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Mind Mechanics: Mindfulness Visualized

An exploration of mind and matter, how their interaction influences our experience, and the impact mindfulness meditation practices can have on our lives.
by Mason Hedberg on 18 December 2012

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Transcript of Mind Mechanics: Mindfulness Visualized

In this presentation, we'll analyze the interaction between mind and matter, and how that interaction impacts our experience day to day, from moment to moment. The interface between mind and matter is physical sensation, which is how information about the world around us is presented to the mind. However, before the conscious mind becomes aware of physcial sensations, some processing is done at the unconscious level. Let's take a look at what happens... Next we might have which relies on a concept like the Pythagorean Theorum... practical knowledge ...such as triangulation. If we carry on in this way for a few more layers... We get , which are broad statements or beliefs about the world based on a huge amount of experiences, which are simply collections of physical sensations. subjective truths To help keep things straight, here we've labeled grey and black. physical sensations subjective truths Let's now imagine that this triangular structure is like a piece of pizza, having been removed from its pie. If we imagine putting this structure back into its pie... ...we get this. A visual representation of your perspective on the world. Everything you've ever experienced is on the outside border, and the consequential , the way you see the world, is on the inside border. subjective truth So, with this structure for perception in mind, let's get back to the flow chart. Eventually, our unconscious reactions, as well as conscious thoughts and emotions, motivate us to . act Objective observation cleanses the mind of aversion and craving. This state of mind is called . Just like before, we begin with physical sensations. And, based upon the conditioning of our past... ...sensations are perceived, and a body state is produced unconsciously, representing our internal and external state in this current moment. equanimity The conscious mind, experiencing equanimity, produces realistic and positive thoughts and emotions... ...which positively feed back upon the body state, deepening the peace we experience with equanimity.

Objective observation also conditions our perception. Over time, practicing mindfulness cleanses prejudice and bias from our perception of the world, and lets us break free from habitual patterns of thought and emotion. Seeing things clearly, our actions become altruistic, and are intended for the benefit of all. According to cause and effect, events and conditions become welcoming and harmonious... ...and again, the cycle continues.

Now we can see that practicing to replace reactivity with equanimity not only allows us to find a few moments of peace in a chaotic world, but also lets us see things clearly and act in a way that benefits everyone and harms no one, including ourselves. Thanks for clicking through Mind Mechanics: Mindfulness Visualized For more on mindfulness and vitality, check out my website:

www.thankyouformeditating.com By training the mind through mindfulness exercises, the conscious mind can actually become aware of typically unconscious reactivity. Then, it can to observe body states objectively, as they are, free from judgment or reaction. When these two physical sensations are encountered together, enough times, they become physically connected in the brain... Let's use the formation of language and thought as an example to illustrate where our mind's perception comes from. The first thing the mind encounters at birth is physical sensation... Let's say that this dot represents the physical sensation of the 'mom.' sound While this dot represents the image of the infant's mother's face: the 'mom'. visual ...and a is learned. In this case, the 'mom.' word word In this way, over time, many words are learned. With practice speaking and understanding, words become associated... ...and definitions are refined. Next, we learn , which are not based on physical sensations... ...but instead are based on other words. An example such a word could be the word 'math.' abstract words The next layer we might call , which are things defined by abstract words... complex concepts ...something like the Pythagorean Theorum. Here we have our five sense organs. The strange looking man is called the 'sensory homunculus,' and is an image of the physical body scaled to the proportions for which the brain dedicates space for processing the 'touch' sensations. As you'd expect, this makes regions with many nerve endings, like the mouth and hands, relatively large. After physical sensations are picked up by the sense organs, they are immediately and unconsciously perceived by the brain. This means they are put into context based upon the entirety of your past experiences. Let's take a closer look at how your brain's perception forms over time... This is the 'motor homunculus,' illustrating the proportions of the brain dedicated to controlling the body's muscles. Here we see the hands are extremely large, for fine control over manipulating our environment. The face and mouth are also exaggerated, for effective verbal and non-verbal communication. The 'BLAH, BLAH, BLAH' is a reminder that our actions can be physical as well as verbal. The world operates according to cause and effect. And as such, selfish and chaotic actions generate isolating and chaotic events and cirumstances. Isolating and chaotic events and circumstances become isolating and chaotic ... physical sensations Here's a practical way to consider averson and craving: they are the things that cause us to do what we know we ought not to do. For example, aversion causes procrastination, and craving ruins dieting attempts.

Mindfulness practice takes the edge off aversion and craving, and makes it easier to do the things, through experience, we know we ought to do. Mind Mechanics: Mindfulness Visualized Welcome to By: H. Mason Hedberg In this scenario, actions are influenced by reactivity, which incorporates some chaos into them. An intention to relieve aversion or acquire the object of our craving can make it difficult to judge a situation objectively, and produces selfish or unjust actions. ...even if it is just a tiny piece of the world. Immediately and unconsciously, the mind to the current body state: the conditions of this moment are categorized in terms of liking, disliking, and neutrality. So we have from the outside world... This perception immediately and unconsciously creates a , which represents information about the conditions internal to and external to the body.

The brain generates a new body state in each miniscule moment, at a 'frame rate' that is too fast for us to detect, so our experience of consciousness is fluid and constant, similar to how a TV projects a series of rapid still images which we perceive as continuous motion. sensations body state ...being , put into context, by the unconscious mind. perceived Here, we encounter a problem. reacts As conditions we dislike persist... And as conditions that we like fail to persist... ...'dislike' can magnify into an intense aversion, which is a very stressful and unpleasant state of mind. ...'like' can become an intense craving, which is also a very stressful and unpleasant state of mind. Neutrality pretty much just stays neutral and passes away, or eventually turns into like or dislike. Clearly, unconscious reactivity poses a problem to the conscious mind... ...which, represented here as a 'cloud' of and , is experiencing all this stressful aversion and craving. thoughts emotions Aversion and craving can generate negative and ... thoughts emotions ...which can negatively feed back upon the , aggravating any existing aversion or craving, and mentally intesifying the unconscious reaction to the current moment. body state The experiences of the conscious mind also feed back upon perception; our view of the world is constantly conditioned by our experiences, from moment to moment.

Used intentionally, this feedback allows us to learn and develop cognitively over time.

Unintentionally, this feedback creates and reinforces habitual patterns of thought, emotion, and reactivity...to the extent that our minds rarely break free from these conditioned patterns and habits. ...and the cycle continues.

Now we can see that reactivity presents quite a problem to the flow of our lives; it keeps us constantly on the run from our aversions, and constantly running towards the things we crave. Reactivity leaves very little room to stop, and enjoy a few moments of peace. Fortunately, there is a technique called , which uses mental exercises to replace unconscious reactivity with a conscious 'objective observation,' and allows us enjoy peace of mind, even when circumstances are difficult or unpleasant.

Lets take a look at how that works... mindfulness Mindfulness enhances awareness of the flow of life, clarifies perspective, and improves our capacity to choose productive and beneficial actions.

This subtle change of the unconscious mind profoundly influences life through health, relationships, and livelihood.

Mindfulness is more than a technique, it is a way of living. Our actions impact the world around us... choose
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