Hi Mike, 
Just read your post, and thought I'd  echo your thoughts, and suggest a couple 
of other relevant sources that might interest you, time-permitting. Take a 
browse of "Mindsight", by Danel Siegel, M.D. Its a discussion of topics ranging 
from a primer on neuroplasticity, to  discussing how soul, mind and brain 
inter-connect, to explanations on  how memory and  trauma are encoded-- plus 
the neurobiology of how inter-connection with each other manifests.   Offers 
fairly current seminal thinking in this discipline, without needing to be a 
neuro-surgeon to understand it--
I am leaving tomorrow for his UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center to attend 
some seminars, and such.  As you teach English, some of this may be quite 
relevant to your teaching. He's written a number of key texts, such as "The 
Mindful Brain", and a couple of fascinating parenting /developmental  psych   
papers. Understanding some of this can help guide your students in mastering  
their study of language with greater clarity, at the very least.  He is 
lecturing next week, and if interested, e-mail me off-list, and I'll send you 
the link to listen to his lecture.
Another great book to sift thru is "The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion:  How 
Feelings Link the Brain, the Body and the Sixth Sense", by Michael Jawer, and 
Marc Micozzi,  M.D., Ph.D.  A bit text-y, but worth a look-through. As our  
mind, body and spirit are inter-connected-- trying to isolate or control one 
part but denying another is simply futile. They work in concert, and a better 
understanding of that inter-connection can only  enrich zen practice. Its not a 
question of if  this  relevant or real. One can choose to deny or ignore this, 
but it doesn't make it any less so. Like it or not. believe it or not-- if you 
change one's physicality, you change their behavior, emotion, responses, 
awareness, and bio-chemistry.   Its simply another key piece to the jigsaw, 
thereby allowing one's practice to thrive with greater clarity.
Finally, I read the 'galleys' of a new book set for a pub date of 3/11, 
entitled "Awakening the Sacred Body", by Tenzin Wangyal Ripoche.   Excellent 
discussion of our physical /emotional /heart energies. Discusses chi and places 
of  stillness, silence and spatiousness in re-directing discomfort and pain. 
Quite insightful, I thought.  Look for it early next year, if interested.
Will not have time to stay current here, so if you have further comments , 
please contact me off-list, and I'll give you my primary e-mail that I check 
often.  If  I don't hear from you--be well and happy in your journeys:)

10/21/10, mike brown <uerusub...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

If I can just jump in here. There is scientific data to suggest that the
brain has a kind of plasticity and so can be neurologically changed
according to how it is used. I think this is should hold a huge interest for
those of us interested in zen/meditation. Learning to pay attention to the
moment and letting go of negative thoughts can be seen as a 'skill' just
like learning a language or playing the piano. If one incorporates sitting
into their daily lives it'd be possible to change the physiology of the
brain to better respond to internal/external stimuli with happier results.
Zen, as an art of living, could then jettison all the religious mumbo-jumbo
that it's wrapped up in now.

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