The nature of consciousness seems to be unique among scientific puzzles. Not only do neuroscientists have no fundamental explanation for how it arises from physical states of the brain, we are not even sure whether we ever will. Astronomers wonder what dark matter is, geologists seek the origins of life, and biologists try to understand cancer—all difficult problems, of course, yet at least we have some idea of how to go about investigating them and rough conceptions of what their solutions could look like. Our first-person experience, on the other hand, lies beyond the traditional methods of science. Following the philosopher David Chalmers, we call it the hard problem of consciousness.
But perhaps consciousness is not uniquely troublesome. Going back to Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, philosophers of science have struggled with a lesser known, but equally hard, problem of matter. What is physical matter in and of itself, behind the mathematical structure described by physics? This problem, too, seems to lie beyond the traditional methods of science, because all we can observe is what matter does, not what it is in itself—the “software” of the universe but not its ultimate “hardware.” On the surface, these problems seem entirely separate. But a closer look reveals that they might be deeply connected.
In 2016, I practiced mindfulness more than I ever have before, after 10 years of sporadic practice.
I meditated regularly, practiced with a local Zen group, did a great one-day sitting, went on a retreat, took courses, read books, practiced mindful eating and exercise, learned some great new practices, and taught several mindfulness courses.
I learned a lot about how to cultivate a more mindful life, and I’d like to encourage you to try it this year.
Why? A few good reasons:
- You learn to be awake to the present moment more, and lost in the daydream of your thoughts less.
- You begin to see your mental patterns that affect everything you do, and thus begin to free yourself of those patterns.
- You learn to be frustrated less, and let go more. And smile more.
- You learn to be better at compassion, equanimity, love, contentment.
- You learn to be better at not procrastinating, and better at building better habits.
I could go on about better mental and physical health, better relationships, less fear … but the reasons I’ve given are strong enough. It’s important stuff.
So how do we cultivate a year of mindfulness? I’m glad you asked.
if you want to know love, take off the mask. Let go of all the energy it takes to be someone else and use it to discover who it is you truly are.
Summary: I know I’m guilty of it, and I bet you are too. When people walk up to you and ask you how you’re doing, your immediate response is, and you say it with pride, “I’m busy. I’m so very very busy”. Like we’ve conditioned ourselves to not only say this, but to actually be […]
Source: Busy is Still Bad | Brett Blair
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