Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen

Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen

by James H. Austin


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Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen by James H. Austin

This is not the usual kind of self-help book. Indeed, its major premise heeds a Zen master's advice to be less self-centered. Yes, it is "one more book of words about Zen," as the author concedes, yet this book explains meditative practices from the perspective of a "neural Zen." The latest findings in brain research inform its suggestions. In Meditating Selflessly, James Austin—Zen practitioner, neurologist, and author of three acclaimed books on Zen and neuroscience—guides readers toward that open awareness already awaiting them on the cushion and in the natural world. Austin offers concrete advice—often in a simplified question-and-answer format—about different ways to meditate. He clarifies both the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation. Having emphasized that top-down and bottom-up forms of attention are complementary, he then explains how long-term meditators can become increasingly selfless when they cultivate both styles of attention in a balanced manner. This, Austin explains, is because our networks of attention are normally engaged in an inverse, reciprocal,see-saw relationship with the different regions that represent our autobiographical self. Drawing widely from the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience,Austin helps resolve an ancient paradox: why both insight wisdom and selflessness arise simultaneously during enlightened states of consciousness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262015875
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 10/31/2011
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James H. Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner for more than three decades, is Professor Emeritus of Neurology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Visiting Professor of Neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He is the author of Zen and the Brain,Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty, Zen-Brain Reflections, and Selfless Insight, all published by the MIT Press.

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