Although many skeptics hold that meditation is in fact a way to distance oneself from one’s experience, the truth is that meditation, and in particular mindfulness meditation, creates a paradigm shift by teaching people to approach their lives from a much different perspective.
Checkout this fantastic interview from The New Humanism featuring educator and clinician Daniel Siegel. For those who don’t know, Siegel is a pioneer in the field of psychiatry and psychology who developed a discipline called Interpersonal Neurobiology that draws from several branches of science and creates an interdisciplinary framework to understand our subjective and interpersonal lives.
In the post, Siegel talks about mindfulness meditation and it’s ability to help a person question how one’s life history has shaped how a person perceives things.
Siegel: I’m talking about inhibiting top down flow, so in that sense I’m talking about [deactivations], but that’s really more about enabling the brain to be more flexible in its functioning. I don’t really see the need to get rid of a sense of the body. The idea of shutting off the parietal lobe and then feeling a sense of wholeness with the universe because now you’ve shut off a part of your brain—I don’t particularly buy into the necessity of that. I think you can feel a part of a larger whole and also have a body…The left-shift that Richie Davidson has described is a really useful way to think about that. You’ve given the brain a capacity with mindfulness meditation to approach things rather than withdraw from them. You could say you’re shutting off the right frontal area and turning on the left. You get something when you do that. You get the ability to approach things that are challenging. It’s really the neural signature of resilience.
Read more of the mindfulness meditation interview with Daniel Siegel here.