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Science And Mindfulness


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I recently finished a book entitled "The Mindful Brain" by Daniel Siegel, M.D. It would have been an easier read if I had a background in neurobiology, but I was still able to understand his salient points. The book has to do with the proposal that various "mindfulness" practices may result in structural changes in the brain. The implication is that various "traits" may eventually result in altered "states" of being, or changes to an individual's personality (for the better hopefully!).


Specifically, Dr. Siegel looks at contemplative practices, such as meditation, Centering Prayer, Yoga and Tai Chi, among others, and their potential long term effects on personality changes, and possibly brain structure. He also proposes some operational definitions and alternative ways of understanding such abstract constructs as "mind", "consciousness" and "self".


One such possibility to account for the common acceptance of a permanent and independent "self" is the brain's capacity for storage and organization of myriad autobiographical information forming a coherent "history" of the individual. It may be that this historical "story" is an essential component in our belief in a separate self, and the attendant behaviors that result from such a view.


In any case, if you are more inclined toward scientific, rather than supernatural explanations for our expereince of reality, you might enjoy this book. I have provided a link to Amazon, where you can read the reviews, etc.






Edited by SteveS55
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