Doug Slakey began his meditation practice in 1995 and has been a student of Shaila Catherine since 2001. He has practiced in the Chan/Advaita Vedanta manner with Adyashanti, attended many vipassana retreats, and has most recently completed four jhana retreats with Shaila. Doug completed the meditation teacher training program at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley and has studied at CCARE, the Stanford compassion training center. He holds a doctorate in psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where he also completed spiritual guidance training.
Meditation can reveal the dynamic process of emotional life. In this talk, Shaila Catherine explores relationships between mind and body, between thoughts and emotions, and between present moment experience and concepts. Emotions are not avoided in meditation, instead we engage in a balanced and wise investigation of emotions and see their changing, impermanent, and empty nature. Transformative insight into impermanence may come through understanding the functioning of mental states, without worry about difficult emotions such as anger, grief, or fear. We will learn to respond, act, and speak with wisdom as we learn to open to the full range of emotional life.
As human beings, our developed higher functioning mind can think, reflect, and observe how we add mental preferences of liking, not liking or feeling indifferent to what is occurring. This talk explores how our emotional responses to experience can—and surely must—be part of a path to liberation. Emotions do not have to derail us from an intention to free the mind from struggle. By skillfully engaging a mindfulness practice we can break down our experience into smaller, more manageable pieces to free ourselves from the tangle of desire and craving for things to be as we want them, rather than how they are. We find liberation within the emotional landscape.