're not going to spend any adventurous energy on speculative growth.  Another: didactic education evaporates with a half life of about, I don't know, 3 weeks?  Experiential education sticks with you for life.


That's the thing. In one ear and out the other. I have to display practices or else it's just a list of facts. Dependent Arising will just have to be "you can feel how you think and how you feel determines what you do." Otherwise it's too technical.

Psi:
Richard Zen:
Yeah I think a scientific approach would be safer. Especially the value of lower stress levels on the immune system. Though it would be fun to see the reaction if I went in Nagarjuna territory and inherent existence. Some people have done the equivalent with physics presentations that go over the audience's heads. emoticon


That is your strength and expertise Richard, your understanding of the Happiness Chemicals and such is outstanding, and you seem really interested in this way of viewing the Dhamma.  You explain it all very well, and in an interesting way.  Just my view anyway.  emoticon

Have fun!

Psi

P.S.  I do like the way Sam Harris explained Meditation, just throwing out some brainstorming thoughts, and he kept it pretty simple, excerpt below.

The practice of mindfulness is extraordinarily simple to describe, but it is in no sense easy. Here, as elsewhere in life, the “10,000 Hour Rule” often applies. And true mastery probably requires special talent and a lifetime of practice. Thus, the simple instructions given below are analogous to instructions on how to walk a tightrope—which, I assume, go something like this:

Thanks!

The 10,000 hour rule reminds me of that Ajahn Chah talk posted recently about getting a student to find peace but then the student says "what's next?"

I remember manipulating the breath lots in my early days with Gil Fronsdal talks and basic concentration. That's an insight already. Anything we pay attention to we are trying to manipulate. Then I remember reading on some forum (can't remember which one) where some eager poster was posting about "learning the real thing at Dharmaoverground" and that's where it started for me.

I'll put together a handout of sources like Dan, Darryl Bailey, Kenneth, Rob Burbea, basically my favourites so that for the 1% who are still interested they can go into much more depth on their own. Jeffrey Hopkins might be too intellectual and much of his reasonings are with Rob Burbea who tries to make it accessable.

Some of Rob's talks are funny in how hard it is for him to corral the audience on retreat. Some of them openly laugh at him, or think enlightenment will mean they won't know how a chair works after they find it's emptiness. I remember talking to one lady in a carpool who said "It's brainwashing!" She wouldn't hear anything further. It's like talking to concrete.

I also did a speech on Myer's-Briggs and made a handout with my sources and some people immediately wanted to throw it out after the speech out of arrogance, self-absorption, "don't tell me what to do" etc. So my sources are now in the form of emails so they can just delete it. What a waste of paper and wisdom on MBTI Type Development. So much good stuff there wasted.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/13/15 7:50 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
re: Richard Zen (5/12/15 8:32 AM)
" I'm putting together a speech for Toastmasters on mediation practices…"

Here's 2-cents, having had experience, some years ago, in B.N.I (Business Networking International), which I believe is a lot like Toastmasters – perhaps a bit more structured, and expensive to participate in.

(This is very pragmatic, and may sound a bit strange, as my writings here in DhO perhaps tend to reflect a sense of fervor for things Buddhist / Theravadan .)

Forget anything religious. Can perhaps mention as historical background, such traditions as source of non-religious, pragmatic techniques, extracted as stand-alone secular methodologies.

Go with the (quality) science, especially along the lines of performance enhancement, positive effects on people-skills, etc. In a Toastmasters / BNI type context, most people are interested in selling stuff, or themselves, and anything that may help in those directions. There's plenty of high-quality secular (in fact very pragmatic), non-partisan evidence to go with.

The mindfulness fad is going so strong that virtually everyone will have been exposed to it; many likely to the more superficial, exploitive aspects (e.g. like BUDHA-GIRL – MINDFUL GLAMOUR). So there's opportunity for you, from a more substantial background, to offer solid, worthwhile advice; to point them in the direction of better quality information (teach them 'discernment,' 'noting' when confronted with the barrage mindfulness propaganda?).

I would go with the MBSR, MBCT type stuff, as being widely accepted, respected, with solid ties, support and accessibility in places like the medical (-industrial) establishment, business consulting, even in the foreign service and military. As sources use Kabatt-Zinn, Scientific American (e.g. article on Richard Davidson research), etc… Can mention, but gingerly, the CBS, ABC, Oprah and the like opportunistic coverage.

Forget "Dan, Darryl Bailey, Kenneth, Rob Burbea…", except maybe privately with individuals you may know to have openness, inclination in that direction. On the other hand, perhaps offer a couple of youtube sources. Maybe Daniel or others (e.g. Buddhist Geeks venue) who have strong presence, a rhetorical flare (stronger initial appeal than written sources), and treat things in less esoteric ways (less dependent on inside information, so to speak). But BATGAP type stuff isn't for the general public. There's lots of TedX talks, but most of what I've seen is low quality. Short Jon Kabatt-Zinn live talks, interviews maybe good. Gil Fronsdal has great presence and appeal. For gender-balance maybe something less esoteric by Ayya Khema, who has a strong, loving but not mushy presence. (Actually there are a number of good women dharma-speakers.)

(All this, of course, is "IMO", from a potentially biased POV.)

Alert your listeners to the extremes of the fad / exploitation aspects – everybody, their uncle and the dog, is currently selling enlightenment or related parathernalia on the internet. While there's enough high-quality evidence (which you can give pointers as to how to identify), there's much more low-quality "proof" used in blatantly self-serving, if not downright insidious ways.

The overall strategy I'm recommending is to point in the direction of solid, generally social-culturally acceptible information and self-help. Those who go further into it, if their interest deepens, and they have some degree of inquisitive discernment, will uncover the gold hidden in the dirt. (Perhaps with your help, again more on a private basis. I don't know that much about Toastmasters, but in B.N.I. one of the requirements is each member regularly having one-on-one lunch meetings with other individual members. That would be the context for exploring more detailed aspects, sources.)

I've not addressed an actual demonstration, hands-on aspect, a guided meditation (others have offered such). Here, were I trying what your doing, I might look to youtubes etc. of how they teach mindfulness to children in school room settings; that's going to be non-partisan, and very direct and basic.

It's actually an interesting, significant challenge your've undertaken here. Good luck with it.

btw: What is it you peddle, so to speak (meant respectfully), in Toastmasters? Your professional persona? (If you don't mind revealing that.)

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/13/15 8:40 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
I think you've hit the audience culture correctly. I don't actually peddle anything. I'm just an accountant that likes to have something creative to do on a Wednesday. I finished my CC really quickly and will probably aim for further certificates. I seem to find it easy to get material for speeches so it comes naturally. The main goal for me is to keep improving my speaking ability and to keep bringing it to the next level in presentation. Many people plateau and never aim for the next level.

The competitions are extremely shallow and my first foray into it is disappointing. People just talk about dead people in their families and pander to certain subjects that judges like.

Right now I have unendingly interesting content but some of it is so good (including high quality PowerPoint presentations), that it might be overkill at the local Toastmasters. The audience is bland in the way you describe. People are often selling something or like many there, they are looking for validation because they can't get it in their work world. This is understandable because in the work world validation is hard to come by. I'll probably want to mentor someone, which is part of the leadership track but I'll have to choose someone who is ambitious.

Audiences are definitely of the attitude of "what's in it for me?" I was going on the track of understanding how the self was developed in childhood and how stress is created in the brain, and the health costs of stress. Then I would go into my favourite meditation techniques. What I'm doing is going to be more skillful than I'm typing here with the understanding of the audience. In speeches they call it the "knife and the spoon" in guiding the audience. Everything would be done in a secular attitude because that is my attitude in real life. Later on I would do speeches on visualization which I think would be more up their alley (self-help, self-improvement etc). Arnold Lazarus would be a perfect introduction. A good chunk of my speeches would be reminding people the value of practice how repetition is necessary to make wiring in the brain reliable. I think Dan's humour in that territory is a wake up call, especially his focus on bad retreat behaviours. emoticon

This is definitely a challenge.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
5/15/15 1:55 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
re: Richard Zen (5/13/15 6:40 AM as a reply to Chris J Macie.)
"…I was going on the track of understanding how the self was developed in childhood and how stress is created in the brain, and the health
costs of stress. Then I would go into my favourite meditation techniques..."

That sounds like a good track, interesting progression.

Also sounds like I might have had a better time with Toastmasters than how it turned out in B.N.I. From what you say, there seems more emphasis on training in presentation, rhetoric, persuasion, leadership. etc. (respectable ancient arts). In B.N.I the emphasis is (at least was in my perception) on giving and getting referrals, generating dollar-flow (which was competitively framed), among members and, obviously, for the B.N.I. organization, which, btw, resembles a sort of ponzi scheme. There were some elements of sales training, but leaning more in the direction of hype and manipulation. … But that too has come to pass …

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
9/27/15 10:43 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Ok so I did my first speech that hints at meditation in an introduction to Haiku poetry. I pointed out how our limited perceptions cannot contain the depth of detail of the universe and proceeded to introduce the present moment. Then I got the audience to relax and let the natural images in their minds to pop up with the words and kept lots of silence between slides of poems to let it sink in. 

You see a lot of the audience when you're standing in front of them. I saw some slack-jawed looks, some people closing their eyes and concentrating on the words. You also see some envy which I now fully understand the way scientists do which is that envy is connected with savouring. Any savouring/happiness/basking/enjoyment/relishing/mental peacefulness will trigger in others their envy. Envy is related to the flight or fight response which is about control. Control your desires and to control possibly other people's desires. This makes sense in the context of animal survival and war and robbery in the ancient human experience.

The comments that came back were quite positive and the speech reviewer looked visibly emotional especially from my introduction on how people in Toastmasters like pep talks and want to achieve goals but forget that healing is necessary to achieve hard things. I used that as a reference to Thanissaro Bhikku's understanding of people trying to take on the world and burning out. I certainly went through periods of that dealing with hard exams. Be as goal oriented as you want but when you bite off more than you can chew you need to learn how to switch off the fight or flight. This is getting me to approach meditation differently in speeches. I think a reminder of palliative care and the end of the line will make the value of non-clinging/non-fight or flight at the end of life become quite apparent to jaded North Americans.

EDIT: Envy is a pet peeve of mine and to finally understand it is a relief, but at the same time it was right in front of me the whole time. I could have just observed seagulls fighting over a leftover McDonalds in a parking lot to get the same insight.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
9/27/15 10:03 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard, thank you.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
10/24/15 6:02 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Here was my second speech where I talk a little more about meditation but plenty of other topics like Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts. I attached PowerPoint slides done the Presentation Zen way and the audiences loved it. I was surprised because of the topic but I think people sometimes want a "do-over" in life and look back at their unrealized potential as a child and lament conditioning fostered on them that they would like to get rid of.

Get out of your own way!

(Slide) Growing up is hard. Abuse can come from many sources including parents, bullies, marketing, and neglect. That innocent baby is thrust into the world that isn’t innocent. Those negative influences can survive into adulthood, creating a belief of “self-defectiveness.” For example an ACE Study records 20.7% of the study applicants were sexually abused. Abuse prevents healthy brain development. How we think affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we act. If we aren’t careful we may create a (Slide) self-fulfilling prophecy guiding our choices. For example a person may feel “no good” and then act on that feeling by making poor choices. Then those poor choices reinforce those negative beliefs. Then this cycle can repeat until it feels comfortable.

The problem with familiar comfortable thinking patterns is that we identify with them and out of consistency we don’t change. These thoughts often return at exactly the wrong time. They are what psychologists call (Slide) Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts (UIT). In studies of undergraduates, it was found that most normal people have active imaginations which include sexual perverted thoughts, violence, and blasphemy. Reliving your failures right when you are about to chase a new goal is another common intrusive thought. What is counterintuitive is that fighting with these thoughts can condition them to return with more frequency like a tape loop. (Slide) What you resist persists. When people become very extreme in their vigilance, we start entering the territory of (Slide) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This disorder has the belief that Thoughts = Reality. When in fact thoughts are just thoughts and they often don’t match reality.

Even worse you may have had influences from other people that you did act on and maybe even enjoyed at the time. (Slide) People often have obsessive shame about poor choices done in the past. This creates stress which makes you crave that very thing you want to avoid. We can sabotage ourselves.

Thankfully there are some simple practices that come from the wisdom of psychology and religions that deal directly with intrusive thinking. Since most people have intrusive thoughts from time to time these practices can benefit more than just extreme personality disorders.

(Slide) Practice 1: Meditation. Don’t identify with any thoughts. Thoughts need freedom to imagine all kinds of things. Look at the thoughts as if they were outside the body. As you watch them arise and pass away it becomes clear that thoughts are not a problem. It’s indulging in them or punishing them that conditions them to return. As you relax both those activities of indulging or punishing you are actually slowly deconditioning those impulses. When you are leaving those neurological pathways alone it weakens those bonds to save energy for other areas you condition. Ideally healthy conditioning you want.

(Slide) Practice 2:Extinction. Search for those painful memories or experiences that trigger you. Many experiences we liked or disliked in the past were too simple and ignored a lot of important detail. Noticing more detail of our addictions or phobias reveals that we can overrate or underrate experiences. When we expose ourselves to these old influences the added detail makes them stand out less.

(Slide) Practice 3:Welcoming: Welcome bad thoughts. Welcome them with such consistency that the contractions relax and you feel freedom. It doesn’t mean you are condoning anything. It just means you are open to imagination and are not willing to constantly build tension with every thought you don’t like. Welcoming is the opposite of aversion. When there’s no tension then the thought has no power to change your mood.

(Slide) Practice 4:People: I’ll keep this one simple. Spend time around people who support your improvement. Cut people out of your life who don’t.

No matter what your past is, if you want to improve yourself that’s already a sign of that innocent inner child talking to you. (Slide) Some of us got sidetracked by negative influences that limit our choices. That inner child saw many possibilities with infinite curiosity. This came from exploration and play. Your inner child was always there watching how your life has been going, waiting for a reconnection. Understand it forgives you. It’s proud of how far you’ve come in this life. But it wants to start moving you in new exciting directions. SHHHHH! That inner child is whispering something to you. It’s telling you…”Get out of my way.”

Sources:
Child Abuse statistics
https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/
Learned helplessness 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness
Self-defeating personality disorder
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-defeating_personality_disorder
Self-fulfilling prophecies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy
What are unwanted intrusive thoughts?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrusive_thought
APA suggestions for dealing with intrusive thoughts.
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/unwanted-thoughts.aspx
OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
http://www.amazon.com/The-Imp-Mind-Exploring-Obsessive/dp/0452283078/ref=pd_sim_14_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1065D97SEJ2037ATCD7V
OCD study of intrusive thoughts. Not safe for work emoticon
http://web.archive.org/web/20080625161358/http://www.ocfoundation.org/UserFiles/File/Thinking%20Bad%20Thoughts.pdf
Basic Buddhist meditation practice:
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y2015/150726_Beginning_Breath_Meditation.mp3
Extinction (psychology)
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_(psychology)]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_(psychology)
Welcoming guided meditation
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/9813/

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
10/27/15 6:53 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
I completed another speech but this time in a corporate environment (especially an environment where there is a weak economy and workers aren't too happy). Some of the stone-faced ESTJ types looked typically emotion-less but they followed along repeating with me as I taught the Brahmaviharas to them. emoticon The Toastmaster lady responded that it was good people wish well their enemies as I'm sure employers don't like disgruntled employees. LOL!

The feeling types seemed to respond to the speech more as predicted but I do wish all these workers and bosses well because I know what office politics is like and having "enemies" swimming in your mind rent free. It makes life a drag. The higher up you go on the corporate ladder the more demanding and ruthless the expectations are of you.

I particularly used Thanissaro Bhikkhu's method of looking at intentions being coerced by a committee of voices looking to reduce pain and to increase pleasure. I moved on to how addictions are created because short-term pleasures are used to numb stress so stress and boredom lead to addictions a priori. I also focused on the Metta practice being mainly given to oneself first before giving it to others. Once the mind is quiet of voices then add metta style voices to nudge against habits.

It's nice to do a speech and feel like you are meditating at the same time. emoticon

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
10/27/15 7:29 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thank you Richard, Nice of you to share specific applications in your job, like this emoticon feels very intimate thoughts emoticon

Do all those guys clearly know you are doing this on the basis of Dharma or do you just let slip some hints but really manage to package the thing as dead serious psycho-corporate stuff ? ;) i wish there were many like you doing this ! i think it has its impact, some way or some other ,  i think about each mom and dad going back home spreading unknowingly some bits/seeds of goodness, karma, dharma whatever emoticon

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
10/27/15 8:26 PM as a reply to SeTyR ZeN.
SeTyR ZeN:
Thank you Richard, Nice of you to share specific applications in your job, like this emoticon feels very intimate thoughts emoticon

Do all those guys clearly know you are doing this on the basis of Dharma or do you just let slip some hints but really manage to package the thing as dead serious psycho-corporate stuff ? ;) i wish there were many like you doing this ! i think it has its impact, some way or some other ,  i think about each mom and dad going back home spreading unknowingly some bits/seeds of goodness, karma, dharma whatever emoticon
I gave them this intro to read out before my speech:
Richard has learned Buddhist meditation from experts on online forums since 2007. Almost all of these insights were taught for free and he has returned the favor with other new online practitioners ever since. This first Speaking To Inform speech is about the Buddhist meditation practice called The Sublime Attitudes or the Brahmaviharas (Bra-ma-vee-haras).
So yes they know it's Buddhism. There is some acceptance of Buddhism thanks to things like Yoga and people are vaguely aware of how it can reduce stress, but you can tell that certain personality types will have no use for it. There are those I'm sure that look at it like "what's this breathing crap? What am I supposed to do with it?" They are also the types that might not actually feel that much stress anyways. They look very goal oriented and simply keep their eyes on the ball with their work. It actually looks impressive like non-chalant pro-baseball players chewing gum and looking super confident.

I'm an INFP and we used to be about 1% of the population but now we are about 4% so there more of us but the more numerous ESTJ/ISTJ types are very realistic, goal-oriented, and conscientious so all people can learn from them but naturally my skills look too vulnerable, emotional, dangerous to those types because they have a lack of skills in that area. The ideal is to learn from all the thinking types and to use those thinking types like tools appropriate for different problems. Just because I'm a feeling type doesn't mean that the feeling type in Myers-Briggs needs to be used for all problem solving.

I definitely sold the Brahmaviharas as a practical tool that could be used in business. If you are in the Sublime Attitudes it means you aren't caught in Hatred, Cruelty, Envy, and Neediness. I explained how developing internal wealth (cribbing from Thanissaro) can be added to their pursuit of external wealth because we all have to die and turning down the alarm is a great gift to your body at the end of all things. I talked in a soft voice and relaxed tone and got them to recite after me so I hope there's a small bit of stress relief. I do agree with you that people can sometimes take bits and pieces of what you say and go with it and share it with others and there's a small part that wouldn't mind exploring further at home on Google searches emoticon

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
10/28/15 9:26 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Tips for practice:

1. Do some Brahmavihara to yourself before start vipassana meditation.
    It's very difficult to be in the present if you have regrets, unfinished things, doubts, etc crawling in the mind.

2. Try to stay quiet. If you move, notice what happens to the mind when you do so.

Tips for motivation:

1. Longevity (telomeres). Reduction in stress. Other health benefits.

2. Resilience of mind. Improved ability to focus.

3. Some of the states feel very good (jhana).

4. You can get some permanent positive change. That permanent change cannot be described. It feels like freedom/peace.

The biggest problem for meditation adoption is that it solves problems that you don't know you have and you don't know how painful they are.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
11/22/15 12:37 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
I did another speech but this time on noting. I simplified the progress of insight for time and clarity. It was interesting because I party crashed a more E(I)STJ crowd with this material. I chose them because they were on a Sunday. The feedback I got was mostly positive from the general audience of newbies. My evaluator said it was the best speech he ever saw. He was Hindu and said "so you're into this stuff? I can tell. So am I." To the other ESTJ's it probably looked like bias even though I didn't choose my evaluator. 

ESTJs are funny. One young guy introduced himself as a person "that wants to be a lawyer. Yes I want to be one of those bloodsuckers. I love reading rules and laws and showing people that they are wrong." This fit in a comment on a Myers-Briggs site I saw where an ESTJ said "I always come up ESTJ on my tests. I love watching people work and making them pay the consequences." LOL!

The rest of the audience were mainly Engineers and Accountants. I got up and did the best I could. The main engineer didn't like my walking and ambling because it made me "lose credibility." What's interesting about any enlightenment is that you can be nervous and have stress but it doesn't seem bothersome to me at all but people can't tell that your totally okay. I think it's the magnitude of letting go and it's possible to let go further even though you feel just fine.

I'll have to return to these guys and not run away from ESTJ land. INFPs have to learn from them and many of these people end up being our bosses so it's not like you can really run away so easily if you wanted to.

The most useful comment was when my evaluator was criticized by an Engineer for not pointing out that my speech might have been too advanced for the audience. I cancelled my last speech on Mahayana Emptiness practices but will fix it to make it more concrete and useful. Below is the speech and TONS of sources from the usual suspects I researched:

The Progress of Insight (5 to 7 min)

Our ancestors had a tough time surviving and we are the results of their efforts. We have inherited their legacy but we’ve also inherited their anxieties. This ancient brain is still with us. Despite living in the modern world of shopping, speed dating, and office politics, any desire that you have has a certain stressful need to control tainting your pleasure. Just like in the African savannah with our ancestors, we seek to control our environment with this fight or flight response so we can briefly get those enjoyable feelings of success or escape. But when we are challenged beyond our abilities the fight or flight response can leave us miserable, with weakened immune systems, struggling with addictions to numb the pain and in the extreme, depression.

Today I’m going to perform the Burmese noting practice; show you what insights we are supposed to notice and how it can increase happiness in our lives. Stress can be a mire and make us stuck in the mud. Meditation makes your thoughts un-sticky.
All meditation practices deal directly with rumination. In psychology rumination is spinning on the thought “I don’t like this lack of control…because, because, because, because, because….endlessly.”

Noting can help us depending on how skillful we do it. We have to be bright and attentive. Notice the bare sensation of your senses first and then make a label. One label per second is fast enough. Of course your actual experiences vibrate much faster. The labeling only is there to keep the wandering mind busy. So start with body sensations. Notice “seeing”, “hearing”, “touch” etc. Note feelings “pleasant”, “unpleasant”, and “neutral”. Note mind states “angry”, “joy”, and “sad”. Or note “thinking”, “strategizing”, and “analyzing”. You can note anything that is actually happening. The following are advantages to this practice:
  • It’s like training wheels when your skill is just being developed.
  • And it can make clear with a label your unconscious thinking habits.
  • Depending on where you are you can do this practice out loud, in your head, or just acknowledgment of what’s happening.
The fun part is the results of continuous mindfulness. People notice, when this happens, a brightened retina, a weight of stress falling away and the body relaxing tension.

As we enjoy this situation of the arising and passing away of impulses it feels like an enjoyable wave that we are riding on like sailors on calmer seas. Pretty soon these waves will get stronger and tip your boat over. The longer you resist impulses the more emotional baggage pops up and sometimes in surprising ways. You might find yourself arguing with some one, or you find yourself at the refridgerator, "aren't I supposed to be meditating?" In Christianity this is called The Dark Night of the Soul. In Buddhism it’s called the suffering knowledges. In science it’s simply withdrawal symptoms as we wean ourselves from addictive experiences.

As the brain focuses on the passing away part of experience and it starts resisting what it sees in reality. These are the 3 characteristics of reality pointed out in Buddhism. The 1st characteristic is impermanence. Everything the universe is impermanent. The 2nd characteristic is dissatisfaction. Nothing is permanently satisfying. The 3rd characteristic is called not-self. This body you are borrowing for a while, is impermanent, and you will have to give it back. As we practice over the years there is a point where the brain gets to where the impermanence of the universe is finally accepted and then the brain lets go layers of resistance to what it can’t control.

For some people they want to continue this deconditioning practice so that the fight or flight part of their brains has very little activity and they become monks and nuns with supreme mental peace. For most people they feel so much relief after a certain point they want to start using meditation as a support for stress relief in daily life. If we look at mundane chores. We can become creative. Why not “washing the dishes meditation? How about taking out the trash in -30 weather meditation. How about “traffic jam meditation?” How about "traffice jam with a train, meditation?" How about “listening meditation” during a boring meeting? How about “reading meditation”? Meditation can be a practical tool. Most importantly our standard of living is in our brains. If you extend mental peace to more areas of your life you’ve just increased your standard of living for free.

Buddhism:

Practical Insight Meditation - Mahasi Sayadaw

Mastering the Core teachings of the Buddha – Daniel Ingram

Buddhessence – Darryl Bailey

Gil Fronsdal’s tips on how to note safely.
http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/mental-noting/

Basic noting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W30oR1UDBI

Body sensations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgBAIHoc69s

Feeling tone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jib-fuJOvYo

Mind states:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvXij9B5xoQ

Thoughts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_Jdu8k-OE

Open meditation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-58IoZMNss

Side effects / Dark night of the soul / Suffering knowledges:
https://vimeo.com/69253042
https://vimeo.com/28182419

I personally think a welcoming practice coupled with a metta practice (well wishing practice for yourself and others) can help reduce the withdrawal symptoms. Also when you develop Flow experiences at work by increasing your challenges to match your skills or increasing your skills to match challenges you’ll be much more functional than if you just meditated through work.
Other sources from many other religions:

Hinduism


Ramana Maharshi

Daoism


Chuang-Tzu

Stoicism
– Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius – Meditations, Seneca, Heraclitus

Native American Meditations:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/534775-native-american-meditation-techniques/
Native Wisdom for White Minds – Anne Wilson Schaef

Meditation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam – Halvor Eifring


Judaism:

Deuteronomy 6:6-9
The Psalms
Kabbalah - Rabbi Moshe Cordovero

Christianity:

The Way of Perfection – St. Teresa of Avila
The Interior Castle – St. Teresa of Avila
The Dark Night of the Soul – St. John of the Cross

Islam:

The Sufi Science of Self-realization – Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
Fusus al-Hikam – Ibn Arabi
Mirsad al-‘ibad min al-mabda’ ilal’l-ma’ad – Najm al-din Daya-I Razi

Modern Atheist Existentialism:

Heidegger’s Way of Being – Richard Capobianco

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
3/25/16 9:04 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
I recently did a guided and pointing meditation at Toastmasters. The audience seemed interested (especially the Yoga instructor) but the general audience liked it but found it too fast. I'm pare it down and expand sections like just enjoying the breath and directing intentions. The Unconditioned will be treated as knowing and then focusing on relaxation of the attention span and body. This is a test speaker role so I'll reuse it for another speech that I think will have to be 30 minutes to actually get people to understand.

I can see the difficulty that instructors have with dropping insights quickly and confusing the audience. emoticon

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
4/2/16 5:06 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
I redid the guided meditation and included lots of Thanissaro Bhkkhu and Rob Burbea. I avoided going into time because this is complicated enough for a Toastmaster audience. I took some feedback from doing this speech before which was to avoid preachiness which I did but I went a little further on avoiding religiousity in the opening paragraph and it seemed to work. There was one person that wanted an email exchange because of her stress so there was definitely some interest, and all the Yoga types are into this stuff which is great. Yoga does so much for Buddhists and the Buddhist community. 

So pardon any simplifications that are in the speech, as advanced people would find this like kindergarden, for the general public this is a lot to take in for 7 minutes.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Buddhism is a religion, and like many religions they have useful practices that anyone can learn. Just like Martial Arts, or Tai Chi you don't have to be religious to benefit. In Buddhism stress reduction is the goal. This goal is called the unconditioned. To access the unconditioned requires us to relax layers of experience. The unconditioned is consciousness and I want you to look at consciousness as knowing. This knowing knows your 5 senses are vibrating right now. It knows there's thinking happening, and even knows your attention span is moving. Knowing is not a thing, a sensation or experience. It just knows experiences without judgment or reactivity. The Unconditioned gives you permission to rest everything else.

So let me guide you in this restful meditation. Please follow the breath. Just follow the in and out breath completely. Imagine the air is going in and out of your lungs on its own. This way you don’t have to force the breath too much. Adjust your breath to whatever feels comfortable, whether it’s more or less air.  
 
As your breath becomes enjoyable the mind may wander, just keep coming back to the breath. It’s important to be gentle as we come back. Using stress to stop stress is just a stressful loop. Come back to the present moment and reward yourself with a particularly soothing delicious breath. Look at your breath as a safe haven. Like a comfortable vacation home with no mortgage payments. It’s a completely blameless enjoyment, because it doesn’t require you to hurt yourself or others to get it. At this level you are relaxing stressful thinking.
 
Notice any tensions in the body. The brain constantly creates fight or flight responses to control what we desire in our environment. As you breathe through tensions, relax your body. When you do this you are saving energy because stress drains energy. I would recommend using your breath when you do work, chores or are just waiting in traffic. Don’t miss opportunities for stress relief. If you’re going to breathe anyway you might as well use it for your advantage. At this level you are relaxing your body.
 
As you look deeper notice how your attention span moves from object to object, thought to thought. These movements and shifts are habitual intentions. Look at habitual intentions like a leaning towards what you like or a recoiling from what you don’t like. Our mind is already surveying the environment and assessing what to like or dislike causing some early tension. Just relax your attention span by moving it less and come back to the breath. At this level our intentions are deeply relaxed.
 
As we all get older we have to accept that death is getting closer. You can use your imagination for palliative care. Mental stress makes physical pain worse. Meditation will NOT stop physical pain, but it will reduce the physical component of emotional pain. Eg. If you have a knee pain you don’t have to be stuck in “why me?” Use your imagination. Imagine the knee pain as sharp jagged rocks in the ocean, and the areas around the pain that feel good as water lapping against the sharp rocks like they are inviting or welcoming the pain. Welcoming is the opposite of fight or flight responses. As you gain skills with practice you can learn to react less to physical pain. At death this is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Rest with the Unconditioned.

Mr.Toastmaster.

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
4/2/16 8:54 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Nice refinement ! (Mr Richard emoticon )

RE: Teaching tips
Answer
4/2/16 9:10 PM as a reply to SeTyR ZeN.
SeTyR ZeN:
Nice refinement ! (Mr Richard emoticon )
Thank you!