« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

388: The Science of Training Your Attention | Dr. Amishi Jha

2021-10-18 | 🔗

Distraction is one of the top complaints of meditators -- and of pretty much every human being, in this era that has been dubbed the “info blitzkrieg.” In this episode, we’ll hear from Dr. Amishi Jha, who has spent years studying the impact of meditation on people who work in high stress professions and has collaborated with the military, first responders, and elite athletes. Her new book is about how to, in her words, focus without all the struggle, take back your attention from the pull of distraction, and function at your peak.

Dr. Jha is Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami, the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, and author of a new book called Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day.

In this episode, Dr. Jha talks about: peak mind; the neuroscience of attention; how and why meditation works for high stress groups; multitasking vs. task switching; simulation mode vs. mindful mode; and answers the burning question - what is the least amount of meditation minutes one can do and still derive all the advertised benefits?

As Dr. Jha mentioned in the episode, she recorded a meditation in the Ten Percent Happier app to help you practice paying attention to your attention. Check it out by downloading the Ten Percent Happier app wherever you get your apps, tapping on the Singles tab, and searching for her meditation called "Find Your Flashlight.” Or, click here to play the meditation.

And be sure to check out our new podcast, Twenty Percent Happier, available exclusively in the Ten Percent Happier app

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/amishi-jha-388

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is the ten percent happier, Pakistan, India and Harris again. Distraction is one of the top complaints of meditative, pretty much every human being in this era. That has been dubbed the info blitzkrieg. My guest today has spent years studying the impact of meditation of people who work in high stress professions. She's collaborated with the military first responders, an elite athletes, and she has a new book out about how to, in her words, focus without all the struggle take back your attention.
the pool of distraction and function at your peak doktor me. She dies a professor of psychology at the University of my army, the director of contemplative neuroscience for the my fullest research and practice initiative and author of a new book called Peak mine, find your focus on your attention, invest twelve minutes a day, and this conversation we talk about what exactly is peak mind. She gives us the neuroscience of attention, one or one which are about the benefits of template, of practices for high stress groups and what exactly it is about meditation. That's helping these folks. We also talk about multitasking versus task. Switching. simulation mode verses, mindful mode and she we gives an answer to a question. I have gotten a million times, which is something to the effect of what is the least amount of meditation. You can do and still derive the advertised benefits. Her answer does carry a few scientific caveats, but its fascinating
Nonetheless, before we'd I've been with me, she one important order of business. I want to start this with a question: have you ever finnish meditating and then When up your email and gotten a message that made you lose your crap orf snapped at your partner They interrupted you. While you were meditating in those times, you might be tempted to wonder why failing at this thing, this is something we hear from listeners quite frequently, even for people who meditate regularly, it can be pretty tricky to apply the insights we have during meditation to our daily annoyances and quandaries. So my colleague Mathieu Hepburn, who is himself a meditation teacher and it has been a driving force behind our meditation content on that. Percent happier APP has now created an exclusive new podcast he's gonna. Take the insights. We bring you here on the ten percent happier Pike Guest and die.
them on his new show, which he is quite quickly calling twenty percent happier every episode of Matthews New, show, features and intimate conversation between Matthew and a guest, a rank and file meditated. I call this mindful eavesdropping you get to listening to a meditation teacher at work, something very few of us ever get to hear. Tell us in a twenty percent happier download the ten percent happier app wherever you get your accident tap on. The pod casts tab to begin. Ok, we'll get started with Doktor Amicia job right after this when it comes to what truly matters at mega food, it's the power plants and nourishing soil for quality ingredients to help grow a healthier world. They do what matters to them, so you can do what matters to you like being present, saying yes or maybe even taking some you time to listen to your favorite, podcast and all
making the most of each moment big and small, mega food supplements for what matters. If you're, like me, you're feeling really cooped up right now. All you can think about is when I can go on my next vacation. I don't care if it's big or small. I just want to get away when you're right to travel. You should check out price line. They can save you up to sixty percent off your favorite hotels and they even have exclusive deals on flights and rental cars. Price line makes it super easy to find a great price on your trip. They say average Europe is a big deal and that so true, especially right now so visit price line to get a big deal on you. Next trip from Asia welcome back to show great dear good to have you here our. Let me start with a very obvious question: what do you mean by peak mind? Yes, so a peak mind, it's not what you might think of it like a successor poster
of a woman on mountain top, all goals achieved shrilly about having full access to all of your capacities, your full attention, awareness, as well as this ability to stave off distractions and use your minds resources to achieve what you want to achieve in life. Okay, so it's the ability to have access to all your minds, resources- and you still in the book-
what a great lance helpfully, I believe to point out that distraction. There's nothing malfunctioning in you! If you are distraction s right- and I would say, let me be specific- really attention and resources is the key phrase. So distractions occur. Let's even back up, it's not even distractions spontaneous thought. Mental content, internal chatter- it will occur, extra distractions will occur. Sometimes those can act should be problematic and sometimes there not and in some sense a peak mind has been in being able to maneuver through the landscape of what it means to be a human being, so that you can use these precious brain resources, in particular the brains attention system, to have success in the way you feel and will you perform and who you wanna be. So if you're at peak
I find it doesn't mean that you're not having spontaneous thoughts or that your child isn't screaming, for your attention or a cat is me outside the door, whatever it just means that you can incorporate these quota unquote, distractions in a healthy supple, away, it's part of it. But it's even going one step beyond that. In may mean that you are fatigued or irritable or destroyed did, but you have an awareness of this particular state and can negotiate what is best to do next. Based on that awareness- and I think that is actually really important and something I tried to give multiple examples of it's not that everything's gonna be rosy. Rainbows now unicorn sunshine, it's that when you cultivate the mind in this way and really it's I'm talking about a whole suite of contemplative practices having
with my fullest meditation, you get to befriend your mind and in particular, your attention system in a way that gives you useful information about what you might do with your mind and that moment in the next. So it's just disabused us of this notion that it's about being positive or it's about being put on court at the top of your because sometimes knowing I am completely reactive right now. Maybe I shouldn't press saddened. Email is so useful, more useful than probably just pretending that everything is great. I believe you scientists call that matter, cognition man, awareness side, but love tat. I love it. It's been so fond Dan see how the sophistication level not just obviously a view as you continue to grow in this whole enterprise, but just the level of conversation in this part cast has been really I've just been kind of an observer and a fan to see her
much more nuanced conversations been getting, and so I'm gonna take this opportunity to just at least voice my distinctions Twin, met a cognition and met awareness, and yes, what I am talking about right now, when I just described, is what I would call met. Awareness and the way that I described or define meadow awareness is having unaware. Solve the current contents and processes at play. In your mind, any particular moment- very different than men, cognition, close cousin, but actually quite different, because medical ignition, some sense is thoughts or views. You might have of your comment and processing the time window for medical condition is a bit longer. Psych alike tend to make decisions in an exhaustive manner or I tend to be maximized- are organised usually don't remember names. Those would be really useful met. A cognitive features that you might know about yourself, a matter where
he's right now. I have no idea what this guy's name is very different verses. I tend to be this way. I hope that that distinction helpful at least, let me see if I have granted by repeating it back to your medical ignition- would be thinking about how you tend to think and better awareness would be the ability to drop out of the thinking process, as is happening right now and to know it not judge mentally, yes, another way to put it getting the raw data of what is transpiring in your phenomenology moment by moment. Do you imagine peak mind? Is an abiding create or a temporary state in sums Hence we are interested in the moment by moment state and like any kind of mental training. The notion would be if we cultivate these capacities if we cultivate more presence of mind nano
mental awareness focus, when we wanted receptivity woman in tat moment by moment, the chances of us being able to call up way of making the mind more frequently and more so on demand will increase. So our interest is in moving from more state related presence to turning into a trade, but in some sense, when we use the term trade is almost like we're saying we check the box got it done enlightened move on, and I dont feel that that's the way it is. I think that just like physical strength in the body
because you might have been an olympic level runner at some point doesn't mean you will always maintain that peak physique. You have to keep at it and the brain is no different, so in some sense we want to conceptualize. This is an active effort, full process that we must practice in order to benefit from Eurasia that there's a suite of contemplative practices that we cannot employ. Two gets a peak mind, and these are practices that you ve been studying in your lab. Can you run through some of these sure sure? Maybe ever do it even be helpful if I started out by describing attention and the brain systems of attention to
connect the dots between why we chose these practices in something we call mindful of space detention training. So you think I'd be a ford. You want me to either. I think so. You used the phrase we were texting last night and you used the phrase of the Neuro science of attention, one o one. So I should find that three fascinating. So if you want to start their own me, I think that for most of us who don't happen to have a research lab that studies, the brains, attention systems when we hear the term attention something very specific, comes to mind, and usually it has to do with this notion of focused our concentration, but when think about attention, as researchers from this field of cognitive neuroscience is actually means something more than that. That's a part of it, but that's not the entirety of it. So when I say brain science of attention, when a one, when I really mean let's get like a fuller sense of what the systems and subsystems are too
then understand what it means to actually even train attention. So when I first all worn just say that attention itself, why do we have it? That's a that's a question. I asked myself just very early on what what a weird thing that we have a brain that pays attention and it comes out of just a really big problem that the brain had through the course of evolution, which is it some point? The organism got to the sophistication level where it could function in a manner where it needed access to more information from the environment, but could not possibly process everything it would potentially encounter. And so attention was the solution devised, sub, simple interfacing with the real world and overcoming these computational limits of the brain, and so then you
ok, it's gonna sub sample reality will in what ways as if in a sub sample it and- and this gets into how we might even start understanding the subsystems of attention. One way would be by selecting certain contents like the left side of this particular. This does probably worm than a fine. My food or the right side is where I tend to have predators lurking, and I should be careful so just the nature of what you should select in terms of space or a particular type of feature cetera. Another way we could select or sub sample reality, especially we get more more sophisticated brains serve in time. So what's important right now, verses, something that I might think about in the future or memory I have in the past and then a third way we might think about how we get a slice of reality. Not the entire thing is based on
that's cool relevant for what I want to do right now, what matters so just ass, the broad fit framing of how we can think about what attention might be doing, and then we can just let's get into some of the metaphor- is that I think are helpful to to think about it's going back to sir. The lay broad conceptualisation of attention is focused, that's absolutely something it does, and typically I think about this. As the metaphor like to use this like a flashlight so wherever it is that that flashlights, pointing if in a dark and rumour but darkened walkway alley path in nature somewhere wherever that flashlight pointing you're going to preferential access to information is going to be crisp and clear and useful. Everything else is going to remain sort of out of your conscious experience kind of blanked out, and this is called
means oriented system and just like a flashlight, we can direct that resource wherever we want it can be toward the extra environment, but we can also direct this resource internally. So right now I say you know: what's the sensor experience, you have of your feet right now, probably before I said that you were thinking about what was going on on the bottom of your feet, but as soon as I said that you could direct that flashlight to internal bodily, sensations get the information. Now it's crisper and clearer, more available to which is a really really cool thing. We can use it not only for sensory experience but thoughts, saps emotions everything. So the cool thing about focus, meaning the flashlight. Is this narrowing and really fine, grained privileged processing of of certain kinds of information? In addition to be able to directed wilfully, it also gets. out- and if you think about every time you hear the din of your phone or something
That's your name. Your flashlight went to that sound essentially, so is capable of both being directed and being pulled, but you'll have privileged access, so that would meet. We may put category of like ok, we got a substantial parts of what's going on around me in some defined way. Now it's moved to how you gonna capture, what's happening right now, privileges in time. That's what we call the alerting system and the metaphor like to use for that. One is like a floodlight essentially is broad and receptive, and what it cares about is what's going on right at this moment that yokes very nicely with this notion of meadow awareness that we were just talking about. It's like receptive, low signal to noise ratio. If you want to speak out about the terms where nothing is privileged over anything else, the only thing that's really privileges. What's going on right now, so I'm thinking about the past for the future, I'm here. So I think that the flood lightest or of a nice way to think about it, just in terms of broad and receptive and illuminating whatever's occurring, and then the
I've been on the answer you please anytime. I hate doing this, but I just actually really don't like jumping in I want to make sure I understand that so the flashlight, if what I was going to think about a meditative term, yes, a flashlight in meditation I'd, be I'm really going to home in on the feeling of my breath at the my belly right now exactly, whereas the floodlight would be opened awareness, I'm just gonna. Let my senses rip and note whatever is coming up in my mind as it happens, without any prejudice you got it exactly. So these are my mapping onto already you're doing exactly what you'd out will you don't initially asked me what a practices that my relate to its ages essentially describe to divert practices? I just Please don't you think it's gray, oh no
great! That means that we're we're in sync you're getting where going and in your actually understanding why, from the brain science point of view, especially in attention researcher, was so thrilling to come across this whole field of Human endeavour called adaptation practice that mapped on so beautifully to what were studying you know in our in my lab. So let s talk about the third sister. Is it actually gonna yokes together? The two others that we ve been talking about? The third system really is regarding our goals and how we want to behave in any moment- and this is something called central. Executive system are just executive functions and that term second, it is the same one that we think of anything of an executive. Other company executives. Job is not to do everything. a task that the organization must do is to ensure that there is an alignment, broadly speaking between all endeavours and the goals moment by moment to make sure
is on track and I like to use the kind of metaphor of a juggler here and really is just like all the balls gotta be in the air, make sure none of those balls drop but you're not in charge of doing each individual task. So in some sense, if you think about the executive control system and the true types of practices, you're just described a really concentrated practice. Like a focused breath, awareness practice we are holding in with like exquisite precision on the top get of where you want the flashlight to shine. The goal is: stay on that target be aware moment to moment that Europe flashlight is directed there and so were engaging both were engaging the the flash like to do the job that the juggler says: executive control. some says do, and they were doing an open monitoring practice. The goal is quite different: it's dope specifically advantage some information over other information, allow whatever arises to be noted and then in its own,
I'm, let it pass away without holding onto it, manipulating it elaborating on it, etc. So, to me, what was neat about understanding the nature of the variety of practices that mindfulness meditation offers is that were, in some sense, able to engage all three of these systems and actually train all three of these systems by repeated reps, if you will in terms of the exercise and so the main practices you're teaching to your study, subjects rights for the main practices are a focused attention practice and I just to make it easy exists, concept. Is we know the using these metaphors? I want to be helpful, says I find your flashlight, and that is really about breath awareness both to focusing on breath related sensations, but also to actually engaged that flow. Light or the alerting system. Meadow awareness to note moment by moment. Where is my flash
because only then can you actually redirected back. So, even if you think of a simple breath, whereas practice, let's just break it down. So the goal you have, broadly speaking for the period of time and in practice, is focused on breath related sensations be as specific as you can and when the mind wanders returned back redirected. So you get that flashlight, your directing it you ve got a target object. Then you're still engaged in this brief, There are many awareness, so they are checking out what's going on a moment by moment and then you ve got deed. These executive control that comes in and set up, you're off task it back, and you just redirect back and that's essentially would mean our dear friend, a general pilot who we were spoken was vote here, the last time this by gas. He was the guests with me. He calls it the push up the mental push up, and I like that, because its through simple steps focus notice, redirect and if we do this, not just during our Michaelmas practice, but in our lives as we're trying to accomplish whatever goal. It is quite help
four, so that the reason that we offer in my book, as well as in the kind of training programmes that we study in my lab, focused attention, practices and open monitoring practices is to get the full companion of of out all three of these systems, and then we also bring in loving kindness practice, which we call connection to kind of round doubt that you ve got these tools now apply them to be connected to another aspect of your humanity. I asked this question as a dedicated practitioner of loving kindness meditation, but how does it go down for you when you're teaching loving kindness, which you ve rebranded into connection? But I would imagine still when you know when the rubber, it's the road, that that the details of the practice Curdken peep a little gooey for some audiences. So how does it go down when your teacher?
this practice to fire fighters, football players and members of the. U S military. Surprisingly. Well, I was actually very concerned when we started introducing this because, as I am, there is ever going to push back. In fact, some of the trainers will say. I don't think this is gonna go well at all, but the reason that I think it does go well is because it does touch into something that we all experience the need for. I would say we all experienced the need for this, which is that sense of of care and extending concern and interest in ourselves, which I dont think most people in this service sectors. There really hard nosed are doing as often as they they know they probably would benefit from doing and each other right. There's no question the kind of care and concern that a service
her or firefighter has for his or her team members is so robust. The care that they have for the mission is strong, the care for them, the civilians that they dont want. They want ensure, are protected and beer that their treated well and in a manner in line with their mission is also strong. So this so many aspects of this that that actually meet the kind of ethical and professional mindset of many of these individuals. So I think it does resonate and what's always interesting to me, as we have a four we programme and
lay out something very similar and in my book, which is the result of a success stories of toning down in a way that makes the most sense, but then, after the four weeks, if we ve got more time with these groups will say pick whatever you want this practice on your own, just pick something in practice at twelve to fifteen minutes, five or so days a week and often loving kindness is chosen, which also kind of surprises me, but then again, based on all the things I just said to you. I think it actually makes a lot of sense that that would come into play. Is it really does make sense if you're on a football team, you care about your teammates if you're a fire fighter you care about the people whose lives you're, protecting saying for the military, but these are male dominated fields. In my experience being a male, we are not
oh sure, wise to emphasise, are carrying capacity. You know it's yes, and no, if somebody said, do you wanna take care, your family? Are you a loving father and a spouse? You would say absolutely in those are really important to me. You would not deny that you would say yeah as a leader in a wood do care for the employees that work under your with you and your organization. Absolutely so, though, it may feel like it rubs up against some kind of norms of a callousness that kind of orientation in some sense it. It goes to the heart of a different kind of sort of, maybe potentially stereotypically male sensibility witches. I'm here and are you can lean on me and that aspect, I think, also resonates with a lot of people when it comes to this particular practice. But it's kind of interesting for me because, as I mentioned, I'm unintentionally,
you're. So it was an obvious choice. It was basically from parliament was just talking to a lot of teachers, including share in Salzburg, our mutual friend and teacher, and even John Cabin Zinn. Regarding company round out what you offer people in a way that would allow them to experience sort of the full suite of different aspects that contemplative practice offers in a way that is accessible to most and that's why the switch from the term loving kindness to connection really get to the heart of the matter in the way that were describing it and and asking them to participate in practising so. You said you ve, honed, you're protocol down to a four weak training for people in high stress environment. S,
You tell us more about what that looks like and what you ve learned from iterating on this here in the first thing for me was when we started this work, which was back in the early two. Thousands, what's known the literature right now, we're not gonna send people on a month long retreat, we're not sending them on a ten day retreat event. We're gonna have to figure out. Why integrate practices and training within their day to day lives and the most well established program at that point was Mindfulness Bay, stress, reduction right this twenty four plus our programme, developed by John Cabot's in which requires about to two and a half hours a week for eight weeks. forty five minutes of home practice and as a beautiful swedish practices all along the lines of really these things are we're talking about of different aspects of training attention at so that was a great is to start and was already literature that suggested these things are beneficial twenty four hours and forty five minutes a day
like a non starter for most of the organizations I wanted to work with. It was like yeah, sorry, no thanks and and not in a subtle way like yeah. No, were we give you an hour if you really want to come talk to us, but we don't think there's any time for this I knew kind of the strong distance between what the literature suggested would be. probably likely to have an impact and then the second part, which was what they were likely to give me, and so the way that I wrote this first set of grants was really to take service step wise approach. Ok, let's start with a twenty four hour programme, but let's kind of
see how low we can go? Can we go down to sixteen hours? Can we go to eight hours? Can we go to four hours and what about the number of weeks can we go from eight weeks to four weeks to two weeks, so we tried out all those different combinations and saying that in a couple sentences sounds like that's good, that you did all that. That's basically, eight years of my life right just try it out with various cohorts, various military trying to get people to do these studies in the middle of their pre deployment, training non trivial because we wanted to interact with individuals when the demands were high The chances of their attention getting degraded and depleted were high, and in a preparatory period before that, it actually matter attention becomes life or death when you're in combat environment. So there are many challenges to wanting to do this, but it gave us a very clear answers which also made me very gratified. Like we went on this question, we got clear answers on what was too short or didn't work so essentially for hours of
any with a trainer or delivery. Something over two weeks, even if it was longer than four hours, not helpful, not successful, reliably producing beneficial changes, tractable changes and objective metrics of attention, as well as things like mood and stress levels, so we know when we were shooting too low, and that was so with a helpful to figure that, because now, when somebody said come in and do an hour long program like happy to do it, but it's going to be just talking about it, not really providing the training. Cuz, we know going to short, is not going to really produce any kind of tractable enduring benefits and then what we were trying to figure out: it's: okay, probably the best place to land. This thing is going to be about four weeks, eight hours of instruction two hours a week per week and then a time that people should practise daily was another big puzzle cause we started out giving them. We like a forty five men may be too much about thirty minutes, so we asked people, this led to thirty minutes, but we said look. This is a recent study. Please be honest. Tell us what you actually did so privately separate from the eyes of the
dinner. They would write down in those days and little cards what the actual practice daily. Now we just have an apt that would allow us to track with some precision how much the practicing nobody was doing. Thirty minutes like Nobody was doing thirty minutes and then what we ended up having to do is say: ok, Valdis participants, let's figure out for what level of practice approximately per day do we start seeing beneficial effects and it ended up, though that were practicing about twelve minutes or more a day were showing beneficial effects. Those that were practicing less were actually not and Twelve was like an interesting number for us and we kind of pursued that for a while of only asking people to practice twelve minutes a day. Calot were traction that way. people were actually engaging them were transition. Is every day they have to do it. No, they weren't doing it everyday. So about five days like at four hundred and twenty five days, a good number of days to ask for but now more in the reasonable range of people were willing to do it and they were now
to burden by it and we could fitted in the schedule that made sense to us so that some long way to say it took a lot of effort, but we really were trying to figure out will be feasible accessible with these kind of people. I'm, so that we were just randomly choosing at we actually pursued it without scientific approach, knows beautiful in the not too long at all is fascinating and you know I get asked all the time. What is the least amount of meditation I can do and derive all the advertised benefits and I've never really had an answer. But it sounds like you. Ve arrived on an answer which is twelve minutes forty five days a week. That seems too about right, and it will be very clear on that for high stress groups and looking specifically at things like attention, mood and stress
so you're in the middle of a kidney transplant. In your like how much mindful was gonna help me so that my immune system responds moment most robustly. I have no idea. This is what research can tell us, based on the kinds of groups that we ve worked with. The other thing that I think so important gives you get asked that I get us there well, what if I do less than twelve minutes and what, if I do more than twelve minutes in my answers, I do whatever you can do, but around because when we start seeing these really tractable effects and here's the other kind of even better news, if you do more, you benefit more that we ve seen across study after study, whether a special forces or students or long term practitioners. If you practice more just like physical activity, you benefit more, and I think that that's also kind of cool thing, and I know that youth of some point you're describing practice at least two hours a day a couple times,
day, maybe even out of your still on that routine. You know, there's a different kind of an impact that a larger window of time during the day can have on you and sometimes I I myself live usual when I'm running training programmes, I'll try to cut of solidarity with our participants do what they do like if there on a week were there doing a lot of focused attention I'll do that, and then, on the weekend, some kind of like thinking of this a little bit of a treat which most people would say what, like double up today, I'm gonna dominated thirty minutes. I wanted to twenty four minutes or whatever it is, and I like it, so that always seems to hold true that that there's a different experience and a different level of benefit with more engagement. In my experience, the meditation becoming a treat thing takes away I mean that I haven't done any studies here. This is all anecdotal and observational, but when I hear people talking about enjoying meditation, that usually tat tells me
therein, the much my or more mature phase. Let me put it this way. It may not feel like a treat when you're doing it, but I feel, like the quality of my mind, that is in a better place and not happy or by the way, what president more pliable. More all these things we talked about its peak mine, it's like if I'm feeling sad, I can face the sadness. If this frustration I can hold it actually watch the decisions that I'm gonna choose to make. I just feel more, I mean I just the word: come I'm a better free myself, and in the way that I I died myself to maneuver through my life. That's the treat part it's not like, I'm just blissed out or something like that, at least with the kind of practices I'm doing. That's not what I'm attempting to achieve. Yeah, I mean yes all that my own personal experience too, that the percentage of sir
it's that are pleasant, even if their unpleasant on some level, but I just put our pleasant, none, the less you know, because I can be with the unpleasant in a way that I'm not so entangled with it. That has gone way up for being over time. I once saw somebody in this was completely not scientifically was just that would have a conversation, somebody who can have sketched out with his finger in the air a curve of what it's like to be a meditate her in the town but the beginning years. You know you're really going uphill uphill appeal than you reach a sort of summit, and then it goes down hill after that, I think, probably it's more true to say that it goes up and down and up and down, but gradually vectors toward a higher place. But for me I do feel that there are times where my meditation practice has a kind of momentum of its own,
and it doesn't feel like I'm having that force myself into the chair once I'm here. I'm kind of pleased to be here and definitely then I'm Saint just to go back to the beginner and what the mind can feel like. I offer a course at the University of Miami for undergrad and their learning the practices along with all the science and it so interesting because within maybe around, we three or four they're saying things my mind is a max. I am wondering so much is it because of the time we are in the semester? Is it in all? Just that others more? What's going on right now, and then I asked them, what do you think it is, and then the best That is when they have their own aha insight like. Oh, maybe I'm just noticing it more, and I just as love that that does get old for me at all, and I think that it's just this interesting paradoxical aspect.
of getting to know your own mind in this way that in some sense that kind of real pain or discomfort of contending with a mind that feels like, as you put it like this slippery fisher whatever. If you had a nice metaphor for that, that's actually a win. And it may not feel that way- you know- I would say one or two things as happened for me lately is out of its through covert or my My son's now way at college, just the heart can feel really heavy sometimes, and there is also a much comfort in being able to be there for that. In a way, I never thought I'd be capable of its always that freshness of mind of like you read about it. We can even see it in our graphs that, yes, look positive mood is actually going upper or actually you know, there's a little bit of a. U shaped. Function was little bit of more negativity, but then it goes down again if you really track people at a granular level, but to actually-
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meditate or who, like you, are endeavouring to apply their meditation practice to their everyday lives and you're gonna get to eavesdrop on people who are willing to be super candid issues such as working society, the inner critic, difficult relationships and the pains of pay So whether you're a fan of my show or you're completely sick of me, twenty percent happier is gonna. Give you the best of both worlds. twenty percent happier is available exclusively inside the ten percent happier AB download the admin tap on the podcast tab to start listening. Why were you drawn high stress groups, while it's gotten my entry point into practising in the first place, and even how it entered my lab say growing up in I'm an indian woman, so my earliest memories are walking into my parents. Bedroom like in the morning.
and a bleary eyed and see my death bed made my dad sitting on it like freshly showered with a prayer beads meditating like I grew up with that and say with my mom ere, she meditates ever single day. I'm using the Mara these beads- and I was like that's great good for you but not doing that not interested and and there like a little bit of through cultural. I would say anger. I had toward the entire enterprise learning that there was such a sexist orientation towards who gets to have access to some of these this is an Hinduism as an lessons are learned that really some these practices only the boys get access to those like no way I see and not doing that not interested? Also, it was something I never
thought in my life. I would be interested in or practice and then learning about it. In fact, by one of my dear colleagues at that point, early, two thousand richer davidson and having to cut to contend with somebody ever spect is studying. This thinks is actually relevant to the kinds of things that I'm interested in, and I was personally struggling at that moment with a lot of my own high stress and high demand, as a young, mom, etc, that I opened up to this possibility and realised that there is a lot of value in it. And then a lot of things that are beneficial to me in ways that my highly skeptical mind that has really blown it off either. The point where was him saying the word meditation and the neuroscience lecture was like astrology to a stroke. like your ear? Why are you saying that it was just so ridiculous, but then, coming around It really made me have a lot of interest in approaching other people that might also that same kind of skeptical attention, but I know their lives are very demanding the stress that the experience is real and they want.
at the top of their game in a way that is not only helpful for themselves but to those that they wanted to interact with an benefit. So that's part of the reason. I was just very curious about helping other people that might in some ways have an interest like mine to optimize in some way. That is helpful. You talked about this a little bit, but can you summarize or spread upon the previously delivered summary of what the benefits you observed are for high stress groups who engage in these contemplative practice? Yes, so, We talked about these various systems of attention and there are objective tasks that we can offer that track things like focus and a broadening and in a kind of a cousin to attention the working memory system, which is this ability to maintain a manipulate information for very short intervals, really like the sort of scratch space of the mind in a where we deliberate thoughts and hold them temporarily
And what we learned, the first thing that we learned, which was alarming, was that these tasks, which are studied for many years I ve been around for at least let safe over fifty years in the field of of attention, research robustly stable tasks but now, if even over the course of the task itself, we just insert things like a negative image or a threatening sound or put them under some kind of stress. Attention starts falling apart, even in the context of just a laboratory metrics, all right. Attention is stable and very powerful, but you can perturb it pretty easily by things like stress threats. Negative move
and so then I became a just title- we're talking about a moment ago of working with high stress populations. Their lives are filled with these moments. All of our lives are but for certain windows were asking people within certain professions to perform at their best when the circumstances any objective observer would say yet these are very threatening and negative circumstances. Think of a fire fighter during Hurricane Season or trying to help in the middle of a tornado or say like that or service member cetera. So now it was like ok the lab we can get. The tension start falling apart when we just induce relatively innocuous images, news images of negative stuff so now track them over. A high stress, honourable, like They ve gotta, perform well in football players of oppresses and training can of readiness. Training for soldiers were their simulating combat situations. So we given this set of tasks at the beginning of some interval than forty five weeks later, come
I can give it again, and what they're doing during that period of time is demanding over me some protracted periods of demand. Everybody was tanking in their attention, so they say things of attention and working memory, reliably degraded over four weeks, and now you know, get on a plane are being deployed so to me that was very troubling and that's the one of the reasons we actually started. Having that interest to offer the training during high stress intervals of a good before, but usually during this, when will we get, says to them. So here's what we were finding were finding that if we give these kind of programmes to people whether practicing like we describing about fifteen minutes a day and this for weak interval after participating in a group based training with a get introduced to the practices we can protect against that decline. So the group soon on a kind of standard controlled, the design we'd recruit a bunch of people. Half of them would get the training. Half of them would be weightless
to get it later or they'd, get some other kind of training, and only those that were getting the mindful of training actually were not declining in their attention. They were staying stable and those that were Practicing more than others more than this to a minimum dose were actually in some cases increasing in their attention. Even over this high stresses
and we saw again this dose response effect said those that practice very little benefit little. Those that practice more benefited more so in general that the sort of a broad, beneficial effects that we see, as is a protection or enhancement of attention. If these folks and high stress groups are doing these contemplative practices at your seeing a benefit to their attention, attention or resources attention all capacity. What is the mechanism? What is it about meditation? That is helping them great question, and fundamentally, is it basic attention? Researchers have any interest in the brain mechanisms of attention. That's what we ve been trying to figure out right, so I gave you the sort of theoretical understanding of this if what's happening during a focused attention. Practice, for example, is your cultivating a better ability to keep that flashlight focused. We
should be able to see sensitivity and tasks that require task focus laser like focus select these stimuli, not these other ones. If what we're doing during a mindfulness practice focused attention practices noticing our mind wandering when we have people do tasks that actual promote mind wandering and we give them opportunities report and half in their mind, wandering they he'll be mind wandering less and that's what we find and if it's the case that what you're doing during a foot, detention, practice or even an open monitoring practice and, frankly, even during a loving kindness practice.
Is holding the goal in mind at whatever granular level, so that your implementing moment by moment you should see improvements in things like working memory. Worse all about that goal or the intention of holding the information active, and we see that as well. So all these hypotheses that we have regarding what we think practice is doing to these subsystems of attention. We have tasks that happen to those and those are the ones that are showing than official effects. So, broadly speaking, that's what it is now. We can also look at the brain directly right. Having people come in, come inside MRI Scanner, look at the brain while their practising a mindless exercise and serve do a proposed across a multi. We training to see what kind of brain changes functional changes there are. This story seems to be consistent. We see a dialing down of a brain network which I know you talked about. The default mode network faster with some of its response. abilities are what we might call mind wandering that's dialed down
For all, and then the fluidity and what we call dynamic, functional connectivity between networks that have to do with focus, and holding a goal in mind is much better. So the brain itself, as well as performers as well as self report, suggest that these specific improvements in finding the flashlight in holding it being broader, receptive understanding when the mine wonders and redirecting it back we're seeing positive evidence in support of those mechanisms just procedure. You brought up the term flashlight agenda. I think now is just a frigate time to point out that you recorded of meditation for the ten percent happier app called find your flash ass right, so people can actually check out how to do it and how we describe it. Ll ask if you other questions about attention. What about multitasking versus the newer mano tasking here, which I
lot belong to us getting yeah. So this is the other thing entering into this landscape of you, no service members, sports people, business leaders like this very go, get em kind of culture, yeah. I was learning a lot about the norms and multitasking you'd, see over and over again sort of like a badge of honor. Like I multitask over time. I think many of us many people I know, would say that they do this and the first thing to is no you're not doing that. If you, if you think your multitasking, because you're doing multiple attentively demanding task simultaneously you're wrong, you aren't noticed Sweden say flashlights of attention. We said flashlight, singular focus is singular. So what you're actually doing when you think you're multitasking is task. Switching so you're toddling, back and forth between these two high demand tasks. Now, if the task is not hide a man like you know how to walk in your walking, no problem is only an
High demand situations that you're gonna toggle back and forth, and this becomes with the way that I like to describe it, because a lot of people are like. Ok, fine, I'm I'm tasks which in, but even that's not what's the big deal sway test which well think about what's happening at the level of the brain and as we as we were talking about a little while ago, attention its job is to bias information, processing in favour, The privileged information, so whatever. It is the task that you're doing the goal that you have the focus that your on it recalibrate the entirety of the way the brain rates, I like to use this kind of visual for people it lets. Think of the brain is like a studio apartment. So now got this agenda. I'm gonna make I'm gonna, do some meal prep, I'm gonna make a bunch of meals and when he's my whole apartment, essentially my tiny apartment is like the kitchen and I'm gonna have like my. Vegetables. Your ended up to all my mail preppy scatter the stuff around, and then you like is bedtime
I got to get ready, put everything away, make it into an extra bedroom, so I can fall asleep right thinking those like to tasks getting ready for bed versus actually making food in some sense. That's what you're doing when your task switching you recalibrate the entirety of the brain, the studio apartment for one task. Then he had arrived, he's the furniture clean up, put everything away and now you're going to get ready for bed is exhausting to go back and forth, and that's essentially that recalibration process that toddling we'll do the work that is required to get you able to reconfigure the brain freeze task and it will deplete this broader resource of attention in the process. so you're not multitasking your task. Switching between two tasks in a much better way to approach the whole thing is as best as you can try to not put yourself in a task. Switching context. If you can
and you're a lotta leaders would that I talked about this, will save black hair like I can be responsive. Somebody calls me or I am asked to do something in the middle of something else. I gotta be responsive and I completely understand you know that in some sense, that is a very real aspect of what leading any enterprise winter weather is. Even your own family could mean, like you, gotta, be responsive, then I would say aware of the costs of tasks which and you're gonna be slow. When you switch tasks, it's gonna. Take you some time so here in the middle of writing a report and some company room starts telling you stuff, maybe let them know it'll. Take me a second too weren't you and really hear your words and understand them. Give me that time. So, no that there's gonna be a tie. costs, and also you much more likely to make errors when you have to do all this switching back and forth. So the landscape of what you're allowing yourself to do. You can be more error, prone,
slow down even exhaust yourself, so everybody should be aware that that's the case and make their best plans to try to help themselves under the circumstances. What are you personally due to help yourself to protect yourself against the siren calls multitasking near I mean I try. I mean in the same way like if I may no, my have to pick up my kid at school. I'm not gonna turn off my phone, but I've turn off all the notifications and all my social media. That's been helpful. So at least now what of my put on court downtime, I'm not doing a bunch of tasks like checking every day, every comment and then, when I'm working I will really I mean it's like you're. In some sense, it is tied to a practice oriented in the same way that I want to focus on the breath and when my wonders return it. The paper on working on is my focus and enter its like a dance where you're like look. This is the focus, but, no there's a paper out there that I need to go online and search for it to get the current reference does MA. Am
to do that. But I'm gonna be aware. I have a goal right now. Just to get this paper come back, don't start shopping. For you know a new per sunglasses in the middle of that. So just try to keep that protected container as best as you and, and Rome within that is unique to. In some sense, people talk about self care. This is self care site, your caring for yourself azure working in the most fundamental way, and it should be a badge of honor to do something else, like multitask and forced herself to be slow and makers and be exhausted. All the time didn't help anyone.
May I ask you about something I do you read about in the book, which is confirmation, bias? What is confirmation of biased and what have you found in this realm? So confirmation biases, essentially this tendency of mine, a kind of built in brain by us, her default tendency, if you will that whatever you hold to be the case, whatever you hold to be true or the story, you got regarding a particular situation. For example, you're going to highlight two yourself, the aspects consistent with that story, and that tends to happen very often- and it can be quite consequential when its tied to what you think is a current, a complex situation
like, for example, a potential, a scenario of military combat, which is one of the examples I provide in the book. Well, I know your reference, this name earlier general, while pilot how he was in a situation where he was figured about bombing and encampment in Afghanistan that they believed was probably Taliban. It turned out it wasn't an HE his team were able to get over the confirmation, biased they saved, or they didn't kill a lot of people, that's right that's what I mean by its can have very real life or death consequences when its noted and actually not followed him, that the problem with all kinds of biases is that their default tendencies they're not reality, though, not actually even picking up on reality. So what this brought up for
and this was a story that he had conveyed quite a while ago- that related to a lot of what we were trying to do with her mindfulness training programme is actually give soldiers as well as many other kind of, responders, this understanding that there are gonna, be these default tendencies of your mind, and but what do you actually want to feel to be successful with your performance with your job? every one of them would say I want to know is actually happening. Of course, I dont want to be in my deluded view or whatever somebody else's determined is the case. I want to know the reality, and so that kind of brings up a lot of really interesting discussion of how do you make a mind that is more capable of getting the raw data and experience so that the story is not clouding your ability to see what is that's, where it goes back to something we talked about a while ago. This notion- of matter awareness and some new challenges to meadow awareness are that were now
implementing it, because we are too fused with the story we ve got so that, just like you know, that's what happens when we have a story- and this happened with the scenario you just described, all the until that they were getting, was being fed into the story that they already had, that the people that they were approaching were combatants their people, that they should be fighting the Taliban in that case, so they kept interpreting all the data in that way and what actually save them was one soldier who had the scout mindset whose actually observing what is- and he said then he got to the kind of front too worried actually make visual contacts and there are many weapons. There are no weapons here, which is a very odd thing. So was he? What he was doing is picking up the data. That was a mismatch between the stored that they had and then the reality that he said Susan, the brake himself out of the story, which gave him more raw data. They realized. Oh, my gosh misunderstood bedouin tribe and in fact that's what general pie described later
like having this very angry woman, come out when they tackle that the people in front of the is buildings. Kind of what're you doing to my family members. Here we should try to make our way through these past years, so it was consequential that they broke out of their story. The danger was that if they didn't have somebody that saw the raw data, what is occurring they might not have, and so the way in which you might introduce practices that promote seeing what is or dropping the story are very much those that are tied to open monitoring or the technical term. We might use disinterring, which is essentially practicing defusing yourself from the story that you have taken a bird s eye view if you will so an open marketing practices. We often talk about her
either being a mountain or the observer of experience to let a century content, mental content come and go, but if we're so in this story, it's like before looking at a movie for watching a movie and we are in the movie incentives noticing. Oh it's a screen, and I'm watching. This is one of many things that could be on the screen. We won't know the limitations of of that fused reality, and so disinterring can actually really really help break out of that fog or bias. Much more of a conversation with Doktor Army should job right after this something, I think, we're
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These are your words simulating bode verses. Mindful bode what you have in mind there when you, when you're talking here and I'm curious, to hear your thoughts you so what we just talked about with the confirmation bias is in some sense connected to what we might call simulation mode. So it ends up. You were talking about the default mode network, the default is this a network of brain regions in the mid line of our of our brain, that happens to be more active when we are going internal hunger, reflecting on self related thought when were actually reflecting on memories that have occurred. Planning thinking about the past says it's a very complex set of things. It's happening,
that kind of yokes it altogether is that we are not only time travelling. We are, in some cases, mind travelling, and all of this means it's not tied to the data. That's occurring moment to moment it is a simulated reality. The brain is playing out stuff from things that are internally held to plan for the future or reflect on the past or perspective. Taken put myself in you note in your shoes of like what is damn thinking right now so time travelling in mind. Travelling are really simulations of the mind and the more I started. Learning about this brain network is to follow network, as in many is often times at the mindful of literature. It's almost like it's the evil network, we're trapped, bash down rights, and yet it turned down the volume on that terrible default mode, cause your mind, wandering what my wondering is. Not a problem spontaneous thought is not a problem. Simulating is not a problem unless it's interfering with what you're trying to do and in the case of what we were just talking about, essentially all the data that that these soldiers Ruby
sat on the mountain top was feeding into a simulation, and so it was Color in their view of the reality that was in front of them? That's when it can become problematic. We lie on our simulation capabilities. It's what makes us uniquely human, so there's nothing intrinsically problematic about it. But when I started to realize is like my goodness, like everything that we talk about with regard to simulations their immersive nature, there transformative nature there enticing nature, and often their self related nature is what we are attempting to cultivate against in some ways with mindfulness practices, and that's why I was curious about your own thoughts regarding this kind of internal orchestra or movie that can play and
how it relates to which you have experienced in your journey with mindfulness as well. Well, I love what you just said that we make mind wandering or simulation the enemy in meditation. It's not about squashing. All of that, because that's just a possible, especially for beginners, you know, maybe people or really good at concentration practices can squash for periods of time. Really. The goal is not too and mind, wandering it's to create a different relationship to it, and that, I think is, is so important for people understand especially beginning meditated sure tempted to tell themselves a story after they see how distracted while they are, that they are uniquely unable edited that's the worst. When I hear that it take my mind, is so busy with the first of all, I know you're human nature of your mind. It was built for that country, distract ability, but just a kind of flesh out terminology feed
mine kicking out with me a bit now, essentially, what we're talking about what I just described simulation mode is this spontaneous thought that arises in the mind and yes, that is, that is absolutely a default of the brain. It happens. Constant Anders kinds of reasons. We think it might be happening, some that are actually tide, to normal healthy functions and memory generation processes is needed. We need that simulation to be happening as we can't take our experiences and turn them into memories. If we dont kind of replay what has occurred over and over again so oftentimes you'll notice in practice surges in your life that like, if you just let's say you know this happened with the other day when I was looking for a rug or something I ve long after rug after Rugen. Unlike try go to bed at night. Almost sixteen is rugs
in my head and like what the heck is gonna. But then I have a little heart fulness like well. Of course you just spent the last, whatever thirty minutes browsing through rugs. That's the mental content that your brain is still sort of sifting through and the real play function is what allows certain drugs to be remembered and may in fact, my choices of which one I'll choose to buy very normal thing that the brain does we forget about purchasing rugs, but any experience you have it'll it'll help. So what we call mine wondering is, in some sense, just spontaneous. Thought that is very natural. That occurs. The term mine wonder mind wandering is actually the technical descriptions having off task thoughts during an ongoing task, so is already qualify, as in the context of something else is going on and its pulling you away. So it's not just that things are happening. In your mind, when you're trying to get stuff on is that it is literally
hijacking attention away. That is when it becomes problematic and it and it really does become problematic. The simulation itself is not necessarily a problem, and in fact this I think, is very important and actually, I think my mind, fullest practices help me with This is well simulating on purpose, letting your mind go were ever the heck, it will is so valuable. I mean not just kind of reflecting on it for my own practice experience, but we know that positive mood is lifted. We know that vision is helped problem solving, in some sense deliberating action planning. All these things are helped by allowing your mind to freely flow wherever it will, and I think one of our key part of the reason we're having a crisis and attention re now, actually is because we are not allowing those moments to occur. You know we can't be standing in line at standing in line with letting your mind wander. We got a phone in her hands or just sitting on the couch and kind of one
staring out an audio window. We don't do that, and so these micro moments that we used to have naturally have built into our daily life. The white space, if you will, is gone its being consumed by our attention now needing to work, it's actually focused on a task, and that task is the content being made available to them technology right so instead of standing online at the grocery store waiting for an elevator or just taken a walk with no device, we're scrolling or dooms girly are you know just catch up on email, optimizing every single moment, but dad has a tax on the mind, is what your,
de, I would even say we're not optimizing. Where expending all of our capacity. By doing this, and it's a cultural, it's like there's many reasons to drive us doing this, but is not a knock you us and it actually is playing into why I think we feel overwhelmed. So often we don't allow this precious brain system to rest and rest in some sense means there's no control processing. It is really do think about it. Like my little puppy dog like taken him to avert a walk in the one, a leash is one thing: that's what we do most days, but somebody's just taking the dog part. Let him run around, but we don't do that for our minds. We just let it off leash and we dont think that has any value. So that's a wasted time, but it's not. It's actually
really generative and beneficial. So, just changing that cultural understanding, I think, is very important, and this is different for meditation. While the reason I'm saying is tied to meditation is because what my meditation practice allowed me to do is check in with my attention more often and get the insight that wow, I'm always using it. You know I'm always task focused, even if I'm having challenges with it and it when wander away and come back and what, if I just didn't, have a goal like what would that even feel like to just not have a goal early on when I would play around with that? What would happened is ruminative, loops would come up where we would come up. Catastrophizing would come up and I would be stuck
what I consider to be the free flow of my conscience. Experience wasn't now was getting stuck in certain mental landscapes that were driving my mood down and what my meditation practice allow me to do is when I I would check in with being stock. When I thought I was just letting them, I wonder, and I could come unhook myself so that I could say up. You know, look at that that that thoughts come up a lot or unjust, stuck in this space, how bout just letting go a little bit! like it almost. Let me reset, as I was mind, wandering because I had the tools of of being able to. have an open monitoring orientation and then I could actually get back to having the mind flow, where it will, without feeling so bound by certain neighbourhoods, of the mind where I was spending a lot of time and drive myself kind of crazy.
But just so I'm clear here there are periods of time where you're dedicated to the task of meditation. But then there are periods of your life where you're saying I'm not going to dedicate myself to a task at all. I'm going to take a walk or went to line x Germany rely on the grass or whatever it is, and let my mind wander and what your meditation practice did was allow you did not get so stuck in mood depressing cul de sac or even problem solving in a way that wasn't necessary in the moment like right now do I need to figure out exactly how many get from L a to where I need to get like. Is that really think? I need to do now just like certain things just pop up, and you can ask yourself necessary right now, not in that sense of control Not even I wouldn't call controls that was in controlling anything, but it's like I could look at it without feeling compelled. I could make choices more freely, because I could look at things very directly, as I was aware of what was a rising,
even as I was letting it flow, and sometimes yes. This was the right time to make my evening travel plans and other times it was like. No just don't worry about that right. Now, let's go wherever it's gonna go, you know just sort of like let it be, and in so funny because I actually I was writing that to you about simulation mode and- and we got into this conversation just now about sort of letting spontaneous thought happen. But action has been bringing up for me, the notion of enlightened, and I'll tell you. It is not something I in practice. In meditation for quite some time now, but enlightenment is, ever been sort of a goal for me and at all, in fact, that sort of whole framing
just not been on my mind, but what I love about kind of what I was noticing and my own attempts at in a play around with a site allowing for this kind of mental white space is feeling that freedom to choose, where my mind went next and I often hear of people talking about liberation as serve this state of, would potentially enlightenment is etc. And so I was curious about your thoughts of what you think that might mean, if you think it s value and how might relate to this moment to moment freedom. We can potentially experience as a verifiable e unenlightened person. I can't speak from a position of expertise here, but you know the funding
about enlightenment is as soon as you start talking about Enlightenment year in an argument because they're all the different traditions disagree about what enlightenment actually is, the classical Buddhists old school buddhist understanding of one light men is: is the uprooting of greed, hatred and delusion the uprooting of all afflicted emotions? How does that classical definition track with what you are doing? Even if you look at the nature of what minds tend to do a nom getting into a totally different terrain. But if you're willing to go here, it's kind of a fun conversation to have emanated back to the lab for a moment. So one of the things that we ve been doing the lab is very
trusted in this notion of mind, wandering and one of my post docs, as has been innovating, this line of work Tony's Anne S, go he's innovating, this line of work that has you with brain micro states. So now were not just looking at people's responses of whether their mind wandering or not, but we're looking at bring dynamics at the level of let's say twenty distinct states that you can see through the voltage topography of the brain within one second. So you ve got like profiles of the brain that look, distinct and, let's just say, twenty different ways within a second and then you see these patterns repeat over and over again, and we can look to see how those rights state show up when people are on task or off task, and you can actually look at the fluctuations between those states and what we know about them is whatever this prior state was is likely to lead to what the next stages so there's a temporal contingency in brain dynamics.
and in a sort of that sort of nature, of this interconnected contingent reality that we're talking about, and so now a really connecting the dots. But if you think about what afflicted states are they have that call plenty of lingering and sticking us and in some sense it relates to what I'm saying about. letting your mind wandering in a liberated sense, because your actively aware of that sticky quality and you can do something to unstick yourself moment by moment. So my decision to not stay in a hell of my own making, whether its depression or orange, city or fantasy. I can actually unhook myself and the
the prediction would be an we haven't tested this idea, but it's something that you know. Tony s really talked about. If that's really the case, this contingent nature of brain states may actually categorically shift as a function of practice so that we are seeing that people are less, can giant potentially when they don't need to be contingent and maybe even more contingent when they choose to be in a particular stage. So that it relates to me. I really did take us on quite a journey there, but that's how I connect the dots on what I was seeing is like the freedom aspect of the mind and how it relates to some of these views on what enlightenment is. They have in their various freedom for sure and noticing that you're stuck you're caught
and changing the channel and that changing of the channel doesn't mean you're, pushing it away per se, but you're you're, seeing of caught up in a useless group of rumination. I don't need to be her anymore. I can take my flashlight shine it elsewhere. You can, but I dont think that's what it's happening in that in the context of a meat. If I had to guess I don't think it's a changing the channel situation for really adept practitioners. I think it's a dissolution of the state like really allowing it to percolate away without having to actively do anything about it. You don't that the change in the channel is rapidly. What I'm more I'm doing right now, because I'm saying I don't do that, I can do something else. I am flipping flashlight around very productive but different categorically. Then, whatever brain processes are probably allowing for dissolving of whatever that that was that Geller state was well. I wonder why
There is possible were saying the same thing and I honestly don't know, but I have heard Joseph Goldstein, my meditation teacher talk about changing the channel and- and I dont know exactly what he means by that, but I think its part while he may mean letting anger, depression, climbing arise and pass on its own. Instead of our rent, king. It could be both at me. He might mean with by changing the channel yeah. Look, I've just see that I'm on the eighteenth time of running through all the horrible ramifications of amiss flight and yeah, I'm gonna focus on something else, and that's our wrenching of near flashlight,
on direction. The other way in which the talent could be changed just the mind that doesn't clang as much allows these things to come and go down and I've been playing around. That's just my own practice. Whenever I do a body scanners and practice, we talked about doing this conversation that, even with a body scan right where you are essentially, I think, of the body scan in the way that I guide. That practice is like you're, taking a flashlight and now you're kind of scanning, the body in a systematic manner versus the big toe than it may be, the top part of the foot etc. Right. So when you going from one body part to the next, one is preceding verses. What is prior,
they like that, like what we should be thinking about the next body, part and that's what's gonna, be the focus of my attention is really like a flashlight or is it that I'm letting the thing fade away and now I'm moving forward. So I mean, I think, is just in time. I happened to. I happened to really like this topic of attention and how it works and end with learning about mindfulness. I've really started exploring through the phenomenology, and surprisingly, it often does relate to the questions that we can ask in the lab, but these are. These are really, I think, part of the spectrum of of what comes up when you think about advanced practitioners and what they're doing to- and I certainly would say I'm nowhere near that terrain, but at least we can start using vocabulary that may make sense to think about what phenomenal logical is going on. This is where Doktor Jaws research goes from the workers a world depend. I love it before. I let you go
can you just plug your book and any other resources that you ve put out into the world that people my want to access if they want to learn more yeah? Absolutely so my book peak mind, I really have road, it is sir a gift to take everything. We learn in a lab with others high stress demand populations and just make it available for everybody to benefit from what we ve learned its out October nineteenth, and you can check out our research and more about the book at my website
a me she dot com. For my first name am I essay tried that come and you want to check out a cool meditation practice tied to the book. Ten percent happier up we'll have it on it and we should thank you very much appreciated. Thank you. A lot of fun thanks to a machine. As an issue mentioned in the episode you recorded a meditation in the ten percent happier apt help. You practice paying attention to your attention, check it out by downloading the ten percent. Have Europe, wherever you get your apps tapping on the singles tab and searching for her meditation, called find your flashlight or you can just click on the link in the show description to play, the meditation the show is made by Samuel Johns Gabrielle Sacrament, Dj Cashmere Justine Davy came like a mom Maria were tell and Jan plant, with audio engineering from our friends over it ultraviolet audio. On Wednesday, four, a brand new episode with a meditation teacher by the name of take Johnson
Transcript generated on 2021-10-18.