Saturday, January 28, 2006

Stop that pesky thinking!

From a more detailed article on meditation growing the brain:
"The goal is to pay attention to sensory experience, rather than to your thoughts about the sensory experience," Lazar explains. "For example, if you suddenly hear a noise, you just listen to it rather than thinking about it. If your leg falls asleep, you just notice the physical sensations. If nothing is there, you pay attention to your breathing." Successful meditators get used to not thinking or elaborating things in their mind....

"People who do it quickly realize that much of what goes on in their heads involves random thoughts that often have little substance," Lazar comments. "The goal is not so much to 'empty' your head, but to not get caught up in random thoughts that pop into consciousness."
An interesting overlap here between Buddhist psychology, and Animals In Translation, in which the author notes that people who are encouraged to verbally describe something they saw have much worse visual memory about the event afterwards, compared to the people who weren't asked for a description. One can almost view verbalization as a parasitic function in the human brain, that ends up replacing experience with symbolic representations of experience, disconnecting us from reality in the process.

Which makes me wonder: might that mean that blogging one's experiences is a really bad idea? :)