Thesis: The cours NEW432H1: Cultivating Counsciouness enriched my journey through the path of mindfulness and compassion by generating a space to actively cultivate mindfulness through meditation and T'ai chi, teaching me techniques and methods that are instrumental in this process, providing me constructive feed back and clarification while also endowing me a cognitive and neuroscientific understanding of the mechanism of minfulness and compassion at play.
Three major components of my learning
1. Self is a process
- Dynamic nature of mind (meditation, cognitive science)
-RESEARCH IN YOUR 2nd essay
-Dynamic nature of body
(My scientific background, breathing exercises, T'ai Chi)
2. Processes that harm my wellbeing- body and mind- are processes
- Parasitic processing (NEW333H1)
-knowledge and skills generated about posture during mindfulness practice and T'ai chi
-Discussion on 5 precepts and how these practices could be harmful and destructive.
3. Since self is a dynamic entitity, unfolding moment to moment there is nothing to be fixated on. The harmful and antagonistic processes that harm the body and mind can be counteracted by a procedural practice as well
-mindfulness ( Transparent to opacity, complexification through opponent processing, flow states as insight cascades)
-contemplation and lovingkindness (remodle ones self-other relationship, make your self-preocesses more in sync with that of others)
-Body: 5-precepts are day-to-day tools to remodel yourself, allow the growth of your self
4. Since self is a process, it is always changing and generates opportunity for changing. We must be able to therefore develope self-acceptance without allowing the decrepancy based paracitic process such as rumination and avoidance. We must take this as an opportunity to be more open to our unfolding self through developing self awarness.
Thus the only way to becoem as you develop is to practice,reflect,practice with more effort.
MEDITATION- allow me to see how MIND unfolds
1. Spaces between thoughts
-the nature of thoughts folding and unfolding
-abrupt, thought cascades, longer and shorter spaces, disconnected but subsequent thoughts
-thoughtless and thoughful moments
" I gained an
opportunity to to make sense of the nature of thought processes in my
mind. It enabled me to be aware of how the opponent process of
integration and differentiation occurs as thoughts arose and
dissolved into space. "
2. Inquiring mindfulness (who am I)
-how self is created moment by moment
-the tools and methods by which I make meaning of myself
-how heuristics influence the process of creating the self
-vigilance (guard nature), sensitivity (by magnifying the scale of our sensory awarness it allows us to be be more familiar withe the experience)
"content of our experience as a process than a static thing"-MEDBOOK
BODYMeditation practice also improved my salience toward my body and as a result made me realize the ongoing nature of body1. Breathing awareness (numbering distractions)Breath as the most vital and energizing component of a living being is renewed every-moment. An opportunity to see how we create ourselves metabolically moment by moment2. Rooting experienceAllowed to see how different sensations occur in different body parts and their nature changed overtime
Ironical it may seem given that I come from a biology background I have not really been conscious of my body very much. Weight gain, appearence has been not much of a concern
I NEVER REALISED how my body can be instrumental in focusing my mind unitll I begin to practice TC
-certain movements (hip turns in TC walk, balance in white crane spread wings and ward offs) made me realize how my body is also changing movement by moment
(one time it was easy the other times it wasn't)
Being sensitive to your body and how it is stuated in space allowed me to easily bring my self to the present
John's discriptions of the marshall arts aspect of movement and the need for coordinated and integrated acivity of body parts shows how they need to be in a certain way for maximals outcomes in body processes
-how self unfolds within the context of the other
-degree of interdependence of self and other (we cannot be apart from others and we always assimiliate otherness and also to accomodate others)
-changing nature of our relationships, affection and emotions towards outside situations
Cognitive Science and Research
Just like our biological machinery (i.e process of evolution by natural selection) our cognitive machinery is arragned in a VIRTUAL ENGINE mechanism
virtual generators generate enabling constraints (increase probability of events)
virtual governars that create selective constraints that reduce the probability of events. Opponent processing between these two levels is necessary
According to the networking of the brain too an animal to be its most efficient be a machinery that is both general purpose and special purpose.This shows how procedurally oriented our intelligence mechanisms and our whole build up is.
We generalize by assimilating--> integration in to already existing cognitive frames (INTEGRATION)--> efficiency
We specialize by accomodating--> creating new cognitive frames (DIFFERENTIATION)--> resiliency
Opponent processing---> Both efficiency and Resiliency
Diagrams of neural networks
SWN theory increases processing fluency by generating a machinery that is both resilient and efficient---> brain wiring also show how our brian is procedurally orient to generate insight through the process of complexification
Navon's Letter experiment (H made up of Ls---> people who were driven up to gestalt level improvement in insight L hemisphere--> featural and R hemisphere---> gestalt), Beckman et al 2012--> procedural knowledge thinking about the process/evalution effectsAlso when biking (gestalt/R) thinking (featural/L) lead to cognitive chocking
Research on self as a process:
Brown & Ryan 2003: self as a process view is a healthier alternative to the most commonly held views of self as a static entity.
Mindfulness based realization that me is a constructed process and that self-esteem and related qualities are just mental activities playing on the screen of self awareness
Ryan 1995: self is the integrative core of the person which entails ongoing activities of assimilation, accomodation and therfore self is both an inherent tendency (possibility) and a dynamic, synthetic process.
Parasitic Processing: Processess that harm the self
Meditation, Contemplation and T'ai Chi based awareness
-During contemplation your attention to the content (the hard person) of interaction with individuals made you miss the cycle of repeat
-Meditaion: when you were unable to get past the certain body sensations on forehead, upper chest and abdominal areas it affect your rooting exercise, flow and focus of breath as it kept stealing attention away.
T'ai chi: how one can harm oneself by assuming vulnerable stances, how imbalance, wrong weight shifting affects the proper processing of the body in T'ai Chi and create unnecesary stress and exhaustion, burnout, anxiety and uneasiness----> since it took a long while for you to grab the threads of T'ai Chi walk you couldn't focus on the breathing during that time
Cognitive Scientific & Research
Parasitic Processing--> Reintepretation of NT1
Not all life is suffering but in every aspect of life there is possiblity to suffer.
Parasitic processing is when we think of it the 1st way. Steps are individually adaptive but when coming in a circle and have feeback generate issues
Dukka--> analogy of the wheel not properly turning around due to dirt/gap/impurity (process impeded)
Doing mode of mind:
Discrepancy based processing: a mode of mind in which negative mood of certain memories generate global self-referent negative ideas which are taken s reality and compells one to close the gap between now (negative state) and the future (perceived good state). This leads to getting hung up, not thinking of initial conditions differently, on the unsatisfactoriness of now and therfore is inefficient in problem solving.
Hargus 2010, WIlliams 2008---> DM leads to maladaptive behaviours such as rumination, auto-piloting and habitual responding
1.Negative ideas of self are taken as reality
2. Matching to standard of the current state of affairs to ideals fuels both the striving for the ideal self and avoidance of negative outcomes
3.ruminative or analytic attempts to solve emotional and self-related problems as well as attempts to suppresss or avoid negative thoughts are used but fail to address percieved discrepancies (Williams, 2008)
OVERGENERALIZATION, LACK OF MEMORY SPECIFICITY (Hargus et al 2010, Pollock and Williams 2001)
---> mention that mindfulness counteracts this process by developing MA and MS by the operation of BEING MODE which will be discussed later
Procedural practice of improving insight (mindfulness and contemplation) and compassion
1.Inquiring mindfulness (MEDBOOK chapter on page 36 refining mindfulness)
Cognitive Science and Research Based account of MM and Contemplation
Argument: Based on the above arguments it could be proposed that self is a process, created moment to moment and therefore existential problems or dukka arising form our being are also process-oriented and non-static. Essentially, the key factor that leads to all the suffering, as shown by the parasitic processing is due to fundamental problems asssociated with the way we frame ourselves, the world and the interaction between these two dynamic entities.
Thus, our problems lie in the "meaning making process".Therefore the solutions to problems arising in self and world, must also be in that we correct or modify our meaning making process so as to see the reality as it is.
In Buddhism this is the purpose of insight (vipassana). Thus it could be argued given that the since the nature of being- self and world- is a process, and the problems arising are of process-oriented nature, the solution to the problem-insight- and the practices that facititate this process-mindfulness meditation and contemplation are also procedural.
However, there is another aspect to meaning making which must also be taken in to account here which not only finding the meaning of self but self and the world interaction. In Buddhism the a proper understanding of the self other integration is achieved via a separate practice, nevertheless situated in praxis with mindfulness meditation known as contemplation practices.
To show insight=procedural need to show insight=RR mechanism
(RR is a mechanism)
1) Meaning making= relevance realization
What makes RR procedural?
RR is prerational, pre-representational (categories are created by RR), pre-empirical/experiential,
pre-normative/pre-real (reality is constructed by our significant landscape and this is created by RR), preintelligent (RR is the machinery of complexification that generate intelligibility), preegoic (sense of self is based on RR)
Show that RR is generating insight
-Autopoietic organism (so we can control the machinery of self organization by predicting and picking up on affordances, prepare+predict)
-Need to identify patterns and project patterns in to the world
RR operates in 3 levels
-importance (necessary things)
-corelevance (relevant to others and self)
-transcedance (produce relevance to future)
(corelevance--->so this might be a suggestion that "contemplation" is an important aspect of insight into self and other
RR also generates 3 kinds of knowledge
propositional, procedural, perspectival (taking on roles, a combination of procedural and propositional, mind sight)
-pattern tracking is bidirectional (scaling up and scaling down-->linke to virtual engine, SWN (taps our fundamental framing), attentional scaling to pick up affordances (SL)
-RR is SL (attention) tracking presence PL (anticipation) in depth landscape (assurance)--> significance landscape
----> Insight to solve problems
Mindfulness as a process:
occurrent:being present, non-judgmental
dispositional: insight, non-reactivity (self regulation)
Mindfulness is attentional scaling (Polayni, Apter and Metzinger)
- Attention is bidirectional => attention to and attention from
-in the form of awarness attention is mindfulness does an attentional scaling by bringing our attention from subsidiary awarenss to focal awareness
-This happnes by shifting our attention on to the object we normally use to perceive (medium) form the object of focus (meaning)
- For instance paying attention to the ear/hearing not the song/lyrics/tune or content
- According to Polayni this involves a remodelling of our cognition in an transparency to opacity shift (looking at(opacity) the medium which we used to look through (transparency))
- SO WHAT IT MEANS TO BE MINDFUL IS TO BE LESS REPRESENTATIONAL, Breaking of frames, chunk decomposition, constraint relaxation, Deautomaticity (Knoblich 1999- 2006), dissolving to featural level.Anomalous card deck--> Caffery e al 2012
PCE & flow are also procedural experiences that are faulty categoriezed as mystical which can shed insiight into how insight is a procedural nature and mindfulness facilitate it
IN MINDFULNESS WE'RE BREAKING HARD FIXED FRAMES-THUS MINDFULNESS MUST ALSO BE ABLE TO FACILITATE HARD WIRED PERCEPTION ABOUT SELF AS FIXED ENTITY
-Thus it can solve problems associated with doing mode of mind as well Research on mindfulness and Insight
-Navlon: letter experiment of an H made up of Ls
-Stroop tasks in which you have to say the color of the ink on the word have shown improvments after mindfulness based practices (Ren et al 2011, Greenberg et al 2012, Wenk-Sormaz 2005)
-Ostafin et al 2012 (trait mindfulness predictive of insight, mediated by state mindfulness
Research on mindfulness in identifyjng self as process
Brain L Thomposn and Jennifer Waltz---> everyday mindfulness lead to self acceptance (conjecture: aware of oneself at the present moment and therefore realization of self as process)
Ryan & Brown 2003--->other sticky (3)
Claxton---> Chronic view of self (3)
ContemplationBeckman et al 2012 study showed that breaking down too much into featural level can lead to chocking.
It was possible to overcome this by transferring the attention to gestalt level from featural level
Thus there must be also an opponent process This must be a process in which F--> G, scaling up and making frames to accommodate
The practice in Buddhism that affords this is known as contemplationIn contemplation there is a cognitive remodelling of Opacity to Transparency shift which is the opponent processing.
So this allows one to look through the meaning (nature of three marks of existence, self-other integration)
Research: Schooler et al 1993, the ability to undergo perceptual restructuring is predictive of the ability to generate insight---> The need to project a picture that is not present in order to solve the problem (O--> T)
Bekker-Senette 19966--> Use of fewer cues to solve insight problems requires projection of a pattern that is not there.
This is similar to builiding a gestalt (O--> T)
Therefore MM and contemplation act in synchrony by doing T-->O and O--> T to enhance the opponent processing that is already occuring in our brain wired as a SWN system to generate insight
Since contempation is working at the gestural level it must be the key practice through which we can do bidirectional modelling and improve corelevance and transcendence.Thus this must allow us to find the meaning of our relationship to the world or self-other integration
Resonace at onementResearch: Colzato et al 2012 (Taiwanese adults and buddhists, Simon task), Hommel 1996 in contemplation ones way of information processing about the other is different---> global representational elves
Research: How mindfulness faciilitates the self-as process thinking
Brown & Ryan 2003---> true pscyhological wellbeing occurs when one steps outside of the problelmatic framing of self as an unchanging image (self-esteem based self concept)
Claxton 2000--> "the
chronically active self is disabled
Based on Practice (MM and Contemplation)
As described earlier focusing my attention on the spaces between thoughts via 5 factors of inquiring mindfulness allowed me to see the way my thoguts function as a process
Who am I? vipassana practice, how I create myself moment by moment
Also how in meditation we pay attetion to the process not the content, the way we label the verb not the content
How I create the interaction between self and other
Corelevance: how I incoporate my cultural, national, family and educational values to my significance
Suchness of others and how deeply held heuristics affect the way I perceive
Self Acceptance, Openness and Meta awareness
Since self is a process, it is always changing and generates opportunity for changing. We must be able to therefore develope self-acceptance without allowing the decrepancy based paracitic process such as rumination and avoidance. We must take this as an opportunity to be more open to our unfolding self through developing self awarness.
Thus the only way to becoem as you develop is to practice,reflect,practice with more effort.
Frewan et al: Dispositional mindfulnessa and MM intervention negatively correlated with frequenccy of automatic negative thoughts and the difficulty of letting go of negative thoughts
---> promote being mode
Raes et al: MBCT improves affective control to sad mood
negative corrlation between dipositional mindfulness and cognitive reactivity