By B. Alan Wallace
By means of developing a discussion within which the meditative practices of Buddhism and Christianity converse to the theories of recent philosophy and technological know-how, B. Alan Wallace unearths the theoretical similarities underlying those disparate disciplines and their unified method of making feel of the target world.
Wallace starts off by means of exploring the connection among Christian and Buddhist meditative practices. He outlines a chain of meditations the reader can adopt, exhibiting that, notwithstanding Buddhism and Christianity vary of their trust platforms, their tools of cognitive inquiry supply related perception into the character and origins of consciousness.
From this convergence Wallace then connects the methods of up to date cognitive technological know-how, quantum mechanics, and the philosophy of the brain. He hyperlinks Buddhist and Christian perspectives to the provocative philosophical theories of Hilary Putnam, Charles Taylor, and Bas van Fraassen, and he seamlessly contains the paintings of such physicists as Anton Zeilinger, John Wheeler, and Stephen Hawking. Combining a concrete research of conceptions of realization with a advisor to cultivating mindfulness and profound contemplative perform, Wallace takes the medical and highbrow mapping of the brain in intriguing new instructions.
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Additional resources for Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity (Columbia Series in Science and Religion)
But the actual nature of mental processes themselves remains as mysterious as ever. What is the relationship between mental and brain processes—between our subjective experiences and our physical “hardware”? Is it purely causal, with brain processes generating subjective experience? Or are mental and neural processes really the same thing, viewed from inside and outside? Christof Koch, who works at the cutting edge of research on the neural correlates of consciousness, comments on this question: “The characters of brain states and of phenomenal states appear too different to be completely reducible to each other.
14 Scientists’ suspicion of anything religious is quite understandable, for to them, religion required unquestioning belief in authority. Science, in contrast, placed the highest priority on experiential knowledge. Here was the rub. For experiential evidence to be regarded as empirical evidence, it had to be verifiable—accessible to multiple competent observers. But mental processes can be observed only internally. They cannot be detected by any outside observer or by any of the instruments of science, which are designed to measure all known kinds of physical realities.
For the duration of these twenty-five minutes, apart from the natural movement of respiration, let your body be as still as possible. This will help to stabilize your mind and enable you to focus your attention with greater continuity. If you’re sitting on a chair or cross-legged, slightly raise your sternum and keep your abdominal muscles soft and relaxed, so that when you breathe in, you feel the sensations of the breath go right down to your belly. If your breath is shallow, you’ll feel just the abdomen expand.