This is the elevator pitch for meditation and enlightenment – a description of the process and a brief overview of the scientific research supporting it. This serves as the basis for my book as well as the service I provide if you want to work with me one-on-one in person, over web video, or via e-mail back and forth.
We have become lost in our minds, to the degree where we cannot turn off our thoughts even if we want to. When we stop and watch what is going on inside during meditation, we become aware of the self-referential narrative of “me”, also known as the ego or self. Meditation is the process of refusing to engage this story, refusing to provide energy to the hamster wheel of our mind. It is a choiceless awareness, the “rigorous refusal to harbor thoughts”, as Nisargadatta put it. Over time, by simply disengaging this machine, we can reduce and even eliminate the self – which is the basis for the sense of separation and lack that causes us so much collective misery and confusion.
This is a very straightforward process and it is supported by fairly basic neuroscience. The regions of the brain which correspond to the sense of self are referred to as the default mode network, or DMN for short. Multiple studies demonstrate the efficacy of meditation in reducing and eliminating activity in this network. There are also studies demonstrating how psychedelics also produce similar effects, as well as how children tend not to suffer from this overactive sense of “me”.
Our sense of separation and our sense of “me-ness” – with all of its concomitant anxiety and depression – have no basis in reality, either experientially or scientifically. “Me” is literally built and reinforced over time by continual thought patterns, neurons firing repeatedly until a particular memory or thought pattern is hard-wired into our brain. When we go along for the ride of our self-narrative and engage with thoughts, we strengthen the default mode network.
But just as we build our sense of self over time, we can unbuild it by reversing the process. We learn to simply watch the mind in action and not do anything about it. Gradually these neural networks are dissolved, and with them our sense of self and separation from the world. With the dissolution of the ego or self comes a return to our natural oneness and connection to the world around us. Anxiety, depression, and stress in almost any form goes away with it. Who would be there to be stressed?
There is only one, but for a variety of reasons we have insisted on two, or duality. This served many purposes over the history of humanity, but it is no longer a viable model. If we do not return to our natural oneness, also known as enlightenment, then our species will most likely destroy itself. The sense of separation or lack brought to its extreme is a recipe for disaster, as we can readily observe in the world around us.
So, begin this process for yourself today. A much more in-depth presentation of meditation and its implications is available in my book on Amazon. Also, I am happy to address any questions or difficulties you might be having one-on-one.