Monday, April 01, 2013

Zen and the Brain
James H. Austin, MD
-I don't know about this book. I started reading it because I was looking for exactly something that talked about meditation in a scientific context, and came across this book at the library. It's 697 pages and obviously a labor of love. I skimmed a lot of the brain stuff, which was not really for a general reader, even though it wanted to be. The rest of it...I can't really recommend reading the whole thing, though I learned a few things. If you're interested, you can really just skip to the summary chapters, written in Q&A form. The main point seems to be that meditation, over years of practice, desynchronizes the many systems of perception and awareness which are woven together in the brain in egocentric and delusional ways, and allows them to loosen up their patterns, which improves things, and at some point these systems can, possibly, snap back together in a simpler and awakened enlightened state. I have more to say but I'll leave it there for now.