Tuesday, May 5, 2020

This bounced many times this morning.  I don't know why.  Bill

I am enjoying “The Cure Within”.  It is well put together.  I am into her 6th framework for the history of efforts to use the mind to help the body heal.  See this post about her list of themes.  
Today’s is about tapping into traditions, practices and ideas from Eastern nations: South-East Asian countries like Vietnam and Myanmar, India, Tibet, China and Japan.  Despite this book and others, I don’t know much about the importing of Eastern, Hindu, and Buddhist ideas into the US. Not surprisingly, there have been several different sources and inspired teachers over the years, from the time of Thoreau and Emerson on.

My first personal experience began with reading and hearing about meditation.  Lynn had a book by Christmas Humphreys that explained that in Christian tradition, something like what I called “meditation” was more often referred to as “concentration”.  That tip kept me open to alternative language, practices and approaches.  I learned of the book “Superlearning” and about the same time, I saw that my university's physical educators taught classes in relaxation.  I could understand that tension from any source or type of thinking might affect physical performance, as in a sport or dance.  A book that doesn’t get mentioned much is Jacob Needleman’s “Lost Christianty”.  Somebody in the philosophy department told me to look at it to see that, as others have said, all religions urge times of quiet and internal stillness, times when one comes face to face with oneself.

The book “The Inner Game of Tennis” gave memorable examples of thinking and feeling getting in the way of performance of either physical or mental kinds.  “The Cure Within” does a good job explaining the situation of Prof. Herbert Benson from his initial reluctance to gather data on meditators to his conviction that any person of any background could benefit from sitting still and keeping his attention fixed for ten or fifteen minutes.

Practicing meditation can lead to dropping into that state often throughout the day.  It leads to better familiarity with one’s mind, habitual associations and mental biases and ruts. Some of them can give a person a laugh.

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