Presence, Neurons, and the Internet | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred

Archive for October 2012

Presence, Neurons, and the Internet

October 09, 2012 By: Michael Nagel Category: Mind Body Spirit


Presence, neurons, and the internet: these concepts are intimately related in an unsuspecting and unfavorable way which might concern you, if in your pursuit of authenticity, you practice presence.

Contemplative traditions consider the practice of presence the sine qua non (“without which nothing”) of spiritual unfolding. The Tibetan Dzogchen master, Namkhai Norbu, for example, considers presence to be “the ultimate” practice.

Presence could be considered the unreactive resting of awareness in the experience of the moment-to-moment experience of the Now. Initially the practice of presence requires sustained voluntary attention. Ideally and impossibly, we would be in presence uninterruptedly throughout the day. Yet, unless you are a master, inevitably distractions will interrupt your attention leading you to not be present.

The internet and your neurons relate directly to your capacity to practice presence. To understand how they relate, it’s helpful to know of the relatively new science of neuroplasticity. Perhaps you think, as once I did, that your brain stopped developing when you reached physical maturity. Not so! Read more »

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