Meditating selflessly at the dawn of a new millennium

Contemporary Buddhism 13 (1):61-81 (2012)
Abstract
Increasingly open to question are the efficacies and timing of some traditional, conventional and current meditative techniques. Recent brain research emphasizes that it is important to distinguish between the Self-centred (egocentric) and other-centred (allocentric) streams of processing. It also proves useful to view as complementary the assets of the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation, especially when one's practices cultivate an appropriate balance between their top-down and bottom-up systems of attentive processing. From this neural perspective, Part I ventures a small sample of empirical suggestions. Some of these could help practitioners engage in more open, effortless, choiceless, varieties of receptive meditation?indoors and outdoors. Part II discusses recent research that illuminates issues arising at the interface between Self and other. The evidence suggests how a balanced attentiveness might enable long-term meditators to enhance mindfulness of the present moment, while simultaneously becoming much less fearful and, ultimately, freer to openly express their most objective, innate instincts of selfless compassion. The art of Progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order. (Alfred North Whitehead 1861?1947)
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