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The Neuroscience and Lecture Objectives

Practice of Meditation Theory of Mindfulness Meditation

Cognitive and Developmental Neuroscience
Focused Attention versus Open Monitoring
Meditation in the Science-Based Literature
Default Mode, Salience, Executive Networks in
the Context of Meditative Practice
Practice of Mindfulness
Pitfalls to Practice
Andrew S. Bonci
Private Practice
Life-Long Learner 1 of 131 4 of 131

Why is it that we might need

Get the Slides meditation in our lives?
Get the Printer-Friendly Notes
Title Slide Photo Credit:
Brain imaging differences evident at 6 months in infants who develop autism | UNC Health Talk. (2012, February 17). Retrieved July
14, 2019, from UNC Health Talk website:

An Intellectual Entente. (2009, September 10). Retrieved October 21, 2019, from Harvard Magazine website: 2 of 131 watson-edward-o-wilson-intellectual-entente 5 of 131

Disclosures Etymology of “Meditation”

I have no conflicts of interest. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary
I have no interests in proselytizing you to any the term “meditation” derives from the Proto-Indo-
particular worldview. European root “med-” which means to "take
appropriate measures." meditation | Origin and meaning of meditation by Online Etymology Dictionary. (n.d.).

Meditation is not a recreational pursuit like jet Retrieved July 9, 2019, from

skiing or snowboarding. Likewise, meditation is – The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology

more than the experience of phosphenes. It compiled by Walter W. Skeat (2007) also
demonstrates the relationship between meditate
presents a challenge to your sense of self and and the Latin verb “mederi” meaning “to heal” from
worldview. Please proceed with caution. which we have the terms “medicine” and “remedy.”
Please enjoy yourself and your time with your
colleagues as we take this journey. 3 of 131 6 of 131
Beginner's Mind

A systematic inquiry into the folly In the zen classic Zen Mind,
of the human mind and social structures. Beginner's Mind Shunryu Suzuki
(1970) deliciously states ...

Mindfulness: – “In the beginner’s mind there are

Living in the awareness of this folly. many possibilities, but in the
expert’s there are few.”

Clipart Credit: 7 of 131 10 of 131

You Will Witness

The Roots of Exploitation
bribery crime exploitation extortion
fraud graft malfeasance nepotism
crookedness demoralization
jobbery misrepresentation payoff
payola racket shadiness shuffle
skimming squeeze unscrupulousness
venality breach of trust bribing
fiddling fraudulency on the take
shady deal 8 of 131

The Ecstatic Experience Caveat Meditator

Meditation is not all sunshine, rainbows, and baby
e farts, as such powerful spiritual practices are
u are
Yo easily weaponized outside of an “ethical”
Your Mind framework.
– “Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi
Your SS and master architect of the
Thoughts Holocaust, was a fan of yoga and
You Need
meditation — he even planned retreats
to be Here for elite SS members at a medieval
castle.” Purser, R. (2019). McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist
Spirituality. London: Repeater Books. (See pp. 225-226)

Your Your
Feelings Emotions 9 of 131 12 of 131

Start By Doubting Everything Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness
The iconoclastic philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti In Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom
(1895-1986) taught that we are victims of cultural of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain,
conditioning. This conditioning entrenches us in and Illness Jon Kabat-Zinn (1990) defines
the violence and tyranny of a socially constructed mindfulness as paying attention in a particular
self. Krishnamurti, J. (2007). As One Is: To Free the Mind from All Conditioning (e-book). Chino Valley, AZ: Hohm Press. way.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. (Revised). New York:

“So meditation is to understand the futility – “I define mindfulness operationally as the

of all systems. Doubt everything. Be awareness that arises by paying attention on
skeptical about your sacred books, about purpose, in the present moment, and non-
your gurus, about your politics, about judgmentally.”
yourself. Doubt and skepticism cleanses
the brain and gives clarity.” – “Awareness is not the same as thinking.”
Krishnamurti, Jiddu. Krishnamurti: The Essential Collection (p. 13-15). Kindle Edition. 13 of 131 16 of 131

Langer's Mindfulness
In The Power of Mindful Learning social
psychologist Ellen Langer (1997, p. 23) writes that

Overstated mindfulness revolves around the following

psychological states. Langer, E. (1997). The Power of Mindful Learning. Cambridge, Mass: Da Capo Press.

Postmodern –

Openness to novelty
Alertness to distinction

Neoliberal –

Sensitivity to different contexts
Implicit awareness of multiple perspectives

Tripe – Orientation in the present 14 of 131 17 of 131

Theory from theōros "spectator"

Siegel's Mindfulness
Daniel Siegel (2007) sets the stage for a clear
understanding of mindfulness in The Mindful
Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the
Cultivation of Well-Being.
the Cultivation of Well-Being (1 edition). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Siegel, D. (2007). The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in

– “Mindfulness in its most general sense is about

waking up from a life on automatic, and being
sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences.” (p.5)

– “The essential proposal is that this ancient and

useful form of awareness harnesses the social
circuitry of the brain to enable us to develop an
attuned relationship within our own minds.” (p. 3)

Photo Credit: ID 37558494 © Brian Kushner | 15 of 131 18 of 131
Irimi Nage:
Enter and Throw
“When you are not there, you can
enter your opponent's space.
Only the movement like the
breath is there.”
Paraphrase of Gaku Homma

Westbrook, A., & Ratti, O. (1970). Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere:
An Illustrated Introduction (Original ed. edition). Tokyo; Rutland
(Vermont); Singapore: Tuttle Publishing. 19 of 131 22 of 131

Mindfulness Misconceptions
In Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante
Gunaratana (2011) dispels a number of
misconceptions that serve as traditional barriers to
understanding mindfulness.
Anniverary). New York: Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
Gunaratana, B. H. (2011). Mindfulness in Plain English (20th

– Meditation is just a relaxation technique

– Meditation is about going into a trance
– Meditation is running away from reality
– Meditation is about lofty thoughts
– A couple of weeks of meditation and all my
problems will go away. 20 of 131

My Experience with (Soto) Zen The Puddle of My Experience

Zen Meditation (OMM)
Sensei Gaku Homma Mantra Meditation (FAM)
taught Aikido as Vipassana Meditation (FAM/OMM)
“dynamic zen meditation” Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR®)
Nippon Kan
1365 Osage Street

Denver, CO 80204
My simple definition of mindfulness is clearly
seeing through life's illusions for direct
(My dojo time: 1982-1986)
engagement in the world. 21 of 131 24 of 131

Focused Attention Meditation Meditation Meets Neuroscience
In focused attention meditation (FAM), meditators
focus their attention on a target object, such as In 2000, the Dalai Lama challenged
the physical sensations caused by breathing or by Richard “Richie” Davidson, PhD to
performing a body scan. Fujino, M., Ueda, Y., Mizuhara, H., Saiki, J., & Nomura, M. (2018). Open
refocus the formidable power of his
monitoring meditation reduces the involvement of brain regions related to memory function. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 9968.
28274-4 neuroscience lab The Center for
– Having a target object enables meditators to keep Healthy Minds ( at
their attention away from distractors and to the University of Wisconsin,
disengage their attention from these distractors Madison to investigate the
more easily. mechanisms and benefits of
– CAVEAT: FAM may contribute to Inattentional meditation. Goleman, D., & Davidson, R. J. (2018). Altered Traits: ScienceReveals How
Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body (Reprint edition). Avery.
Blindness. Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events.
Perception, 28, 1059–1074. 25 of 131 28 of 131

Open Monitoring Meditation

In Open Monitoring Meditation (OMM), meditators
keep a non-reactive and non-judgmental
awareness of anything that occurs in their
experience of the present moment. Fujino, M., Ueda, Y., Mizuhara, H., Saiki, J., &
Nomura, M. (2018). Open monitoring meditation reduces the involvement of brain regions related to memory function. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 9968.

– While maintaining this awareness, the contents of

experience such as bodily sensations, feelings, and
thoughts are not distractors but simply contents for
Matthieu Ricard, PhD in Molecular Genetics
– CAVEAT: OMM may contribute to Much of the research on mindfulness is derived from seasoned meditators
depersonalization, dissociative tendencies. Michal, M., Beutel, M. E.,
who have a long history of meditation as part of their religious practice.
Jordan, J., Zimmermann, M., Wolters, S., & Heidenreich, T. (2007). Depersonalization, mindfulness, and childhood trauma. The Journal of
Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(8), 693–696.
This necessarily means that religious-philosophical thinking must be
acknowledged to some degree in the contextualization of our study of
mindfulness. Your patience is appreciated. 26 of 131 29 of 131

Neuroscience and Meditation We are Philosophical Heirs

Cognitive Neuroscience In his book On the Road with Saint Augustine,
– Michael Gazzaniga, PhD and Antonio Damasio, MD Calvin College philosophy professor James K. A.
Neurophilosophy Smith (2019, p. 20) muses on the contemporaneous
nature of Augustinian thought on life in the
– Patricia Churchland, PhD, George Lakoff, PhD, and Mark Johnson, PhD
postmodern world. Smith, J. K. A. (2019). On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless

Neurotheology/Neuroethics Hearts. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.

– Andrew Newberg, MD and Michael Gazzaniga, PhD

– “We are philosophical heirs even if we don’t realize
it. We have inhaled invisible philosophies in the
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction® (MBSR®) cultural air we breathe. Our everyday quests for
– Jon Kabat Zinn, PhD authenticity and identity are grooves in the heart
Contemplative Neuroscience laid down by the ripple effects of an existentialism
we’ve perhaps never heard of.”
– Richard Davidson, PhD and Daniel Goleman, PhD 27 of 131 30 of 131

Cartesian Confusion Humbled by Hume
Descartes’s (1641) Meditations on First David Hume (1711-1776) published, at the age of 26,
Philosophy is a narration of his personal his Treatise on Human Nature sought “the
intellectual journey. His conclusions are among application of experimental philosophy to moral
those invisible philosophies which we have subjects.” Hume, D. (2014). A Treatise of Human Nature (ePub). Toronto: Harper Torch Classics.

inhaled. Our ontological beliefs and self-identity – “I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that
have been forged in a Cartesian furnace. Cahoone, L. (2010). The they are nothing but a bundle or collection of
different perceptions, which succeed each other
Rationalism and Dualism of Descartes. In Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida (pp. 10–12). Chantilly, VA: The Great Courses.

– Body-Mind/Soul Dualism (res extensa/res cogitans) with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a
– Mind/Soul is indivisible, finite, and immortal perpetual flux and movement.”
– Body is divisible, finite, and mortal – Bundle Theory: We are a Pastiche.
– Inaugurated the sub-field Philosophy of Mind 31 of 131 34 of 131

Western/Eastern Dualism Neurophilosophy

In the mid-seventies, academic philosopher
Patricia Smith Churchland (1986) became
West Body Mind Soul disillusioned with the “anti-scientific” bias of
Rational mainstream philosophical inquiry into the nature of
the mind.
Bradford Book.
Churchland, P. S. (1989). Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain (Reprint edition). Cambridge, Mass.: A

– She sought to marry “philosophy of mind” with the

East Body Mind Soul exploding field of cognitive neuroscience.
Empirical – In 1986, she published Neurophilosophy: Toward
a Unified Science of the Mind/Brain.
Grim, P. (2017). Mind-Body Philosophy. Video Presentation presented at the The Great
Courses. Retrieved from
philosophy.html 32 of 131 35 of 131

Liberated by Locke Neurophilosophical Assumptions

The English enlightenment philosopher John In Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied
Locke (1632-1704) writing of identity in his Essay Mind & its Challenge to Western Thought,
Concerning Human Understanding argues that George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1999) radically
all ideas come from sensation and reflection. restructure the philosophical assumptions of what
– “Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, it means to be a human being in terms of
white paper, void of all characters, without any cognitive neuroscience. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind & its

ideas:—How comes it to be furnished? [...] To this I

Challenge to Western Thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.

answer, in one word, from experience.” 1.Embodiment of the Mind

– Tabula Rasa … there are no innate ideas. 2.Cognitive Unconscious
– I am the sum of my experiences and memories. 3.Thought is Metaphorical
4.Morality is about human well-being 33 of 131 36 of 131

The Mindful Brain
Doll, et. al. (2015) extend the metaphor of the
embodied mind as a series of interacting brain
Philosophy in the Flesh networks. Doll, A., Hölzel, B. K., Boucard, C. C., Wohlschläger, A. M., & Sorg, C. (2015). Mindfulness is associated with intrinsic

1. The Embodied Mind functional connectivity between default mode and salience networks. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9.

– “In the context of mindfulness and functional

connectivity there are three central neurocognitive
The mindfulness experience is built on a networks of interest: the default mode network
sensorimotor foundation. (DMN), salience network (SN) and the central
executive network (CEN).” 37 of 131 40 of 131

Damasio's Embodied Mind Embodied Themes

In The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feelings, In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell (1988, p. 49)
and the Making of Cultures, neurologist and and journalist Bill Moyers discuss what the myths
neuroscientist Antonio Damasio (2018) argues that of premoderns and Romantics had to say about
the mind is an engendered “space” where the origins of thoughts, musings, and
neurologically constructed maps of the body, imaginations. Campbell, J., & Moyers, B. (1988). The Power of Myth. New York: Anchor Books.

feelings, thoughts, memories, and other sensoria – “The imagination is grounded in the energy of the
are integrated and experienced.
Feeling, and the Making of Cultures (Reprint edition). Vintage.
Damasio, A. (2019). The Strange Order of Things: Life,
organs of the body, and these are the same in all
human beings. Since imagination comes out of one
– “The mind is made of images from the biological ground, it is bound to produce certain
representation of objects and events to their themes.”
corresponding concepts and verbal translations.”
– “Images are the universal token of mind.” 38 of 131 41 of 131

Engendered Narrative Space Embodied Angst

In The Psychology of Narrative Thought, In The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and
psychologist Lee Roy Beach (2010) describes the Ethics sociologist Arthur Frank (2013) discusses
complex assembly that constitutes narrative how the body gives language to the socially
Beach, L. R. (2010). The Psychology of Narrative Thought: How the Stories We Tell Ourselves Shape Our Lives. United States: Xlibris muzzled need for expression.
Ethics, Second Edition (Second edition). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Frank, A. W. (2013). The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and

– “It is a rich mixture of memories, of visual, auditory, – “The body is not mute, but it is inarticulate; it does
and other cognitive images, all laced together by not use speech, yet begets it. The speech that the
emotions to form a mixture that far surpasses mere body begets includes illness stories; the problem of
words and visual images to capture context and hearing these stories is to hear the body speaking
meaning.” (p. 22) in them.” (Frank, 2013, p. 27)

The existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
defined “image” as a synthesis of feeling, knowledge, and
inner sensation, captured in an episode of time. Quoted on page 65
from: McAdams, D. (1993). The Stories We Live by: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self. New York: The Guilford Press. 39 of 131 42 of 131

Thinking Fast and Slow
In his book Thinking Fast and Slow psychologist
Philosophy in the Flesh and Nobel laureate in economics Daniel
Kahneman (2013, p. 20) describes two systems of
2. The Cognitive Unconscious thinking that he ties to heuristic methods, biased
thinking, and error detection.
The mindfulness experience exposes one more
Kahneman, D. (2013). Thinking, Fast and Slow (1st edition). New
York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

directly to encounter their unconscious – “System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with
sensorimotor voice. little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.”
– “System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental
activities that demand it, including complex
computations and error detection.” 43 of 131 46 of 131

Cognitive Unconscious A Glimpse of the Unconscious

In 1987 the American cognitive social psychologist Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor (2008) describes
John Frederick Kihlström wrote that research on her stroke (1996) experience in My Stroke of
perceptual-cognitive and motoric skills indicates Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.
that they are automatized through experience,
Bolte-Taylor, J. (2008). My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Group.

and thus rendered unconscious. Kihlstrom, J. F. (1987). The cognitive unconscious.

– “My left hemisphere had been trained to perceive
Science (New York, N.Y.), 237(4821), 1445–1452. myself as a solid, separate from others. Now,
– “Research on subliminal perception, implicit released from that restrictive circuitry, my right
memory, and hypnosis indicates that events can hemisphere relished in its attachment to the eternal
affect mental functions even though they cannot be flow. I was no longer isolated and alone. My soul
consciously perceived or remembered.” was as big as the universe and frolicked with glee in
a boundless sea.”
– Behavior becomes procedural.
– This is the result of a disinhibited right hemisphere. 44 of 131 47 of 131

The Adaptive Unconscious Hemispheric Dominance

In Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Rhawn Joseph (1992) concludes in The Right Brain
Adaptive Unconscious, American social and the Unconscious: Discovering the
psychologist Timothy D. Wilson (2002) describes the Stranger Within that the unconscious mind
adaptive unconscious.
Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Wilson, T. D. (2002). Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious. resides in the “mute” right hemisphere. Joseph, R. (1992). The Right Brain
and the Unconscious: Discovering the Stranger Within. New York, NY: Plenum Press.

– “Evolutionary adaptative nonconscious thinking – In Iain McGilchrist's (2019, p. 17) tome The Master
conveys the ability to size up our environments, and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the
disambiguate them, interpret them, and initiate Making of the Western World we learn that the
behavior quickly and nonconsciously [thus corpus callosum contains an estimated 300–800
conferring] a survival advantage.” million fibers a large number of which actually
– “Implicit learning and goal setting are important inhibit their contralateral counterparts. McGilchrist, I. (2019). The Master and
His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2nd, New Expanded edition ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

functions of the adaptive unconscious.” 45 of 131 48 of 131

Corpus Callosum in Meditation Meta + Pherein
Luders et. al. (2012) in Bridging the Hemispheres In the article Dementia As a Cultural Metaphor,
in Meditation found that long-term meditators British gerontologist Hannah Zeilig (2014) defines
(upwards of 45 years) have enhanced fiber connectivity the saliency of metaphor in daily life. Zeilig, H. (2014). Dementia As a Cultural
Metaphor. The Gerontologist, 54(2), 258–267.

within the anterior callosal tip occupied by the

– “A metaphor works by making an implicit
forceps minor. Luders, E., Phillips, O. R., Clark, K., Kurth, F., Toga, A. W., & Narr, K. L. (2012). Bridging the Hemispheres in
Meditation: Thicker callosal regions and enhanced fractional anisotropy (FA) in long-term practitioners. Neuroimage, 61(1), 181–187.
comparison between two unlike things; thus, what is
unfamiliar is described by something that is
– “Thicker callosal regions in meditators indicate familiar.”
greater connectivity, possibly reflecting increased
hemispheric integration during cerebral processes – “Metaphors are not only essential to communication
involving prefrontal regions.” but are also innately connected to the ways in
which we see and process the world.” 49 of 131 52 of 131

Diffusion MRI of the Kiki or Bouba?

Corpus Callosum In 1929 German-American psychologist
Wolfgang Köhler showed two figures to Spanish
Diffusion MRI allows the
mapping of the diffusion
speaking natives of the Canary Islands and asked
process of molecules, mainly them which of two names applied to each of them.
water, in biological tissues, in Bouba/kiki effect. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from

vivo and non-invasively.

A special kind of D-MRI,

diffusion tensor imaging
(DTI), has been used
extensively to map white
matter tractography in the
Diffusion MRI. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from

Fitsiori, A., Nguyen, D., Karentzos, A., Delavelle, J., & Vargas, M. I. (2011). The corpus callosum: White matter or terra incognita. The British Journal of Radiology, 84(997), 5–
18. 50 of 131 53 of 131

Synesthetic Metaphors
Writing in I is an Other: The Secret Life of
Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See
Philosophy in the Flesh the World,
World James Geary (2011) writes: Geary, J. (2011). I Is an Other: The Secret

3. Metaphorical Thinking
Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World (Reprint edition). New York: Harper Perennial.

Many of the metaphors we use every day are

The mindfulness experience is largely synesthetic, describing one sensory experience
interpreted in metaphoric language. with vocabulary that belongs to another modality.
– “Silence is sweet; facial expressions are sour.
Sexually attractive people are hot; sexually
unattractive people leave us cold.”
– Along with pattern recognition, synesthesia may be
the neurological building block of metaphor. 51 of 131 54 of 131
Self as Metaphor The Constructed Self
From Philosophy in the Flesh Lakoff and In The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain
Johnson (1999) make the syntactical and linguistic Creates Identity the British developmental
argument that there are two general reference psychologist Bruce Hood (2013) details the manner
points to a “person.” Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind & its Challenge
in which the brain constructs a central figure or
to Western Thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.
protagonist in our inner narration. Hood, B. (2013). The Self Illusion: How the Social

– The Subject is that part of the person that is Brain Creates Identity (Reprint edition). Oxford England; New York: Oxford University Press.

experiencing consciousness and is the locus of – Based on current understanding across academic
reason, essence, will, and judgment. disciplines, he suggests that our brains are
constructing simulations or stories to make sense of
– The Self/Selves are everything else not picked out
our experiences while our memories mark the
by the Subject such as the body, social roles, past
passage of time.
states, and actions in the world. 55 of 131 58 of 131

Neural Correlates of Metaphors Multiphrenia

Schmidt and Seger (2009) demonstrate in Neural In The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in
Correlates of Metaphor Processing: The Roles Contemporary Life, the psychologist Kenneth
of Figurativeness, Familiarity and Difficulty Gergen (1991) investigates the fragmenting impact
that comprehension of metaphor requires the of postmodern culture on a person's coherent
recruitment of brain processes located in the sense of identity. Gergen, K. (1991). The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. New York: Basic Books.

prefrontal cortices (“I”) and the insula (“Me”). Schmidt, G. L., & Seger, C. A.
(2009). Neural Correlates of Metaphor Processing: The Roles of Figurativeness, Familiarity and Difficulty. Brain and Cognition, 71(3), 375–386.
– “In an important sense, as social saturation
proceeds we become pastiches, imitative

– This confirms the contentions of Lakoff and assemblages of each other.” (p. 71)
Johnson (1999) that metaphors especially of the – “All the selves lie latent, and under the right
abstract inner world of the “self” are constructed
conditions may spring to life.” (p. 71)
from sensory-motor mechanisms. 56 of 131 59 of 131

Formation of a Self Where is the Self Located?

In The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious: In 2001 the neuroradiologist Marcus Raichle's
Integrating Brain and Mind in Psychotherapy, pioneering studies in fMRI of the brain identified a
Efrat Ginot (2015) describes unconscious identity resting state/task negative brain network whose
formation from within the mirror neuron system main function was identified in self-referential
that make up our “intersubjective building blocks processes. Raichle, M. E. (2015). The Brain’s Default Mode Network. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 38(1), 433–447.

of action, understanding, imitation, and empathy.”

Ginot, E. (2015). The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious: Integrating Brain and Mind in Psychotherapy. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. – This self-referential network became known as the
– “Here we have the mechanism that underpins the default mode network as it occupies itself with
child's absorption in a parent's emotional self-state, daydreaming, mind wandering, stimulus-
identifying with and internalizing parental emotions independent thoughts and is our brain's default
and traits.” (p. 113) state. 57 of 131 60 of 131

DMN Functional Hubs Function of the DMN
Posterior Cingulate Cortex (PCC) & Precuneus: Cognitive Scientist from the University of Colorado
– Related to the self and others, remembering the past, at Boulder Jessica Andrews-Hanna (2012) describes
imagining the future. Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Smallwood, J., & Spreng, R. N. (2014). The default network and the role of the DMN in internal mentation. Andrews-Hanna, J. R.
(2012). The Brain’s Default Network and Its Adaptive Role in Internal Mentation. The Neuroscientist, 18(3), 251–270.
self-generated thought: Component processes, dynamic control, and clinical relevance. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316(1),

Angular Gyrus/TemporoParietal Junction: Neurological basis for the self:

– Connects perception, attention, spatial cognition, and – Autobiographical information and self-reference,
episodic memories. Thinking about others:
Medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) & Anterior – Theory of mind, empathy, basic moral reasoning,
Cigulate Cortex (ACC): interpersonal evaluations
– Decision making about self processing, considering Remembering the past and Imagining the future:
others, autobiographical memories, emotional
regulation, goalsetting, and reward. – Episodic memory and story comprehension 61 of 131 64 of 131

Mirror Neurons
Molnar-Szakacs and Uddin (2013) discuss how the
Diffusion Tensor privileged access we have to our own physical
Image of the DMN and mental states allows us to gain insight into
others’ physical and mental states (mental state
attribution or theory of mind) through the
processes of embodiment and mentalizing. Molnar-Szakacs, I., &
Uddin, L. Q. (2013). Self-Processing and the Default Mode Network: Interactions with the Mirror Neuron System. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.

– These cognitive processes are supported at the

neural level by two large-scale, interacting
networks, the mirror neuron system (MNS) and the
Horn, A., Ostwald, D., Reisert, M., & Blankenburg,
F. (2014). The structural–functional connectome
and the default mode network of the human brain.
DMN, respectively.
NeuroImage, 102, 142–151. 62 of 131 65 of 131

DMN through the LifeCycle Neural Basis of Empathy

Writing in the Journal of Psychiatry and In his book Mirroring People: The New Science
Neuroscience Judith Daniels (2011) notes the of How We Connect with Others neurologist and
developmental course of the default mode. Daniels, J. (2011).
Default mode alterations in posttraumatic stress disorder related to early-life trauma: A developmental perspective. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, 36(1),
neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni (2009) makes the
argument that it is through the mirror neuron
– Infants demonstrate a lack of anterior–posterior system and its extensive neural connections that
integration due to less well-developed white matter we have the ability to simulate the feelings and
presumptive thoughts of others. Iacoboni, M. (2009). Mirroring People: The Science of

– By 1 year of age anterior–posterior integration Empathy and How We Connect with Others (First edition). New York: Picador.

begins to emerge.
– By 9 years of age, the default mode network
anterior–posterior integration appears comparable
to adult integration levels. 63 of 131 66 of 131
Mindfulness and Empathy Automaticity of Thought
Lamothe et. al. (2016) conducted a meta-analysis Krishnan et. al. (2018) discuss the source of the
examining the impact of MBSR® on empathy in automaticity that drives the resting state activities
health care providers across 39 separate studies.
Lamothe, M., Rondeau, É., Malboeuf-Hurtubise, C., Duval, M., & Sultan, S. (2016). Outcomes of MBSR or MBSR-based interventions in health care providers: A
of the default mode network. Krishnan, G. P., González, O. C., & Bazhenov, M. (2018). Origin of
slow spontaneous resting-state neuronal fluctuations in brain networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(26), 6858–6863.
systematic review with a focus on empathy and emotional competencies. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 24, 19–28.

– Their analysis demonstrated that MBSR® improved

– Using computational modeling, it was shown that
cognitive empathy (not emotional empathy) over three key spontaneous resting-state fluctuations arise from
emotional competencies: identification of one's own dynamic ion concentrations and are influenced by
emotions, identification of other's emotions, and the Na+/K+ pump, glial K+ buffering, and
emotional acceptance of self and others. glutaminergic and GABAergic synaptic currents.
– Intrinsic, task negative thought may be as
spontaneous as breathing. 67 of 131 70 of 131

Mind Wandering Whistling Teakettle

In The Craving Mind, psychiatrist/neuroscientist In the Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond
Judson Brewer (2017) describes the role of the Yourself, Michael Singer (2013) gives a
default mode network and the wandering mind.
J. (2017). The Craving Mind. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Brewer, metaphorical explanation for our mind wandering
and ruminations. Singer, M. A. (2013). The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (Gift Edition w/ Ribbon Marker
– “Recent work has shown that when people are edition). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

asked to do nothing (in an fMRI scanner while their – “The mental voice talks for the same reason
brain activity is being measured), they default to that a teakettle whistles. That is, there’s a
mind wandering, and much of those wandering
thoughts take the form of an ongoing narrative buildup of energy inside that needs to be
about oneself, “the story of me,” we could say: my released.”
future, my past, my successes, my failures, and so
– Interestingly, Judson links PCC activity to addiction. 68 of 131 Photo Credit: ID 151360123 © Chernetskaya | 71 of 131

Rumination Witness the Chaos

Zhu, et. al. (2017) examined the correlation between In her book The Grace in Aging: Awaken as You
the default mode network and rumination in young Grow Older, psychotherapist and hospice worker
medication-naïve patients with major depressive Kathleen Dowling Singh (2014) tells us that
disorder (MDD). Zhu, X., Zhu, Q., Shen, H., Liao, W., & Yuan, F. (2017). Rumination and Default Mode Network Subsystems
Connectivity in First-episode, Drug-Naive Young Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 43105.
awakening to our inner chaos is an important step
toward clarity and grace in aging. Dowling Singh, K. (2014). The Grace in Aging:

They found that: Awaken as You Grow Older. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.

– “Chaos is what we discover when we begin to look

– The MDD patients showed increased intra-DMN
under the hood.” (p. 50)
network connectivity and decreased inter-system
connectivity. – “Chaos is the mind of the self, of selfing, of
unconscious habit patterns run wild.” (p. 49) 69 of 131 72 of 131

FAM and the DMN Salience
In fMRI studies, focused attention meditation Etymologically the term “salience” derives from (L)
(FAM), Fujino et. al. (2018) have demonstrated a “salire” meaning to leap or spring forward. Skeat, W. (2007).

reduction in the connectivity between the anterior

Concise Dictionary of English Eytmology (1st ed.). London: Wordsworth Reference.

medial prefrontal cortex (amPFC) and posterior The nervous system dynamically selects specific
cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus, which are core stimuli for additional processing from a constant
hubs of the DMN. Fujino, M., Ueda, Y., Mizuhara, H., Saiki, J., & Nomura, M. (2018). Open monitoring meditation reduces
stream of incoming sensory inputs.
Mapping (pp. 597–611).
Menon, V. (2015). Salience Network. In Brain

the involvement of brain regions related to memory function. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 9968.

– “Activity in the anterior insula and dorsal anterior – Bottom-Up Salience of perceptual information
cingulate cortex (ACC) increases at moments when – Top-Down Salience of conceptual information
meditators realize their mind is wandering during
FAM.” 73 of 131 76 of 131

OMM and the DMN Salience Network

Fujino et. al. (2018) have shown that open Stamford neuroscientist Vinod Menon (2015)
monitoring meditation (OMM) reduces activity in describes the Salience Network as follows. Menon, V. (2015).

the hippocampus and the retrosplenial cortex

Salience Network. In Brain Mapping (pp. 597–611).

– The SN is an intrinsically connected large-scale

“memory gateway” which are DMN components
network anchored in the insula and anterior
associated with self-reference in the past and cingulate cortex (ACC) and may include portions of
future. Fujino, M., Ueda, Y., Mizuhara, H., Saiki, J., & Nomura, M. (2018). Open monitoring meditation reduces the involvement of brain regions
related to memory function. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 9968. AND Kaboodvand, N., Bäckman, L., Nyberg, L., &
the somatosensory cortex.
Salami, A. (2018). The retrosplenial cortex: A memory gateway between the cortical default mode network and the medial temporal lobe. Human Brain Mapping,
39(5), 2020–2034.
– The SN also includes three key subcortical
– “Meditators who practice OMM develop a more structures: the amygdala, the ventral striatum, and
acute, but less emotionally reactive awareness of the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area.
their experiences, including the autobiographical – The SN is concerned with alerting and orienting
sense of identity that projects back into the past and attentional resources.
forward into the future.” 74 of 131 77 of 131

Emptiness or Murder Networks are Anticorrelational

In the Prajñaparamita Heart Sutra Fox, et. al. (2005) describe the brain as being
Avalokiteśvara Buddha finds that all things are intrinsically organized into dynamic, anticorrelated
empty of a separate sense of self.
Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, Calif: Parallax Press.
Hanh, T. N. (1988). The Heart of Understanding: functional networks whereby control is toggled
from one network to another. Fox, M. D., Snyder, A. Z., Vincent, J. L., Corbetta, M., Essen, D. C.

In Philippians the Christ chooses emptiness. V., & Raichle, M. E. (2005). The human brain is intrinsically organized into dynamic, anticorrelated functional networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, 102(27), 9673–9678.

“Have this mind (phroneō) in you … but emptied – “One network consists of regions routinely
(kenos) himself …” (Php 2:5-7 ASV) exhibiting task-related activations and the other
regions routinely exhibiting task-related
In July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik used a form deactivations.”
of Zen meditation to numb the full spectrum of his
emotions and kill 77 people in Norway. Staff, B. the C. W. (n.d.). Norway’s
Breivik gives chilling account of gun massacre. Retrieved November 9, 2019, from CNN website:
trial/index.html 75 of 131 78 of 131

Meditation & Network Toggling Executive/Attention Network
Lippelt et. al. (2014) examined the toggling Heinonen et. al. (2016) identify the prominent
mechanism during mind wandering. Lippelt, D. P., Hommel, B., & Colzato, L. S.
(2014). Focused attention, open monitoring and loving kindness meditation: Effects on attention, conflict monitoring, and creativity – A review. Frontiers in
components of the executive/attention networks.
Heinonen, J., Numminen, J., Hlushchuk, Y., Antell, H., Taatila, V., & Suomala, J. (2016). Default Mode and Executive Networks Areas: Association with the Serial
Psychology, 5. Order in Divergent Thinking. PLOS ONE, 11(9), e0162234.

– The moment of awareness of mind-wandering was – Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (dlPFC)

associated with increased activity in the ACC. – Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC)
– As the mind starts to wander during meditation, the
ACC detects this “error” and feeds it back to
Brown et. al. (2019) also include the following when
executive control networks so that attention can be considering the executive/attention networks. Brown, C. A.,
Schmitt, F. A., Smith, C. D., & Gold, B. T. (2019). Distinct patterns of default mode and executive control network circuitry contribute to present and future

executive function in older adults. NeuroImage, 195, 320–332.

– Lateral Parietal Cortices (LPC) including the TPJ

– Middle Temporal Gyri (MTG) 79 of 131 82 of 131

Mindfulness and Salience Role of the CEN

Froeliger, et. al. (2012) demonstrated that functional In Mindfulness Meditation Training and
connectivity of both the meditation and resting Executive Control Network Resting State
states are increased in the salience network of Functional Connectivity, Taren et. al. (2017)
mindfulness practitioners. Froeliger, B., Garland, E. L., Kozink, R. V., Modlin, L. A., Chen, N.-K.,
McClernon, F. J., … Sobin, P. (2012). Meditation-State Functional Connectivity (msFC): Strengthening of the Dorsal Attention Network and Beyond [Research
identify the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC)
as the key region in the central executive network
– “Such changes in functional connectivity may be which is broadly implicated in the regulation of
reflective of increased trait mindfulness, cortical and attention, decision making, working memory, and
subcortical remodeling via neuroplasticity, and cognitive control, and the control of emotional
fundamental changes to the sense of self over time
resulting from repeated mindfulness practice.” behavior. Taren, A. A., Gianaros, P. J., Greco, C. M., Lindsay, E. K., Fairgrieve, A., Brown, K. W., … Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mindfulness
Meditation Training and Executive Control Network Resting State Functional Connectivity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychosomatic Medicine, 79(6), 674–
683. 80 of 131 83 of 131

Fidgeting and Salience Mindfulness and the CEN

Carriere, et. al. (2013) report that involuntary mind Additionally, Taren et. al. (2017) review the growing
wandering and decreased attentional states are body of literature that shows the dlPFC is active
directly correlated with fidgeting. Carriere, J. S. A., Seli, P., & Smilek, D. (2013).
Wandering in both mind and body: Individual differences in mind wandering and inattention predict fidgeting. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue
during meditative states during FAM and OMM
Canadienne de Psychologie Expérimentale, 67(1), 19–31.
practices. Taren, A. A., Gianaros, P. J., Greco, C. M., Lindsay, E. K., Fairgrieve, A., Brown, K. W., … Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mindfulness
Meditation Training and Executive Control Network Resting State Functional Connectivity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychosomatic Medicine, 79(6), 674–
– “[I]t seems an individual who has a mind that tends 683.

to spontaneously wander away from the task at – “This suggests a dlPFC-specific pathway by which
hand likely has a body that tends to wander as mindfulness may encourage executive control.”
– This directly relates to tells and body language that
reveal unconscious states. Navarro, J. (2008). What Every Body is Saying. New York:
HarperCollins Publishing. 81 of 131 84 of 131

Mindfulness and Metacognition The McGilchrist Cycle
In Meta-Cognition in Mindfulness: A
Frontal Poles:
Conceptual Analysis, Dilwar Hussain (2015) details CLARITY
metacognition as “the awareness of the flowing Distance, Delay, Objectivity

qualia” while relating it to mindfulness.

Mindfulness: A Conceptual Analysis. Psychological Thought, 8(2), 132–141.
Hussain, D. (2015). Meta-Cognition in

Left Hemisphere: Right Hemisphere:

– “[I]n the state of meta-cognitive awareness RE-PRESENTATION NOVELTY
Literal, Partial, Re-Presented Implicit, Tacit, Holistic
'thoughts are seen as passing events in the mind (System 2 Thinking) (System 1 Thinking)
rather than as inherent aspects of self or as
necessarily valid reflections of reality.'”
– “Mindfulness facilitates cognitive restructuring.”
The distance, delay, and objectivity of the frontal poles should not be
mistaken for the psychological coping mechanism of dissociation.

McGilchrist, I. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, 2nd, New Expanded edition ed.; Yale University Press: New
Haven, CT, 2019. 85 of 131 88 of 131

Where is Metacognition Located? The Compassionate Brain

In “The Neural System of Metacognition Chierchia and Singer (2017) make a comparative
Accompanying Decision-Making in the assessment of the neurological substrates of both
Prefrontal Cortex” Qiu, et. al. (2018) using fMRI empathy and compassion. Chierchia, G., & Singer, T. (2017). Chapter 20:The Neuroscience of
Compassion and Empathy and Their Link to Prosocial Motivation and Behavior. In J.-C. Dreher & L. Tremblay (Eds.), Decision Neuroscience (pp. 247–257).

technology located metacognition squarely in the

lateral frontopolar cortex (lFPC) in conjunction – Empathy engages a network of brain areas
with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Qiu, L., Su, J., Ni, Y., Bai, Y.,
centered around the insula and anterior cingulate
Zhang, X., Li, X., & Wan, X. (2018). The neural system of metacognition accompanying decision-making in the prefrontal cortex. PLOS Biology, 16(4), e2004037. cortex.
– Interestingly, metacognition appears to concern – Compassionate states are associated with activity
itself with decision-making and coping with in the medial orbitofrontal cortex and limbic
uncertainty. structures vis-à-vis the ventral striatum bringing
feelings of warmth, concern, and positive affect.
– Metacognition allows us to view our thoughts
objectively through distance and delay. 86 of 131 89 of 131

Distance and Delay Part 1 Mindfulness and Compassion

In The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Emerging evidence suggests that meditation
Brain and the Making of the Western World, engenders prosocial behaviors meant to benefit
Iain McGilchrist (2019, p. 257) describes how the others. Lim et. al. (2015) used a mobile app to teach
mature prefrontal lobes underwrite our ability “to mindfulness which was tested in a lab against
stand back from our world, and from ourselves.”
McGilchrist, I. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, 2nd, New Expanded edition ed.; Yale University Press: New
control. Lim, D., Condon, P., & DeSteno, D. (2015). Mindfulness and Compassion: An Examination of Mechanism and Scalability. PLOS ONE,
10(2), e0118221.
Haven, CT, 2019.

– “This standing back enables us to see so much

– They found that mindfully trained subjects were
more of whatever is – it unfolds, makes explicit, our more likely to offer their seat to an “injured”
understanding; but once this has happened it confederate than were the controls suggesting that
expands the capacity of the right hemisphere to compassion is enhanced by mindfulness training.
reintegrate this understanding implicitly.” (p. 260) ● or
was used for training. 87 of 131 90 of 131

Embodied Morality is Maturational
According to McAdams (1993) moral development is
Philosophy in the Flesh tied to maturational stages across the life cycle.
McAdams, D. (1993). The Stories We Live by: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self. New York: The Guilford Press.

4. Embodied Morality – “Early on, children see moral, legal, interpersonal,

political, and religious issues from a very concrete
The mindfulness experience encourages and self-centered point of view – what is good is
a full examination of moral posits good for me alone; a friend is a person who is nice
to me; political leaders are either all good or all
and ethical points of view. bad.” (p. 89) Caudal Thinking
– “In middle stages, children and adolescents adopt a
more complex social perspective as they come to
realize that individual needs and viewpoints must
be balanced against those of groups and society as 91 of 131
a whole.” (p. 89) Rostral Thinking 94 of 131

An Embodied Morality Mindfulness and Morality

Lakoff and Johnson (1999) have studied and found Shapiro, Jazaieri & Goldin (2012) looked at the
that metaphors pertaining to moral concepts are effects of mindfulness training on moral reasoning.
grounded in the nature of our bodies and social The foundation of moral reasoning rests on
interactions, and they are anything but arbitrary awareness. Mindfulness helps one cultivate this
and unconstrained.
Western Thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind & its Challenge to awareness. Shapiro, S. L., Jazaieri, H., & Goldin, P. R. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction effects on moral reasoning and
decision making. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(6), 504–515.

– Morality typically concerns the promotion of the – “Mindfulness training resulted in improvements in
well-being of others and the avoidance or moral reasoning and ethical decision making,
prevention of harm to others. mindful attention, emotion, and well-being.”

e.g. upright, unbalanced, unhinged
– This is supported by folk theory and studies of the
morality of infants and toddlers (See Bloom, 2011). 92 of 131 95 of 131

Neuroethics: Just Babies A Perspective on the Benefits

Yale developmental psychologist Paul Bloom (2013)
discusses the innate sense of justice and moral
code of infants (as young as 3 month old) in his book Just
Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.
The Origins of Good and Evil. New York: Random House LLC.
Bloom, P. (2013). Just Babies:

– “What I am proposing is that certain moral

foundations are not acquired through learning.
They do not come from the mother’s knee, or from
school or church; they are instead the products of
biological evolution.” (Bloom, 2011, p. 8) 93 of 131 Photo 113578791 © Chernishev Maksim - 96 of 131

Benefits of Mindfulness The True Benefits
In The Healing Power of Mindfulness: A New The true benefits of mindfulness rest in the rostral
Way of Being author and mindfulness teacher shifting of one's brain activity and the
Jon Kabat-Zinn (2018) makes a sweeping look at the metacognitive awareness that it brings.
health benefits derived from practicing MBSR®.
Zinn, J. (2018). The Healing Power of Mindfulness: A New Way of Being. Hachette Books.
Kabat- – Prefrontal Embodied Mind
– Of particular interest is the scaled nature of his – Prefrontal Awareness of One's Cognitive
perspective. Unconscious Tendencies
– Benefits range from genetic to cellular to tissue to – Prefrontal awareness of the Metaphors by which
organ to organ system to emotional and one lives
psychological levels. – Prefrontal Morality and Compassion
– He leaves no stone unturned and dispels doubts – Joyful Metacognition
before the reader can formulate any. 97 of 131 100 of 131

The Cost of Mindlessness

According to Daniel Siegel (2007) if our attention is
on something other than what we are doing for
most of our lives we can come to feel empty and
Siegel, D. (2007). The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (1 edition). New York: W. W. Norton &

– This places us at risk of mindlessly reacting to

situations without reflecting on various options of
– The result can often be knee-jerk reactions that in
turn initiate similar mindless reflexes in others.
– A cascade of reinforcing mindlessness can create a
world of thoughtless interactions, cruelty, and
destruction. 98 of 131 101 of 131

Stress Hijacks the PFC McMindfulness

Yale University neurobiologist Amy Arnsten (2010) In his book McMindfulness: How Mindfulness
discusses the stress signaling pathways that Became the New Capitalist Spirituality
impair prefrontal cortex structure and function in management professor Ronald Purser (2019)
an article of the same name. Arnsten, A. F. T. (2009). Stress signalling pathways that impair
prefrontal cortex structure and function. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 10(6), 410–422.
discusses how the mindfulness movement has
reinvented, packages, and promotes mindfulness
– During stress, orchestration of the brain’s response
practice as a treatment for the ravages of social,
patterns switches from slow, thoughtful PFC
regulation to the reflexive and rapid emotional political, and economic pressures placed on the
responses of the amygdala and related subcortical individual. Purser, R. (2019). McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. London: Repeater Books.

structures. (System 1 Thinking of Kahneman) – Appropriating current neoliberal theory, mindfulness

– The amygdala also biases us towards habitual gurus preach a gospel of medicalized inner change
motor responding rather than flexible, spatial to the exclusion of outer social involvement.
navigation. 99 of 131 102 of 131
McNirvana Vipassana
“We are told that if we practice In Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to
mindfulness, and get our individual lives Awakening the Vipassana teacher and author
in order, we can be happy and secure. Joseph Goldstein (2016) draws on the 2600 year old
It is therefore implied that stable Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta as his guide for instruction in
employment, home ownership, social mindfulness meditation.
Sounds True.
Goldstein, J. (2016). Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening (Reprint edition).

mobility, career success and equality

– Mindfulness of body
will naturally follow.” Purser (2019, p.44)
Purser, R. (2019). McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. London: Repeater Books.
– Mindfulness of feelings
– Mindfulness of mind
Contextualized as such
mindfulness paradoxically becomes – Mindfulness of dhammas (Dharma/Torah)
a tool for further suffering. 103 of 131 106 of 131

The Capitalist Joke Is On You Watching the Breath

“As a tool of self-discipline, mindfulness is the Originally published in 1970, Zen Mind,
latest capitalist spirituality, unifying a quest for Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki is a
productivity and corporate profits with individual transcribed series of talks that detail the practice
peace and self-fulfillment.” (Purser 2019, p. 133)
McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. London: Repeater Books.
Purser, R. (2019). of zen meditation or zazen. The practice hinges
on the breath. Suzuki, S., Smith, H., Baker, R., & Chadwick, D. (2011). Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen
– “By directing attention inward, courses such as Meditation and Practice (9/19/11 edition; T. Dixon, Ed.). Boston: Shambhala.

Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” deflect wandering – “When we practice zazen our mind always follows
minds from questions of power or political economy; our breathing.”
external conditions are simply accepted as they – “If you think, 'I breathe,' the 'I' is extra.”
– “So when we practice zazen, all that exists is the
– This makes mindfulness a tool of oppression and
movement of the breathing, but we are aware of
not liberation.
this movement.” 104 of 131 107 of 131

Practice Zen: Sit Quietly, Do Nothing

In The Way of Zen by Alan Watts (1957) the
practice of zen meditation is outlined in its most
austere form for the Western mind. The key to
successful practice is to see through the illusion of
the self/ego. Watts, A. (1957). The Way of Zen. New York: Pantheon Books.

– “To make an end of the illusion, the mind must stop

trying to act upon itself, upon its stream of
experiences, from the standpoint of the idea of itself
which we call the ego.”
– Zen poem: Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring
comes, and the grass grows by itself.

Photo Credit: ID 49920361 © Nostone | 105 of 131 108 of 131
I'd Rather Hurt Myself Body Transfer Illusion
Body transfer illusion. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from

In a 2014 study published in Science titled Just

Think: The Challenges of the Disengaged Rubber Hand Illusion (Metaphor)
Mind, the authors reviewed 11 studies and found “Projection of Ownership”
that subjects
– “typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in
a room by themselves with nothing to do but think,
that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities
much more, and that many preferred to administer
electric shocks to themselves instead of being left
alone with their thoughts.” Wilson, T. D., Reinhard, D. A., Westgate, E. C., Gilbert, D. T., Ellerbeck,
N., Hahn, C., … Shaked, A. (2014). Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind. Science, 345(6192), 75–77.

Kállai, J., Hegedüs, G., Feldmann, Á., Rózsa, S., Darnai, G., Herold, R., … Szolcsányi, T. (2015). Temperament and psychopathological syndromes specific susceptibility for
rubber hand illusion. Psychiatry Research, 229(1), 410–419. 109 of 131 112 of 131

Engage in Experiential Focus Bicamerality Revisited

Farb et. al. (2007) argue that experiential focus (EF) In his paradigm shifting book, The Origins of
calls for the inhibition of cognitive elaboration on Consciousness and the Breakdown of the
mental events in favor of broadly attending to Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976) posits from
more temporally proximal sensory objects such as an extensive analysis of writings that the mind of
canvassing thoughts, feelings and physical ancient man was bicameral until about 1500 BCE.
sensations without selecting any one sensory
Jaynes, J. (1976). The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1st edition). Toronto: Houghton Mifflin Company.

– “[T]he speech of the gods was directly organized in

object. Farb, N. A. S., Segal, Z. V., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D., Fatima, Z., & Anderson, A. K. (2007). Attending to the present: Mindfulness
meditation reveals distinct neural modes of self-reference. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2(4), 313–322. what corresponds to Wernicke’s area on the right
– EF avoids rumination by disengaging attentional hemisphere and ‘spoken’ or ‘heard’ over the
processes of self-referential elaboration. anterior commissures to or by the auditory areas of
the left temporal lobe.” (p.105)
– YES! but how can this be done?
– This right hemisphere derived “speech” was
interpreted as originating from outside oneself. 110 of 131 113 of 131

Distance and Delay Part II Bicameral Breakdown

Blakeslee and Blakeslee (2007) detail the brain's According to Jaynes (1976), sometime after 1500
ability to map the body's peripersonal space in BCE the bicameral mind “broke down” resulting in
The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body functional, interhemispheric “fusion.”
Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) – The result was an inflection of the right hemispheric
Everything Better which may create distance narration and an introspective consciousness.
and delay while meditating. Blakeslee, S., & Blakeslee, M. (2007). The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: – Right brain “speech” was henceforth recognized as
coming from within oneself.
How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

– “Your self does not end where your flesh ends, but
suffuses and blends with the world, including other
– Much of this inner voice takes the form of mind
beings.” wandering and rumination which is often
– “Your peripersonal space is like an amoeba, it – This excludes any sense of thought insertion or
expands and contracts to suit your goals and
alien control as seen in schizophrenia.
makes you master of your world.”
Walsh, E., Oakley, D. A., Halligan, P.
W., Mehta, M. A., & Deeley, Q. (2015). The functional anatomy and connectivity of thought insertion and alien control of movement. Cortex, 64,
380–393. 111 of 131 114 of 131
Bicameral Mind/Original Mind Voluntary OBE
Perhaps projection of one's inner Smith and Messier (2014) report on a single fMRI
narrative into the peripersonal space capture of a 24 year old woman who could
while under the direction of the voluntarily induce OBE experiences. Smith, A. M., & Messier, C. (2014).

prefrontal cortex allows for a Voluntary Out-of-Body Experience: An fMRI Study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8.

catharsis from the tyranny of mind – “Activations were mainly left-sided and involved the
wandering and rumination. left supplementary motor area and supramarginal
and posterior superior temporal gyri, the last two
overlapping with the temporal parietal junction
that has been associated with out-of-body
experiences.” 115 of 131 118 of 131

Sensed Presence Phenomena Externalized Self (?)

Mirror Neurons
Left-TPJ Activation
Mental State Attribution
interhemispheric intrusions

Psychological Projection
Misattribution of Inner
Speech (Hallucination)
Rendered image of significantly
Idol Worship activated regions of the brain
while the participant was having
Scapegoating extra-corporeal experiences.
Third Man Factor Smith, A. M., & Messier, C. (2014). Voluntary Out-of-Body

Guardian Angels Experience: An fMRI Study. Frontiers in Human

Neuroscience, 8.

Ghosts 116 of 131 119 of 131
Photo Credit: ID 101065964 © Lmarc1 |

Right Hemispheric Intrusion (?) Is the Peripersonal Projected Space

In 1992 Michael Persinger demonstrated that a
the Auric Body of Meditative Lore?
“sensed presence” could be fostered through
meditation (70% TM). Persinger, M. A. (1992). Enhanced incidence of “the sensed presence” in people who have learned to
meditate: Support for the right hemispheric intrusion hypothesis. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 75(3 Pt 2), 1308–1310.
Etheric Body
– “The experience of a sensed presence is
associated with the transient intrusion of the right Mental Body
Physical Body

hemispheric equivalent of the left hemispheric

sense of self.”
Emotional Body 117 of 131 120 of 131

You've Been Warned The Meditative Attitude
In How to Read a Book: The Art of Getting a In a series of talks transcribed in the book
Liberal Education, the philosopher Mortimer J. Choiceless Awareness: Meditation Without
Adler (1940) warns us that we have become Practice, J. Krishnamurti (2007) said that choiceless
mentally overstimulated and are awash in a rising awareness is freedom from condemnation,
sea of information. He laments that we can now justification, and identification (p. 22). Krishnamurti, J. (2007). Choiceless Awareness:

listen to the radio while driving our cars! (Adler, 1940, p.

Meditation Without Practice (eBook). Ojai, California: Krishnamurti Foundation.

4) Adler, M. J. (1940). How to Read a Book: The Art of Getting a Liberal Education. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. – When you are vitally interested in fully
understanding something, you give your mind and
– There is a sense in which we moderns are
heart, withholding nothing. But unfortunately you
inundated with facts to the detriment of
are conditioned, educated, disciplined through
religious and social environment to condemn or to
identify, and not to understand. 121 of 131 124 of 131

Antidote: Desaturate the Self Non-Attachment

Writing in The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of In the book The Eye of the I from Which
Identity in Contemporary Life, Kenneth Gergen Nothing is Hidden, psychiatrist David R. Hawkins
(1991) puts his finger on the postmodern pathology (2001) encourages the reader to seek the source of
that plagues us. Gergen, K. (1991). The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. New York: Basic Books. their 'true identity' through a process of surrender
– “Increasingly we emerge as the possessors of and non-attachment of positionalities.
from which Nothing is Hidden. Sedona, AZ: Veritas Publishing.
Hawkins, D. R. (2001). The Eye of the I

many voices. Each self maintains a multiplicity of – Positionalities are clever, narrative, defense
others, singing different melodies, different verses,
mechanisms deployed to protect and preserve the
and with different rhythms. Nor do these voices
necessarily harmonize.” (p. 83)
– “As positionality ceases, one becomes aware that it
– We must desaturate the saturated self.
was the source of all prior miseries, fears, and
unhappiness and that every positionality is
inherently in error.” 122 of 131 125 of 131

W.A.N.T. What to Do If
Often I describe my own practice like that of a “big If you have difficulty maintaining yourself in Open
cat in the tall grass.” Like a top predator, keep Monitoring Meditation (OMM),
your senses fixed on the target. – switch to Focused Attention Meditation (FAM)
– Watch/Listen to the narrative with curiosity at a techniques until your mind has calmed down
distance. (Distance  Peripersonal Space) – then switch back to OMM.
– Allow the narrative to unfold without hindrance. Some tips for a wandering mind
– Focus on the breath, repeat a mantram, move your
– Note the automatic and recurring nature of the eyes under closed lids, allow a narrow shaft of light
inner narrative. into your eyes, experiment with your peripersonal
– Transcend/Transfer/Disengage from the narrative space (i.e., rubber hand illusion)
structures of yourself and society. 123 of 131 126 of 131

A Call to Moral Well-Being

I think anybody who has observed, even if only a

little, what is going on in the world, can also, Eventually you will see that the real cause of
without a great deal of intellectual study, observe problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the
and find out in himself those things which, mind makes about life that really causes
projected outwardly, are the causes problems. (Singer, 2013, p. 10)
of this extraordinary brutality,
callousness, indifference, and Singer, M. A. (2013). The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (Gift Edition w/ Ribbon Marker edition). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

violence. The major cause of violence | J. Krishnamurti. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2019, from

The “teleos” of mindfulness is

morality and compassion. 127 of 131 130 of 131

Thank You
MCPA District II
Dr. Russell Matthias

You cannot have for yourself Dr. Robert Riley

what you would otherwise deny to another. Dr. Ragan Fairchild-Bonci
Mark Jankelow, BA, MSN 128 of 131 131 of 131

Compassion Meditation
In The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness,
and Peace psychologist and meditation teacher
Jack Kornfield reveals the basic meditation for
cultivating compassion.
edition). New York: Bantam.
Kornfield, J. (2002). The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace (1st Edition

– “May I be held in compassion. May I be free from

pain and sorrow. May I be at peace.”
– “May you be held in compassion. May you be free
from pain and sorrow. May you be at peace.”
– Can be done for those you love and those with
whom you are at odds. 129 of 131