Monday, November 22, 2010

The Catches Are Plentiful

(Back from two and a half week retreat with Ruth Denison, at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center, I am devoting the next few weeks to sharing Ruth's wonderful teachings.)
Bringing Feminine Wisdom Into the Field of Contemplative Neuroscience.

One afternoon, Venerable Madika, one of the two nuns in residence at Dhamma-Dena entertained us with stories of  her participation in Richard Davidson's neuroplasticity experiments at University of Wisconsin, part of his ongoing research to test the positive effects of meditation on the brain. A discussion ensued about the merits and potential pitfalls of viewing mindfulness practice under the lens of neuroscience. I found Ruth's take particularly refreshing:

May all neuroscientists heed Ruth's gentle  call for wisdom, as they carry out their work:

"Stay low to the ground
Live close to the Earth
Don't go too far away from your heart . . . "

May they beware of intellectualizing the practice, and of greed, and righteousness, and other wrongful strivings from the ego that may spoil their efforts.

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