Zen Brain Reflections

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Zen-Brain Reflections

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Zen-Brain Reflections by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A sequel to the popular Zen and the Brain further explores pivotal points of intersection in Zen Buddhism, neuroscience, and consciousness, arriving at a new synthesis of information from both neuroscience research and Zen studies. This sequel to the widely read Zen and the Brain continues James Austin's explorations into the key interrelationships between Zen Buddhism and brain research. In Zen-Brain Reflections, Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, examines the evolving psychological processes and brain changes associated with the path of long-range meditative training. Austin draws not only on the latest neuroscience research and new neuroimaging studies but also on Zen literature and his personal experience with alternate states of consciousness. Zen-Brain Reflections takes up where the earlier book left off. It addresses such questions as: how do placebos and acupuncture change the brain? Can neuroimaging studies localize the sites where our notions of self arise? How can the latest brain imaging methods monitor meditators more effectively? How do long years of meditative training plus brief enlightened states produce pivotal transformations in the physiology of the brain? In many chapters testable hypotheses suggest ways to correlate normal brain functions and meditative training with the phenomena of extraordinary states of consciousness. After briefly introducing the topic of Zen and describing recent research into meditation, Austin reviews the latest studies on the amygdala, frontotemporal interactions, and paralimbic extensions of the limbic system. He then explores different states of consciousness, both the early superficial absorptions and the later, major "peak experiences." This discussion begins with the states called kensho and satori and includes a fresh analysis of their several different expressions of "oneness." He points beyond the still more advanced states toward that rare ongoing stage of enlightenment that is manifest as "sage wisdom." Finally, with reference to a delayed "moonlight" phase of kensho, Austin envisions novel links between migraines and metaphors, moonlight and mysticism. The Zen perspective on the self and consciousness is an ancient one. Readers will discover how relevant Zen is to the neurosciences, and how each field can illuminate the other.

Zen-Brain Horizons

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Zen-Brain Horizons by James H. Austin Book Resume:

In Zen-Brain Horizons, James Austin draws on his decades of experience as a neurologist and Zen practitioner to clarify the benefits of meditative training. Austin integrates classical Buddhist literature with modern brain research, exploring the horizons of a living, neural Zen.When viewed in the light of today, the timeless wisdom of some Zen masters seems almost to have anticipated recent research in the neurosciences. The keen attentiveness and awareness that we cultivate during meditative practices becomes the leading edge of our subsequent mental processing. Austin explains how our covert, involuntary functions can make crucial contributions to the subtle ways we learn, intuit, and engage in creative activities. Austin begins by looking back at ancient Buddhist narratives. He then weaves together the major themes of self, attention, emotion, language, and insight. He goes on to examine Zen and psychology as cultural developments, including recent information about how a clear, calm awareness can change the meditating brain. He considers the pathways through which intuitions develop on their way to becoming realized, exploring the phenomena of the spontaneous color imagery that arises during meditation. Looking out even further into the future, Austin discusses the universal themes of creativity, happiness, openness, and selflessness. Along the way, he bows in homage to William James, explores "Buddhist Botany" and "Avian Zen," demonstrates why living Zen means much more than sitting quietly indoors on a cushion, and provides simplified advice that helps guide readers to the most important points.

Zen and the Brain: The James H. Austin Omnibus Edition (Meditating Selflessly, Zen-Brain Horizons, and Living Zen Remindfully)

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Zen and the Brain: The James H. Austin Omnibus Edition (Meditating Selflessly, Zen-Brain Horizons, and Living Zen Remindfully) by James H. Austin Book Resume:

Three books on Zen and the brain by the celebrated Zen practitioner-neurologist James Austin. This compilation in digital form of three books by the celebrated Zen practitioner-neurologist James Austin offers concrete advice about various methods of meditation, provides timeless wisdom of Zen masters, integrates classical Buddhist literature with modern brain research, and explores mindfulness (and remindfulness) training. In these books, Austin clarifies the benefits of meditative training, guiding readers toward that open awareness awaiting them on the cushion and in the natural world. He discusses different types of meditation, meditation and problem-solving, and the meaning of enlightenment; addresses egocentrism (self-centeredness) and allocentrism (other-centeredness) and the blending of focal and global attention; and considers the illuminating confluence of Zen, clinical neurology, and neuroscience. He describes an everyday life of “living Zen” while drawing on the poetry of Basho, the seventeenth-century haiku master, and illuminates the world of authentic Zen training—the commitment to a process of regular, ongoing daily life practice that trains and enables us to unlearn unfruitful habits, develop more wholesome ones, and lead a more genuinely creative life.

Zen and the Brain

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Zen and the Brain by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A neuroscientist and Zen practitioner interweaves the latest research on the brain with his personal narrative of Zen. Aldous Huxley called humankind's basic trend toward spiritual growth the "perennial philosophy." In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a "perennial psychophysiology"—because awakening, or enlightenment, occurs only when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain presents the latest evidence. In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment.

Meditating Selflessly

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Meditating Selflessly by James H. Austin Book Resume:

Based on the Zen philosophy about focusing away from the self, a guide to "neural Zen" meditative practices draws on recent findings in brain research to outline recommendations for various methods of pursuing a balanced, selfless state of heightened awareness.

Selfless Insight

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Selfless Insight by James H. Austin Book Resume:

Attention, self-consciousness, insight, wisdom, emotional maturity: how Zen teachings can illuminate the way our brains function and vice-versa. When neurology researcher James Austin began Zen training, he found that his medical education was inadequate. During the past three decades, he has been at the cutting edge of both Zen and neuroscience, constantly discovering new examples of how these two large fields each illuminate the other. Now, in Selfless Insight, Austin arrives at a fresh synthesis, one that invokes the latest brain research to explain the basis for meditative states and clarifies what Zen awakening implies for our understanding of consciousness. Austin, author of the widely read Zen and the Brain, reminds us why Zen meditation is not only mindfully attentive but evolves to become increasingly selfless and intuitive. Meditators are gradually learning how to replace over-emotionality with calm, clear objective comprehension. In this new book, Austin discusses how meditation trains our attention, reprogramming it toward subtle forms of awareness that are more openly mindful. He explains how our maladaptive notions of self are rooted in interactive brain functions. And he describes how, after the extraordinary, deep states of kensho-satori strike off the roots of the self, a flash of transforming insight-wisdom leads toward ways of living more harmoniously and selflessly. Selfless Insight is the capstone to Austin's journey both as a creative neuroscientist and as a Zen practitioner. His quest has spanned an era of unprecedented progress in brain research and has helped define the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience.

Living Zen Remindfully

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Living Zen Remindfully by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A seasoned Zen practitioner and neurologist looks more deeply at mindfulness, connecting it to our subconscious and to memory and creativity.

Contemplative Practices in Action

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Contemplative Practices in Action by Thomas G. Plante Book Resume:

This groundbreaking primer illuminates contemplative methods that can improve mental and physical health. * Foreword by renowned author and scholar Huston Smith, subject of the five-part PBS special, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith * Contributions from 13 expert authors * Case studies showing how contemplative practices are being used to cope with modern stress and disorders among groups as diverse as caregivers, pregnant women, people living with HIV, and veterans dealing with PTSD

The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)

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The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) by Daniel J. Siegel Book Resume:

An exploration of the nature of our mind, from the inside out, by a leading neurobiologist. Over the last twenty years, there has been growing attention in the Western world to mindfulness -- paying attention to life in the present moment. Here, Daniel J. Siegel investigates the phenomenon of mindfulness as it impacts our daily lives, offering readers insight into personal relationships, emotional behavior, parenting, and work.

Chase, Chance, and Creativity

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Chase, Chance, and Creativity by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A personal story of the ways in which persistence, chance, and creativity interact in biomedical research. This first book by the author of Zen and the Brain examines the role of chance in the creative process. James Austin tells a personal story of the ways in which persistence, chance, and creativity interact in biomedical research; the conclusions he reaches shed light on the creative process in any field. Austin shows how, in his own investigations, unpredictable events shaped the outcome of his research and brought about novel results. He then goes beyond this story of serendipity to propose a new classification of the varieties of chance, drawing on his own research and examples from the history of science—including the famous accidents that led Fleming to the discovery of penicillin. Finally, he explores the nature of the creative process, considering not only the environmental and neurophysiological correlates of creativity but also the role of intuition in both scientific discoveries and spiritual quests. This updated MIT Press paperback edition includes a new introduction and recent material on medical research, creativity, and spirituality.

On the Varieties of Attention

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On the Varieties of Attention by James H. Austin Book Resume:

During the past three decades, neurology researcher James Austin (author of Zen and the Brain) has been at the cutting edge of both Zen and neuroscience, constantly discovering new examples of how these two large fields each illuminate the other. In this BIT, Austin discusses how meditation trains our attention, reprogramming it toward subtle forms of awareness that are more openly mindful. He reveals many subtleties in our networks of attention. They enable us to direct attention voluntarily -- from the top down -- or reflexively -- from the bottom up -- and to focus it either internally or externally.

Le Pouvoir des petits riens

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Le Pouvoir des petits riens by Rick Hanson Book Resume:

Le cerveau se modifie au fil de notre vie Petit rappel : la façon dont nous pensons, parlons, vivons façonne notre cerveau. Si l'on est toujours focalisé sur les soucis, la colère, l'esprit critique, alors notre cerveau développera les structures neuronales et les dynamiques de l'anxiété, de l'autodénigrement et de la réactivité aux autres. En revanche, si l'on incite son esprit à prendre conscience qu'on est bien dans l'instant présent, à voir ce qui est bon et à lâcher prise, le cerveau prendra peu à peu la forme de la force tranquille, de la confiance en soi et de la paix intérieure. C'est ce qu'on appelle la " plasticité cérébrale ", cette capacité du cerveau à se reprogrammer, à créer de nouvelles connexions tout au long de notre vie. Un livre pour cultiver son jardin intérieur Ce livre propose de pratiquer divers exercices pour " muscler " en quelque sorte, le sentiment de sécurité, l'estime de soi, la résilience, le bien-être, la lucidité, l'altruisme, la paix intérieure. Il s'agit de choses simples à faire quotidiennement, souvent dans notre tête. Pour prendre un exemple, selon des études scientifiques, être pleinement conscient (l'un des exercices de ce livre) renforce l'activation du cortex préfrontal gauche (qui freine les émotions négatives), donc améliore l'humeur et inhibe l'activité de l'amygdale, la sonnette d'alarme du cerveau. De même, se témoigner de la compassion renforce la résilience et atténue les ruminations négatives. La loi des petits riens Lorsqu'une pratique est pénible, la plupart des gens y renoncent. Ce livre propose donc des exercices brefs et simples, à effectuer plusieurs fois par jour – par exemple " percevoir la beauté des choses " –, ou de simples attitudes, comme " être moins angoissé par ses imperfections " ou " ne pas se sentir personnellement visé ". Les pratiques sont modestes en soi, mais leur effet est cumulatif. C'est la loi des petits riens : les changements emmagasinés dans la structure neuronale sous l'effet de l'activité mentale vous engagent dans la voie du bien-être. Une chose à la fois Ce livre propose de se focaliser sur une pratique fondamentale à la fois. La vie moderne est tellement intense et agitée que ne garder qu'une seule chose à l'esprit est en soi un défi.

Le Zen dans l'art chevaleresque du tir à l'arc

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Le Zen dans l'art chevaleresque du tir à l'arc by Eugen Herrigel Book Resume:

Dans cet admirable petit livre, M. Herrigel, philosophe allemand qui est venu au Japon et s'est adonné au tir à l'arc pour arriver à comprendre le Zen, donne de sa propre expérience un récit qui nous éclaire. Un des caractères qui nous frappent le plus dans l'exercice du tir à l'arc, et en fait de tous les arts tels qu'on les étudie au Japon, c'est qu'on n'en attend pas des jouissances uniquement esthétiques, mais qu'on y voit un moyen de former le mental, et même de le mettre en contact avec la réalité ultime.

Ritual, Performance and the Senses

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Ritual, Performance and the Senses by Jon P. Mitchell,Michael Bull Book Resume:

Ritual has long been a central concept in anthropological theories of religious transmission. Ritual, Performance and the Senses offers a new understanding of how ritual enables religious representations – ideas, beliefs, values – to be shared among participants. Focusing on the body and the experiential nature of ritual, the book brings together insights from three distinct areas of study: cognitive/neuroanthropology, performance studies and the anthropology of the senses. Eight chapters by scholars from each of these sub-disciplines investigate different aspects of embodied religious practice, ranging from philosophical discussions of belief to explorations of the biological processes taking place in the brain itself. Case studies range from miracles and visionary activity in Catholic Malta to meditative practices in theatrical performance and include three pilgrimage sites: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the festival of Ramlila in Ramnagar, India and the mountain shrine of the Lord of the Shiny Snow in Andean Peru. Understanding ritual allows us to understand processes at the very centre of human social life and humanity itself, making this an invaluable text for students and scholars in anthropology, cognitive science, performance studies and religious studies.

Diving Seals and Meditating Yogis

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Diving Seals and Meditating Yogis by Robert Elsner Book Resume:

The comparative physiology of seemingly disparate organisms often serves as a surprising pathway to biological enlightenment. How appropriate, then, that Robert Elsner sheds new light on the remarkable physiology of diving seals through comparison with members of our own species on quests toward enlightenment: meditating yogis. As Elsner reveals, survival in extreme conditions such as those faced by seals is often not about running for cover or coming up for air, but rather about working within the confines of an environment and suppressing normal bodily function. Animals in this withdrawn state display reduced resting metabolic rates and are temporarily less dependent upon customary levels of oxygen. For diving seals—creatures especially well-adapted to prolonged submergence in the ocean’s cold depths—such periods of rest lengthen dive endurance. But while human divers share modest, brief adjustments of suppressed metabolism with diving seals, it is the practiced response achieved during deep meditation that is characterized by metabolic rates well below normal levels, sometimes even approaching those of non-exercising diving seals. And the comparison does not end here: hibernating animals, infants during birth, near-drowning victims, and clams at low tide all also display similarly reduced metabolisms. By investigating these states—and the regulatory functions that help maintain them—across a range of species, Elsner offers suggestive insight into the linked biology of survival and well-being.

The Zen Brain

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The Zen Brain by Raven Walker Book Resume:

The greatest marvel of the universe is the human brain, but it comes without an instruction manual. The Zen Brain tells the compelling story of the human brain, from its astonishing appearance in evolution to its perplexing present form, with all its extraordinary abilities as well as its sorry penchant for aberration. If left uncultivated, the human mind grows like a weed garden. But when disciplined in the natural way, the human mind is the finest prize of nature. Such a mind also tends to be more effective, resilient, and happy. Part I, Foundations, begins with the origins of life that have moved relentlessly in one biological direction, a better brain. But the human brain appeared with abilities that far outstripped the environments that spawned it. It mediates between stimulus and response in a new way. It thinks. Oddly, we can all drive cars, yet there were no cars present when we emerged. Just as oddly, we can go insane without any apparent organic reason. Part II, Applications identifies and explains in depth the conditioning methods of self-betterment. With cultivation, the human brain becomes the natural mind that performs better, feels better, and simply works better in adapting us to the many strange, new environments we have created for ourselves. The potential for a finer mental life, a finer quality in experience, exists in all humans. But without discipline, you have to live in the weed garden all your life.

Le Temps scellé

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Le Temps scellé by Andrei arsenievitch Tarkovski Book Resume:

"« Il n’est pas dans mon intention de faire ici la leçon à qui que ce soit, ni d’imposer un point de vue. Ce livre n’a été dicté que par le désir de défricher la jungle des possibilités qui s’offrent à un art encore jeune et magnifique, toujours à explorer, et de m’y retrouver moi-même aussi indépendant et libre que possible. » Andreï Tarkovski, tout au long de son œuvre cinématographique, rédige des notes de travail, des réflexions sur son art, restituant dans le même mouvement son itinéraire d’homme et d’artiste. À partir de son exil en Italie où il réalise Nostalghia en 1983, puis en France durant la dernière année de sa vie, il rassemble ces écrits qui sont d’abord édités en Allemagne puis dans les autres pays d’Europe occidentale où ils deviendront vite une référence incontournable. Il y aborde une large réflexion aussi bien sur la civilisation contemporaine que sur l’art cinématographique : son ontologie et sa place parmi les autres arts, ou des aspects plus concrets comme le scénario, le montage, l’acteur, le son, la musique, la lumière, le cadrage... Puisant dans son expérience de cinéaste, dans sa vaste culture littéraire, se remémorant ses années de formation, les luttes interminables pour terminer ses films à l’époque soviétique, Andreï Tarkovski offre ici le livre-bilan d’un artiste en recherche de sens, d’un homme qui consacra son inépuisable énergie à « fixer le temps »...

Mon cours de méditation

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Mon cours de méditation by Andy Puddicombe Book Resume:

Les idées se bousculent dans votre esprit ? Vous courez toute la journée pour gagner 3 minutes ? Stop ! Si vous avez caressé un jour le rêve de ramener le calme en vous, d'arrêter le temps ne serait-ce que quelques minutes, ce livre est pour vous. Il propose ni plus ni moins une méditation, mais pas la méditation dont tout le monde vous rabat les oreilles en ce moment. Pas de chant lancinant, de positions du lotus et de quête précise. L'auteur démystifie dans ce livre la méditation et la rend accessible à n'importe qui. Il nous apprend à dégager notre esprit pour y voir enfin plus clair, et ce en 10 minutes seulement par jour.

Traité du zen et de l'entretien des motocyclettes

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Traité du zen et de l'entretien des motocyclettes by Robert M. Pirsig Book Resume:

A deux sur une moto, père et fils sillonnent les routes vers la Californie. Ils croisent Newton et Kerouac, réparent carburateur, culasse et pistons mal huilés. Chris raconte des histoires de fantômes, son père lui dévoile les théories de la Création. Ils se découvrent comme on démonte un moteur. C'est un road-trip, une chevauchée philosophique et fantastique.