The Neuroscience of Love [Audio]

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The Neuroscience of Love, by Rick Hanson:

Okay, so, what I want to do is kind of set up the next practice. We can talk a little bit about what’s happening in your brain while you’re doing that, especially the aspects of joy and bliss. Pretty cool. And we will do the practice itself. So, we’re kind of experimenting here. We’re trying on different methods, and we’re training in these various skills and states of mind and brain and also internalizing and receiving these different states of mind and brain so they sink in and stabilize inside.

So today, I’m going to skip forward kind of quickly. We’re going to have slides, you know, you can see for yourself, we have list here of ways to increase the sense of stimulation. I’m just going to __ this, we’re going to keep moving here. Also, there’s a way to help yourself be in your own practice, more and more satisfied with less. Or you start becoming increasingly disenchanted, you know, on the stream of consciousness, like, oh, cookies are nice, headaches don’t feel so good, oh well, you know, been here, seen this, done that.

You know, you can be more and more disenchanted. Not like, yuck, but waking up from the spell. All right? So, get satisfied with less. You’re more and more comfortable with a quieter and quieter mind, and this goes to ___ point, which is that as we deepen in concentration, is the mind gets steadier.

We start moving from a focus on elements of experience, content, we start moving from sound or someone coughing, my emotional reaction to them coughing, my self-criticism about getting angry at them for coughing, and my anxiety that self-criticism came from my mom and my dad criticizing me a lot. You know, and that’s interesting. Okay. See it is. See it fits. You know, you see the flow of consciousness there and your reactions to things that are unpleasant or pleasant, okay?

But over time, what gets really interesting is your focus and your insights starts moving more and more to experience altogether into the nature of experience. And that, in many ways was one of the Buddha’s pre-eminent insights and innovations, and the psycho-spiritual culture of his time. To drop people’s attention, to the actual nature of experience, not in any mystical sense, but phenomenologically. Experiences streaming along, made up of many parts, arising, appearing and then disappearing and passing away, based on causes underlying causal factors with no clear movie director writing the script, you know, placing the actors, here and there. You know, no self-inside, no entity inside, only the experience, the one, two, and it happened.

No, instead, it’s this kind of ownerless, transient, dependently arriving, you know, stream of mind and matter, perceiving along. Right? And so, more and more, that’s where your attention goes, as you ___ talks about here. You just start recognizing experience as experience. I mean, the words, the nature of the experience of happiness is exactly the same as the nature of the experience of suffering, and as you more and more recognize just the nature of experience, you get free-er, and free-er in your relationship to it. And overtime, the context of experience themselves, gradually lighten up, ease, and purify.

But even before that happens, you know, even before the movie changes dramatically over time, your relationship to the movie of the mind starts really shifting, which is good news, because sometimes it takes a ___ for the movie to change. Right? Okay? So, in terms of doing this, we have Rick talk about this earlier. The classic ___. These are factors of non-ordinary states of absorption, which constitute the ___ or ___ concentration element among the eight (8) elements of the ___ path, and we’re not going to necessarily go into the ___ here. If you want drop into the ___, great. If it kind of feels an intensification of familiar state of mind, it’s not the ___.

It really is like the Wizard of Oz, ___ we are not in Kansas any longer. You know, it feels really, really different when you’re in that place, and probably some of you have gone there in your own practice, but we will focus on factors of the ___, because there’s good practice to pay attention to in terms of becoming more concentrated and more steadier and more autonomous and free in a regulation of attention. It’s interesting that of the five ___ factors, two of the five, forty percent of them involve very intense passive emotion.

Now, it could be intense in the form of tranquility, but it ___ the mind. And so, ___ in a moment, we’re going to talk a little bit about the underlying psychology of these two ___ factors, the so-called, bliss or rapture ___. In ___, the word ___, you may have heard Buddhist teachers using that word. That’s what I refer to. And the other ___, sometimes called ___, in Sanskrit, ___ is the ___ word for ___ or sugar. It’s the sweetness in that ___. And ___ to appreciate that the ___ of joy is on a spectrum ranging from happiness to contentment, to tranquility, which get increasingly subtle and quieter, and yet can still be very intense as contentment and tranquility ___ the mind. Okay?

This is a lot of practical instruction in concentration that ___ we got early on in our meditation career. So, we’re kind of getting into it about how to actually do this stuff, okay?

So now, let’s talk about joy and rapture, or rapture and joy. Probably in sequence, I forget. Yep, joy, then rapture. And then, why we’re doing it. It’s funny, you know, Buddhism often gets the ___ the bummer religion, you know, suffer, die, ___, repeat. You know, actually, the Buddha is the happy one. Yeah, let’s kind of hang out on the happiness. It’s been a lot of time on the ___, let’s bliss out ___. It’s great. You know, it’s just this path, we’re just sort of a numb end of suffering.

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About the author 

Sean Fargo

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]

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