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October 12, 2013


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I like it Brian - more examples of what I understand as direct experience or as you blog here :-

"Buddhism, Zen variety, advises enlightenment seekers to chop wood and carry water. Note: not think thoughts and imagine imaginations"

Exactly, just experience chopping wood - or am I missing your point here?

Turan, that is indeed my point. With this assumption: when I chop wood, I have a personal experience of chopping wood. There is no such thing as a universal objective experience of chopping wood -- something that everybody shares.

We all will have a different experience of chopping wood, based on our genetics, memories, history of previous wood chopping, physical size/strength, and so on.

But whatever my experience of chopping wood is like, I will experience it more accurately and truly if I am mindful in the here and now of what I'm doing, rather than letting my thoughts meander to the past or future.

...whatever my experience of chopping wood is like, I will experience it more accurately and truly if I am mindful in the here and now of what I'm doing, rather than letting my thoughts meander to the past or future.

Yes, but sometimes what you're doing is so boring and repetitive that you can't help but distract yourself with meandering thoughts.

Believing that mindfulness is always better than distraction creates conflict, so it's better to do what's most appropriate to the circumstances than to enforce constant single-mindedness.

Thanks Brian. I usually don't find meandering thoughts a problem, in fact some of them are fun and interesting. I also appreciate the times when there is just the physical action and watching what thoughts that do arise disperse just as easily.

Having lived and worked in the countryside all my life, my work, as well as gathering information is centred a lot on just being attentive and watching. To put the mental work and organising to one side from time-to-time and just observe the environment is - well I have to say - liberating.

I have recently been reading about ‘neural plasticity’. Apparently, like muscles in the body if regions of the brain are not used the neural pathways weaken. Could it be as the Farb study indicates that we have used the areas of the brain to do with thought and memory at the expense of other areas to do with attention. Perhaps mindfulness helps re-activate such areas that are able to be attentive of experience through the senses instead of always through the mind.

Here’s an interesting piece I've just read. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin has looked at the effects of meditation on the brain. His results show different levels of activity in the brain areas to do with attention. He says these functional changes may cause changes in the physical structure of the brain.

As well as books on brain studies I also enjoy the views of people like Susan Blackmore, Stephen Batchelor and Steve Hagen who have wrote some interesting books relating to meditation. I like Steve Hagen’s play on words to the title of one of his books – Buddhism is Not What You Think. And S.B's book 'Confessions of an Atheist Buddhist' is refreshing.

Turan, we like the same books. I've read and re-read Hagen's "Buddhism is Not What You Think." Excellent book. His take on Buddhism is appealing. Otherwise I find Buddhism a bit too serious and full of itself.

Who do I thank now that I found this site? I actually have a genuine feeling of happiness this morning. Thank you so much.

God doesn't think, can't be thought
God can be loved


jeannette, thank me, thank me! Humble ME! I wrote this post.

That said... I don't believe in free will. I don't believe in an individual separate self or eternal soul.

So that ME I mentioned really extends outward to the entire universe and back in time to the big bang.

My feeling is, thank everything for everything. That way we don't miss any possibility of missing the proper entity to be thankful to, or for.

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