Dr. Judson Brewer is an authority in the science of self-mastery. He has over 20 years of experience with mindfulness (academically and personally), he’s the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and is an associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School.
You can also check out his TED talks and get his book The Craving Mind wherever books are sold.
“The training in recognizing mind essence is this: short moments repeated many times. There is no other way. A short duration guarantees it is actually the authentic mind essence, by itself. Repeating this recognition many times ensures that we will get used to it.”
-Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Every time I read the quote above I hang on one phrase “mind essence.” What is this “mind essence?”
First, we must define “mind,” an endeavor that tends to get slippery very quickly so let’s keep it simple. Let’s call it “a vessel for thought, and experience.”
But what about the mind’s “essence?”
Essence, of course, is the intrinsic nature of a thing; whatever it is that determines its fundamental character.
The essence of mind then is not thought itself, but the limitless potential for experience it affords us. Through consciously recognizing the mind’s limitless potential over and over again, (as the short moments many times quote eludes to) we discover serenity. The revelation that we’re not shackled to or defined by any individual thought or experience.
Once we feel that, our thoughts take on a more discernible shape as they bloom from our mind’s psychic soil. And that’s important, because as we gain the ability to recognize our thoughts and experiences more distinctly, we see them for what they are- fleeting. No more than passing psychic weather.
I think that contextualizes a lot of this conversation with the fantastic Dr. Judson Brewer quite nicely because so much of it is about how our minds overpower us. How our minds can, through a neuro-physical cascade of feelings and behaviors, turn us into something we don’t want to be- addicts, cravers, victims of anxiety, depression, whatever.
The point is, this podcast is going to cure it all…
I kid, no psychic elixirs for sale here friends, only a conversational massage of your self-sovereignty.
Musings in this mind meld include –
Defining mindfulness and awareness
Operant conditioning, how it helped us evolve and how it can sabotage us
How to guard against excessive gratification and craving
Why “contraction” versus “expansion” is a valuable psychological distinction
Flow states – losing your sense of self and expanding into your experience fully
How non-duality seems to cure addiction
Psilocybin and psychedelics as a treatment for addiction
Why disruption and self-auditing are musts for wellness
Anxiety is an unavoidable at times, we need to develop resilience to it and learn to unwind it
Merging mindfulness and neuroscience