The Healing Power of Mindfulness

MOORE: My name is Helen Damon-Moore, and I am the Director of Service and Education at the Tucker Foundation here at Dartmouth College. I am honored to welcome you all and to introduce Jon Kabat-Zinn on behalf of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Palliative Care Service, the Tucker Foundation, the Ruben Committee of Dartmouth College, Alice Peck Day Hospital, Dartmouth Medical School, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and the Valley Insight Meditation Society.

 

Special thanks to Ira Byock and Ivan Corbet [sp] and the Palliative Care Service for partnering on this project, and to those at Tucker who have worked so hard and who are this week celebrating the 60th anniversary year of the Tucker Foundation Dartmouth Center for Service, Spirituality, and Social Justice.

 

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn to Dartmouth College today for the second time. Kabat-Zinn first visited Dartmouth in the summer of 1984, when the college and the Connecticut River served as the training camp for the men’s Olympic rowing team. He was the meditation trainer for the team, helping them to optimize their mental performance. Today, he is here to help optimize our performance.

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn holds a PhD in molecular biology from MIT. He is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society and its mindfulness-based stress reduction clinic. He is the author of numerous bestselling books, including Full Catastrophe Living, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Coming to Our Senses, and The Mindful Way Through Depression, co-authored with Williams, Teasdale, and Segal.

 

Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s research focuses on mind-body interactions for healing and on the clinical applications and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness training for people with chronic pain and stress-related disorders, including the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the brain. His current projects include editing The Mind’s Own Physician with Richard Davidson, and guest co-editing with Mark Williams a special issue of the journal Contemporary Buddhism.

 

Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s work has contributed hugely to a growing movement of mindfulness in mainstream institutions such as medicine, psychology, healthcare, schools and colleges, corporations, prisons, and professional sports. Courtesy of Kari Jo Grant here in our Student Health Promotion Department, Dr. Kabat-Zinn and his work have even made their way to the inside of our bathroom doors, featured as they are in the current edition of the Dartmouth College Stall Street Journal.

 

Please join me in welcoming Jon Kabat-Zinn back to Dartmouth College.

 

KABAT-ZINN: Thank you. It’s a delight to be here. Do I have to have the light this bright in my eyes? Maybe you could tone it down a little bit, so that people can still see me, but I’d like to be able to see you, too.

 

It’s a delight to be here. It’s nice to walk into a theater where mindfulness is on the marquee. You know you’ve really made it when it’s on the marquee along with Frankenstein. (laughter) It’s like you’re part of the mainstream, so to speak, however that goes, from moment to moment and from day to day. But it’s really a delight to be here.

 

I am here, basically, because of Helen Damon-Moore and her work, which I got to actually see at the University of Iowa, when she was at Iowa before coming here. Also Dr. Ira Byock, who I met in Ireland about two years ago – almost exactly two years ago – and I was just incredibly impressed by what he’s doing with integrative medicine and palliative care. I don’t live that far from this place, and I got in the car this morning and drove up. I’m really happy to be here for the next three days.

 

To have this many people come out at 4:30 on a sunny afternoon, after the kind of winter that we’ve had, to a talk about mindfulness is really some kind of indicator that something has shifted in the society. You all have better things to do, I’m sure, this afternoon, than to come here. Unless you have some kind of real intuition about what the healing power of mindfulness might be, and then it might actually be incredibly valuable to spend the end of a nice sunny Thursday afternoon here together.

 

This talk is really not about me or what I have to say; it’s about us. It’s about every single one of us, and in some sense, what the potential is, as the slide says, for living your moments as if they really mattered. I put a little asterisk in there, just kind of an aside, “and they actually do.” The reason they do is because we’re only alive when we’re alive. This seems a no-brainer, but you could say that a lot of our lives, we’re walking around with a no-brainer or just basically no brain, or the brain is on auto-pilot or something like that. What mindfulness really is about is bringing it back online, so to speak, in the present moment. Because that turns out to be the only moment any of us ever have.

 

But we’re so good at thinking, so incredibly good at thinking, that we can spend enormous amounts of our time and energy absorbed in the past. Have you noticed that? Just incredible preoccupations about who’s to blame for why it’s like this, or how great it was in the good old days, and why can’t it be that way now? There’s a tremendous attraction to the past, or a tremendous aversion. But whether it’s attraction or aversion, we spend a lot of time there. Would you agree? Have you noticed that a lot of the time, if you check on what your mind is up to, it’s up to memory. It’s up to thinking about things that are already over, to a large degree.

 

The other favorite preoccupation of the mind is in the opposite direction, the future. If, again, you check in every once in a while, just to – sometimes I like to say you can call yourself up. You may have to, because we are “on” 24/7. We’re infinitely connected. Probably every single person has one of these in their pocket. I hope there are some exceptions. And they’re called “smart” phones, but they’re not – but they can really dumb us down, because we can be infinitely connected everywhere except here. So we may need to call ourselves up every once in a while, “Hello, Jon? Are you actually here?” (laughter) And the answer is, “No, I’m off in the future, thinking.” By the way, of course you’ll get a bill from AT&T or Verizon.

 

But seriously, what are our favorite preoccupations in the future? Well, one is worrying. I don’t know about in the north country; maybe you’ve gone beyond worrying. But the rest of the world, a lot of worry about things that haven’t happened yet, and may never happen. In fact, Mark Twain is famous for having said – you probably heard this in a lot of different guises, but he’s famous for having said, “There’s been a huge amount of tragedy in my life, and some of it actually happened.” (laughter)

 

There is this saying that “he died 1,000 deaths.” We drive ourselves crazy over things that are not going to be happening, because we’re not smart enough to actually forecast the future, but that doesn’t prevent us from driving ourselves crazy and perseverating over and over and over again about what will happen, and then something else happens, because we’re not that smart. So something else happens, and we say we’re blindsided.

 

How many of you would like the future to be different from the way we think it’s going to turn out? Anybody ever find yourself wishing the future was going to be majorly different, that we’d make some kind of change in the world? Raise your hands. I want to just feel in the audience.

 

I heard social justice mentioned earlier, and this is, after all, a university or – I guess you call yourself a college, but a campus kind of situation – so it doesn’t surprise me. This kind of engagement really requires thinking about what it means to make the future different. How can we possibly apply any leverage? Could we find an Archimedes fulcrum with which to influence the future? There’s only one fulcrum that I know of for that, and that is the present. Because guess what? We’re living in the future of every single moment in all of our lives that came before this one.

 

Do you remember back – I see there’s kind of a range of ages, although most of you don’t look like you’re college students, I’ve got to say. (laughter) And I’m a little disappointed. Not that I’m disappointed that you came, but I’d like to see a lot more college students. They’re going to Frankenstein, probably, later. It’s an awkward time of day for the young people. How many of you are under 25? 25 or under? Oh, so I’m wrong. That’s really nice to be wrong. (applause)

 

I was going to say to the older people, maybe you did it when you were even younger; do you remember before you came to college here, and probably you got into planning what the courses were that you were going to take when you got a hold of the catalogue, or you went online and you began planning, “Oh, in the freshman year I’ll take this, and sophomore year, and the junior year…” And then maybe you planned even who you were going to meet and who you might marry and what your children will look like. Does that sound familiar? Sometimes we do that when we’re young. And then we think that it’s all going to turn out in the future.

 

No matter what your age is, I’ve got news for you: this is it. It already turned out. How did it turn out? It turned out just like this. In this moment, your life is just like this. Not happy with it, a little bit sad or depressed or wishing it was different? That’s not a problem. That’s not a problem, because we can always feel like okay, how are we going to be in relationship to this? Of course, life is not easy. A lot of times we’re faced with enormous challenges, sometimes with enormous pain, sometimes with enormous threat. That’s part of the human condition.

 

But the real interesting question when it concerns, say, the future, and concerns living as if life really mattered, is can we actually be in the present moment when things are not the way we thought they would be? Or sometimes the shorthand for it is “I didn’t sign up for this.”

 

 
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Revolution in the Mind Sciences P6

 

The final point here is suggest   towards a first revolution in the mind sciences. if suggest that we haven’t had one  blue there has been  too much dogma suppressing  the empirical study of  mental phenomena themselves  as oppose to real physical <>. Now there is a possibility as we have access to Buddhism, Hinduism, <> tradition, psychology, neuron science we no longer are isolated.

 

Here at Google you maybe know this better than anybody else. You are on the globe, physical plant happens to be in Mountain View but it could be on amazon. We’re now living in a globe where we can integrate like ever before. integrate these <> first person and third person methodology  from the  contempative, the psychological , the neuro scientist in collaboration with the cognitive  scientist  the whole broad range and  contemplatives who has  exceptional mental cu c insights  resulting from  rigorous sustain mental training and observing and experimenting with states of consciousness.

 

there will be a change  to break down the barriers, to throw out dogma and uncorroborated assumption and open up a new renaissance  of americium  and  the scientific study of the mind that would be confound contempt  and experiential  and diet rigorously scientific. that  could revolutionize the <> ,  it could revolutionize  science and it could bring this unfortunate rift between religion and science, creationism of the school district that makes most of us gag and  start breaking those barriers and  see  about integrating  west and west , ascent and  modern and cats that fresh light on the nature of the mind  and on human identity. It’s a possibility, that’s my hope.

 

Audience: going back to the rift that instead of looking through some criticism that <> within the Greek god is one of the original ways to be <> and then there’s always <>?

 

Second speaker: it’s just one away. If was using taste in a short presentation.  If was saying here’s a good sampling. This was not promotion Buddhism vs. Hinduism roar the Muslim trading or the <>. If was saying this is a good example form the very rich, well developed, intellectually, very sophisticated contemplative trading but the Santa Barbara Institute, which if found is not a Buddhist institution. It is an inter contemplative tradition drawing from the wealth of east ND west competitive from all over the world interfacing these with a bust of science. It’s not plugging any one tradition and it’s certainly not trying to validate Buddhism or any particular school. It’s very much the contrary.

 

These great contemplative tradition have been after universal truce and not just trying to collaborate Buddhist ideas and I’m not <> in that at ll. if think going back to Greek though, back to Plato, back to <> themselves to the notion of <> which is the hyper mental perception by means of which we can directly observe non sensual meant kl phenomena, tests   a Greek notion but we’ve forgotten it.

 

I don’t want to leave anybody out. That’s indigenous people, west and east bring it all together because the stakes Rae high now. We’re dealing with something that is central   to everybody’s existence and that’s consciousness. let’s  throw out dogma of all sorts  and not leave anybody out , not leave out the contemplative , not leave out  the burro scientist, not leave out anybody and really start  fusing and  taking advantage of the technology including transportation that  we have now so that  we can  really droop in thus wealth of <> insights and  multiple methodologies. This <> pluralism I think is actually the key.

 

Audience :<>

 

Second speaker: so the question is if this so going to be scientific and of course science gained its laws by studying objective stuff. You can even look at it from a third person perspective. Quantifiable but measure. If one lab dies <> another can cohobated it and its pretty clear.   Mental phenomena are subjective. As john <> irreducibly, <> first person. U think a good analogy for this, the question deserves not a two minute sewer. It deserves conferences` and really detailed investigations so we don’t come up with cheap answers.

 

If we take of example mathematics. Mathematics is not scribbling thins on a board.  That’s the outer display of it but anybody here who don’t know mathematics can memorize the equations and write with the best of them with no understanding at all.  When study higher mathematic s in my training in physics its really subjective.  It’s working thigh a proof. Its thinking you may do something out here on the board, you may not but the rule juice of mathematics is smoothing taking <> internally and say how can mathematicians ever speak with each other. How can they know who’s great.

 

They get a similar training. They go through an undergraduate, the go through graduate, the go through post do and after a while they know who gets the field medal. It’s not that you write things on the board, it’s through dialogue and you say we speak a similar language. everybody else thinks they can’t understand what we’re talking but you I and I have gone through eight years of training in mathematics and we knot the elegant proofs, we know <> mathematics, we know the short stuff and so even though its largely internal they develop a language in common training do that they can communicate amounts themselves in ways that’s outsiders can   understand.

 

let’s imagine, this is hypothetical  in a ways that  is slaps historical l in another and that is  you spent a lot of time with Tibetans , laboring in Tibetan culture and we have <> there who would go for ten to thirty hours of training.  with the common  basis of  ideas and  training , contemplative technology and so  forth and they develop a refined, professional  language that they  can speak amongst  each other and they know what they’re talking about because  like the mathematical they share training and development , they share their vocabulary and then amongst tem we  know that this is true in the Tibetan  tradition all the great  contempative , the great  scholars they  know how the cream are. It was <>, those people the peers know. To an outsider it looks like a really sweet much, really nice guy. God charisma but the professional knows it’s more than that. This guy really has the Skippy, this man really know what’s going on.

 

I would not ask you to accept   that7 because I’m saying it but I’m saying this issue has been grappled with. If we take a more <> example wine <>.  when  I drink I got  my pallet ringed when I was eighteen because I got r drunk on red mountain wine, whiskey and beer at the  same time and that tolled my tongue for like . So I can’t tell any good vintage from anther. I’ve hung out with people who has had that training. Its three years for training and then years of getting experience so two wine ><> come together and say “was it a 1948 or 1949 and what part of France was this raised in?” the state of swine is very subjective.  You can’t pick up the taste offline with some external technology that will tell you that this is a $500 dollar bottle as oppose to a $5 bottle. No technology will tell you that.

 

They train a d then they use things like <>, they have a specialize vocabulary and they know who the brilliant wine <> are and who is just mediocre.  That’s a specialized vocabulary and they know what they’re talking about and outsiders like me if I don’t have a clue. Wine testing is every imperial, the mathematical is very internal. If we try to inward inspiration on those only by analogy them perhaps we can get some idea but again the danger there’s all kinds of danger here, a mind field   and that is they’re all being brainwashed in the same way. that was  how introspection felled to its knees and died the different labs were simply collaborating their own assumptions and the trainees and observers  their observations were so laden  with  the theories and assumptions of their Mentos that they  were; ‘not getting this inter lab cohabitation , it fell apart but they gave  up too soon and they didn’t go through a  tenor twenty hours  training , not <> , not James at  Harvard. those requires training if its going to be  professional, dint give them five hours of training or a week of  trading , how about three years of training , ten  tear if training.

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Revolution in the Mind Sciences P5

 

 

Perhaps the imperial observation and mental phenomena nm may dispel this illusion of knowledge not from medical schools but from modern <>. happily are your American, Australian are now modern because in Singapore , it’s in  Bangkok , it’s in Argentina , it’s in brazil. It’s not just the west now it’s the  vision of <>.

 

Happily we’re not that only intelligent life in the universe. happily there have been  other civilizations on this planet  that has statistically the  same scattering  of geniuses of  our euro American civilization but they weren’t us, they weren’t in  the <> basin . They didn’t come out of the Abrahamic religion, of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They didn’t come out of the Greek heritage Plato and Aristotle. Other civilization for five thousand years, India for who knows how many thousands of years might they have come up with anything we haven’t. It’s one of those questions you don’t normal ask.  At least not at academia, it not one of the questions that comes up.

 

we’re  just assuming that we trump everybody  but India , classical India they unlike Galileo , unlike the  founders  of our scientific revolution they were not  seeking a god’s eye view of object reality . They were not creating or assuming an absolute demarcation, a <> between subject and object a trying to object the world from an absolutely outside respective, God’s own perspective that just wasn’t on the agenda for Indians.

 

They were seeking to understand the world of experience not just some objective world independent of experience. In science we cloaca. if that’s   your agenda to understand the world of e experience mot a god’s eyes view of something that transcends the experience, if that’s what your focus  is, in German philosophy by the way its called  <> veldt  form  the phenomena attribute of <>. if what you’re primarily wishing  to understand  the world of experience then the study  of the mind has to be  central to <> the natural world  because the world of experience  doesn’t even  exist thigh consciousness.

 

There is no world of experience without someone experiencing it and so for the Indian the study of the mind was the first thing they tacked, in modern science it was the last thing they studied. Consciousness itself didn’t even come up for almost a hundred years. Only the last ten or fifteen years has consciousness become a legitimate object of enquiry for a <> near scientist of psychology.

 

When if studied <> psychology at Stanford, consciousness was not there, it wasn’t even in the index. Introspection was only mentioned in e preface when they said “we tried it and it don’t work” and they moved wright on.  The Indian happily are not part of our <> basin box. They have their own areas and this is one of them. The <> and I’m reposing here that it’s a kind of telescope of the mind.  These revolutionary truth seekers and they were revolutionary.  they were kicking away from  whole higher , dusty religious system cackled the <> tradition , heavily institutionalized , ritualistic, dogmatic , close minded  and they said enough and these <> and these truth seekers roughly maybe three thousand years  ago they set out to understand the world of experience with a primary emphasis   in mind and the first thing they discovered is if you’re going to try and observe mental phenomena  the observation of it has to be introspection but your attention is wobbling all over the place.

 

It was ADHD three thousand years ago. <> you’re either getting droopy or falling asleep at the wheel or your mind is scattered all over the place. How can you ace rigorously sane observation of mental phenomena if your attention is wobbling all over the place salting between <> and agitation. The first thing they did and they were very good at it by the time that Buddha came along twenty   five years ago is that they developed extraordinary effective techniques or refining and causing attention. rather like a telescope firmly mounted on a tripod, polished lens, large aperture so you can make  stable video observations  not of  stars because they were’ not that interested   but they wearer fascinated to study the mind.

 

They develop a telescope of the mind the like of which we have beaver eloped and modern scientist since William James have not made any progress at all. that was the ground  work laid like the  Dutch lens  makers  who started off before Galileo  and there was this historical individual Buddha  <> and  if would  say he was to India what Galileo was to the west. He took a preexisting technology bite it was a contemplative technology of refining attention and he applied it in unprecedented easy. instead of simply going in  a state  of <>, experience bliss, equanimity , euphoria  and so forth he stabilized the mind and then he used it  to explore e states of consciousness  , ordinary states but  rigorously, empirical states of consciousness and made  at least that  ids the claim. Not for us to take as religion that would be boring but to take as hypotheses, they said they discovered this just like too NY good to scientist you hear somebody y over there in Beijing in their lab, can we replicate it?  That’s the first thing that comes up. Somebody in Korea said they cloned a dog, let’s replicate it.

 

This is what scientist are doing all the time. If somebody makes a claim they replicate it and this is exactly what the Buddha encourages. He said these are my discoveries but don’t host take my word for it. See if you can replicate it and here’s the experimental procedures.  first of all cultivate a way of  life , aw whole  way of behaving in the world that is conducive to social  flourishing so that  here at Google you can all get along  together happy, harmoniously .you know how that happens , ethics. If there no ethics you’re ally going to be ripping each other hair out. with ought ethics no harmony , with ethic= you have a chance but also a  relationship with the  environment at large with mountain view, with the state of  California  the planet earth there’s a  way that we  can live in harmony in our natural environment without sucking it dry and leaving the husks  to your children. Artists called environment ethics.

 

 

that was the foundation upon the basis of that  , developing mental  balance, refining the mound , refining attention , developing exceptional levels of mental health and well-being and with that basins then  becoming a true contemplative scientists  and using the redone attention out explore  sub consciousness  giving rise to a sense of spiritual  authority or some will call liberation.

 

I’m suggesting something dramatic , something  revolutionary here an denote I’ve said nothing original  at ll. it was  William harems , it  was <> , it was Buddha . They’re saying this is the way to go to understand the nature of the mind. Don’t be satisfied by just studying the physical <>. You’re always going to get that which is around consciousness but nit the nature of consciousness. Should we be skeptics of that? The answer is yes said Richard Fine man the great Nobel <> in   physical. He said one of the ways of stopping science would be only to do experiments in the region where you know the <>, play it safe. If you want to understand consciousness stick to the brain… you’ll get tenure. You’ll be published in <> review ` journals.  Go introspection route and you’re on thin ice.

 

He said experimental search most diligently and with greatest effort in exactly those places where it seems most likely that we can prove our theories wrong. There’s a theory that the mind is just the brain, the mind ii just a <> of thwart brain, the mind Meta<> are physical. maybe its true but the good  skeptic, not the one who is skeptical of other person’s  views, the person woes is skeptical of his own assumption says ” lets out that ne to the test ” . In other words we’re trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible because only in that way can we find progress.

 

Science is known for skepticism, religion is known for dogmatic but what does Buddha say here, this great Galileo of India. He said in repose to a buck of skeptics, he as aid you should be skeptical about what you should be skeptical bout.  Do not be led by report for tradition or hear say.  Do not be led by authority of religious text or by mere logical inference all by itself not y considering appearance.   just taking a causal look , taking all the  races at face value  nation  by delight and ooespeculative popinion  nor by sieing possibilirties not by  the idea thsi is  my teacher , ehat he said must be right  but when you know for youerselves  taht some things are un wholesome,  destructive and detrimental then  reject them and when you know for  yourslef that certain things  are wholeosme  and good then accept them and  foloow them . in otheres words be a skepitc.  He encourages his own followers to be a sketic.

 

<> was used to great effect coming out of the medial era into the renaissance. As <> said the principle is, it is vain to do with more assumptions what can be done with fewer assumption. What I’m suggesting here is we have too many assumptions if the scientific study of the mind. Let us use <> razor to shave off the assumption the mental phenomena or physics. It’s just an assumption. <> point out they don’t look physical why should they be. If we have off that assumption what have we lost? What less do we know? We still know the <>, we know just about as much about the brain a behavior as we did before. `We’ve just shaved off an assumption that has never been <> threw tat ne out and now apply a fresh method of inquiry of introspection to actually observe mental phenomena and what might we gain the answer is we don’t know unless we try it. as we draw this to a colors  we come back  to William James that suggested in terms of this interface science,  religion and  imparism, he said  ” let imperssicism once become  associated  with religion as hither  too through some strange misunderstanding. It has been associated with <> religion and if believe that a new era of religion as well as philosophy will be ready to begin if fully believe that such an empiricism is a more naturally than <> ever were and can be   other religious life. In other words introduce it empiricism into religion as much as science through <> both sides of the  fence and let’s see what the fireworks display.

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Revolution in the Mind Sciences P4

 

It would be marvelous to have such technology the only problem is we don’t have it. That’s why there is such an enormous debate around abortion. No person wants to kill babies. These are not evil people on either sides of the fence but nobody has a clue that the thing in the womb is conscious. Is it twelve days, it is as the Muslim say a hundred and twenty days?  As it as the Roman Catholic see at conception? Who has got a clue imperially we don’t have any objective means of detective the presence or absence or conscious of anything mineral, plants, human etc.

 

That makes it tough to have a science of consciousness. What’s are the neuron <> of consciousness what are the neuron <>, what’s invariably happening when you’re conscious? They’re called the NCC the Neuron <> consciousness haven’t been identified yet let alone consciousness. We don’t even know what the neuron <> of consciousness are.

 

What are the   necessary and sufficient causes of consciousness? We don’t have to speak of it in the abstract. Let’s say visual perception. We know act about the visual cortex. It’s the area of the brain that is pretty well mapped out. We know that in human beings the visual cortex s necessary for us to see color, for visual perception to take place.

 

we  know that visual  cortex, the octave nerve ,, the retina are necessary  for the generation of visual perception in human beings  but do you need a visual cortex if you’re developing some artificial  intelligence and you want  it to be copious but you’re not going to give it a  guys brain  you want to  wick it our with silicone chips.

 

Is a visual cortex necessary in an instrument of artificial intelligence? We don’t know. We don’t know what the defiant causes are. Whether it’s sufficient just to have a visual cortex and futons coming in. we don’t know what the necessary or sufficient causes are for visual perception let alone any other consciousness. Any assumptions about heat holes to consciousness at death are just assumptions. To speak with confidence and knowledge consciousness terminates at death, you would have had to identify the necessary sufficient cause athletes the sufficient causes are there but we don’t know whether they are so we don’t know what happens to consciousness at death.

 

We finally come to a data <> a philosophy mind called the hard problem and this is the chemical and electricity inside the skull they’re really ordinary… they’re just want chemist have been studying for decades. They’re no mystical neuron or chemical or electrons in there. It’s really ordinary stuff.

 

How is it that neuron generate subjective experience? What is it about those chemicals and electricity that enables them to generate subjective experience, nominal states or even influence mental states? All we know from <> effects we go to a doctor and we receive a tablet and we believe it night work, the <> effect is going to kick in big tome. Just your   belief, your expectation, your desire and truss will have amours impact on your body, your brain, you immune system. the pharmaceutical industry knows this very well.

 

How is that possible that you can go from an idea, a faith, a belief and then it actually influences physical health? so when we add up all of that ignorance it comes hard to say that we actually have a science on consciousness it falls in the retina blind spot but never the less we cover over that retain blind so it with assumptions or what if would call illusions of knowledge and John <>, a very distinguished philosopher of mind expresses his illusion of knowl3edge although he’s expressing it as knowledge when he writes ” there’s a simple solution to the mind body problem”. Isn’t that good relief, it’s a simple problem.

 

The news gets better. This solution has been available to any educated person since work has begun on the brain nearly a century ago and in a sense we all know w it to be true.   Here it is mental phenomena are caused by meant neuron psychological process in the brain. I f you knock out your virtual cortex you won’t see any longer, if f you knock out your hippy <> other things don’t happen, frontal cortex tether tings happen but there’s a catch. Mental phenomena are themselves features if the brain.  Mental phenomena themselves are geophysical. When did ewe learn that? Where is the empirical evidence that showed equivalence between mental phenomena and Nero events rather than nurse that’s taking on the role of casual generating and resultant mental phenomena? Who demonstrated equivalence? The answer is nobody but he’s saying everybody knows it. How does everybody know something that nobody why knows and for which there is not empirical <> at all.

 

Happily one of the foremost people on the front lines of scientific and research of consciousness Christ off <. outstanding Nero scientist,  he’s the one leading the charge  of trying to find the neuron <> of consciousness. he unmasks this illusion when   he states ” the character of brain states and the phenomenal  states” by that he mean mental phenomena, designers , emotions and so forth , the character of brain states and mental states appeared too different  to be completely reducible to  each other.

 

Look at brain states, they don’t have any mental qualities at all. Observe mental states, phenomena process. They don’t have any physical properties at all bring out all your instruments of technology, they don’t detect a single mental of events. Why are on earth are we equating these   when they don’t even have any overlapping qualities.  Neural eve vents ebbing c aural takes a hundred millisecond to generate the salts and metal state. They don’t even exist in the same point in time.

 

He’s calling a spade to spade here, they’re so different. It now seems unlikely that they can be reusable to each other namely that mental phenomena are nothing other than brain states. He said if suspect that the relationship is more complex that traditionally envision. Traditionally envision are that mental phenomena is just physical. For now it’s best to keep an open mind on third s matter. If love it when scientist say that.

 

Let’s just acknowledge that we’re ignorant w. we don’t know the nature of mental events, we don’t know that they’re physical. Let’s keep an open mind nut practically speaking what should we do know and lets concentrate in identifying the <> of consciousness in the brain. its back to business as usual .it’s   not picking up the gauntlet that William James threw down  its  going back to the safe, observing the quantifiable , the physical , the  objective as if  you’re rally going to fathom the nature of consciousness by singly  studying the neuron <> that contributes   to  the vernation of consciousness.

 

He’s a really good Nero scientist so we can’t blame   him for saying let’s focus on the brain but   that doesn’t mean all of us should. William James aid ” ukase when are you going to listen to me?” Daniel <> a very distinctive historian wrote and excellent book called the Discoverers, the history of makings discovery for the last 5,000 years, in the preface of this book he makes a very imporant point.  He said throughout human history the illusion of knowledge. Thinking knowing something that we don’t know at all but absolutely being convinced by it,

 

Illusion of knowledge and not ignorance have or oven to be the principle obstacles to discovering ignorance he <> know can find out, an illusion of knowledge if already know and we don’t need to ask mental phenomena as physical. That’s an illusion as Kristoff <> made clear.

 

What I’m reposing her is that if try to envision the first revolution in the mind science. X starting in `79 where was the revolution?  At one point nothing was the same because Ou understand off the mind has radically shifted with Darwin with respect to life, Galileo with respect to its place in the universe.

 

What’s in suggestion here is that we need a renaissance of empiricism. The imperial examination of physical phenomena. If we look back to the time of Galileo the imperil examination of physical phenomena dispels the illusions of knowledge of <> with respect to our regrind physical phenomena. They thought in the 15th century that knowledge was complete. They had the bible which was s god’s own rowed, they hide Aristotle the philosopher. Thomas <> fuse these into one perfect system. Except that it was riddled with illusion of knowledge and Galileo started tipping over that cart and is never been operated science. It was Galileo then it ea. newton, one after another and they kept on showing that which you thought was incomplete is not only incomplete but is radically flawed because you’re mistaking illusions of knowledge for actual knowledge.

 

I’m suggesting here that the imperial observation of natural phenomena not just the behavior or neuron <> but the phenomena themselves. Picking up the challenge of William James may dispel the illusions of knowledge of modern physicalize regarding mental phenomena.

 

Physicalize assumes, it onsite emphatically that there is nothing in the universes apart from physical <> and their emerging properties. Who said why the whole of reality should fit into a human conceptual construct. after all we are the one that define physical, nature didn’t define it for us  and the very nature  of the physical have shifted from the time of Dick Hart through Newtown , Though Maxwell,  Through Max Plank , through Einstein , Through  Steven Hockings it’s a moving target . Everything is reduce able onto physics. Which physics?  The physics of yesterday or a hundred years from now? Where fades the moving target spot? At ha pint can a physicist say “we’ve got it under wraps now” we know that the physical and mental phenomena have to fit into that box.

 

They day your state says that you should stop doing physics and you’ve become a medical scholastic. We now know what s physical and nature happily fit into out conceptual construct.  Nature, the whole of nature fit into outer box and we call it   physical. That’s not scientific that’s dogmatic.

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Revolution in the Mind Sciences P3

 

Teen back then they thought “what’s Dick Hart, we thought you were a pretty smart guy”. Which is more idiotic? To say your dog has no feelings or you have no feelings? When I was studying at Stanford, when I was studying philosophy of mind we learn that the whole school of behavior is the dominated American psychology for fifty or sixty years can be refuted with a joke?

 

Its sough when a whole system id refuted by a joke e but it can be. A man and a woman make love e, the man rolls over, light up cigarette and says it was great for you, how was it for me?  We can ask how it is for brilliant minds, psychology at Brooklyn, Stanford Harvard, and Chicago how could they study for fifty or sixty years and on something bizarre and so anti imperial.

 

If asked my professor of piles of mind at standard this “you know the reputation was a piece of cake, it was a one page reputation. Any soft more with a hand middle could have writer it. How come they didn’t get this are smart people. Why didn’t they get it? “And the e professor smiled at me with a whimsical grin and said “after sell it ewes a matter of fashion.”  That’s a niche way of from thinking, this introspect followed by the way side. It was thrown out the back window and they didn’t look back.

 

This challenge of Williams James and <> bring introspection and make it scientific has been ignored and has been ignored to this day. I’m finding a parallel here, if we go back to Galileo and his telescope and the kind of trouble he got himself into  there was medieval  theological resistance to Galileo’s empiricism, to his using the telescope and discovering things that violated the principles of a literal reading of the bible and the meta  physical surgeons of Aristotle. Until Galileo, for the most part people   that were interested in he stars were astrologers. they would do a full astronomy when they look up in the starts  but what ethyl were really interested in was the terrestrial corsets of celestial phenomena , should if get married tomorrow or  next  month , when should  sew my crops when was my  birthday  and so working out your   horoscope. That’s what they were really interested in and that’s where the professionals were in making horoscope they left astronomy at pretty much a folk level. when Galileo said ” look I’ve got a telescope I’m making some fantastic discoveries here.” the most  conservative  <> of his time refuse too look  through  a telescope saying ” we don’t need to . If we discover something in your telescope that contradicts what we know to be true, from the bible and Aristotle what’s you’re seeing is false. It must be an arbitration, an artifact of your lenses and after all it’s merely an illusion why should we need to.” so they refuse to use it and they refuse to accept the discoveries. they grounded him, they put him under house arrest and said” go to your room and stay there of the rest of your life” like a mom and dad getting irritated at their teenage kid.

 

Now we have Galileo of the modern times, we have James saying we have a whole new kettle of fish where. We have a domain of the natural world. In other words this is not a supernatural infusion from God. these are natural phenomena, these mental phenomena  lets follow Galileo cue and observe  them carefully  but what do we have in response form  behaviorist , from the cognitive psychologist and the  cognitive neuron psychologist which are really prominent these days.

 

We have   a focus on the behavioral and Nero moralism mental phenomena. The introspections a sophisticated, refined observation by and lager a refuse, by and large inside departments, Nero science departments. if you introduce ” how about really some refined  intersection ” and they’ll say ” sorry we’re busy , we’re studying the brain., we’re studying  <>, aspects of psychology we don’t need it .” after all introspection give  rise  to only the appearances of the mind they’re losery after all  so why should we bother. Let’s get back and study the hardware and let’s start a neuron science lab.

 

there’s  a certain limitation in this  orientation of insisting that everything that is real must be physical, everything boils down to physics and let us just od a waltz thigh history here, think about Copernicus , think about <> magicians  who are crunching the numbers, coming up with  one epic cycle, one in centric after another. Great mathematical s, really not that great for observing celestial phenomena.

 

If you can imagine confining and understanding just mathematics. You’re sitting in your room and you’re a great mathematician there’s nothing in pure mathematics that defines natural energy. There’s nothing that defines the emergence of physical phenomena in the universe, there’s nothing in pure mathematics that predicts that there ever would be a universe. N pure mathematics there is nothing that explains the emergence of natural energy, when would it happen, whew as the big bang? When did you start getting particles?

 

You have to step outside of mathematics as Galileo did and combine the mathematics with imperial observation. Now we shift over into the realm of physics and imagine front he tine being but you don’t know anything about bloody or psychology, confine your understanding just to physics class in the <>, electro magnetism, <> dynamics, the whole renege of physics.  There is nothing in physics that say or defines life. If you don’t know anything about biology there’s nothing that defines life, life and death, heath and sickness. These words don’t mean anything in physics that’s where scientific training was.

 

These two words   don’t drop up, life and death, healthy and sick, flourishing and so on. They dot crop up. There’s nothing in physics that defines life, there’s nothing in the laws of physics<> that predicts that at some point in the universe life would emerge.  It happened but physics didn’t tell you it happen and once it has happened physics on its own does not explain life.

 

Let’s shift to biology, now we’ve got mathematics, physicians and biology, if you find your understanding to biology alone with its physics and mathematics n behind it there’s nothing in biology that defines consciousness. There’s nothing in biology that predicts the emergence of consciousness. At what point in the evolution of life or our planet where you know it take place, at what point did consciousness happen and why? There’s nothing in biology that predicts it, nothing in biology that defines it and once it’s there biology does not explain consciousness in living organism and now it’s finally moved to psychology.

 

finally we’re in the mind science and were setting a tension ,  volition , perception and memory and so on  butt in psychology they are people throughout the planet  in the united states and everywhere  else from  Millennia who has been having religious experiences. call it spiritual , call it religious  but a sense of the transcendent, something larger and so forth this has been  sheening and its happening a long time up until this day . there’s bathing in psychology that predicts that  this will ever happen  that defines religious experiences in its  own word to something very <> like hysterias, form  of neurosis , form of psychosis and so forth . In drawing its own to psychology you miss what was there that was distinctively spiritual and religious. Psychology by itself does now define, read it or explain the emergence of <> and yet there it is, it happens.

 

This will be an argument not against maths, physics, biology and psychology but saying its <> epistemic pluralism and that’s let’s get off of this rut. if  think everything can be explained in terms  of the more primitive  and recognize we need different modalities of inquiry  that  everything doesn’t boil down to physics  or biology .

 

In this physics less world view which in many ways have so much going for it. We know about what happens in the Nano seconds after the big bang that is spectacular. We know about the inner nucleus of an atom, quarks with charms and colors. We know about the constitution of galactic clusters ten billion lite years away but what about consciousness? That which make all of science possible. It’s the blind spot. If would call it metaphorically the retinal blind spot in the scientific vision where the optic never touches the back of the retina and you know what happens there. We walk around with two dark spots in our visual field. We should have that because there is no information coming in from these spots.

 

What does our cunning brain do? It cover s over the area you know nothing at all, if t covers it over with the environment. If you’re looking at a brown wall them you’re looking at it with brown. if’ you’re looking at a purple  wall that covers it with  purple , it covers that over  which you don’t know at all with that which is familiar and gives  you an illusion of knowledge.

 

What is there  in the retina blind spot of the scientific vision of consciousness? That’s a bad start. If consciousness is a natural phenomenon for heaven sake let’s have a definition. How can you study it if you don’t even define what you’re studying? That’s a problem but for any imperils it’s a crucial point which we have no objective means of detecting consciousness.

 

There’s a word for a type of technology that so doesn’t exist it’s called a <>. it would be like a gigercounter that you can point to rocks, plants, amoeba, baby during the first trimester and during the last trimester and to an old person who has Alzheimer’s an become vegetated `an d your bring out you <> and it would say the croute is not sinuous and then to the insect eating plants, the rat and the cock roach and you will get tot in a <>. It’s ten<> physiological units that’s how consulting it is.

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Revolution in the Mind Sciences P2

by this rigorous observation and internal phenomena I think he was the ne I think more than anybody else that launce the true revolution , the first great revolution ND it wasn’t in physical sciences. In a similar fashion Darwin spent about 25 years in very meticulous, rigorous, careful observation of biological phenomena. of course in the <> we all know about that , that its wasn’t just the <> he was doing years of study observing and in 1859 came up with this great monumental work , the organ of the species , that would not have happened had he not been meticulously observing that biological phenomena.

it was not just staying home at his estate and thinking very deeply about biological , it was not by doing really good physics it was by observing biological phi novena carefully and then drawing from that and developing his specatcular theory about evolution .

Then we get to 1890, we get to the closing years of the 19th century, the first decade of the 21st century and the person I believe is of equal stature William James. I have to admit he’s one of my heroes so really look out for this guy. He was brilliant, he was a MD, he was a biology, he was a spectacular philosopher, and he wrote the greatest American treats on religious experience. he was a psychologist , he started the first Nero science lab exponential Psychology Lab in the Unite d States in Harvard. he was a brillaiant philosper, religious studies scholar, scientis , MDF , bioligist , pscychologit and he was so dogma free. thats what i love about this guy . he wasnt buying into any dogma . He was an impurist, in fact he started school of philosophy called Radical Empiricism.

William James came to the mind and this is something that has been postponed for 300 years from the time of Copernicus. can you imagine 300 years of the development of science, physics , chemistry, biology , astronomy , geology etc. 300 years before they actually started the scientific study of the mind . That should throw you back for a moment if you’ve not quite thought of it in those terms. This is bizarre.

The mind is that which you are doing all the science. It would be like somebody giving you an instrument and saying “use this instrument you’ll discover a lot of things” and waiting 300 years before you actually look at the instrument itself. That is weird but there’s very good reason for it and today we have too short of time to really explore them in depth.

Of course for those 300 years the natural sciences establish the reputation, a spectacular reputation, and a well earn reputation for setting objective, quantifiable, physical phenomena. So you can bring in the full weight of mathematics, the technology that is there starting from the telescope moving right through all the extraordinary masses in technology.

the mental phenomena , emotions , thoughts , mental images, desires , memories , expectation , the whole array, the visual perception , auditor , mental perception , dreams these are e not objectives they’re subjective. They’re not quantifiable they’re qualitative. They’re not physical. The last time you have a dream, look at contents of the dream and ask what physical attributes the contents of your dream have. The answer is none. Your desires, your hopes and fears, your feelings, your thoughts and mental images. They don’t have any physical attributes at all. You observe them and they’re not physical. They certainly don’t appear physical, if they are physical then they’re really concealing something.

William James was pressing perhaps the greatest t challenge in the history in science with its 300 years of spectacular success. we because he himself was biologist and MD , we’ve gotten extremly good using scientific methods to explore the objective , quantifiable physical and now can we take this same expertise , the same methodological rigor and apply it to that which is by nature subjective, qualitative and perhaps nonphysical. he said let’s do it in the old fashion way and that is let psychology be above all the study of mental phenomena as we experience them immediately and for that like physics, like biology what as <> a revolution in the mind scientist, let us start and do it the old fashion way, carefully, meticulously, rigorously observe the phenomena themselves.

He proposed this and he didn’t do it. They tried it for about twenty or third y years and then ethyl stopped. William James wasn’t the only person. William James started the first experimental physiology lab at Harvard in 1879 and here was his mission statement in terms of methodology, he said ” introspect of observation is what we have to rely on first and foremost and always. The word introspection need hardly be different, it means of course the looking into our own minds and recording what we there discover.”
In other words just as Galileo was an imperialist and Darwin was an imperist when we finally got around to the mind lets be equally imperial and stuff the phenomena themselves.

In presenting this he did not at all disparage or try to marginalize e studying the mind by way of behavior. The whole behavioral sciences inferring states unconsciousness, mental processes and so forth by way of behavior, he dint not disparage that.

We’re looking g at the effects of mental processes by studying behavioral output. then of course they knew back then that the brain is crucially important in generating mental states, processes and so forth so causally look at the mind indirectly by looking at the neuron causes giving rise to mental phenomena, look at the mind indirectly by looking that the behavior output our effects of mental phenomena but first and foremost and always look at the metal phenomena and let your science be biased upon the actual, careful observation of the phone themselves.

In the same year that William James started his first experimental lab at Harvard<>, the germ histologist in Germany started he same in the same year he started his own experimental physiology lab and he echoed a very similar theme. he said the service which is the experimental method of what we call the scientific method, the surface witch the scientific method can yield consist essentially in perfecting our inner observation or rather as I believe in making this really possible e in any exact sense `<> are you happy right now or sad, uninterested r bred, agitated rear calm. You don’t need to look at your behavior. You don’t have to go to an EAG or a FMRI and ask it how I am doing. To some level, to some rudimentary level right now you must have some idea what’s going in your mind. Are there lots of thoughts arising? Are you falling asleep? emotional states , cognitive stats , the focus of your attention , the slatterns of your attention but what both William James and <>, these two giants on the two sides of the Atlantic ocean was suggesting is take your folk psychology , your folk untrained intersection and start refining it , honing it, intensifying it , make this as sophisticated method of enquiry . This is the battle cry, this is the great challenge of the mind scientist.

1913 especially in American, john Watson at John Hopkins University, William James was just cooling off in the grave and another movement came in it was almost like a palace coupe. John Watson in 1913 said from now on the scientific study of the mind is going to avoid all psychological subjective terms. We will not use the term belief and emotion, thoughts, perception. We’re not going to use any of those subjective terms at all. They have no place in psychology this is bizarre. we’re going to have the science of the mind but by the way we won’t use any mental terming at all we’re going to treat the mind as if it’s a black box containing only disposition <> for behavior and we’re going to confine ourselves to studying the non-mind by way of behavior.

In other words it wouldn’t have flatten, like stamping on a thin can. We’re going to flatten the study of mental phenomena, treat the m as if they don’t exist and reduce psychology to the study of behavior. its back to the good old fashion way of objective , quantifiable and physical rather than picking up the gauntlet that James have thrown out and said” its time to start something afresh” attend to the natural phenomena and john Watson said no thanks.

these radical behaviorist , these have been going on from 1913 building a momentum , 1953 forty years later B.F. Skinner comes out and says ” mental phenomena do not exist . ” there is no such thing as emotion ., mental images, thoughts, desires, hopes and fears, they don’t exist at al. in fact consciousness is a word that refers to nothing at all . It’s a superstition. Your jaws should be dropping to your knee caps at this point. He said “after all they can’t exist, the y don’t have physical attributes”

this is the absolute trauma over dogma over experience because they’ve decided now B.F. Skinner writing in 1953, the only things that exist are physical and the properties of the physical mental phenomena clearly they don’t have any physical attributes therefore they don’t exist . He kept on saying that until 1974, he never learnt. He wasn’t some high yahoo at <> State University, he was a full professor at Harvard University and it looks like he’s brain dead. It really should astound us that such an intelligent operon, I say with respect, can say such a ridiculous thing. it compares to Dick Hart’s statement , also operating under the dogma – the roman catholic church in the 17th century, when he equated consciousness with human immortal soul ” only human being shave immortal souls animals don’t” I f you equated a consciousness with an immortal soul, you are now in one step logic have to come to the conclusion that animals are not conscious because they don’t have an immortal soul, they don’t go to heaven or hell ,therefore your dog has no consciousness which means no feelings.

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Revolution in the Mind Sciences

 

Date                May 27, 2013

Speaker/s         First speaker, second speaker

Title

 

 

First speaker: not a typical man, here’s a man that cannot sit still in one place. even while he was a man he went on  to get a degree in physics and then  he went on to start neuron sciences and phycology and eventually he got one of those PHD things that some of you have  and then he went on to become a professor in UCSB . Then he decided he couldn’t sit <> UCSB so he went out to found his own institute and he decided to take everything he ever learnt in life to try to advance the <> sciences.

 

When I heard about his work I figured this are things that will be interesting  to Google’s and mind scientist, so invited him  to come visit , come eat with  us and share a talk. Before I bring <> just a reminder to all Google’s please don’t ask questions that contains information that is school work confidential , thank you .

 

<Applause>

 

Second speaker: well it’s quite a delight for me to be with you today. I’ve known about Google like the rest of us for a long time, delighted to be in the matrix here and to share some of my passions pertaining to understand I had a rather diverse background but I had been blessed with extraordinary teachers in the <>, other Buddhist traditions but also marvelous instructors in physics, philosophy science at <> college and doing   very diverse PHD program at Stanford University; where <. In religious studies but taking courses in philosophy of physics and <> psychology philosophy of mind and trying to bring all of these together.  to integrate them , my background being raised  in the west  but then living years in  Europe and  quite a few years In to , to synthesize so that  these various aspects of   own life as a Buddhist monk for 14 years but also  physics student and so forth can be all integrated. So that the various aspects of my own last fifty six years on the planet would be all a one integrated unit so no part was isolated form the others.

 

This actually took a long time because again I had been exposed to so many diverse world views, ways of life and so on. What I’d   like to share with you this afternoon is a vision of a possibility of a first revolution in the mind sciences.  This very notion is based on an assumption that certainly can be contested. probably everything can be but the starting assumption here is that amid the  natural sciences we have the first great revolution in the natural science , starting with <> building on momentum with <> and coming  to its fulfilment to  its fruition with Newton ..

 

So the first great revolution we had in the natural sciences wasn’t physics and astronomy. I would say from own perceptive it started with Copernicus but with Newton it came together, he brought it all together and that’s when that revolution stopped and then we simply have a lot of excellent science and physics after that.

 

Then we move over to another discipline. The life sciences are plugging along and then 1859 Darwin comes out with his masterpiece. I he started the first and  the only  great revolution we’ve had in the life science .he started building  momentum in 1870s with Greggory Mendel , a Christian monk , with genetics of course and then he was  building  momentum. Key point one century after Darwin, 1959 <> and Watson DNA.  We fondly <>, how does this happen, the natural selection, hoe can species mutate?

 

Darwin didn’t tell us, Mendel gave us a hint. <> and Watson pointed there is a machinery. Following that we’ve had this extraordinary growth. A spectacular growth in the study of genetics and I would say that great revolution starting in 1859 has come to communication, it’s over and it was with the human genome project. We’ve mapped it, it’s something like 99%.

 

Now of course the study of biology of genetics will continue but it was 140 years and interestingly not, it’s probably just a coincidence but it was 140 years also from Copernicus through Newton. It took 140 years for the revolution to start and then go” Walla”.

 

We also have a second great revolution in physics and it started with Max plank in the 1900s. It picked up momentum in 1905 and 1915 with a special and relativity theory form Einstein. It was truly a revolution and by revolution I mean to use the familiar phrase, “the paradigm is shifted”. You’re fundamentally orientation toward the subject matter has shifted and it will never be the same. From geo centric to the hellio-centric. Ram pre Darwin to post Darwin nothing is the same. You cannot look at human existence, you cannot look at the pllanet the same way anymore. Your axis has rotated.

 

that  second great revolution in mystics is not over, 106 years of  you start 1900 when  Max Plank came out with the  notion of <>, it’s not over. there’s some  core ,crucial , fundamental issues in <> mechanics  in particular have not been sold  for the m most important of which  would say is the  measurement  problem.

 

 

how is it that  you move from  mathematical obstruction of a probability function which is hardly physical, it’s a pure abstraction but prior to making a measurement  that’s what you have , you have a probability function, a shooting away equation and then you make  a measurement then suddenly you have an electron that is here.  It still doesn’t have simultaneous exact momentum and location but at least it’s a real electron, Fulton but what is it   about the act of measurement that moves you forma a realm of possibility to a realm of actuality.

 

Somehow the observer is involved but in what way? What does it take for a measurement to take place? What’s required? So you need consciousness?  Could a robot do it? The measurement problem I think it was identified in about 1930 or so, it’s unsolved. What is the roll e of the observer in the natural world? It takes us from potential to actuality. another major  unresolved question in this 2th century physics is you have two extraordinary , elegant , rap found , powerful theories  and that is <. Mechanics in one hand and generality on the other.  Neither one of them is going away. They’re too good but they’re not integrated. That would be the grand <> theory and nobody had come up with it.

 

That revolution is in progress, now we go to   the mind science and I want to get a little bit of historical sciences here to point out one element that I think is absolutely and indispensable catalyst to bring about a revolution in any field. Of science and that is the development if extraordinarily, sophisticated, advance method of imperial observation.  If you don’t have that the revolution is not going to take place that would be my premise. you’ve  got to observe the phenomena  you’re really interested in an you’ve got to serve it beyond folk psychology , folk astronomy or  folk biology  get professional .

 

When I think of this first great revolution in the physical science   I don’t think of Copernicus. He’s a brilliant mathematician. He was not a brilliant experimenter, he was not a brilliant observer. He get up on the roof of his monetary, looked at the star with the best of them, he’s didn’t really do anything innovative there. His mathematical theory that was innovative so they called it the <> revolution.

 

Keller himself was not a great observer. He got hall his data from <> who was an every overfill observer, a brilliant Danish astronomer but Keller like Copernicus was a great mathematician. It’s Galileo that brought t in the full package. Galileo was the observer, she was the engineer, he was the one that reinvented the telescope, which has actually been invented in Hoagland, he tried to order and somebody snipped it on the way. He was there bummed out that he didn’t get his telescope because somebody snipped it so he said “I’ll make my own.”  He made himself a 20 power   telescope and he did something unprecedented, the telescope was already there but Galileo was   the innovator and he used it in an unprecedented ways.

 

Instead of goggling the girls across the street in Holland he directed it upwards, can you imagine how thrilling this must have been? That everything he looked at he was covering something nobody had ever seen before. He took his Telescope and directed it to the moons and he seen craters for the e first time in humanity. he turned it to Jupiter and  he saw the moons for  the first time , he turned  it to the sum he saw sun spot, he turned it to Venus  she saw the face of Venus. Wouldn’t that be thrilling?

 

He too was mathematician but he was an experimenter. he was  rolling balls down a ramp to see  whether they <> at constant velocity they accelerated . he did actually brought objects off the tower of Piza. I”ve been there  and asked the  people at the University of Piza. He did it all and he also brought it out into the world he didn’t write Latin like so many of his contemprraies, he wrote in Italian he brought it home. He was the full package, he was the Constance first great scientist that brought it all together.

 

Among the trainings he did which was seminal, which is indispensable for this triggering of the first great revolution in the physical sciences was his use of the telescope. He was making observations like nobody has done before. The mathematics was there, the observation that was crucial.  Otherwise what they were doing with the Copernicus <> centric system was a c very cool mathematical system but we already have one. Ours cover the data, it accounts for the appearances so does yours so it’s a matter of choice.  It’s not a matter of choice when you start seeing the face of Venus. It’s not a matter of which do you like ice cream or do you like brownies.

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Introduction to Mindful Awareness P7

You’re in the middle of your life. You stop; take a breath, with your eyes open or closed; observe something happening in the present moment… and then proceed. We’re done. One more time: stop; take a breath, eyes open or closed; observe something happening, internally or externally… and we’re done. Proceed.

 

Anybody want to say what they observed in one of those times? Just shout it out. Doesn’t matter. What’d you observe?

 

SPEAKER: Your example previously about not liking to do dishes, I used that as an example. Focus in on the task at hand.

 

DIANA: Okay, so you started thinking about doing the dishes with mindfulness. Okay, that’s another approach. I’m going to get to that in a minute, but you noticed that your mind was heading there. Yeah. What else did anybody notice?

 

SPEAKER: Bodily sensations.

 

DIANA: Bodily sensations. Anybody notice your feet on the floor or your back on the chair, those kinds of things? Yeah. How about emotion? Anybody notice an emotion?

 

SPEAKER: Peace.

 

DIANA: Peace. Peaceful, okay. This is the really simple take-home one that you can take home: Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed. Bring it into your day. Bring it into your day and see what happens. I’ve taught thousands of people mindfulness, and I’ll tell you this is one of the most helpful things. They go home, they remember it. They remember to STOP. And it can change your experience. You can go from stress to relaxation in a moment.

 

Someone was mentioning doing the dishes. You can do the dishes with mindfulness. You can take an activity and be really attentive. I was suggesting to one of my groups the other day, drink a mindful cup of tea. Drink really mindfully and slowly and taste it and feel it. This can be a really amazing experience to bring mindfulness into your day. I do like to mindfully wash the dishes, feeling each dish, rubbing each dish with care and attention, feeling the water on my hand, noticing my body standing. My mind wanders off – I just bring it right back. So there’s all sorts of ways to practice mindfulness. Take a mindful breath.

 

Any questions from where we are at this moment? Now I have the PowerPoint on my head. I think it’s all right. We’ll leave it. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: In mindfulness, does diet and nutrition ever enter into the picture?

 

DIANA: People report that as they begin to be more – he was asking if diet or nutrition is in the picture. It’s not explicitly part of mindfulness, but what people report is as they practice mindfulness, they’re bringing more care and attention to their body and mind, and they start to want to treat it well. So oftentimes people report changes in diet towards more healthful eating because they’re feeling more mindful and connected to themselves. But it’s not explicit.

 

SPEAKER: I’m going through an experience right now where my dog, that I love, is 15 ½, and he’s beginning to decline. I’ve noticed that I can get out of the moment, anticipating the end and feeling sad, but then I realize I’m missing the present moment where he’s fine. He’s just at a different stage. But then I think, “Well, in this present moment, I’m aware that I feel sad.” So I’m just trying to apply mindfulness in this experience without projecting or creating something – I don’t know, I’m just not really sure how to do it.

 

DIANA: I think  you’re doing great. Exactly what you’re describing is an excellent application of mindfulness. When we’re in a challenging situation – she’s dealing with the decline of her dog – that she’s trying to stay more in the present moment, by really appreciating that he’s still there and he’s still doing okay at the moment. Preventing your mind from going off into the worries and fears and “Oh, what’s going to happen,” that’s a really good use of mindfulness. Come back to the present moment.
And then if you’re feeling emotions, if you’re feeling sad, then learning to be present with that, and to give yourself mindful, kind attention in the midst of whatever you’re feeling. And that it’s okay to be sad. Mindfulness is not about “oh, we have to be happy all the time.” Remember, we talked about this earlier: mindfulness is about creating enough of a space to be present with whatever life brings. So we can hold ourselves with care and compassion and mindfulness in the midst of hard things. I hope that’s clarifying. Is that helpful? Sort of.

 

SPEAKER: Yes, it is. I just wonder if sometimes I’m creating some of the sadness by anticipating the loss.

 

DIANA: That’s what you have to pay attention to. That’s the first aspect; when you notice your mind doing that, see if you can bring it back. But there’s also a natural grieving process that you don’t want to undermine. We’re going to do one more exercise before we end, but yeah, we’ll do one more question here.

 

SPEAKER: Does mindfulness interfere with creativity?

 

DIANA: He asked if mindfulness could interfere with creativity. You mean because you’re so in the present moment that it’s hard to be creative? No. Actually, they link mindfulness to more creativity. Because it’s kind of like you clear out all the excess and then open to whatever arises. There’s studies linking the two.

 

Okay, we’re going to do a final practice. That practice – because it really came up from what we were just talking about – is a practice of cultivating more kindness, compassion, and care for ourselves. It’s a practice called – you can call it kindness practice or loving-kindness practice, where we bring up somebody that we love, who’s easy to love, and we’ll send kindness to that loved one, and we’ll imagine them sending it back to us, and seeing if we can receive it.

 

It’s a complementary practice that we do in the mindfulness classes that I teach, and it’s very, very helpful for working with a whole host of issues, including feeling judgmental of ourselves. A lot of us are very self-critical, judgmental of others. This kind of practice is very helpful in this respect.

 

We’ll do this meditation, one more meditation, and you’ll follow along with me. I just invite you, again, to sit back and relax. Taking a few breaths. Let yourself bring to mind someone that you love, someone whom when you think of them, you get happy. In other words, don’t pick a complicated person or someone where the relationship is a little challenging right now. Pick someone that fairly easily brings you happiness, connection, joy. Does not have to be a human being. Feel free to pick animals.

 

Have a sense of this loved one in front of you. Sense them, see them, feel them. Now we’ll use some words, which we’ll send out to this loved one, and we can imagine it coming from us. Feel free to be as creative as you want. You might have images, light, color, sense of anything. Just let yourself be creative. You can use my words, repeating them in your head, or your own words.

 

“May you be safe and protected.” We repeat them silently in our mind. “May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you be at ease.” Imagine coming from your heart, whatever feeling you’re having. Let that loved one be here, and as you sense that loved one, notice what happens inside you, just by bringing them up in your mind. Maybe there’s a feeling of warmth, connection, a smile on your lips. Really sense them in front of you.

 

Now let that feeling that you’re having flow towards this loved one in your mind. “May you be safe and protected. May you be free from all stress and anxiety. May you be joyful and at ease.” Notice if you’re feeling a sense of kindness coming from you and reaching out to this loved one. Imagine that they turn around and begin to send it back to you. See if you can take it in. See if you can be on the receiving end, as they say to you, “May you be safe and protected. May you be happy and peaceful. May you be healthy and strong. May you be at ease.”

 

Then as we continue to practice, as you breathe in, imagine receiving the kindness from them, and taking it in, and letting it touch you. As you breathe out, imagine sending it back to them. You might use some words or images, whatever comes to you, breathing in and breathing out. “May you be safe and protected. May we be joyful and at ease. May we be loving and be filled with loving kindness. May we be at peace.” Breathing in and breathing out.

 

If you’re feeling the loving kindness, if you’re feeling that sensation, really letting it spread through your body. And if you’re not, noticing what’s present and letting that be here. And you can say “For whatever it is feeling, can I hold this, too, with kindness? Whatever I’m feeling.” And breathe.

 

Now pick one more person or set of people whom you’d like to send this kindness to. Family members, loved ones. You can even pick a challenging person. Who would you like to try to send kindness to, and wish them, using your own words or my words, whatever you want to say to them? Wishing them ease and wellbeing, joy and peace.

 

Now check back into your own self right now, and your body, heart, and mind. Notice what you’re feeling. If there’s feeling of love and kindness, really let it be here. If something else is present, let yourself be exactly where you are. Exactly where you are. That’s the most mindful and kind thing you can do for yourself. Be exactly where you are. Notice your body present on the chair. And then when you’re ready, you can open your eyes.

 

This is a very powerful practice for some people. It can bring up emotions. It’s a very loving practice, and it’s really going back to the neuroplasticity that we talked about earlier, where we can actually change our brain. We can cultivate states of being – mindfulness, compassion, kindness. I just want to offer you another practice and a taste of something else you can do as you bring mindfulness into your life. These practices are complementary.

 

We’re coming to the end right now, and what I want to do is simply give you some resources, tell you what’s going on with us. This is our website. There is a poster out on the table when you leave with our website and also all of our upcoming classes, so we have lots and lots of classes coming up.

 

Starting in March, we have an introductory class called MAPs – Mindful Awareness Practices. It takes what we did and goes much more into detail over six weeks, and it’s really helpful for getting your own daily practice. We have day-longs, we have workshops. There’s a day-long coming up on Foundations of Mindfulness, a workshop on ADHD and Mindfulness, and many, many other things going on. We offer retreats and programs for youth. We have a teen retreat in the summer. If you’re interested, all of this is on the website: marc.ucla.edu.

 

I put a little picture – this is the book that we did on mindfulness called Fully Present, and they have it at the library here.

 

I’m happy to stay at the end and answer any questions. Feel free to take the information on the way out. I just want to say it’s been wonderful to get to know you all, and I wish you the best.

 

 

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Introduction to Mindful Awareness P6

Mindfulness is that invitation to not believe everything that we think. Because some of our thoughts lead to suffering. In fact, a lot of our thoughts lead to suffering. That’s what I was talking about earlier with this past and future, the way that our mind goes back and forth and stress is created. We have another option. We can not get on that train. We can stay on the platform. I hope that’s helpful, thinking about how to work with our thoughts. In the back.

 

SPEAKER: I like your cloud one as well. Because I go to the UCLA –

 

DIANA: Oh great. The Hammer Museum? Shall I share it with everybody? Okay. She said there’s another analogy that I use. We can imagine that our minds are like the sky. They’re wide open and spacious and vast, and all of our thoughts are just like little clouds floating by. The clouds are just going. Some of them are rushing past, some of them are sticking around for awhile; but the clouds don’t disrupt the mind. They just cover it up. They don’t disrupt our awareness. They cover it up temporarily. Maybe we’ll do a little meditation before we end where I’ll bring that in, because it’s a helpful reminder. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: What’s the relationship between secular mindfulness meditation and let’s say Buddhist meditation, where there’s progressions in insight and the goal of enlightenment? Do you just meditate in secular meditation, there’s no particular goal or no particular progression?

 

DIANA: I think that the way mindfulness is brought out in the culture these days, it’s a lot to address levels of stress that people are currently facing. Much of what we’re doing is just dealing with this bottom line, how do we be less stressed out, more happiness, more ease, more wellbeing. As people do that, they gain a different relationship to how they live in the world. Probably that I would say is one of the main goals in mindfulness teaching.

 

What I’ve experienced with students who go more deeply into it is they’re having wonderful meditative experiences and understanding and insight, but that map, if they’re interested in those kind of maps, I would steer them more towards traditional maps than what’s happening in what we’re doing. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: A wonderful quotation keeps coming to my mind, and I’m wondering whether there is an analogy between what you’re saying and a quotation by Mark Twain, who said “I’ve been through a lot of problems in my life, most of which never occurred.” (laughter) I feel like perhaps there’s some connection.
DIANA: Absolutely. Did everyone hear that in the back? She said there’s a famous quote by Mark Twain, “I’ve been through lots of difficult experiences in my life, most of which have never happened.” It’s a very famous quote, and it’s exactly what happens with our minds. We create tremendous suffering in our minds, and it may have no basis in reality.

 

There’s an incredible statistic – I’m hoping I get the statistic right. It may be a little off, but I think it is 80% of what we worry about never comes true. 80%. Think of all the worrying you do, all the things you suffer about, and it never comes true. The second part of that statistic is, of the 20% of the things that come true, something like 85% of people report that they handle it better than they ever imagined they would. You get the point. Worry is a huge issue for so many of us, and it causes all this suffering, just like Mark Twain was pointing to. There’s other ways to approach life. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: Can you talk more about, other than meditation, how do you use some of those techniques of bringing yourself to the present in your everyday life?

 

DIANA: Yes. I’m so glad you asked, because that’s where I was heading. She was asking how do we bring mindfulness into our daily life, not just by meditating. We did the meditative piece, and now I’m going to teach you some – and remember, I said mindfulness is a meditative technique. If you’re interested in continuing on with mindfulness meditation, I recommend that you try practicing it in your daily life. For instance, if you go to our website, there’s meditations you can download, and you can just practice at home for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. There’s lots of ways to continue, and I’ll talk about resources at the end.

 

SPEAKER: Which website?

 

DIANA: Our website is the Marc website. I’ll give you that resource at the end. There’s also brochures out there, flyers, that give you that information.

 

I also said mindfulness is a quality of attention we can bring to any moment. That means you can apply mindfulness – I can apply mindfulness right in this second. Right in this second, I’m noticing myself standing here. I’m feeling my feet on the floor. I’m having an awareness that I’m holding the microphone. I’m being mindful. I’m not meditating. Am I meditating? Not really. I’m applying a quality of attention. What this does is it can absolutely shift my experience from being caught in the stress and the worry into being more present; relaxed, at ease, joyful, happy, etc.

 

I want to teach you a little practice – this actually is on the thing, if you want to pull it up as I’m talking. This is a practice of being more mindful in the midst of life, and the practice is called STOP. And it stands for – oh, now we get the sound.

 

Let’s take a mindful breath as we listen to the sound. Let’s listen mindfully, ready? We can listen to the sound, just like we did earlier. Why not? Great. Let me get this up for you then. I think I’ll just leave it up for now. I don’t want to make you more stressed. I don’t want you to leave here feeling more stressed because the thing keeps going up and down. It’d be bad if you left the mindfulness meditation workshop more stressed. (laughter)

 

This exercise that is something that you can take home with you that’s tremendously helpful for bringing mindfulness in daily life, and it’s called STOP. It stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe, and Proceed. What that means is you’re in the midst of your daily life and you have this sense that it would be good to be mindful, or maybe you’re about to have a stressful meeting with someone. Stress is appearing in your life. Or you just want to remember to be mindful.

 

STOP can come to mind. Stop just means stop; it doesn’t mean freeze. You don’t have to freeze. It means stop the flow of mental activity. Take a breath – you can do that. And then Observe. This is the part I have to teach you, so you get that. I’ll show you in a moment. And then Proceed – go back into life.
The whole thing will probably take about six seconds, but first I’m going to teach it to you. The meditation itself is going to take a little bit longer so you get the picture. Let’s close our eyes, and I’m going to show you the different things that you can observe. And observe doesn’t mean look; observe means observe internally, and feel and sense, in the way that we’ve been doing it. It’s really about how to be mindful.
Begin by noticing your body present on the chair. Notice anything that’s obvious to you about your body, any body sensations. You might notice weight or movement or pressure or vibration. There might be itchiness; there might be warmth or coolness. Anything that’s happening in your body, you can observe. You might even observe your breath.

 

Now observe if there’s any emotion here right now, and there may or may not be. Maybe you’re feeling sad or a little worried or irritated or hopeful or joyful. Notice if something is present.

 

Notice if you’re thinking anything in particular. Sometimes when you ask someone to notice what they’re thinking, it’s hard to do. But just notice if there’s any thoughts coming across your mind a little bit.

 

Now notice your mood, or how you’re feeling any kind of state of body or mind, like you’re sleepy or you’re restless or you’re bored or you’re at peace. Notice.

 

Now observe sounds. Listen to the sounds in the room, like we did earlier.

 

Finally, open your eyes and notice whatever there is to see. See if you can observe visually with mindfulness.

 

Okay. We’re done with the meditation, the first part of the meditation. Let me just ask you, was it possible to notice those different categories of your experience? Was it possible to notice the different aspects of your experience? Yeah? Raise your hand if you noticed body sensations. That’s pretty easy, right? How about emotions – anybody have emotion coming up? How about thoughts? Could you notice your thinking? Yeah, you guys were doing great. Wow. Sounds? Pretty easy. Visually – could you observe mindfully? Some of you. It’s not really so clear what that is. It’s just kind of taking in the experience. Oh, and I forgot, how about being mindful of your mental state, your mood? Could you notice that? Okay.

 

Those are all sorts of things that we can be mindful of. But let’s say you only have three seconds to be mindful, and you’re going to stop, you’re going to take a breath, and then when you observe, you’re going to observe just one thing. And you only have three seconds, four seconds, whatever amount – because we’re busy people, remember? We’re all really busy. So let’s see if we can practice this when we only have a few seconds. When I ask you to observe, you’ll observe anything. You might observe a body sensation, an emotion, a thought, a sound, etc.

 

 
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Introduction to Mindful Awareness P5

You can also notice the sound. For a moment, everybody listen to the sounds in the room. Some sounds come and go; some sounds seem more constant. We don’t have to be in a completely silent place to meditate. We can just come into the present moment through listening. Listening meditation is actually a really wonderful way to practice mindfulness.

 

For the last minute of the meditation, if you want to stay with your breath, stay with your breath; if you want to stay with listening to the sounds – and notice you may start to think about the sound, what it is, why it’s there. See if you can let go of that, and just come back to the pure act of listening, or the pure act of breathing.

 

Then take one more breath, with awareness, and whenever you’re ready, when you finish that breath, feel free to open your eyes.

 

Let’s hear from you what that was like, what happened, what did you learn, what questions that might have come up. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: I just smell so good. (laughter) Oh my God. It’s like a perfume commercial. When I was breathing in really deeply, it was like I was traveling with the scent. It was just magnificent.

 

DIANA: Wow. Okay, what she said was, she said “I smell so good.” It’s a lovely comment, because I think what she’s pointing to is the way in which our senses open up when we’re mindful. I was talking earlier about it counteracts that automaticity. We just live, going through life, just like on auto-pilot. Here, our senses open up. We feel more alive, more present, and it sounds like it was a really neat experience for you to feel that, to really focus on what was happening in her nostrils. Thank you. How about others? Yes.

 

SPEAKER: It felt boring.

 

DIANA: Boring. It felt boring. Anybody else get bored? A few people. It can be boring, yeah. Here’s why: most of the time, we don’t spend our lives doing not much of anything. Most of the time, we’re so used to being distracted, having external stimuli, distracting ourselves. So when we sit here and do something fairly neutral, which is just pay attention to our breathing, it’s like “Okay, I’m waiting for something interesting to happen.”

 

The fact is, it’s a great skill to learn, even when it’s boring, because it teach us not to have this need for constant stimulation. It actually teaches us to have more ability to be present with simple things. That would happen over time, but then just to say, if you notice yourself getting bored when you’re doing it, pay closer attention. It’s a great way to add some interest, that curiosity, and it can shift the experience. Or, what’s it like to be bored? Get to be mindful of boredom. That’s a very interesting thing. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: To be honest, even though this is not as positive a comment as I wish I were making, but I was getting warmer and warmer and warmer… that was part of the whole experience for me.

 

DIANA: She reported getting warmer and warmer and warmer and said it wasn’t positive. It was uncomfortable?

 

SPEAKER: That’s uncomfortable, but I have multiple sclerosis, so being overly warm is not something that’s foreign to me. But this process made me feel warm.

 

DIANA: Okay. Because of your multiple sclerosis, you are used to getting warm, and so this process made you be really tuned into it. One of the things that happens when we meditate is that we open up to the actual experience of what is going on in our body and mind in this present moment. Sometimes it’s really lovely and peaceful and maybe even some joyful, blissful happiness. Sometimes it’s a little uncomfortable. How many people had a peaceful experience when they were meditating? Okay, a lot of you did. How many of you had an uncomfortable experience in some way. Okay, and there were a bunch of you who did.

 

With mindfulness, it’s wonderful when we have those peaceful experiences, because it’s really helpful. It’s encouraging. We get inspired to do more. When we have the uncomfortable experiences, what we learn is that mindfulness can be present no matter what life brings. That we can learn that capacity to be present with life, whether we have difficult things or easy things in life. It’s an incredible skill to learn, to be able to be okay with no matter what life brings. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re not trying to have a specific experience; we’re trying to learn to be present in the midst of all that life brings us. Thank you for sharing that.

 

SPEAKER: I was wondering, since mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment on purpose, and the present moment is continually coming at me, and once the present moment is gone, I have to be aware of the next present moment… how does it relate to the future? (laughter)

 

DIANA: Wow. That was an intense question. Let’s see how I can answer that. Yes, the present moment is continually changing, so when you say how does it relate to the future, what are you actually asking? What makes you ask that?

 

SPEAKER: It’s just that somebody told me that mindfulness is correlated with the future and what’s going to happen in the future. In the immediate future. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that. That’s why I was asking.

 

DIANA: I’m not exactly sure about that particular correlation. What mindfulness does is mindfulness keeps us present, and then when we face whatever comes up in the future, we’re right there. We’re available to be there for it. By the way, some people say, “How can I be mindful all the time? What if I have to plan?” or “Don’t we have to plan to live life?” Of course you do. The future is relevant, it’s important. You don’t have to be mindful every second of the day. But you can be present, and then you can go back to doing something that involves future planning or past thinking, and then you sort of take a breath and come back to yourself. I don’t know if I’m getting exactly at your question, but I’m just trying to touch on it a little bit. Yes?

 

SPEAKER: I’m meditating almost every night, following your advice. And I pray to the power of now, etc. The only thing is that it’s almost impossible to stop thinking and only feeling something. When this thinking comes back. Feeling only is almost impossible because of how to reject all this thinking that comes in.
DIANA: Okay, this is a really important piece about mindfulness: you are not trying to stop thinking. I don’t know if you’ve heard that about meditating, that you’re supposed to get into this blissful state and your mind is supposed to stop. That is not what happens. At least not in this particular kind of meditation. What happens is, thoughts keep coming. Because that’s what our minds do. In the same way that our heart pumps blood, our brain is thinking. So what we learn is that when our thoughts take us away, that we come back to the present moment. It’s fine to be thinking, as long as you’re aware that you’re thinking, and then you just came back, and you learn to let go.

 

I want to give you this analogy, because it’s really, really helpful: let’s imagine that our thoughts are like trains. Let’s say that we have a thought train, and the train is just going, going, going. So you start thinking about something: “Hmm, what am I going to do after this? Maybe I’ll go out and get some dessert. I wonder what place to go? What’s open? Nothing in Santa Monica really stays late, blah blah blah blah” – you know what I mean? Your mind just goes.

 

Or you hurt yourself, and you think “Oh no, this is really serious. What’s going to happen? I’m going to have to call the doctor. This always happens to me.” You know what I’m talking about, the way our mind just kind of goes? Yes? Let’s imagine that’s like a train.
What we typically do, and you may have saw this when you meditate, is that we can think of it as you get on the train. You’re meditating, you get on the train, and the train leaves the station, and you’re 20 miles down the road and you’ve just been lost in this thought, caught in the grip of this thought. There’s another option, and that option is that the train leaves the station, but you stay on the platform. You see what I mean? That thought is still there. You’re not stopping your thinking; it’s going, but you’re not on it. You find this place of awareness, of centeredness, of groundedness. The thought is still going, but you’re not in the grip of that thought.

 

There’s a really amazing bumper sticker – I don’t know, I’ve seen it a lot – but the bumper sticker is this: “Don’t believe everything you think.” (laughter) Have you seen that? Some of you know that. I used to live in Berkeley, California; I saw it all the time. I moved to L.A., I don’t see it very often. (laughter)

 

 
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