Meditation, Madness, and Psychology, with Tucker Peck
Tucker Peck, meditation teacher and clinical psychologist, talks with host Michael Taft about how whether awakening (both in the traditional “stream entry” sense or in other definitions) actually “fixes” a person’s psychology or not. Topics include: the validity of the Progress of Insight model, Tucker’s hellacious Dark Night experience and the dukkha ñanas in general, when to switch from shamatha to vipassana practice, whether people who have mental illness should practice meditation, and much more.
Tucker Peck, Ph.D., is a meditation teacher and clinical psychologist whose specialties include working with advanced meditators and using meditation to help those suffering from psychological disorders. Tucker is a published author on the scientific study of meditation, focusing on how meditation affects the brain and is a faculty member of the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Tucker was also a founding board member of Culadasa’s Dharma Treasure sangha.
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0:25 – Introduction
2:54 – Tucker’s teaching activities, how his background in clinical psychology influences teaching meditation
5:26 – The myth that you can lose your psychology/personality/emotions by meditating enough; getting smacked in the face with emotions on retreat
8:29 – How Tucker got into meditation; hitting A&P, and the heart opening
13:43 – How Tucker got into clinical psychology; his long Dark Night experience, and using choiceless awareness to get out of it
23:49 – Progressing towards first path; magga phala; how seeing nonself changed the experience of practice
29:23 – How stable attention helps mitigate Dark Night effects; purification through samatha
33:43 – Tucker’s challenges learning to practice with The Mind Illuminated; description of the TMI stages; when to introduce vipassana practices
41:19 – Whether Tucker’s students are getting stream entry and whether the samatha-first way of working mitigates Dark Night effects in his students; the fetter model, and having only positive emotions
45:47 – The potential for spiritual bypassing with attainment; “wake up, clean up, grow up”; the equanimity windshield; the need for unbiased feedback about one’s behavior and how it’s affecting people
55:17 – Working with mental content outside of meditation, through psychotherapy; will meditation practice help people who have mental illness?; modifying the practice for people with bipolar or manic symptoms, etc.
1:03:25 – Tucker’s experience of the path model; reduction in craving; seeming to go from dramatic changes back to normalcy, but with life altering differences; the individuality of each person’s path of purification
1:12:28 – Outro
Feel free to support the creation of future episodes of this podcast by contributing through Patreon.