Zen and the Brain
Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness is a book by James H. Austin. First published in 1998, the book’s aim is to establish links between the neurological workings of the human brain and meditation. Dr. Austin presents evidence from EEG scans that deep relaxed breathing reduces brain activity. His neurological understanding is profound. His work is not only pioneering but also classic.
The publishers describe the book as a —
Comprehensive text on the evidence from neuroscience that helps to clarify which brain mechanisms underlie the subjective states of Zen, and employs Zen to “illuminate” how the brain works in various states of consciousness.
Here is a lecture Dr. Austin gave about his neuroscientific findings at Google TechTalks.
The Mystical Brain
(Neuroscientists probing the brain to explore its spiritual aspects and to investigate the existence of the soul.)
Is there a mystical dimension to the human brain? Can science prove the existence of the soul? Canadian neuorscientists at the University of Montreal under Dr. Mario Beauregard, co-author of the book “The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul,” think so.
They are seeking to understand the states of grace experienced by mystics and those who meditate. They perform brain imaging scans of Carmelite nuns and Buddhist monks who have been doing meditation regularly for a considerable part of their lives.
Filmmaker Isabelle Raynauld presents their scientific research which suggests that mystical ecstasy is a transformative experience and could contribute to people’s psychic and physical health, treat depression, and speed up the healing process when combined with conventional medicine.
View the fascinating documentary “The Mystical Brain,” which features the groundbreaking research of Dr. Beauregard and his associates.
“Science, at its very best, is very spiritual.”
(From the documentary The Mystical Brain.)
Consciousness, the Fabric of the Universe
I wrote previously that “truly, consciousness is all that there is.” So, to get the real, total and absolute picture of all that is, we now segue from the microcosmos of the human organism, to the macrocosmos of the cosmos, itself. Let us begin by locating our place in the known physical universe by way of point in time and space. Click the image below to view a presentation on the matter.
What Happened Before the Beginning?
THE BIG BANG — cosmologists, astrophysicists, astronomers and theoretical physicists say — is the source of all there is in the universe and everything that is in the universe. Before the Big Bang, there was nothing according to them (perhaps a “NO-thing” or “something that is NOT a thing”?). Not even time and space existed, they say.
However, it seems illogical to assert that there was a huge “bang” yet claim that nothing preceded or caused the “bang.” There must have been something that banged; otherwise, there would not have been any “bang” at all. There must have been a Cosmic Source for all there is in the universe and everything that is in the universe. There must be some UNmanifest Source from which and out of which all things manifested. Don’t you think so?
Hunting the Edge of Space (NOVA)
In the following four-part science video documentary series, acclaimed physicist Brian Greene reveals a mind-boggling reality beneath the surface of our everyday world. Follow him as he takes us through his series “The Fabric of the Cosmos” at the PBS online channel. Then let us see pieces of the large cosmic picture fall into place as we consider and contemplate CONSCIOUSNESS as the very fabric of the cosmos. (Click the poster image below to go to the PBS site. The episode view/play links are located at the left panel or frame.)
The Secret You
When do we start to become self-conscious or aware of ourselves as a selfhood? How does this occur in us? What makes us conscious? What is consciousness? The following BBC Horizon documentary The Secret You is a fascinating exploration of these questions from the psychological and neuroscientific perspectives.