Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses (bodhicourses.org) an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a meditation center in Mountain View, California (imsb.org). She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with more than eight years of accumulated silent retreat experience, and has taught since 1996 in the USA, and internationally. Shaila has dedicated several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand, completed a one year intensive meditation retreat with the focus on concentration and jhana, and authored Focused and Fearless: A Meditator's Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity, (Wisdom Publications, 2008). She has extensive experience practicing and teaching mindfulness, loving kindness, concentration, and a broad range of approaches to liberating insight. Since 2006, Shaila has continued her study of jhana and insight under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, and authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (Wisdom Publications, 2011).
Shaila Catherine gave this talk on planning tendencies of the mind. Papanca is a Pali term that means proliferation. A lot of our planning is not preparation for action. Rather, it's a form of dukkha: chronic planning may be a manifestation of anxiety, restlessness, worry, or obsessive thinking about "who I will be." Planning is fuel for self-becoming, self-grasping; restless planning perpetuates the fantasy of a future we think we can control or predict, but such future may never happen. Instead of habitually indulging in planning tendencies, we can train our attention to be mindful of life as it actually unfolds. We can thus learn to calm fantasies that distract the mind, let go of expectations, and gradually strengthen concentration to be more fully present. We can also curb the tendency to become lost in imagined scenarios of hope and fear about life's events.