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Mindfulness, visualized

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Mason Hedberg

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Mindfulness, visualized

What is Mindfulness? "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." - Jon Kabat-Zinn Before we tackle a more in-depth understanding of mindfulness, let's put 'attention' into context... The mind is quite complex. Let's break it down and make a model of how the mind works using development of speech and thought (and math). Mindfulness, visualized 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 number 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, keeping in mind this representation of the mind, let's get back to the flow chart. When these two physical sensations are encountered together, enough times, they become physically connected in the brain... 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 , things defined by abstract words... complex concepts ...something like the Pythagorean Theorum. I won't attempt to come up with a math-related truth about the world, but if this were Einstein's mind, it might be: "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." This visual representation for the mind is actually a mathematical equation called E8. Besides being a convenient model of the mind, E8 is theorized to represent the 248 elementary particles geometrically. Levels of magnification:
1. Macroscopic level - Matter
2. Molecular level
3. Atomic level - Protons, neutrons, and electrons
4. Subatomic level - Electron
5. Subatomic level - Quarks
6. Lie group geometrical representation level Here we have the five senses represented, including a sensory homunculus man The senses constantly deliver information to the brain, and ultimately the conscious mind Here we have a cloud representing consciousness, wielding its 'lens of attention,' which is focused upon the brain's subjective interpretation of physical sensation. Internalized conscious activity manifests as learning, which occurs both actively and passively. Again, we have physical sensations as input to the mind. Based upon our past experiences and subjective truths, they are categorized and put into context unconsciously. Our speech and actions impact the world around us... Externalized conscious activity manifests as action. To illustrate action we have the motor homunculus reminding us that action is both physical and verbal. And the cycle is complete. So where does mindfulness come in? ...even if it is just a tiny piece of the world Focusing on the subjective and processed information generated by your mind is a state we'll call 'autopilot.' Autopilot can be thought of as the opposite of mindfulness. Meditation is practicing to control your attention in a particular manner. In this case, we're representing meditation on sound. There are many different useful meditation practices. This could represent an 'open-awareness' meditation, an advanced practice. Here, the object is to maintain full awareness of all physical sensations and phenomena of the mind at once, a feat that requires some practice. Ultimately, the goal is to integrate an intentional, present-moment and non-judgmental awareness into daily life - to reap practical benefit from the time spent in meditation practice. That, in essence, is mindfulness. Sidebar: Thanks for watching! Throughout the day our attention fluctuates significantly depending upon the task at hand, but at baseline is likely to be more like 'autopilot' than 'open awareness.' Meditation practices are used to cultivate breadth and depth of voluntarily controlled attention. Open-awareness Meditation on sound Autopilot
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