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.
This monograph from a leading neuroscientist and neural networks researcher investigates and offers a fresh approach to the perplexing scientific and philosophical problems of minds and brains. It explains how brains have evolved from our earliest vertebrate ancestors. It details how brains provide the basis for successful comprehension of the environment, for the formulation of actions and prediction of their consequences, and for cooperating or competing with other beings that have brains. The book also offers observations regarding such issues as:* how and why people fall in and out of love;
* the biological basis for experiencing feelings of love and hate; and
* how music and dance have provided the ancestral technology for forming social groups such as tribes and clans. The author reviews the history of the mind-brain problem, and demonstrates how the new sciences of behavioral electrophysiology and nonlinear dynamics -- combined with the latest computer technology -- have made it possible for us to observe brains in action. He also provides an answer to the question: What happens to a stimulus after it enters the brain? The answer: The stimulus triggers the construction of a percept and is then washed away. All that we know is what our brains construct for us by neurodynamics. Brains are not logical devices that process information. They are dynamical systems that create meaning through interactions with the environment -- and each other. The book shows how the learning process by which brains construct meaning tends to isolate brains into self-centered worlds, and how nature has provided a remedy -- first appearing in mammals as a mechanism for pair-bonding -- to ensure reproduction of the young dependent on parents. The remedy is based in the neurochemistry of sex which serves to dissolve belief structures in order to open the way for new patterns of understanding and behavior. Individuals experience these changes in various ways, such as falling in love, collegiate indoctrination, tribal bonding, brain washing, political or religious conversions, and related types of socialization. The highest forms of meaning for humans come through these social attachments.
An exploration of how LSD influences imagination and the creative process.- Based on the results of one of the longest clinical studies of LSD that took place between 1954 and 1962, before LSD was illegal. - Includes personal reports, artwork, and poetry from the original sessions as testimony of the impact of LSD on the creative process. In 1954 a Los Angeles psychiatrist began experimenting with a then new chemical discovery known as LSD-25. Over an eight-year period Dr. Oscar Janiger gave LSD-25 to more than 950 men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 81 and coming from all walks of life. The data collected by the author during those trials and from follow-up studies done 40 years later is now available here for the first time, along with the authors' examination of LSD's ramifications on creativity, imagination, and spirituality. In this book Marlene Dobkin de Rios, a medical anthropologist who has studied the use of hallucinogens in tribal and third world societies, considers the spiritual implications of these findings in comparison with indigenous groups that employ psychoactive substances in their religious ceremonies. The book also examines the nature of the creative process as influenced by psychedelics and provides artwork and poetry from the original experiment sessions, allowing the reader to personally witness LSD's impact on creativity. The studies recounted in LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process depict an important moment in the history of consciousness and reveal the psychic unity of humanity.
"Fascinating. Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain."--Oliver Sacks, MD, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatWhat is neuroplasticity? Is it possible to change your brain? Norman Doidge's inspiring guide to the new brain science explains all of this and more
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable, and proving that it is, in fact, possible to change your brain. Psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity, its healing powers, and the people whose lives they've transformed--people whose mental limitations, brain damage or brain trauma were seen as unalterable. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, blind people who learn to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, stroke patients learning to speak, children with cerebral palsy learning to move with more grace, depression and anxiety disorders successfully treated, and lifelong character traits changed. Using these marvelous stories to probe mysteries of the body, emotion, love, sex, culture, and education, Dr. Doidge has written an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
-Enjoying the world around you
-Goal setting and life balance
-Harmonizing body and mind Drawing on Da Vinci's notebooks, inventions, and legendary works of art, acclaimed author Michael J. Gelb, introduces seven Da Vincian principles, the essential elements of genius, from curiosita, the insatiably curious approach to life, to connessione, the appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things. With Da Vinci as their inspiration, readers will discover an exhilarating new way of thinking. Step-by-step, through exercises and provocative lessons, anyone can harness the power and awesome wonder of their own genius, mastering such life-changing skills as problem solving, creative thinking, self-expression, goal setting and life balance, and harmonizing body and mind.
-from On Becoming an Artist On Becoming an Artist is loaded with good news. Backed by her landmark scientific work on mindfulness and artistic nature, bestselling author and Harvard psychologist Ellen J. Langer shows us that creativity is not a rare gift that only some special few are born with, but rather an integral part of everyone's makeup. All of us can express our creative impulses- authentically and uniquely-and, in the process, enrich our lives. Why then do so many of us merely dream of someday painting, someday writing, someday making music? Why do we think the same old thoughts, harbor the same old prejudices, stay stuck in the same old mud? Who taught us to think "inside the box"? No one is more qualified to answer these questions than Dr. Langer, who has explored their every facet for years. She describes dozens of fascinating experiments-her own and those of her colleagues-that are designed to study mindfulness and its relation to human creativity, and she shares the profound implications of the results-for our well-being, health, and happiness. Langer reveals myriad insights, among them: We think we should already know what only firsthand experience can teach us. . . . In learning the ways that all roses are alike, we risk becoming blind to their differences. . . . If we are mindfully creative, the circumstances of the moment will tell us what to do. . . . Those of us who are less evaluatively inclined experience less guilt, less regret, less blame, and tend to like ourselves more. . . . Uncertainty gives us the freedom to discover meaning. . . . Finally, what we think we're sure of may not even exist. With the skill of a gifted logician, Langer demonstrates exactly how we undervalue ourselves and undermine our creativity. By example, she persuades us to have faith in our creative works, not because someone else approves of them but because they're a true expression of ourselves. Her high-spirited, challenging book sparkles with wit and intelligence and inspires in us an infectious enthusiasm for our creations, our world, and ourselves. It can be of lifelong value to everyone who reads it.
Different minds learn differently, writes Dr. Mel Levine, one of the best-known learning experts and pediatricians in America today. Some students are strong in certain areas and some are strong in others, but no one is equally capable in all. Yet most schools still cling to a one-size-fits-all education philosophy. As a result, many children struggle because their learning patterns don't fit the way they are being taught.
In his #1 New York Times bestseller A Mind at a Time, Dr. Levine shows parents and those who care for children how to identify these individual learning patterns, explaining how they can strengthen a child's abilities and either bypass or help overcome the child's weaknesses, producing positive results instead of repeated frustration and failure.
Consistent progress can result when we understand that not every child can do equally well in every type of learning and begin to pay more attention to individual learning patterns -- and individual minds -- so that we can maximize children's success and gratification in life. In A Mind at a Time Dr. Levine shows us how
Among its provocative ideas, the book:
argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness--and that animals do have consciousness applies the autism theory of hyper-specificity to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they can't see the forest for the trees--a talent as well as a deficit explores the interpreter in the normal human brain that filters out detail, leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them--a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearlyexplains how animals have superhuman skills: animals have animal geniuscompares animals to autistic savants, declaring that animals may in fact be autistic savants, with special forms of genius that normal people do not possess and sometimes cannot even see examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future reveals the remarkable abilities of handicapped people and animals maintains that the single worst thing you can do to an animal is to make it feel afraid
What would you do if you could live to 122, like the Frenchwoman Madame Calment, whose life span is the oldest ever recorded? What if you could do so and stave off dementia, Alzheimer s, and other common ailments of aging? What would happen if we stopped thinking of ourselves as aging and in decline, and instead started thinking of ourselves as chronologically advantaged? More effective than age-defying creams and anti-aging pills is a concrete understanding of how our bodies and our brains age, and what we can do to work with this natural process to make life as long and as fulfilling as possible. This is just what The Healthy Aging Brain offers. Here, expert psychologist and veteran therapist Louis Cozolino reveals that groundbreaking brain research proves that our brains continue to grow and change throughout our lives. He offers a neuroscientifically-based account of just how our brains age and evolve over time. In short, Cozolino says, our individual health and longevity are inextricably linked to those around us. How we age is grounded in our human relationships."