Reply To: Inhibitory neurons at play between L+R prefrontal cortex

  • Don Salmon

    May 3, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Whit:

    Maybe you can help me out.

    You asked at the end if there’s a way of mindfulness, or attention, that combines all these ways.

    I’m having trouble figuring out why my writing doesn’t come across. I wrote:

    “In open focus attention, you can choose to engage in any number of different ways of attending. “

    <font face=”inherit”>This is exactly what you’re talking about. Les Fehmi wrote about and, unlike Iain, </font>actually<font face=”inherit”> taught people this process for over half a century. He conducted research on the </font>practices<font face=”inherit”> also – again, as </font>opposed<font face=”inherit”> to Iain who is wonderful and all that, but has little if any experience (I don’t know what he </font>does in his psychiatric practice, but I haven’t seen him mention this anywhere) applying these practices. Fehmi had thousands of patients, and trained Olympic athletes as well. People were cured of virtually every kind of physical pain syndrome, of severe depression and anxiety, of trauma, relationship problems, and improved all kinds of athletic skills.

    But why focus only on the cortex?

    That “awareness” (even Krishnamurti accepted this) is not “in’ the brain, but the brain and body are in awareness (as is the entire universe and all possible universes.

    So we start with Awareness (Sat Chit Ananda)

    Awareness obviously is associated with an Intelligence (the Logos, reflected in laws of nature, instinct in animals, intelligence in humans yet far beyond all of that) which manifests through the human mind, as analytic, selective, separative, detached attention, and immersed, global intuitive attention, manifesting in any particular moment in an infinite variety of ways, which can be surfed or navigated via Open Focus or what mindfulness was originally intended to be, far from the pop mindfulness of the past 50 years).

    And then there’s emotion, instinct, impulse, of an almost infinite variety, and volition- at the instinctive, emotional, mental, and “supramental” levels.

    That’s a minimum for a remotely adequate psychology – one that goes far far beyond these categorical RH/LH distinctions.

    I spent 5 years writing a book about the yogic psychology of Sri Aurobindo, who himself brought together several thousand years of Vedic/Vedantic psychology as well as a vast trove of Western literature and philosophy (gleaned from his years as a star student in Greek and Latin at Cambridge). the psychology described in that book is infinitely more complex than what I touched on above, and simply using LH and RH categories can’t begin to capture this.

    Then we get to neuroscience. I’mm sorry I’m probably prejudiced as a psychologist. I took 2 years of neuropsychology and I didn’t find anything useful from a practical standpoint (neuropsychological testing is actually as good or better than any of our brain-studying instruments in determining various kinds of tumors, strokes, etc but as far as understanding the psyche, almost useless – similarly, I fear, with neuroscience. Iain gets his insights from well being insightful, and then seeing correlations in neuroscience literature)

    Oh well, I’m dashing this off in the midst of a busy day so i’m probably not doing well at all in getting across my point. But this stuff has been known for millennia. Regarding your idea about Buddhism, the entire Mahayana and in particular, the Tantric Buddhist schools, are all about reaching a level of mental, emotional and physical perfection which is thought impossible by our modern “scientists/engineers/technicians,” who look at patterns without any clue as to how they come about and think they’ve explained the universe!