Body, Brain, Mind

Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, Raleigh, NC

In this age of swift advancements in brain imaging and research, science is uncovering more of the simple functioning mechanisms of the brain and body. Science is validating the impersonal nature of awareness that many historical teachers have pointed to – Jesus the Christ, the Buddha, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Lao Tsu, Rumi, and many others. 

If you still cling to the concept of time then these sentences will seem to make logical sense.  Once you play with the notion that there is no such concept of time then this whole business of describing and detailing a spiritual or philosophical path flys out the window.   So depending on your point of view, this post may or may not have any relevance.

These teachings of the ancient sages now make logical sense as science and medicine have begun to show there is no evidence for a fixed, permanent, separate self. Dr. Sunil Pandya, a neurosurgeon and thinker on medical ethics, summarizes the scientific aspects of the mysterious mind as a “virtual entity, one that reflects the workings of the neural networks, chemical, and hormonal systems in the body and brain and forming important and extensive, complex linkages between the different parts of the brain.”  For deeper reading, click here.  

Many others, including neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson and neurologist Dr. Richard Mendius scientifically describe the illusory nature of a fixed, permanent, separate self in the book The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain.  These behavioral and brain specialists compare the separate self to a unicorn, a truly fictional character, “as the brain strings together moments of selfing and subjectivity into an illusion of homogenous coherence and continuity.”

Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, also clearly and scientifically demonstrates the reality we think we see is not the reality we believe it to be.  Dr. Eagleman’s series on the Brain was aired on PBS.

The wisdom of a unitive philosophy remains authentic and potent pointing us towards a fleeting, impersonal, awareness and the illusory nature of a brain, a personal self, and a lasting and permanent world.

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