ISBN: 9780262336475 | 328 pp. | November 2016

Living Zen Remindfully

Retraining Subconscious Awareness
This is a book for readers who want to probe more deeply into mindfulness. It goes beyond the casual, once-in-awhile meditation in popular culture, grounding mindfulness in daily practice, Zen teachings, and recent research in neuroscience. In Living Zen Remindfully, James Austin, author of the groundbreaking Zen and the Brain, describes authentic Zen training—the commitment to a process of regular, ongoing daily life practice. This training process enables us to unlearn unfruitful habits, develop more wholesome ones, and lead a more genuinely creative life.
Austin shows that mindfulness can mean more than our being conscious of the immediate “now.” It can extend into the subconscious, where most of our brain’s activities take place, invisibly. Austin suggests ways that long-term meditative training helps cultivate the hidden, affirmative resource of our unconscious memory. Remindfulness, as Austin terms it, can help us to adapt more effectively and to live more authentic lives.
Austin discusses different types of meditation, meditation and problem-solving, and the meaning of enlightenment. He addresses egocentrism (self-centeredness) and allocentrism (other-centeredness), and the blending of focal and global attention. He explains the remarkable processes that encode, store, and retrieve our memories, focusing on the covert, helpful remindful processes incubating at subconscious levels. And he considers the illuminating confluence of Zen, clinical neurology, and neuroscience. Finally, he describes an everyday life of “living Zen,” drawing on the poetry of Basho, the seventeenth-century haiku master.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. By Way of a Personal Introduction
  4. 1. Can Meditation Enhance Creative Problem-Solving Skills? A Progress Report
  5. 2. In Zen, What Does It Mean ''To Be Englightened''?
  6. 3. Developing Traits of Character on the Way to Altruism
  7. 4. The Self: A Primer
  8. 5. Emerging Concepts in Self-Other Relationships
  9. 6. Early Distinctions between Self and Other, Focal and Global, Are Coded in the Medial Temporal Lobe
  10. 7. Remindfulness
  11. 8. A Remindful Route through the Nucleus Reuniens
  12. 9. A Disorder Called Transient Global Amnesia
  13. 10. Remindful Zen: An Auditory ''Altar Ego''?
  14. 11. Following an Auditory Stimulus, Then ''Seeing the Light''
  15. 12. Turning
  16. 13. Revisiting Kenso, March 1982
  17. 14. A Mondo in Clinical Neurology
  18. 15. Two Key Gyri, A Notable Sulcus, and the Wandering Cranial Nerve
  19. 16. Paradox: The Maple Leaf Way Up in Ambient Space
  20. 17. The Nitric Oxide Connection
  21. 18. ''Pop-Out''
  22. 19. Keeping Your Eye on the Ball
  23. 20. What Is Living Zen?
  24. 21. Sometimes, Zen Is ''For the Birds''
  25. 22. Basho, the Haiku Poet
  26. 23. Basho's State of Consciousness
  27. 24. Zen and the Daily-Life Incremental Training of Basho's Attention
  28. 25. A Story about Wild Birds, Transformed Attitudes, and a Supervisory Self
  29. In Closing
  30. Appendix A: Back to Nature: Pausing in Awe
  31. Appendix B: Reminders: The Crucial Role of Inhibitory Neurons and Messenger Molecules in Attentional Processing
  32. Appendix C: Magnetoenceophalography
  33. Appendix D: Diffusion-Weighted Imaging
  34. Appendix E: Some Newer Methods of fMRI Analysis
  35. Appendix F: The Enso on This Cover
  36. Appendix G: Word Problems
  37. Notes
  38. Index