A seasoned Zen practitioner and neurologist looks more deeply at mindfulness, connecting it to our subconscious and to memory and creativity.
This is a book for listeners who want to probe more deeply into mindfulness. It goes beyond the casual, once-in-a-while meditation in popular culture, grounding mindfulness in daily practice, Zen teachings, and recent research in neuroscience.
Austin shows that mindfulness can mean more than our being conscious of the immediate "now." It can extend into the subconscious, where most of our brain's activities take place, invisibly. Austin suggests ways that long-term meditative training helps cultivate the hidden, affirmative resource of our unconscious memory. "Remindfulness", as Austin terms it, can help us to adapt more effectively and to live more authentic lives.
Austin discusses different types of meditation, meditation and problem-solving, and the meaning of enlightenment. He addresses egocentrism (self-centeredness) and allocentrism (other-centeredness), and the blending of focal and global attention. He explains the remarkable processes that encode, store, and retrieve our memories, focusing on the covert, helpful remindful processes incubating at subconscious levels. And he considers the illuminating confluence of Zen, clinical neurology, and neuroscience. Finally, he describes an everyday life of "living Zen", drawing on the poetry of Basho, the seventeenth-century haiku master.
The book is published by The MIT Press.
"Dr. James Austin's unique and rich perspectives on the brain, mind, and Zen enrich and astound." (Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center)
"Should be on the bookshelf of every Zen practitioner and of any scientist who wants to understand the fundamental processes which are involved in meditation." (Peter Fenwick, MB BChir (cantab), DPM FRCPsych)