Embrace of the Earth 2016

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Audio File

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Embodied mind has become a popular topic in neuroscience, where it has a different meaning than its use in a field such as somatic or transpersonal psychology. The difference can be described using a new concept of attention, which considers not only where attention is pointed, but where it arises within the body. Conventionally, attention is directed only from the head, where the brain and most of the sense organs are concentrated. But in deeper states of consciousness, there is evidence that attention arises in other areas of the body as well, not just in the head. By comparison with ordinary definitions, this might be called radical embodiment. Identifying and mapping the location of attention in deep states of consciousness offers a way to map these states that is not dependent only on qualitative reports by practitioners, and may allow for better comparison across practices and traditions. This may lead to a more useful description of such states. In addition, this offers neuroscience a potentially novel way of understanding the concept of embodied mind, so that embodiment can be understood not only as biological signals sent from body to brain, but as conscious awareness that can potentially extend through the whole person.