This is a fantastic series of lectures by the psychiatrist Daniel Siegel MD given at the Upaya Zen Center. He is explaining brain function. This in-depth look is interspersed with meditation sessions and contemplation exercises that compliment all the information:
Neurobiology of We »
I am utterly fascinated learning about the brain. The healthy functioning of this organ determines our experience of life and our experience of life has an effect on the functioning of the brain. But the most mind-blowing, mysterious and mystical question is where is the self that ultimately receives the information the brain interprets from the outside world.
I ask myself this question in meditation: If I follow the data received by my senses, the sounds that I hear, the feel of the clothes on my skin, the air surrounding my body, the light hitting my eyes, if I follow this sensory information to its source of interpretation in the brain, where does the information go to? In other words, who or what is the consciousness that is ultimately aware of the living picture my brain makes of the world?
I don’t want to answer that question intellectually. I have heard the answer the traditions have given. And science cannot explain how inert matter creates consciousness. The question for me is an honest investigation. Who or what am I? What happens for me is not an answer, per se, but the dissolution of the question.
When my mind, the mind that usually asks and answers ordinary questions, investigates this thread, at a certain point it must slip away, relinquish control and accept that the answer is in the realm of the unknowable, only in the realm of the be-able. It is unknowable and yet it would not be true to say that there isn’t something there.
Clearly there is something. There is something that is aware of the typing of this sentence. There is something that is aware of the words on the screen. This something is… IS. Staggering, mind-blowing, knee-buckling, jaw-dropping!
Look for yourself! What do you find?