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Would you listen to The Mindful Brain again? Why?
I heard this guy interviewed on the brain science podcast and followed the trail to listen to this book. I had always imagined that meditation was for people who were stressed out and needed to chill. Given that I am by nature pretty low stress, I never bothered with it. I gained some interesting insight here. Just as you might practice a tennis stroke to ingrain and master it, practicing meditation can be very empowering (in many ways). Have you ever tried it? Lie down and just focus on your breath. Empty your brain. Not easy, is it? If you're like most people you'll find that lots of thoughts start seeping in. Neurons that fire together wire together. The more you practice this, the better you get at it. This rings true for me. Years ago I was an Olympic athlete. I used to practice imagery to gain control of my mind in stressful and sometimes somewhat dangerous situations and also to practice and ingrain the rather technical motion of a ski jumping take-off. Initially I wasn't very good at it but with practice I dialed it in. I'd say that honing this skill was integral to my ultimate success in sport... and later in life as well. This relates to some other books I've read. One example being The Biology of Belief (great book). This book briefly explores the concept of "the director" - in a nutshell being introspective and conscious of the activity of your brain - your thoughts; "Isn't that interesting that I had that reaction". The author of The Mindful Brain (a scientist who by the way reads his own book here and conveys his passion for the subject matter) is exploring this concept in great detail. At times a little over my head but quite interesting ...
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of Siegel's work in the field of neurology and how he has brought together ancient wisdom about meditation and mindfulness and modern science, using science to show why the ancient wisdom has been around so long. In short, he shows how mindful meditation, particularly the type practiced in many forms of Buddhism, restructures the brain in a positive fashion and how it can be used to better our lives in all personal and social situations. I would recommend approaching this book before Siegel's longer work, Mindsight, since most of what is covered here has already been presented in a much more expanded form in that (really excellent) volume. Along with Siegel, one might also read the work of Jeffery Schwarz, Richard Davidson, and Daniel Goleman, as all are leading researchers in the field of how the mind influences the brain, an important new branch of neurology which overthrows the functionalist "brain as machine" model.
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