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TOPIC: Why?

Why? 26 Jan 2019 14:09 #110294

Seriously.
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Why? 26 Jan 2019 16:28 #110295

Does there have to be a 'why'? So much easier if there isn't one :)
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Why? 26 Jan 2019 16:46 #110296

it's natural to respond
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Why? 26 Jan 2019 17:00 #110297

Chris Marti wrote:
Seriously.

Why not?
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Why? 26 Jan 2019 17:22 #110298

and How?
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Why? 26 Jan 2019 17:39 #110299

I can see this is going to go viral! Chris you're a genius!
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Why? 27 Jan 2019 04:37 #110300

Because!
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Why? 27 Jan 2019 12:28 #110301

My friend, who teaches computation and semantic logic at Stanford, has a big sign in his office that says "Marvin Minsky is _________."

Why?
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Why? 27 Jan 2019 12:45 #110302

Not once has anyone used the "Thank You" button on this topic.

Why?
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2019 12:46 by Chris Marti.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Andromeda

Why? 27 Jan 2019 17:07 #110303

So can you tell me why?

Here's Judson Brewer, a neuroscientist who famously studies brains during meditation using fMRI machines. He's created a commercial venture, I assume to capitalize on what he learned:

www.unwindinganxiety.com/

Modern science + Ancient practices

Recent research has uncovered incredible insights on how the brain functions — and what can create patterns of anxiety and panic. Research has also discovered the pathways that make the traditional practice of mindfulness so effective, and how to apply it specifically to the modern epidemic of anxiety. Initial data from the Unwinding Anxiety program shows a 48% reduction in anxiety after just 28 modules.


I'm not sure what to think of this. He seemed at first to be genuinely interested in the relationship between awakening and brain function. This reminds me more of the MBSR stuff that's now popular. I can see programs being rolled out for specific things like smoking and vaping, overeating, gambling, and so forth. This program costs $210 a year, or $30 a month. You can get a 28-day free trial.
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2019 17:07 by Chris Marti.
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Why? 28 Jan 2019 06:38 #110304

In the past few months I've been thinking a lot about this division between what I'm thinking of as meditation as medicine vs. meditation as mysticism. This Judson Brewer venture is clearly "medicine" and of course it is medicine that sells. And it may help a lot of people with anxiety. But my own use of meditation as "medicine" has mostly been to treat issues brought on by mystical misadventures and so while I do know some things about it, the purpose has been quite different from this sort of commercial mass market "medicine" venture. A part of me is very sad to see spiritual practices used in this way--it really made me cringe to read that part, "Research has discovered the pathways that make the traditional pathways of mindfulness so effective." Effective at what?

I'm glad people are getting help but I've realized that I personally can have nothing to do with meditation as medicine and generally need to stay as far away from it as possible. It basically has nothing to do with me and so I should probably just mind my own business and focus on my practice.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Andy

Why? 28 Jan 2019 20:55 #110305

Yeah, I agree, It's sad to see meditation, a spiritual activity, used as some kind of commercial cure-all. That's what bothers me about MBSR, too. Brewer's program sounds like MBSR on steroids. It's another trail marker on the path to commercializing everything. It's what we Americans like to do. Take other people's stuff, make money from it.
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Why? 29 Jan 2019 05:40 #110306

The hard part for me is that it gets me thinking: is it even a good thing to have that kind of mental health care delivered through an app? We have emotions for a reason. What if those people have good reasons to have fear, such as abusive partners, etc.? Society is messed up in all sorts of ways, and so widely available tools for making people into better cogs to fit that system give me pause...

Oops, I'm going down that judgmental trail again. I can't help myself.

What if the anxiety some of the app users are feeling is samvega, for which the real cure is spiritual? Will the app "fix" it? And if so, how? What will the end result of that be?

This line of conversation is making me feel a sort of dread and horror. Maybe I need the app!!! :sick:
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Why? 30 Jan 2019 14:47 #110307

So what does this app actually do?
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Why? 30 Jan 2019 15:16 #110308

Andy, you can find out here: www.unwindinganxiety.com/#hiw
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Andy

Why? 31 Jan 2019 10:24 #110309

Chris Marti wrote:
Yeah, I agree, It's sad to see meditation, a spiritual activity, used as some kind of commercial cure-all. That's what bothers me about MBSR, too. Brewer's program sounds like MBSR on steroids. It's another trail marker on the path to commercializing everything. It's what we Americans like to do. Take other people's stuff, make money from it.

only 30 bucks/month!

:evil:

:(
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Why? 31 Jan 2019 12:12 #110310

If you all are annoyed by this, I developed an app that blocks commercialized dharma from appearing on your operating system... It only cost $12 a month and your first upgrade is free! :)
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Why? 31 Jan 2019 14:13 #110311

I'm hearing a lot of negative reactions, and I share the concern about commercializing meditation. There certainly is a lot that can be said about that general topic, and it is pretty easy to find poster children.

It seems initially easy to lump this in with all the rest, but when I look at the specifics it gets harder for me and I find myself feeling conflicted. The tech here is specifically designed with a limited, narrow, scope, and doesn't seem to be advertising as a cure-all. He's not claiming unreasonable results. I've read some of Judson's research papers before and his research is legitimate. He's build up some expertise in narrowly focused areas.

Here are some questions that occurred to me as I thought about this. (Full disclosure--I seem to want to defend this, but I'm really not sure why)

Is there something specific about Judson's app that's objectionable, or the content, or the presentation? So is it the marketing that's offensive? Or, if this is medicine, who gets to decide who can use it? If it's meditation, who gets to regulate that? Or is it that he's mixing money and dharma? Is it really dharma? How can you tell? Where do you draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable?

Has anyone here either signed up for the app, or for the free 5-day course on anxiety? I signed up for the free 5-day and have listened to two of the 15 minute segments. So far, he's talked about differences between stress and anxiety and did a short 10-second exercise to notice where in your body you feel fear and anxiety. It's hard to call it meditation, but any meditator with any experience at all would feel at home with it.

Comments?
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Why? 31 Jan 2019 15:00 #110312

Noah, Netflix is only about $10 a month but the revenue from millions of subscribers adds up quickly into the billions. :P
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Why? 31 Jan 2019 15:19 #110313

Andy, Judd Brewer "sold" his research to a lot of meditators (his subjects) as academic, motivated by curiosity. This just feels "bait and switch-y" to me, so I'm just disappointed in what's come from it if this app is "it.". I was hoping for something deeper and more meaningful to the spiritual community. It's a visceral, emotional reaction I'm having. I'll get over it pretty quickly.
Last Edit: 31 Jan 2019 15:30 by Chris Marti.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Rod

Why? 31 Jan 2019 15:22 #110314

I developed an app that blocks commercialized dharma from appearing on your operating sWhich

Which operating system - the one I'm typing into or the one in my head?
Last Edit: 31 Jan 2019 15:28 by Chris Marti.
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Why? 31 Jan 2019 15:39 #110315

Maybe the Judd Brewer thing is subconsciously reminding me of the deep emotional wounds caused by the Jeffery Martin thing :P
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Why? 01 Feb 2019 00:31 #110316

It would be good if the greater meditation community(s) could find ways of teaching/facilitating/informing/training on the dharma that were not monitized/commercialized but were also honoring the need for complex metaystemic thinking that interact with our current lifestyle & world. Can't people work on the weekends? Can't people use donations from a few core individuals rather than making everyone pay? Can't people spend less money in their personal lives? Can't people supersave & plan for early retirement? Can't people make the decision to have children later & save more money? Or live in cheaper areas? Or crowd fund such as via patreon? Or other fundraising, or investing in cryptocurrency (or whatever), or vend goods unrelated to meditation as many ashrams/centers have done in the past? or run off of volunteers? or increase internal operational efficiency to require less funds to run their organization?
Or have sliding scales appropriate to a student's income level? Or "open their books" to explain exactly why they need the money they need? Shouldn't enlightened people be better at training themselves to work hard & spend less? I'm not saying that awakening makes one automatically harder working & more frugal; I'm saying it makes one's mental & physical patterns more malleable, more trainable. Why aren't the people who are teaching awakening or techniques related to the path to awakening (such as mindfulness to relieve anxiety)(who are presumably awakened) making the ethical decision to train themselves to be harder working & more frugal & thinking in complex, subtle ways such that they don't have to commercialize? A simple solution or hard line stance isn't the right answer -- but the right answer also is not to just dismiss this whole discussion & optimize profit.
Last Edit: 01 Feb 2019 00:39 by Noah.
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Why? 01 Feb 2019 06:46 #110317

Noah, there's a lot in your post.

You say that you consider using mindfulness to relieve anxiety as being related to the path to awakening and that's very interesting to me because I don't really see the connection. Care to elaborate?

Edit: To be clear, anxiety has never really been one of my personal issues. With the exception of a few years with a PTSD-related fear of heights, for the most part when fear shows up in my life it's usually trying to tell me something and I'm grateful for it. So I may be ignorant of something important here.
Last Edit: 01 Feb 2019 07:20 by Andromeda.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Rod

Why? 04 Feb 2019 13:54 #110318

I have a relatively traditional Buddhist view of awakening. In my understanding & experience, anxiety arises from kinks in the chain of dependent origination such as dualistic perception, early psychodynamic wounds & disproportional mental-emotional-behavioral reactionary patterns. So rather than fundamental awakening just being about an intuitive grokking of the way things are without needing to change them, I think it is about both surrender & action - hand in hand. That is likely different than the stance of others on here.
Last Edit: 04 Feb 2019 13:58 by Noah.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Rod
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