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The Mindfulness Summit

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by mike2014, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I also began the Headspace program, thanks to Forest, and liked the first session very much,
    a 10 minute mindfulness meditation that was very relaxing.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sam Harris! He really spoke to me. I guess I'm drawn to the neuro guys :D I'm still getting through the Q&A, also really good.

    I also very much enjoyed Shamash Alidina, both his message and his delightful spirit.

    I have purchased the all-access pass - it's more than worth it.
    angelic333 likes this.
  3. angelic333

    angelic333 Peer Supporter

    Sometimes Sam Harris lost me because I do rely a lot on faith, yet so deep and insightful, no denying that. I am pleasantly confused!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't think you are alone, angelic! The comments about this presentation show a WIDE range of reactions, many of them quite negative. I'm a very secular person myself, and quite cynical about organized religion, which is probably why I responded so positively to someone who seems to be similar.
  5. angelic333

    angelic333 Peer Supporter

    Organized religion gets a bit weird for me as well, yet I have a concept of God. It exists in each of us and is something that only wants what is good for us. It gets me through the night,,,,
  6. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    I think the man that after asking why he had chosen the word "spirituality" said "Good luck with that", to me, it was all clear.
  7. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I didn't catch Sam Harris's, but I really enjoyed Shamash's interview. He made some great points, to be comfortable in your practice - you don't have to sit in a specific way. Secondly and this fits hand in hand with TMS healing, follow your thoughts naturally and see where they take you. From previous experience with mindfulness, as a thought arose into awareness, I'd let go immediately without passing judgement. But I never let the single thought evolve naturally and let it be the basis of my practice. Finally and for those who are new to meditating, if you start meditating and fall asleep, it's OK to rest, that's what your body needs, once you've rested, try again.
    Fabi likes this.
  8. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member


    First I want to thank Jan, Mark, Fabiana and Angelic for helping me out Saturday on the chat and encouraging me to listen to some of these interviews some more. I just listened to Rick Hanson again. He is very enlightening. I am re-listening to Mark Williams. I intend to investigate his MBCT as this is similar to the concepts taught to me by Dr. Evans of taking the time to feel good and let it soak into your nervous system. Don't wait to feel less than good and then try to feel better. One other very important thing (of many) I got from this was trying to do things differently. Even though I use mindfulness throughout my day, I still becomes rote, and then this allows it to be less mindful. I am always mindful about certain things, like brushing my teeth, showering and (usually ) eating. Yet, I do them the same way everyday. so today I took Mark's suggestion and did things a bit different. I brushed my teeth left handed (i have an electric brush, so this is not as difficult as it sounds, lol) and placed my right hand on the counter instead of my left. I also washed bottom to top instead of top to bottom in the shower. Sorry if that was TMI, and even dried off, from bottom to top (that was weird). It was very interesting as the change from the "norm" made me more mindful of what I was doing and my mind wandered less. And it was very refreshing. As I write this I actually feel very elated ! I recorded Mark's interview onto my voice recorder as I am going to be listening to him again.
  9. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Excellent Matthew, well done. It's amazing how mindful we actually become when we do things differently and have to pay attention to how we so it. I'll message you if I find anymore good interviews on MBCT.

    Take care my friend.


    MatthewNJ likes this.
  10. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Sam Harris made a point about Vapassana meditation and when the summit is over I plan to research or do it. On the other hand, a conversation started with my son (16 year old) about "where is the mind in the body" since he questioned me. I think I will try to find something for him to read, the point is that when I try to give him an answer, as Sam said yesterday "I have no idea where consciousness lies" my son says I become "too psychological" and he wants to drop the converstion. Any suggestions as to what to say or do that can help him AND me, since he has already the question in his mind?
  11. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    It really depends how you look at it, in Buddhist teaching they look at the Mindbody as one in the same.

    Mindfulness is a very small element of Vipsanna, which includes some very complex breath work. If you do decide to explore this I'd definitely join a group with a skilled professional. I've read certain breath work can be dangerous if done incorrectly.
  12. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I liked Jack Cornfield's MM talk today, on spirituality and mindfulness.

    I pray the Rosary every day and believe it is an excellent form of mindfulness meditation.
    The daily reflections on the life of Jesus keep us focused on them, so we are "in the moment" with Him.

    I practice deep breathing while praying the Rosary, which also combines MM with spirituality.
    I pray the Rosary while watching the Youtube Rosary site of Jack Soriano.

    I also like watching the Youtube video by Michael Sealey, "Guided Meditation for Detachment from Over-Thinking."
    He focuses on mindfulness of breathing in the present moment. It's very relaxing any time, but especially before bedtime.

    One of his many wonderful thoughts on MM is "Your calm self always remains in the present moment."
    That's a "keeper" thought for us all.
    MatthewNJ likes this.
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Fabi, try Googling "Mindfulness for teenagers". There are already a LOT of resources - he might find one of them interesting! And maybe not just in English!
  14. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Yes Mike, I think I will just become curious first. By the way, yesterday I came across an article about Stanislaf Grof´s Holotropic Breathing, this is something that has interested me and I never got to read his book. There are so many things to do, now I am compromised with Headspaces for another 7 days. More reading and hopefully a group to practice will be nice for me.
  15. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Thank you Jan, it is just that I need the right "scientific" title so he would not back up, but I will be alert in case something appears. English is not a problem, he has become bilingual having a mom teaching hours online, he just had no choice! Maybe if I keep on breathing with eyes shut, he will be curious also!
  16. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya, Fabi, science has made a great deal of progress on where consciousness resides in the body in the last 30 years. For example, they recently found an area in the brain that will turn off consciousness when electrically stimulated. A book called Consciousness and the Brain may be of interest to your son. Here's a thought-provoking review from a Stanford researcher (http://www.bobblum.com/) that summarizes what the book is about
    (Five Stars) Ignition, a self-reinforcing avalanche (and with panache!)

    As a physician and Stanford researcher (initially in artificial intelligence and currently in cognitive neuroscience), I have been interested in consciousness research for 50 years. How does the brain create consciousness? And, if this is "simply" a story of billions of spiking neurons talking to one another, can it be done in silicon? (If so, this may occasion a profound turning point in human history.)

    I have followed Professor Stan Dehaene's prestigious journal publications for a decade as he has amassed a wealth of evidence supporting the view that consciousness is 1) experimentally accessible, 2) has reliable neural correlates (signatures), and 3) is functionally important . Dehaene (a professor at the College de France in Paris and director of the INSERM Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit) is one of the world's leading scholars of consciousness. Fortunately for us, his literary agent, John Brockman (of "Edge" fame) persuaded him to write this popular work.

    That Dehaene writes this well in English makes me wonder how spectacularly he must write in his native French. We are not only transported to the cutting edge of research on consciousness, but the voyage is a thrill. As expected, Dehaene is thoroughly steeped in the history of consciousness from Plato, through Descartes, Hume, and the Continental philosophers. His writing is also filled with references to French art, literature, and humanism (like serotonin molecules, that culture seems to have diffused from the Louvre down the Boulevard Saint-Michel and become bound in this book.)

    Right from the start (see the beautiful, free Introduction on Amazon) he reminds us that it all began in the caves at Lascaux with the depiction of a dreamer's soul wafting about like a sparrow. Deftly weaving ancient Egyptian mythology with the Upanishads, he transitions to Descartes and his alleged "Error." Rightfully defending his countryman, Dehaene takes contemporary pop-neurosci to task. Descartes was no dualist (body + immaterial soul) blinded by religion. Rather, he was genuinely grappling with the central problem of this book and the field. How does conscious perception, reflection, and deliberation emanate from a machine?

    In seven chapters, Dehaene carefully steps us through all the evidence (from his large Paris group and the world's other top labs) of the brain's signatures of consciousness.

    How can one even study consciousness in the lab? (Chapter 1) The key innovation was the discovery and exploitation of "minimal contrast" phenomena. When presented just too faintly, too rapidly. or when masked they are completely invisible. But, increase the intensity, duration, or remove the mask and there they are, plain as day. I'll list these, but do yourself a favor and go to YouTube to see them for yourself: motion-induced blindness, change blindness, attentional blink, binocular rivalry, multistable perception. Now you see it; now you don't. (Also, go to Charlie Rose's website and look at the episode on consciousness in which Nobelist Eric Kandel interviews Dehaene and other stars of this field.)

    We are obviously conscious, but is there any neural processing of which we are NOT conscious?
    (Chapter 2) Yes, most of it! Non-conscious and pre-conscious processing is ubiquitous, functional, and essential. He reviews fascinating experiments that reveal the pervasive and essential role of non-conscious processing in language, vision, hearing, and action. Consciousness is the tip of the iceberg.

    Perhaps consciousness is epiphenomenal (a non-functional add-on, like the roar of a jet plane). In Chapter 3 he dismisses that old, profoundly counter-intuitive proposition. His argument here is reminiscent of Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. Fast (nonconscious) thought is fine for practiced, routine, reflexive speech and action. But thinking and action marked by careful deliberation and planning requires consciousness: the ability to maintain a percept in working memory and mull it over.

    Chapter 4 displays the core findings of the experimental work: the neural signatures of consciousness. These are what Nobelist Francis Crick and collaborator Christof Koch called the neural correlates of consciousness. (See Koch's excellent work "The Quest for Consciousness") Even invisible, unseen (subliminal) stimuli excite chains of neural firing but only in primary sensory areas. However, when a stimulus crosses the threshold into consciousness, the neural firing is strongly amplified in intensity and distribution as many brain regions ignite and communicate especially prefrontal, parietal, and anterior temporal areas.

    In Chapter 5 he describes a tentative theory that accounts for the experimental findings: the global neuronal workspace theory. I'm old enough to recall the origin of this theory as the blackboard model from 1970s AI research sponsored by DARPA that led to the then famous Hearsay-II speech understanding system from CMU. In an interesting quirk of history, this excellent work was dragged into oblivion by the AI Winter of the 1980s. But, the theory itself became resurrected as a theory of consciousness by psychologist Bernard Baars. (See Baars' 1988 A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness). With the 1990 advent of fMRI, this theory became ripe for experimental verification. Entrez Professeur Dehaene. Not only can he explain the lab details from Chapter 4, he has also built a computer simulation of a spiking neural network that exhibits the same behavior.

    As you may know, Europe has just embarked on a ten year 1.5 billion dollar project to simulate the human brain. While this project may seem to be irrationally ambitious, I am comforted in knowing that Dehaene is one of the scientists at the helm.

    Chapter 6 deals with the crucial topic of coma and vegetative states. It opens poignantly with the case of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the Editor of Elle, who had a brain stem stroke, and though entirely paralyzed (save for one eye), wrote an entire book "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly" by blinking that eye. EEG, MEG, and fMRI signatures of consciousness may in the future help us to decide which coma patients are conscious and which are not.

    He closes in Chapter 7 with the future: tests for animal consciousness and machine consciousness. While machine consciousness may someday be possible, it will not happen soon. Nonetheless, this work paves the way to it by showing the functional properties of the only system that we know is conscious: ourselves.

    Although I've read widely on this topic (and cover AI and Stanford neuroscience on my website: bobblum) , there was much here that was new to me. This is an outstanding work on the basis of both scientific and literary merit.​
    mike2014 and Fabi like this.
  17. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    The more I search the less I know how much I know.
    Thank you Forest! I have a lot to learn, thank you for taking the time to put it so, so clearly for me!
  18. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Glad it helped! Most of the credit goes to Bob Blum, the review author, of course!
  19. angelic333

    angelic333 Peer Supporter

    Your very welcome, Matthew.
    One thing I am not sure I have heard yet on the summit, and I have learned, is to resist the temptation to look for the results we think we want. More important to practice mindfulness in a way that resonates with you and just allow what comes in. It may not be what you thought you were looking for...
    Off to Dharma class....
    Much Love
  20. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    Totally agree youtube is a library of great significants it as everything you need for mindfulness
    MatthewNJ likes this.

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