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4773#4773 - Friday, November 30, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    Dec 1, 2012
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      #4773 - Friday, November 30, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

      Jeff Warren is dedicated to disseminating the teaching of nonduality itself and nondual perspectives through writings in mainstream publications and speaking at various gatherings and conferences.
      Here is his brief bio:
      JEFF WARREN is an award-winning writer and public speaker. His primary subject is the mind – the neurobiological mind, the meditative mind, the technological mind, the animal mind. He even has a philosophical position: “radically fun empiricist,” not unlike William James, except with more jokes and fewer smart parts. He is the author of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness (Random House 2007), an acclaimed travel guide through sleeping, dreaming and waking consciousness that critics called “exhilarating,” “audacious,” “hilarious,” and even “visionary,” (though perhaps that was a typo). His piece on the fashionable jungle psychedelic ayahuasca recently won Gold at the National Magazine Awards. Jeff is also the self-appointed President of The Consciousness Explorers Club, a weekly pan-contemplative meditation adventure group he hosts out of his home in Toronto. He wears a pith helmet during all meditation sits and advises his students to do the same. For more info, see www.jeffwarren.org.
      Here are selections from Jeff's just-published article in Psychology Tomorrow:

      Enlightenment: Is Science Ready to Take it Seriously?

      Jeff Warren | November 2012 - Issue 3 | 17 Comments
      I’m not given to making grand predictions, but in this case I can’t resist: the very real spiritual transformation at the heart of mysticism is about to explode into the secular mainstream, and the consequences may just revolutionize our scientific understanding of the mind.
      You’ll never read about spiritual enlightenment in a Malcolm Gladwell book, or the pages of The New York Review of Books. This is true even in most Western Buddhist books, where enlightenment may be mentioned as a general principle or orientation, but almost never as a tangible transformation that happens to real 21st-century human beings.
      The majority of old-guard U.S. Buddhist teachers erred on the side of caution; as a consequence most of their books are filled with sensible soft-dharma insights gently shaped to fit our general Western model of psychotherapy. There are exceptions, and those exceptions, I’d like to argue, are about to become the new rule.
      Mindfulness in large doses is called vipassana; it rewires the brain and extirpates the sense of a separate self. Come for the raisin, stay for the perspective-shuddering cosmic U-turn. What starts subtle can grow, and, as the brilliant Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young says, “subtle is significant.”

      In the multidisciplinary world of consciousness studies, the buzzword is nonduality, a translation of Advaita (literally “not two”), an ancient branch of Hindu philosophy. I’ve presented at two ‘Toward a Science of Consciousness’ meetings, a terrific annual assembly of the biggest names in neuroscience and philosophy of mind, among them Antonio Damasio, David Chalmers, Wolf Singer, Susan Greenfield, Stuart Hameroff and others. For the past few years nonduality has been a popular subject of discussion. There is even a dedicated ‘Science and Nonduality’ conference - now in its fourth year – that features some of the same speakers, many of them offering straight-to-the-bone “Direct Path” instruction in books and DVDs and weekend workshops.

      The Internet is the great culprit in all of this. Where once you had to climb a mountain in Tibet to get answers to spiritual questions, you can now find them on Wikipedia, or an easily-arranged Skype call. Enlightenment is the Internet subject par excellence – vague, contradictory, fiercely blogged about by ill-credentialed authorities. It’s no small irony that the very medium that is hopelessly fragmenting human attention is simultaneously offering up some of the necessary tools to heal us – that is, if you can separate the wheat from the chaff.


      People I’ve known for years tell me about their enlightenment experiences and I believe them. I believe them because my curiosity about what may be happening in the mind is greater than my allegiance to an outdated and uninformed scientific consensus. Western psychology is still outgrowing a reactive skepticism towards the subjective anecdote that it inherited from behaviorism. Fortunately, this is changing. 

      Read the entire article and the comments here: