meditation understanding consciousness through ancient traditions

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Meditation Understanding Consciousness Through Ancient Traditions. C. Alexander Simpkins PhD Annellen M. Simpkins PhD 2008. Introduction to the West. West’s first introduction to Eastern meditation & Eastern religions The First World Parliament of Religions 1893 in Chicago - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • MeditationUnderstanding Consciousness Through Ancient TraditionsC. Alexander Simpkins PhDAnnellen M. Simpkins PhD


  • Introduction to the WestWests first introduction to Eastern meditation & Eastern religions The First World Parliament of Religions 1893 in ChicagoBrought great teachersVivekananda (1863-1902) Hindu yogi, practitioner of vedanta Spokesman for common features in all religionsOpened the way for scientific inquiry

  • Introduction to the West continuedD.T. Suzuki (1870-1966) First visited the US at the 1893 conferenceSponsored to stay in the US to translate classics for Paul Carus, publisherInfluential teacher of Zen and Buddhism for westernersJ. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (b. 1917 )Founder of TM (Transcendental Meditation)

  • Early ResearchArthur Deikman, (1963) opened the wayDeautomatizing psychic structuresQuestionnaire StudiesIdentified factors such as self-transcendence, openness, feeling oneness with the eternal (Osis, Bokert, & Carson, 1973) Questionnaires before and after meditation (Kohr, 1977)Measurement StudiesPress lever when a thought intrudedCombined with questionnaires (Nuys, 1973; Kubose, 1976)

  • Effects of MeditationAlter involuntary processes Swami Rama demonstrated ability to control internal states(Green, Green, and Walters, 1970)Dual EffectIncreased beta for alertness & wakefulness (Schneider & Tarsis, 1986)Along with increased slower alpha & theta associated with relaxation (Bhatia et. Al., 2003)Improved quality of attention (Lutz, 2004)Higher gamma baseline across both hemispheres using more of brainThe decoupling of attention from arousal brings about calmer, more receptive attentionMeditators using more of brain (Hankey, 2006)Increased brain coherence Broad activation for better mental development generally

  • Forms of Meditation Researched

    Transcendental Meditation (TM)The Relaxation ResponseFollowing the breath, quieting the mind (Benson, 1978)Lower blood pressureDecreased blood pressure in borderline hypertensive subjects who practiced meditation (Benson, Matzetta & Kennchuck,1974) Treatment for Drug AbuseDecreased drug abuse with transcendental meditation (Benson & Wallace, 1972) Stress Reduction- (Dillbeck, Assimakis, Raimondi, Orne-Johnson, & Rowe, 1986)

  • Forms of Meditation ResearchedMindfulness Stress (Kabat-Zinn, 1995)Mindful learning (Langer, 1989)Alcohol & substance abuse (Witkiewitz, Marlatt & Walker, 2005)Qigong Less neurotic than non-meditators (Leung & Singhal, 2004)Kundalini Yoga (Shannohoff-Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga Meditation: Techniques Specific for Psychiatric Disorders, Couples Therapy, and Personal Growth, 2006Depression, addiction, sleep disorders, ADHD

  • Meditation and AgingIncreased thickness of areas in prefrontal regions of the cerebral cortex associated with sustained attention (Lazar, et. al, 2005)Sensing of inner experiencingIncreased spontaneityVisual and auditory sensingRegular meditators in normal lifestylesOlder meditators cortical thickness comparable to 20 year olds in these specific areas

  • Reduction of HostilityLarge studies show decreased violence in a community (Hagelin et. Al, 1999).TM-4000 participants in Washington DC, June 7-30, 1993Statistics from local police showed 15% lower crime rateEffects remained for 21 days following studyRhode IslandDecreased smoking, alcohol consumption & auto accidents (Dillbeck,et al, 1987).Decreased wartime hostility in LebanonCollective meditation study (Nader, Alexander & Davies, 1992).

  • How To Interpret & Integrate Research UnderstandingsSome have operationalized the methodsMindfulness Siegel, D., The Mindful Brain, 2007Abstracted from any traditionMakes it useful and researchableIncorporate schemas from many traditionsSimpkins, Meditation from Thought to Action, 2007Keep the context: like gestalt figure/ground, the ground helps define the figure Many meditation methods from varied traditions shown to be effectiveUtilize methods from these many traditionsAllows choice and options to treat different conditions

  • Great Meditation Traditions Yoga

    More than posturesMeaning of the word yoga: to yokeAncient Hindu texts: the Vedas 5000-2000 BCUpanishads (800-600 BC)Early reference to the mind and how to control it Bhagavad Gita (fifth to second century BC)Krishna guides Arjuna to perform his lifes roles wholeheartedly through yoga

  • Krishna the Charioteer

  • Patanjali Outline of Yoga (2nd Century AD)

    Yoga Sutras & Metaphor of a Tree with Eight LimbsYamasNiyamas Asanas PranayamaPratyahara DharanaDhyana Samadhi

  • Patterns of Cognition in Yoga

    Withdraw from everyday consciousnessFocus attention and keep it steadyConcentrationSelectively attend to one thing and not anotherContemplation Cognitive and sensory sequenced, intentional reflection on the object of attentionJoin consciousness with the larger, greater universal consciousnessAll life is a universal consciousness

  • BuddhismOrigins in HinduismBegan with Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.) After enlightenment he was called the BuddhaTheravada Renounce this life for nirvana Arhat idealMindfulnessMahayanaEnlightenment in this lifeBodhisattva idealEmptinessVajrayana-The Third Vehicle-Tibetan BuddhismCombines yoga and BuddhismUses symbolic practices

  • Buddha to be Sakyamuni

  • The Four Noble Truths1) Life is Filled with Suffering Not pessimistic2) Recognize the Root of SufferingSelf-centered desires Impermanence3) How to put an end to sufferingLetting go of craving for pleasure and hating painCultivate non-judgmental awarenessAppreciate things as they are4) Follow the Eightfold PathRight views, right intent, right speech, right action right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right meditation

  • Patterns of Cognition in BuddhismDetachmentSkeptical step away from logic Non-judgmental awarenessCo-dependent originationEmptinessCompassion and loving kindness

  • DaoismAncient Chinese philosophy Later became a religion

    Based in the unformed, mystical guiding principle of Dao, the way

    Legendary founder Laozi b. 604 BCWrote the famous Dao De Jing

  • Daoist ThemesDaoUndifferentiated, unknowable source for all thingsThe uncarved block: before it is anything can be all thingsYin and YangHow the world appears to usCant know up without down, dark without lightQiAll is moving, flowing, changing energyNon-Action: Wu-weiTake no actionGo with the flow and let be

  • Yin-Yang

  • Daoist ApplicationsHealingAcupuncture & acupressureHerbal medicinePaintingFeng-shuiQigongMartial arts

  • Patterns of Cognition in Daoism

    True nature of cognition is its raw, uncreated flow, before constructs

    All cognition differentiates into opposites

    Everything is always changing in cycles

    Attune consciousness to this nature of the universe to live well and accomplish

  • Zen BuddhismZen came from a blending of Buddhism & DaoismBodhidharma (440-528)Legendary founder of ZenAlso founded martial artsReturn to pure form of Buddhism without rituals and elaborate practicesTaught meditationZen traveled to Korea and Japan and then to the West

  • Bodhidharma painted by Zen master Hakuin (1685-1768)

  • Zen ThemesBeyond conceptsNon-linguistic, non-rational, non-analytical thoughtFinger pointing to the moon is not the moonEmptiness: not even nothing existsForm is emptiness and emptiness is formSimilar to scientific recognition that the world is not solid and real on subatomic level, but it is real and substantialNo-self, no otherEnlightenment is wisdoms fulfillmentMountains are mountains

  • Patterns of Cognition in ZenClearing the mind does not clear away thinking, just clears conceptual thoughtConcepts are limiting Continual re-sampling from the stream of cognitive processesAny cognitive thought is like a sampling Rather than focusing on any one sample, stay with the streamDont take a cup, dip it into the river and claim, this is the river. Zen says, dont just sample it, stay immersed in the river, awarely Set aside thought or expectationEach moment is newDirect perception is possible

  • Zen Methods

    Meditation KoansThought without using reasonUnconscious use of mind Helps communicate directly the experience of ZenThink about nothing and dont think anything about itZen ArtsCha-no-yu, the Tea WaySumi-e Flower arrangement, gardening, dry gardensMartial artsHaiku (poetry)

  • Samurai

  • Shriki


    Miyamoto Musashi

  • Sumi-e- The Way of the Brush

  • Classic Meditations

    Paradigm: Empty the Mind and Fill the Mind

    Classic Filling the Mind Meditations BreathingCounting the breathsAttention to the breathing

    Mindfulness:Non-judgmental awarenessMindful of bodyMindful of emotionsMindful of thoughtsMindful of sitting now

  • Classic MeditationsEmpty the mind


    Daoist emptying

  • Integration

    Raising QiInstant meditationEmpty and full, neither and bothBeyond concepts, unconscious Extending loving kindness

  • BibliographyAbou Nader, T.M., Alexander, C. N., & Davies, J.L. 1990. The Maharishi technology of the unified field and reduction of armed conflict: A comparative longitudinal study of Lebanese villages. In R. A. Chalmers, C. Clements, H. Schenkluhn, & M. Weinless (Eds), Scientific Research in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers. Vol. 4. Vlodrop, Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press. Aftanas, L. & Golosheykin, S. 2005. Impact of regular meditation practice on EEG activity at rest and during evoked negative emot


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