--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "curtisdeltablues" <curtisdeltablues@...> wrote: > > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "sparaig" <LEnglish5@> wrote: > > > > So, even if one practices and "masters" jhana techniques, one really > > > isn't doing anything spiritually good. You can see signs of this in the > > > entire world-wide Buddhist culture that celebrates people burning > > > themselves alive as a good thing.> > > I am very interested in the research that distinguishes the different brain > states in different meditation practices, and enjoyed your post up to here. > But this seems like a very anti-intellectual statement bordering on > fanaticism induced, credibility destroying, stupidity.
Perhaps less so if one goes on to read the next paragraph: > > Afterall, since they are without a "self," it's not wrong > > for them to do violence to a specific living thing: their > > own physical body. One would also have need to recall that in the previous paragraph Lawson wrote: > > At the same time, these techniques have suppressed the > > self-centers of the brain, leading to a loss of sense > > of self, also a very unnatural situation. In this context, the statement you disparage appears to me to be part of a plausible logical progression, connecting the neurophysiological results of a practice with the belief system associated with that practice and an undesirable behavioral outcome thereof. No doubt there are good arguments against such a progression, but simply dismissing it as "fanatical" and "stupid" doesn't seem to add anything to our understanding. > Reading this reminds me that the chances that we are actually get to the > bottom of what is a serious question is slim. > > I propose that neither side KNOWS, and should approach the research with a > tad more appropriate humility. It would be interesting to know what effects > each have without the assumption that one or the other exists on an apriori > high ground of "spirituality" and its interpretive value judgements. > > > > > > > > > All of the samatha practices that have been studied, start out as simple > > relaxation techniques, producing some level of coherent alpha, just as TM > > does. However, over time, practitioners start to show more and more gamma > > EEG -the signature of paying attention to specific objects of attention- > > both during and outside of meditation. > > > > As well, virtually all meditation techniques other than TM, tend to > > compartmentalize the brain during practice, as well as suppressing the > > specific portions of the brain thought to be responsible for our "sense of > > self" -this last is proposed by some researchers, in positive tones no > > less, as the reason why long-term meditators (non-TM) become "selfless." > > > > The irony is that all eyes-closed techniques tend to activate the same > > general regions of the brain. Scientists call this set of regions the > > "default mode network" (DMN)and the current theory is that it is the style > > of functioning of the brain, especially specific parts of the brain, that > > activates during introspection, while the outward attention suppresses the > > DMN and activates the parts of the brain having to do with paying attention > > to things. > > > > The default way in which the DMN activates whenever you close your eyes > > involves increasing alpha EEG and alpha coherence. This goes right along > > with MMY's claim that any and all thoughts have a tendency to settle down > > towards silence when let on their own. TM, according to MMY, takes > > advantage of this natural tendency and merely enhances what naturally goes > > on anyway. > > > > On the other hand, other techniques, regardless of how they are described > > (effortless, effortless concentration, full-concentration, etc), over the > > years start to produce the situation where the normal activity of the DMN > > involves increased gamma EEG, which is a very unnatural situation. At the > > same time, these techniques have suppressed the self-centers of the brain, > > leading to a loss of sense of self, also a very unnatural situation. > > > > So, even if one practices and "masters" jhana techniques, one really isn't > > doing anything spiritually good. You can see signs of this in the entire > > world-wide Buddhist culture that celebrates people burning themselves alive > > as a good thing. > > > > Afterall, since they are without a "self," it's not wrong for them to do > > violence to a specific living thing: their own physical body.