To Be or Not To Be: The Self as Illusion ~ The Nour Foundation

To Be or Not To Be: The Self as Illusion Featuring Krista Tippett, Pim van Lommel, Evan Thompson, Thomas Metzinger

Moderated by Krista Tippett, MDiv
Creator and Host of Public Radio’s Being

Speakers:
Pim van Lommel, MD, Hospital Rijnstate, The Netherlands
Thomas Metzinger, PhD, University of Mainz, Germany
Evan Thompson, PhD, University of Toronto

Evidence from studies of the brain and mind point to a construct of the Self resulting from complex neurobiological processes interacting with the environment. If distinct neurobiological correlates of consciousness do in fact exist, does that necessarily imply that the Self is an epiphenomenon and illusion? Furthermore, how do these characterizations of the Self affect the way we represent ourselves, our responsibilities, and our actions in the world?

Renowned philosophers Thomas Metzinger and Evan Thompson will join cardiologist and expert on near-death experiences, Pim van Lommel, to examine recent developments in neuroscience and philosophy that shed light on whether our conscious experience of a unified Self is reality or illusion.

The Phenomenal Self: Thomas Metzinger in Discussion with Krista Tippett

The New York Academy of Sciences – December 7, 2010
To Be or Not To Be: The Self as Illusion

Philosopher Thomas Metzinger explains his view that there is no substantial self, but rather just a phenomenal self that is a representational process.

This is an excerpt from the first in a six-part series, Perspectives on the Self, which brings together experts from the sciences and the humanities for conversations on the evolving meaning and experience of the Self.

The Embodied Self: Evan Thompson in Discussion with Krista Tippett

Philosopher Evan Thompson explains how mindfulness techniques can assist neuroscientists in studying different states of consciousness, and the importance of the notion of an embodied self.

This is an excerpt from the first in a six-part series, Perspectives on the Self, which brings together experts from the sciences and the humanities for conversations on the evolving meaning and experience of the Self.
What Near Death Experiences Can Tell Us About the Self: Pim van Lommel with Krista Tippett

Cardiologist and expert on near death experiences Pim van Lommel talks about how he became involved in the study of near death experiences and what that led him to conclude about the nature of the Self.

This is an excerpt from the first in a six-part series, Perspectives on the Self, which brings together experts from the sciences and the humanities for conversations on the evolving meaning and experience of the Self.

What Happens When We Die: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death by Sam Parnia, M.D. [updated Sept 10, 2012]

Mr. Sam Parnia faces death every day. Through his work as a critical-care doctor in a hospital emergency room, he became very interested in some of his patients’ accounts of the experiences that they had while clinically dead. He started to collect these stories and read all the latest research on the subject, and then he conducted his own experiments. That work has culminated in this extraordinary book, which picks up where Raymond Moody’s Life After Life left off.

Written in a scientific, balanced, and engaging style, this is powerful and compelling reading. This fascinating and controversial book will change the way you look at death and dying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sam Parnia, M.D., is a leading expert on near-death experiences. He now spends his time in hospitals and Cornell University in New York, where he’s a Fellow in pulmonary and critical-care medicine. He founded the Consciousness Research Group and is chairman of the Horizon Research Foundation. Dr. Parnia is constantly in demand as a speaker, and he’s made numerous media appearances. His groundbreaking research was recently featured in the BBC 2 and Discovery documentary, The Day I Died.


Over the past decade, an increasing number of physicians and neuroscientists have sought to uncover the complex relationship between mind, brain, and consciousness as they continue to search for a more comprehensive perspective on the “self” and the workings of the human mind. Though much remains to be done, their findings to date have shed a more holistic light on our understanding of the elusive mind-body problem. Join our panel of renowned experts as they explain how new paradigms fueled by the latest scientific research are beginning to fundamentally alter how we perceive and relate to the physical world.

The symposium will also serve as the occasion for the formal launch of The Human Consciousness Project—a multidisciplinary collaboration of international scientists and physicians who have joined forces to research the nature of consciousness and its relationship with the brain. Led by Dr. Sam Parnia, The Human Consciousness Project will conduct the world’s first large-scale multicenter studies at major U.S. and European medical centers on the relationship between mind and brain during clinical death. The results of these studies may not only revolutionize the medical care of critically ill patients and the scientific study of the mind and brain, but may also bear profound universal implications for our understanding of death and what happens when we die.

Sam Parnia press conference Part 2

Sam Parnia press conference Part 3

The symposium will also serve as the occasion for the formal launch of The Human Consciousness Project—a multidisciplinary collaboration of international scientists and physicians who have joined forces to research the nature of consciousness and its relationship with the brain. Led by Dr. Sam Parnia, The Human Consciousness Project will conduct the world’s first large-scale multicenter studies at major U.S. and European medical centers on the relationship between mind and brain during clinical death. The results of these studies may not only revolutionize the medical care of critically ill patients and the scientific study of the mind and brain, but may also bear profound universal implications for our understanding of death and what happens when we die.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English ~ Bhante Gunaratana

In simple and straightforward language, Bhante Gunaratana shares what the Buddha said about mindfulness in his instructional talks and how we can use these principles to improve our daily lives, deepen our mindfulness, and move closer to our spiritual goals. While this book is based on a classic text, the Satipatthana Sutta, its presentation is thoroughly modern in Bhante’s trademark “plain English” style.

The practice of contemplating—or as we might say, meditating on—the Four Foundations: mindfulness of the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena themselves, is recommended for people at every stage of the spiritual path. As the Buddha says, everyone—people new to meditation as well as monks and nuns, and even advanced meditator masters who have already reached the goal of liberation from suffering, “should be exhorted, settled, and established in the development of these Four Foundations of Mindfulness.”

Deeply contemplating, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness can lead to several benefits:
First, meditation helps us become fully aware of what is going on in the mind and body here and now. All too often, we sleepwalk through our days, musing about the past or daydreaming about the future. Second, because of this new awareness, we are able to evaluate more clearly the purpose and suitability of everything we say and do. As a result, we make wiser and more beneficial choices. Third, meditation trains us to see our own body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, and consciousness exactly as they are, from moment to moment. Seeing ourselves clearly is the essential first step to making positive life changes.

Bhante Gunaratana was ordained at the age of 12 as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from The American University, and has led meditation retreats, taught Buddhism, and lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. He lives in High View, West Virginia. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the president of the Bhavana Society in West Virginia.

Bhante Gunaratana – Cleanse the Mind with Mindfulness

Bhante Gunaratana explains that through the practice of mindfulness we cleanse the mind of psychic irritants or defilements. Following the Noble Eightfold Path to attain Nibbana. Employing the field of mindfulness and clear comprehension to overcome suffering and grief.

Permission to post this audio was granted by the Bhavana Society – for free distribution and commercial-free use.

New Brain, New World: How the Evolution of a New Human Brain Can Transform Consciousness and Create a New World ~ Erik Hoffmann

Content of the Book:

· Science of Consciousness

· Evolution of the Human Brain

· Effects on the Brain of Meditation, Primal Therapy, Deeksha and
the Drinking of Ayahuasca

· Kundalini Awakening, Samadhi and Cosmic Consciousness

· Brain Wave Training for Body Awareness, Focus and Presence

· The New Human Brain: The Evolution of the Frontal Lobes and the
Right Hemisphere

· Consciousness Transformation and the Creation of a New World

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
A fascinating insight into just how different our world could be if the human brain continues to evolve, allowing us to access higher levels of consciousness.

New Brain, New World uses cutting edge brain research to show how the ongoing evolution of the human brain could bring about a shift in human consciousness, ultimately creating a better world. We all know that over millions of years the human brain has evolved in many significant ways – so why would we assume that this process is not still happening? Based on a lifetime of research into brain function, the science of consciousness, and brain wave training, this book looks at how our brains may yet evolve, and the exciting implications that these developments may have for human consciousness.

The author maintains that the global crisis facing us is basically a crisis of consciousness, and it is the human ego with its destructive feelings and insatiable greed that stands in the way of a new and better world. He believes that the evolution of the human brain can make that world a reality.

This book explores:the science of consciousness the evolution of the human brain – how it has developed over millions of years, and how there is a huge potential latent in the part of the brain called the frontal cortex expanding human consciousness – the effects on the brain of meditation, feeling release therapy, and the drinking of ayahuasca, the mind-expanding herbal tea kundalini: an evolutionary energy in man awareness as a driving force in consciousness development – how we can play our own parts in helping our brains to evolve and access higher levels of consciousness by using alpha brain wave training for body-awareness and ‘grounding’, and frontal gamma wave training for focus and presence the new human brain looking towards a new future – the exciting possibilities for positive change and increased peace, love and compassion in the world if the human brain evolves.

Brief Summary of the Book by Erik Hoffmann
My book is primarily an attempt to relate global consciousness transformation to brain evolution and to changes in brain physiology. It is my firm belief that humans are developing a new brain which eventually will raise their consciousness to a much higher level.

In trying to do that I have gathered research results from the scientific literature as well as from my own 40 years of consciousness research in areas such as meditation, feeling release therapy, the drinking of ayuahuasca (a mind-expanding herbal tea) and brain wave training (neurofeedback).

I maintain that the global crisis facing us is basically a crisis of consciousness, and it is the human ego with its destructive feelings and insatiable greed that stands in the way of a new and better world.

But how can we raise our level of consciousness beyond the ego? I feel certain that a change of brain physiology is necessary in order to achieve a higher consciousness. I foresee that a new level of brain organization will evolve on top of the old one providing the necessary hardware for a higher consciousness. This new brain, I believe, will include more energized and active frontal lobes together with an opening up of the neural connections between the left and the right cerebral hemisphere. When this happens, a new species of ‘front brain–right hemisphere’ people will emerge. They will be a new race of humans who have the ability to create a new and better world.

When the new brain starts to function, an awakening to a higher level of consciousness takes place. It will be like waking up from a dream. There will be a heightened state of awareness, where the thinking mind becomes very quiet, perceptions get more vivid and real, and the main focus will be in the present moment. In addition, behaviour becomes much more spontaneous and intuitive, and there will be an increase in one’s love, compassion and concern for other people and their well being.

In my own research I have observed how important it is to differentiate between altered states of consciousness (induced by meditation, hypnosis or mind-altering drugs) and higher (awakened) states. Altered states only seem to implicate the right hemisphere (and the unconscious) while higher states of consciousness primarily involve the frontal cortex and only secondarily the right hemisphere.


Erik Hoffmann PhD is a retired Danish professor who has been researching the human brain and consciousness for more than 30 years. He has a Master’s degree in psychology from Copenhagen University and worked there as an assistant professor at the Psychology Department for eight years. He also worked as a visiting professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey for several terms and was a research director at the Primal Center in Los Angeles for two years. Erik is the founder of the Mental Fitness & Research Center in Copenhagen, working with brain wave (neurofeedback) training. He has given talks at international conferences, conducted numerous workshops and published a number of articles in peer reviewed, scientific journals.

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