Mindfulness, MD Blog

Neuroscience of Mindfulness: How Do We Know What We Know

“To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.” ~ Confucius We have thus far examined The Neuroscience of Mindfulness & Anxiety and The Default Mode Network, Meditation,...

Neuroscience of Mindfulness: Default Mode Network, Meditation, & Mindfulness

“Ipsa scientia potestas est.” ~ Sir Francis Bacon        Translated as, “Knowledge itself is power,” this quote by Sir Francis Bacon appeared in his 1597 essay, Meditationes Sacrae (“Sacred Meditations”). Bacon has been credited as...

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The Neuroscience of Mindfulness & Anxiety

“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.” ~ Michio Kaku When we were...

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The Proof is in the Pudding

“The proof is in the pudding.”

Originally, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” this idiom was shortened to its modern form sometime in the early 20th century. Etymologists believe the phrase originated in the 1600s and referred to a British pudding more akin to haggis (stuffed entrails) than tapioca.

The idiom applies to mindfulness because my words can only go so far. Readers must taste the fruits of practice to obtain proof of its validity.

It is one thing to read about the false nature of thoughts and emotions in the comfort of one’s armchair. However, it is quite a different thing to test oneself under the stressful prodding of day-to-day life.

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Thought Evolution

When we were babies, we used our fingers to point to the objects we desired. Then we learned to speak and used words to point to objects instead. Next, we silently internalized our words and created thoughts that pointed to the objects in our environment. We are under the assumption that this process represents an evolution in descriptive accuracy when, in fact, it represents a devolution.

An object exists in undivided totality in the environment. Our five sense organs drink in the raw entirety of an object a split second before our thoughts interpret the information.
Thoughts function as a reverse assembly line: disassembling our world into categories and descriptions…

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How to Appreciate Good Health Without Taking Ill

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was seven days old my parents had to bring me back to the hospital. I was listless and my breathing was shallow. Over the next few days I continued to deteriorate. After a prolonged investigation, the doctors were left with a mountain of negative test results and no ideas as to what was making me sick. The decision was made to conduct exploratory surgery if I didn’t turn the corner by nightfall.

According to my parents, my clinical picture began to improve twenty minutes before the doctors were scheduled to wheel me back to the operating room. They canceled the surgery and over the next few hours my condition improved. Puzzled but pleased, my parents took me home from the hospital.

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Ego Thinks, Therefore, Ego Is

An ancient parable tells of a group of blind men that were given the task of defining an elephant by touch alone. The first grasped only the foot and stated that an elephant was like a pillar. The second clutched the tail and declared that an elephant was like a piece of rope. The third felt the trunk and suggested that an elephant was like a waterspout. The parable reveals how easy it is to miss the totality of an object when we examine it from our limited subjective viewpoint.

The concept of the Ego is akin to the elephant. Since its introduction into popular culture at the turn of the 19th century the concept of the Ego has expanded to include a multitude of definitions, each depending on the definer’s point of view.

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Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Matt

Practice what you preach. All preachers fear this idiom. By “preacher” I mean all those who espouse any form of philosophy, not just religion.

Philosophy is clean and consistent whereas humanity is imperfect and inconsistent. Philosophy offers us a semblance of stability in a world defined by change and uncertainty. It is no wonder that religion, politics, and other philosophic doctrines hold such sway over humanity.

The reason preachers fear their own hypocrisy is that the good ones realize that they will inevitably fall short of their words. No man can attain perfection; we can only aspire to it. And this aspiration alone is enough.

I am a preacher. I interpret, repackage, and redistribute an ancient philosophy for the modern era. I am anything but unique in this endeavor. And I am also a hypocrite…

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Drowning in the Future

Most of our lives are spent holding our breath. We are submerged underwater, swimming for the surface. We grasp and pull towards the sunlight but never seem to get any closer. Recycled oxygen cycles...

What Mental Illness Can Teach Us About Mental Health

Thoughts are a mirage on the hot pavement of reality: the closer we look, the more illusory they are revealed to be.  Pleasant thoughts seduce us into believing their authenticity.  Anxious thoughts appear real...