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Sankhara

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran

Sankhara ( that which has been put together') is an interesting term/word...

It's been referred to as "Habitual Behaviour" "Habitual Tendencies" "Impulse" "Instinct" "Mental Formation" "'Conditioned Things"
"Determinations" "Fabrications'" "Formations" "Volitional Formations"...

I often think of neuroscience and 'neuropathways' when sankhara come to mind and as Dr. Rick Hanson likes to say....
Passing mental states become lasting neuro traits

Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways ?

What are your thought (patterns) ?

SnakeskinUkjunglist

Comments

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 6

    I think practice is more than a process of developing more wholesome "habits", which is basically what Right Effort entails. There is also the important activity of developing insight into what fabrications are, and how they shape our experience of the world and our behaviour. Also seeing that fabrications are transient, conditional and empty, not to be taken too seriously...although they can send us bananas!

    "Now suppose that a man desiring heartwood, in quest of heartwood, seeking heartwood, were to go into a forest carrying a sharp ax. There he would see a large banana tree: straight, young, of enormous height. He would cut it at the root and, having cut it at the root, would chop off the top. Having chopped off the top, he would peel away the outer skin. Peeling away the outer skin, he wouldn't even find sapwood, to say nothing of heartwood. Then a man with good eyesight would see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a banana tree? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any fabrications that are past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing them, observing them, & appropriately examining them — they would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in fabrications?"
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.095.than.html

    SnakeskinShoshinCarlita
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    As an example, I've recently been struggling with anxiety patterns. I found i cause my own anxiety - it's like I search for what worries me, start fantasising over it, and eventually go from merely becoming healthily concerned to becoming anxious and fretful. It's something I've just recently learned to recognise, and categorise as something unhealthy.

    The habit of mindfulness, of becoming aware of one's mind and the patterns in it, I think is a very good one. Mindfulness leads to insight which leads to concentration, as Thich Nhat Hanh would say. It's definitely part of the path.

    But I think meditation is more about recognising unhealthy pathways and letting them go, than about creating new and improved neuro pathways. By recognising and discarding what is unhealthy we build a new structure out of what is left over, the good stuff.

    SnakeskinShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways ?

    Some forms of meditative practice are. For example Metta Bhavna, led meditations, yoga nidra, elemental meditation, deity yoga, chanting for Jesus Amitabha etc.
    I would suggest this carving of a skilful and positive mindframe develops confidence in the teachings and is essential for many performance orientated moderns.

    What are your thought (patterns) ?

    :)

    There are better, more powerful ways. Reframing in cognitive behavour therapy, hypnosis and journaling (observe and study of patterns).

    I would also suggest that dealing with or reinforcing the positive gives a sane, sensible and realistic base to accept some of the more difficult fabrications/pathways we will encounter in our practice ...

    SnakeskinShoshin
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:> But I think meditation is more about recognising unhealthy pathways and letting them go, than about creating new and improved neuro pathways. By recognising and discarding what is unhealthy we build a new structure out of what is left over, the good stuff.

    That is basically the practice of Right Effort.

    SnakeskinShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What happens brain-wise when one practices "Metta Meditation" ......

    There is (from what I gather-well according to neuroscience) a re-wiring of sorts, a gradual change in one perception, where one starts to 'view' ( one could say developing "Right View") situations in a different light.... Out with the old and in with the new

    "Neurons that fire together (begin to) wire together"
    New neuropathways are formed and old ones gradually become obsolete... (If a path's not used, it starts to become overgrown-I guess one could say it reverts back to its natural state) ....

    lobsterDavid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Great video @Shoshin
    <3
    MBSR is a way to reprogram ...
    https://palousemindfulness.com

    Shoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Here is everyday mindfulness
    The six r’s ...

    1. Recognize
    2. Release
    3. Relax
    4. Re-Smile
    5. Return
    6. Repeat

    https://www.dhammasukha.org/the-6rs.html

    TravellerShoshinCarlita
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    What happens brain-wise when one practices "Metta Meditation" ......

    I think that would an example of developing Right Intention.

    Traveller
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 9

    Good stuff, though I find the "release" stage here quite difficult in practice - it's also known as "bare attention".
    "Release: When a feeling or thought arises, you release it, let it be there without giving anymore attention to it. The content of the distraction is not important at all, but the mechanics of “how” it arose are important! Just let go of any tightness around it; let it be there without placing attention on it. Without attention, the tightness passes away."

    Traveller
  • techietechie India Veteran

    This is why concepts like metta are silly and illogical, if we examine them within the context of samkhara or DO.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 10

    I keep seeing attaching to thoughts the same as reaching for a smoke during a nic fit and it seems to be working.

    Identifying with thoughts is an addiction I think.

    @techie said:
    This is why concepts like metta are silly and illogical, if we examine them within the context of samkhara or DO.

    How so?

  • Identifying with thoughts is like a fish having no idea it’s in water.

    Shoshin
  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited October 11

    @David said:
    I keep seeing attaching to thoughts the same as reaching for a smoke during a nic fit and it seems to be working.

    Identifying with thoughts is an addiction I think.

    @techie said:
    This is why concepts like metta are silly and illogical, if we examine them within the context of samkhara or DO.

    How so?

    Logical corollary of DO/samkhara, isn't it? Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors. Nothing exists independently. Neither does metta, for that matter.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Identifying with thoughts is an addiction I think.

    True @David ..however as you know, through the practice of Sati (awareness) one can (through skillful means) select which thought pattern to flow with and which to discard ...

    Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors.

    And developing one's awareness @techie will help guide one's thoughts towards thinking patterns that are beneficial ...

    Bearing in mind... (and to quote a well worn quote :) )

    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual until thinking splits experience into subject and object. It is empty and so can contain everything, including 'thought'. It is boundless. And amazingly it is intrinsically KNOWING !"

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 11

    @Shoshin said:
    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual until thinking splits experience into subject and object. It is empty and so can contain everything, including 'thought'. It is boundless. And amazingly it is intrinsically KNOWING!"

    That be Jon Kabat-Zinn ... must be secular enlightenment ... ;)

    Here he is being mindful ...

    Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways?

    Initially yes. Ultimately no.

    If we practice yoga, we obtain fringe benefits: fitness, balance of mind and body, flexibilility of mind and body, vigour of ... that's right ... mind and body. Eventually like the well known uber-yogi Buddha, we may engage in Noble RajaYoga ...

    In a similar way meditation effects the body/emotions/well being. We are friends of meditation ... with benefits.
    The regulars will start to be with the stillness/spaciousness/bare awareness. That form of meditation does not improve or distract or have karmic comings or goings. It is empty; the absence of qualities of presence.

    When we rest in that non referential awareness. Eureka. B)
    https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/meaning-mindfulness

    ShoshinKerome
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 11

    @techie said:

    @David said:
    I keep seeing attaching to thoughts the same as reaching for a smoke during a nic fit and it seems to be working.

    Identifying with thoughts is an addiction I think.

    @techie said:
    This is why concepts like metta are silly and illogical, if we examine them within the context of samkhara or DO.

    How so?

    Logical corollary of DO/samkhara, isn't it? Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors. Nothing exists independently. Neither does metta, for that matter.

    Metta is not presented as a thing so that makes little sense.

    I can't tell if your statements are honest ones or if you're just here to troll.

    Perhaps you mistake Buddhism for nihilism and figure metta is a waste since nobody exists to send or receive?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 11

    @techie said:> Logical corollary of DO/samkhara, isn't it? Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors. Nothing exists independently. Neither does metta, for that matter.

    I guess it's fabrications all the way down. :p

    Though some fabrications are more wholesome than others.

    lobsterShoshin
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @lobster said:
    That be Jon Kabat-Zinn ... must be secular enlightenment ... ;)

    Pah! :p

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 11

    @David said:

    @techie said:

    @David said:
    I keep seeing attaching to thoughts the same as reaching for a smoke during a nic fit and it seems to be working.

    Identifying with thoughts is an addiction I think.

    @techie said:
    This is why concepts like metta are silly and illogical, if we examine them within the context of samkhara or DO.

    How so?

    Logical corollary of DO/samkhara, isn't it? Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors. Nothing exists independently. Neither does metta, for that matter.

    Metta is not presented as a thing so that makes little sense.

    I can't tell if your statements are honest ones or if you're just here to troll.

    Perhaps you mistake Buddhism for nihilism and figure metta is a waste since nobody exists to send or receive?

    @techie is correct. Metta is a fabrication, and therefore dependently arising and empty. And yet your response is to question @techie's honesty, and suggest he/she is just here to troll. These lame ad hom attacks seem to have become a habit with you, it's like you can't stand anyone who challenges your preconceptions, so your instinct is to attack the poster.

    David
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 11

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @David said:

    @techie said:

    @David said:
    I keep seeing attaching to thoughts the same as reaching for a smoke during a nic fit and it seems to be working.

    Identifying with thoughts is an addiction I think.

    @techie said:
    This is why concepts like metta are silly and illogical, if we examine them within the context of samkhara or DO.

    How so?

    Logical corollary of DO/samkhara, isn't it? Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors. Nothing exists independently. Neither does metta, for that matter.

    Metta is not presented as a thing so that makes little sense.

    I can't tell if your statements are honest ones or if you're just here to troll.

    Perhaps you mistake Buddhism for nihilism and figure metta is a waste since nobody exists to send or receive?

    @techie is correct. Metta is a fabrication, and therefore dependently arising and empty. And yet your response is to question @techie's honesty, and suggest he/she is just here to troll. Weird.

    So you agree with @techie that concepts like metta are silly and illogical and question why I think that's either a rather trollish statement to make on a Buddhist forum or that @techie is confusing Buddhism with nihilism.

    Weird.

    Some trolls are more learned than others but a troll is a troll.

    If you keep following me around making defamatory statements I may start to think you have a crush on me.

    On my part, it was a completely honest and legitimate question.

    Calling metta silly and illogical on a Buddhist forum? That's not trolling at all!

    Come on, lmao.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh look everyone, @SpinyNorman and @David are playing nicely again.

    Moderator note:

    Honestly you two, why not just avoid each other?
    It would make life infinitely easier and more pleasant all round, really, for all concerned.

    As @David rightly points out, this is a Buddhist forum, so you'd think the two of you would have a head start on Right Speech.

    An' all that stuff.

    This carries on, I'll just delete posts, really I will.
    You're as bad as each other, honestly.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 11

    Ok then let's try this again giving the benefit of the doubt.

    @techie said:
    Logical corollary of DO/samkhara, isn't it?

    Absolutely not.

    Everything we know or feel is put together by various factors. Nothing exists independently. Neither does metta, for that matter.

    Existing independently is not a requirement for existing.

    If I get your statement right (and feel free to correct me) you are saying that because we don't actually exist as separate, independent individuals that compassion and metta (metta being unbiased compassion) are illogical and even silly.

    If I am correct and this is what you are saying then I do indeed suggest you are misunderstanding emptiness for nihilism.

    If compassion and metta are not logical in light of the dharma then in my opinion the understanding is flawed.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited October 12

    Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways ?

    Yes! Another study, one of many, just came out the other day validating that idea...again! =) What was interesting was they found that different types of meditation also have different effects on different areas of the brain. For example, breath following has a different effect than metta.

    https://www.livescience.com/60609-different-meditation-reshape-brain-different-ways.html

    TravellerShoshinlobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways ?

    Yes! Another study, one of many, just came out the other day validating that idea...again! =) What was interesting was they found that different types of meditation also have different effects on different areas of the brain. For example, breath following has a different effect than metta.

    https://www.livescience.com/60609-different-meditation-reshape-brain-different-ways.html

    This is why I think it's good to have a few different methods to our practice.

    TravellerShoshin
  • @Shoshin said:
    Sankhara ( that which has been put together') is an interesting term/word...

    It's been referred to as "Habitual Behaviour" "Habitual Tendencies" "Impulse" "Instinct" "Mental Formation" "'Conditioned Things"
    "Determinations" "Fabrications'" "Formations" "Volitional Formations"...

    I often think of neuroscience and 'neuropathways' when sankhara come to mind and as Dr. Rick Hanson likes to say....
    Passing mental states become lasting neuro traits

    Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways ?

    What are your thought (patterns) ?

    neuroplasticity is a well documented phenomena, and meditation actually has been shown to literally rewire the brain, in a good way :)
    Also interestingly, studies have shown that hallucinogenic mushrooms (psilocybin active) not only are harmless to the brain, but also can cause neutron growth and neuroplasticity

    TravellerShoshin
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator

    @David said:
    I can't tell if your statements are honest ones or if you're just here to troll.

    In the future, I ask you to keep such pontification to yourself or share them with myself or a moderator instead. It's a short walk from "wondering aloud" to becoming a troll yourself.

    David
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 12

    @Linc said:

    @David said:
    I can't tell if your statements are honest ones or if you're just here to troll.

    In the future, I ask you to keep such pontification to yourself or share them with myself or a moderator instead. It's a short walk from "wondering aloud" to becoming a troll yourself.

    Sorry about that.

    That's actually the first time I have ever used that term and although I was being honest I can see how it is the wrong way to go about it.

    I didn't think it warranted going to you guys and I didn't mean it to sound so accusing hence my amended response.

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Ukjunglist said:

    Also interestingly, studies have shown that hallucinogenic mushrooms (psilocybin active) not only are harmless to the brain, but also can cause neutron growth and neuroplasticity

    Sources please. If you're going to make a statement like that, people tend to want the proof.

    Bunks
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Sankhara ( that which has been put together') is an interesting term/word...

    It's been referred to as "Habitual Behaviour" "Habitual Tendencies" "Impulse" "Instinct" "Mental Formation" "'Conditioned Things"
    "Determinations" "Fabrications'" "Formations" "Volitional Formations"...

    Is meditation the brain's engraving tool, carving out new and improved neuropathways ?

    What are your thought (patterns) ?

    yes,imo,to the first question.my thoughts to the second question,metta meditation may pulsate--softfeeling tones allong the neurological highway.metta, may possibly grow new pathways of creative wise compassion or the art of sharing and caring.so metta-connection is fruitful on the couch and off the couch,as per example the pay it foward concept and in practice.

    Shoshin
  • @dhammachick said:

    @Ukjunglist said:

    Also interestingly, studies have shown that hallucinogenic mushrooms (psilocybin active) not only are harmless to the brain, but also can cause neutron growth and neuroplasticity

    Sources please. If you're going to make a statement like that, people tend to want the proof.

    Ask and you shall receive

    http://reset.me/study/study-psilocybin-mushrooms-stimulate-growth-of-new-brain-cells/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23727882

    http://www.iflscience.com/brain/magic-mushroom-chemical-hyper-connects-brain/

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Thank you.

    The first two studies focus solely on fear reduction in depression and PTSD. I would leave those here with more knowledge and experience with depression and PTSD to weigh in if they want to.

    The last one which shows the authors are genuinely interested in trying to improve all neurological conditions piqued my interest. Yet they can only sustain these changes for 14 months. It's not quite worth the risk for the outcome. And I speak as someone suffering from Spinocerebellar Atrophy Type 8 (think Mutiple Sclerosis on hardcore steroids).

    I see from comments, particularly from the first study, there are people who will use this study SOLELY for the purpose of legalising the abuse of LSD, but that doesn't surprise me in the least.

    But thanks for posting the links.
    _ /\ _

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It’s amazing to think what makes up you and me
    (And thinking itself is amazing as can be )
    We’re electrically charged lumps of organic matter
    With neurons firing away creating mental chatter

    And with all this thinking going on but no thinker to be found
    It does make one ‘think’ if one’s mind is really sound

    Just self-generated action and reaction ongoing karmic flow
    (Some may ‘think’ “No this can’t be.. please tell me it’s not so” )
    But try as one may to find who or what produced the thought
    The deeper one delves into it the more one becomes distraught

    Another amazing thing, is the world that we perceive
    Just a faulty projection, a world of make believe
    Buddha Dharma so it’s said will fix up this projection
    With practice (thus have I heard) the mind will gradually change direction

    So instead of outward projection, the mind will begin to look within
    However too much over ‘thinking’ will just put it in a spin

    TravellerpaulysoKeromeJeffrey
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