I find that practitioners can practice Vipassana for a long time without paying attention to the role that fear plays in their lives. Living with fear that is unacknowledged leads to fragmentation in life and practice. I encourage people to look at the energy of fear, for fear can limit our access to freedom.
It is quite possible to diligently practice mindfulness, yet keep fear at a distance. Not becoming intimate with fear creates a dualism and complacency that gives a silent nod of approval to living with fear. When we begin to look at, and become friends with, our fear, we suddenly discover a lot more space in our lives.
In the larger picture, Vipassana offers us all a practice that goes counter to the tremendous cultural momentum around us of materialism and consumerism. With practice, we can learn how to take full responsibility for ourselves, and so pay attention to developing inner qualities capable of sustaining us as we navigate the shifting sands of life.
Developing a clear understanding of the teachings and learning to fully inhabit the body have been core parts of my Dhamma practice. These areas, as well a strong emphasis on the heart, inform and shape my teaching. The few years I spent training as an Anagarika in the Thai Forest monasteries broadened my understanding of the Buddha's teachings and instilled a profound respect for the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sangha. All along the way, I've been particularly interested in how other modalities like Nonviolent Communication and Somatics can support our growth in awakening.
Paul R. Fulton, Ed.D. has been a student of meditation & psychology for 55 years. Co-Founder and former president of the Institute for Meditation & Psychotherapy, he has been teaching about Buddhist psychology internationally to mental health professionals for decades. He received jukai lay ordination in Soto Zen at age 19, and earned his doctorate at Harvard University’s Laboratory for Human Development. He is a Lecturer (part-time) at Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance. Dr. Fulton is co-editor and co-author of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and contributing author to Buddhism and World Culture, Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship, Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy, Begegnung von Westlicher Psychotherapie und Buddhistischer Geistesschulung, and other volumes. He served for 12 years on the Board of Directors at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, where he periodically teaches.
Dr. Peggy Rowe aspires to grow her heart as wide as the world. Her education is in counseling psychology and education. She works with clients in spiritual direction, and also supports clients and organizations in trauma resiliency. She is on the faculty of Atlantic University’s MA in Mindful Leadership. Peggy co-authored two books, Making Friends with Time and Love’s Garden and is currently completing a book for parents and teachers practicing mindfulness with children and young adults. She has been studying and traveling to support the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh for 25 years. Peggy received the dharma lamp from her teacher in 2001 and he married Peggy and Larry in 1994. She loves to sing and is crazy for dogs.