A Meditator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Attention

Three insights from attentional neuroscience to improve your concentration in meditation.

Note: By far the most important lesson about attention is that you need to learn to balance it with awareness – I’m writing this for an audience who I assume will already be familiar with this attention-awareness interplay that’s spelled out in the book The Mind Illuminated.… Read the rest “A Meditator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Attention”

Here’s a Rant That Nobody Asked For about Meditation and Magical Thinking

Meditation practice is a matter of psychology, not magic. Confusion on this point can have insidious (and dumb) consequences.

“Om Ah Hung is the fundamental three-word mantra of Sanskrit consonants, forming the fundamental sound of the numerous lives in the Universe. It shakes away the blockages in the body’s channels, cleansing it of ailments.”

Discussing the Dharma Door of Chanting The Buddha’s Name, Nan Huai Jin

“Fundamentally, when you meditate, you bring your guard down and the light energy gets in…”

9 Scientifically Proven Reasons to Meditate, Thrive Global.com… Read the rest “Here’s a Rant That Nobody Asked For about Meditation and Magical Thinking”

The (Sort of) Complete Guide to Actually Getting Better at Meditation

Here are the six steps to actually getting better at meditation, according to psychology.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Prelude – Understanding Mental Representations
  • The Elements of Deliberate Practice
    • 1: A Highly Developed Field
    • 2: Target Specific Sub-Skills
    • 3: Clear and Immediate Feedback
    • 4: Focused Practice
    • A Brief Interlude About the Dangers of Over-Efforting
    • 5: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
    • 6: Continued Engagement
  • A TL;DR Summary of Deliberate Practice

Introduction

Most meditation instructions that you’ll find go something like this:

  1. Place your attention on the object of meditation (usually the sensations of breathing at the nostrils) and keep it there.
Read the rest “The (Sort of) Complete Guide to Actually Getting Better at Meditation”

I Wasted 8 Years of Meditation Because I Didn’t Understand These 4 Things

Most people meditate for a long time with little improvement because of these four myths.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Striving for unusual or one-off experiences
  • Misunderstanding non-judgemental awareness
  • Thinking that trying to exert any kind of effort in meditation is a mistake
  • Extremely vague or unstructured meditation instructions
  • Conclusion

Introduction

I’ve been practicing meditation for a few years, but I still can’t keep my attention on my breath for more than a few seconds at a time.Read the rest “I Wasted 8 Years of Meditation Because I Didn’t Understand These 4 Things”

Welcome to Rational Dharma

A rational explanation of the project of Buddhism, and why the newly emerging science of the mind is essential to that project.

The Problem of Dukkha

This blog will be about dukkha, and the end of dukkha. Dukkha is a pali word which has been translated as ‘suffering’, ‘insufficiency’, ‘pain’, ‘unsatisfactoriness’, and ‘dissatisfaction’. It includes all those things and more. Dukkha is that to which all problems can be simplified, and our attempts to solve it are written in the stories of our lives.… Read the rest “Welcome to Rational Dharma”