The Giant Tomato That Crushed My House

Notes on meditation, trauma, and healing

Nathan Smith
Interfaith Now

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Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

“It could be that, when brain activity is desynchronised in this way [during meditation], our brains can’t build a coherent model of the world anymore. The way we experience the world is thought by some scientists to come from predictions we’re making based on experience — called predictive processing. The cessation could represent a breaking down of that process, and a resulting loss in conscious experience.”

Shayla Love, “What happens to the brain during consciousness-ending meditation?,” Psyche (18 July 2023)

In a recent article for Psyche, science journalist Shayla Love shares a fascinating preliminary exploration of a particular type of meditative experience — or lack thereof — in Theravada Buddhism called nirodha-samāpatti, from a neuroscientific and psychological perspective. Nirodha-samāpatti, a meditative experience in which a person is believed to cease all mental function and sensation, is a highly advanced state described in Theravada Buddhism, with interesting parallels in other Buddhist lineages. According to Love, Ruben Laukkonen and other researchers from Australia’s Southern Cross University, and the meditation teacher Delson Armstrong (the test subject of Laukkonen et al.’s neuroimaging study), nirodha-samāpatti functions as a type of…

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Nathan Smith
Interfaith Now

Writer, therapy student, queer; interested in psychology, philosophy, literature, religion/spirituality. YouTube.com/@MindMakesThisWorld @NateSmithSNF