Meditation Experiences, Self, and Boundaries of Consciousness

International Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine 4 (1):1-11 (2016)
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Abstract

Our experiences with the external world are possible mainly through vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell providing us a sense of reality. How the brain is able to seamlessly integrate stimuli from our external and internal world into our sense of reality has yet to be adequately explained in the literature. We have previously proposed a three-dimensional unified model of consciousness that partly explains the dynamic mechanism. Here we further expand our model and include illustrations to provide a better conception of the ill-defined space within the self, providing insight into a unified mind-body concept. In this article, we propose that our senses “super-impose” on an existing dynamic space within us after a slight, imperceptible delay. The existing space includes the entire intrapersonal space and can also be called the “the body’s internal 3D default space”. We provide examples from meditation experiences to help explain how the sense of ‘self’ can be experienced through meditation practice associated with underlying physiological processes that take place through cardio-respiratory synchronization and coherence that is developed among areas of the brain. Meditation practice can help keep the body in a parasympathetic dominant state during meditation, allowing an experience of inner ‘self’. Understanding this physical and functional space could help unlock the mysteries of the function of memory and cognition, allowing clinicians to better recognize and treat disorders of the mind by recommending proven techniques to reduce stress as an adjunct to medication treatment.

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