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The second of the four noble truths teaches that craving leads to suffering. But that would be obvious to anyone struggling with addiction. Psychiatrist Judson Brewer, who is the director of research at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, brings mindfulness practice to the treatment of addiction. Here, Brewer talks to Tricycle contributing editor Amy Gross about the mechanisms in the brain that activate when we have cravings and how Buddhist teachings can help combat a wide variety of addictions.
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TRANSCRIPT

00:00:06hello and welcome to tricycle talks I'm James gene header and publisher of tricycle the Buddhist review in this month's episode tricycle contributing editor Amy gross speaks with psychiatrists and addiction expert Johnson brewer director of research at the center for mindfulness in medicine healthcare and society at the university
00:00:25of Massachusetts medical school brewer is also author of the craving mind from cigarettes to smartphones to love by we get hooked and how we can break bad habits brewer who brings mindfulness practice to the treatment of addiction is found in his research that mindfulness meditation actually quiets the
00:00:43network in the brain that lights up when we think of ourselves in the past or future when we have cravings and when we feel anxious this application of Buddhist practice is typical of brewer who brings a deeply practical approach to his understanding of Buddhist teachings now let's join
00:01:00Amy grows and juttson brewer welcome John I'm so glad to have you here I've read your book and I can't wait to talk to you about it it's great to be here thanks for having me so I thought we might start at one of my favorite places which
00:01:16is the intersection of science and Buddhism and it's a place you spent a lot of time in and I wanna know when you discovered or we might say got hooked on Buddhist practice great question and one of my favorite intersections you know it's hard to pinpoint the exact
00:01:36moment if there was one but I can say that into in college I did a lot of backpacking and I started to learn the joys of being in nature and kind of getting out of my own way from all that was happening in college and started formally meditating
00:01:54my first day of medical school he didn't really have much of a clue at that point line but somewhere in you know in my medical school in my PC training I really started to dive more into the suit does in into the Buddhist teachings and practices and I
00:02:13think one of the big pieces that was a big offer me was learning about dependent origination dependent origination yes this is a Buddhist concept around these twelve links of you know codependent flea arising things you know it it's this it's this thing that the Buddha was reportedly contemplating
00:02:32the night of his enlightenment so probably have a really important thing to explore because it describes what the modern day scientists were talking about in terms of habit formation and most importantly it describes really to a T. how my patients with addictions were talking and that was really
00:02:55powerful for me to see you nude everyday people who are struggling with their addictions who are using the same language as the historical booed at twenty five twenty six hundred years ago finding those same links yes yeah craving clinging attachments you know becoming well they didn't say becoming
00:03:14but yeah but all they say what's the cloak will of becoming he added the really being identified with their behaviors you know I am a smoker I'm an addict yes and you know that makes me think one thing I appreciate about the title is it's the craving mind
00:03:35so it's not about me the addict but this mind yes there is a deep personalizing that seems very Buddhist yes well that's the personalizing that's also very Buddhist that points toward this is where the suffering is so as you saw those links and saw these connections also craving
00:03:57is the second noble truth so we're going to see throughout your book these connections of the dependent origination the cause of suffering the cessation of suffering into the eightfold noble pass so he started studying addictions and as your title suggests you're really sweeping a lot of behavior into
00:04:20addiction did you find one pattern that is the pattern of addiction there was one pattern in this actually came from studying my own addicted mind that really became really really interesting I remember being on a month long retreats you're just watching craving in particular and then noticing that
00:04:42pleasant things we know pleasant thoughts in particular would lead me to want to continue those and then the unpleasant thoughts would lead to wanting those to go away and I was noticing there was this feeling in my body you know it's like around my solar plexus your my
00:04:59god where is like that that contraction that courage and I remember going only because this is it this is the same for when I want Pleasanton when I don't want unpleasant I remember going up to buy the retreat teachers think he'll get the and they're like yeah it's
00:05:15also welcome to the club of so that was remarkable for me to see how it's that push and pull but the push and pull feel the same no matter what the feeling tone is and that craving and clean those pieces drive the entire process you know I I
00:05:33even love the one of the translations and certainly not a Polish color but I what level of the translations of clean or open Donna how do you pronounce that as fuel our sustenance and to me it's like this is what sustains the cycle of the stains craving it
00:05:49feeds back on itself and on itself and on itself yes that's profound because it all points to the way things are is never enough that's how we act moment to moment to moment yeah and endless wondering does wondering wanting it I see this every day whether it's my
00:06:09patient is trying to quit smoking or quit using other drugs or somebody that's trying to change their relationship to eating you know and and they're actually very simple elements to this you know they get triggered by something and then they want that to either continue or to go
00:06:26away you know whatever whatever that pleasant or unpleasant feeling is and then they do something accordingly and and it it just simplified the process you know is a struggle for a long time with understanding what this you know these twelve links it depend origination all this stuff is
00:06:41like there's some key elements that are pretty easy hand holds to really identify on our own daily behaviors and also you know in seeing that in myself it helped me start to look to help my patients identified these as well in my addiction clinic can you name those
00:06:58handles I would start in the middle at behavior because sometimes it's difficult especially for someone who hasn't spent time looking inward it's hard for them to identify a feeling tone it's hard for them to identify any of the other aggregates around here these triggers that come in through
00:07:16the send stores but they can identify with their behavior if they've got a you know their mouth full of oreo cookies are or they've got a cigarette have burnt you know in their lips and they wake up in the like where did this come from so they can
00:07:30start there and then trace forwards and backwards you know %HESITATION what triggered this and start to become aware of the traders and then in between those notice cravings and start to bring those to the surface more because there can be some conscious or unconscious triggers an cues that
00:07:47just progressed to automatically behave and said tracing out that part of the loop and then also beyond the behavior you know what's the result of the behavior and so that's kind of the perpetuation or the becoming piece which is really interesting because from a modern day psychologic perspective
00:08:05this is described as reward based learning and so the learning peace comes from the rewards or the results of our action does results sound familiar from moody's terminology cause and effect right so there's this beautiful parallel where there's a cause as in a behavior and then there's an
00:08:27effect that if we pay attention to that effect we can see you know is a wholesome is it unwholesome if it's on wholesome we can pay attention and say wow what did I get from this you know and pay very close attention to that because that's the piece
00:08:44that helps this change in the future although he didn't feel so good if I ate twelve cupcakes I have this gut wow that's not so great and that drives you know that's like present karma if you want to speak of it that way that's our ability to say
00:09:01wow this is so great and our brain requires you know there's this part of our brain called the orbitofrontal cortex that kind of holds reward value and it says you know I'm gonna update that that's you know that's not as great as I remember the same is true
00:09:15for wholesome action when I'm kind how does this feel who feels pretty good you know might want to do that again next time half an opportunity you know it's it's so beautiful how these all fit together you tell a story in the book about a patient of yours
00:09:32who was really suffering from a craving and felt his head would explode so do you want to tell that story because I've been telling this is a I was working at the VA hospital in west haven Connecticut and one of my patients walked in the door and he
00:09:49said doc if I don't smoke my head's going to explode I was pretty young and naive at that point so it's like what and so I said okay it well if your head explodes then we'll %HESITATION put the pieces back together will document this is the first case
00:10:04of head exploding from craving okay great and will will write a case report because by terrible joke to just try to give myself some time to say okay what are we going to do and what we did is we went to the white board in my office and
00:10:17we just mapped out that process of could okay what is how strong is that craving does it get stronger does it get stronger does it go away and what does it feel like so that he could see clearly how these are physical sensations that drive me to act
00:10:34in you know the trajectory of going up going up going up and then he would smoke to relieve the craving so he didn't actually see the trajectory of it cresting as a wave and then decreasing so he hadn't actually played out and and just been with that craving
00:10:49as it as it came as it crested in as it dissolved on its own and so we map that process out and given the opportunity to go explore your next summer craving dive in and just know your physical sensations you know what are they feel like said that
00:11:03he was less identified with them is this big looming cloud over his head of craving that's going to you know make my head explode anyways eliminating for both of us I a because I you know I started to learn a whole here some simple ways that we can
00:11:20describe this to you know to my patients who have never heard the word Buddhism for example and as you're describing this I'm thinking this is true for every emotion that we flee from you know we're afraid I will get overwhelmed by my sadness by my anger by my
00:11:37fear of you know this disaster thinking and what your talking about a month meditation training is about is about sitting through it and away and actually seeing the transitory nature but there's a big threat deserve you know it feels like a terrible threat something catastrophic is going to
00:12:01happen if we don't believe that anger that fear that sadness yes it and as a as a scientist I would say well that's an empirical question let's test this out to see if your head does explode but he gives people the the permission and that the ability to
00:12:18step back and say ha well yeah let's let's take a look at this in this actually helps to I would say even bring up some of these factors of awakening as describes you know in in in protest psychology that that can help us be with these things you
00:12:36know this I think of the the second factor of awakening the probably too liberally translated as you know interest or curiosity if we bring interest or curiosity to what's happening were less likely to get pulled over dice you started working with applying mindfulness to help smokers and you
00:12:57tested your your mindfulness program against what you call the gold standard which is the American lung association's freedom from smoking program and it was a major success and you learn something very big from that about mindfulness versus will power yes yes that study was really illuminating in many
00:13:22ways the first of which we were just hoping you know to have a similar effect is gold standard treatment because it's very important to look if you're developing a new treatment if it's not as good as gold standard then you shouldn't do it continue with the gold standard
00:13:37we were blown away we actually got five times the quit rates of gold standard treatment and so that was I opener for me to say well let's let's understand this you know mechanistically is so we can really unpack you how it's working and so not only was it
00:13:56was it ever cases but it taught me a lot about all these aspects of the impermanence like we're talking about for example and disenchantment yeah so the disenchantment pieces really important and I think this goes back to what you mentioned about cognitive processes so from a Rick standpoint
00:14:15cognitive behavioral therapy the you know when I was trained in C. B. T. it was around catch it check it change it if you can catch a cognition that is Aronian so to speak you can check to see if it's true catastrophizing for example and then we can
00:14:31change and say oh let's replace this with something more helpful with my phone is training it doesn't seem to work that way and it's good that it doesn't because cognitive behavior therapy requires a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex which is kind of the youngest from
00:14:48an evolutionary perspective it's actually because of that is the first to go off line when we get stressed out which may be why people relapse to drug use or smoking or whatever or eating out when they're stressed because that cognitive control pieces off line so mindfulness doesn't seem
00:15:07to be about controlling anything it seems to be about really just stepping back which can seem paradoxical but stepping back and turning toward our actual experience in just observing what's happening and by observing you know where we're bringing it from our stinking mind down into our knowing or
00:15:30are you know you are observing and just seeing how this is stuff that's driving me and as part of that process were also seeing this reward piece where we're becoming disenchanted with our behaviors %HESITATION this isn't as great as I thought we don't have to think our way
00:15:46into that we simply pay attention and it reveals itself and and in this way I think of this as you know kind of hacking the reward based learning system because we're not doing anything more than just really tapping right into it there's so many ways to go with
00:16:00this I want to ask you so with your smoking apps you are asking people to become aware let's say of how smoking actually feels and tastes one woman said she actually felt it smelled and set off stage terrible so I get that as an ex smoker and what
00:16:20about you working on apps to deal with eating you can't just make food disgusting that's tricky yeah you know it is and this is hard this work is so humbling I have to say it is so humbling and limiting my first study it was actually with cocaine and
00:16:37alcohol dependent individuals and we found that my first training was you know as good as gold standard and then we went to the smoking work like we just talked about and you know it is five times better and then people were asking you know can you develop a
00:16:50program for eating ends in because it seems to follow the same behavior and that was really interesting because of a several things one is that with smoking one of the primary reasons that women in particular don't want to quit smoking is the fear of weight gain and so
00:17:06you know could we develop programs that could help people not gain weight when they quit smoking is substituting eating for smoking for example instead of substituting her stepping out of the entire process but the other piece was that like you mentioned you don't need to smoke to survive
00:17:23acted does quite the opposite up but you do have the heat so this became a great challenge to develop programs in and we develop this app called the right now to help people learn about their minds around eating and nods because let me back up and save a
00:17:42lot of people have a dysfunctional relationship with eating whether they stress eater eat out of boredom or eat out of anxiety a lot of emotional eating and so they've actually on learned at the ability to know when they're hungry because they just know that they have a craving
00:17:58to eat and they don't know whether it's because of physiologic or we call it homeostatic hunger or actually had don Ecker emotional hunger and so they just you know crave each crave eat crave heat and perpetuate that process and in the meantime have all sorts of things that
00:18:14are not so helpful for them happen like become obese or do you become a sugar addict or whatever and so we developed this E. right now program just to see if we could take the same training and help people change their relationship eating in a very different way
00:18:31than somebody might try to go on a diet to lose weight it was really about well let's see what this is like and I can cut to the results kind of forty percent reduction in craving related eating we just published that study last year and it was really
00:18:46interesting in that sense because this is about helping people simply pay attention as they ate as a place to start and notice %HESITATION what does it feel like to be full or even play with you know how old little is known of you know what a great exploration
00:19:04all twenty one more bite O. this is enough it you know it just really is a war a wonderful way to take something that we have to do all the time and have it be our teacher so that we can start to learn how our minds work yes
00:19:22and I see how that eliminates the sense of deprivation that could feed eating I eat to make myself full you know and here you can catch the fullness before you have abused your body yes yes I want to ask you you've been researching the differences between experience meditators
00:19:44and novices and I read that part as a teaching of how to meditate you know what was really clarifying to me was to hear you talk about these two networks in the mine the narrative network versus the experience show and I thought maybe you could just describe the
00:20:03difference between those two and how choosing between them or placing your attention where you place your attention there makes all the difference in meditation yet a great question and why this was such a great teacher for me as well you know this was probably around two thousand eight
00:20:24two thousand nine I got really interested in one of my advisors at Yale mark Potenza had suggested here so why don't you do a study with experience meditators and I remember saying all I'm sure somebody's already done this and when I looked at the literature there a couple
00:20:39of pilot studies that had been done but nothing really definitive and so you know we said okay well let's dive into this and in particular I wanted to look to see what the similarities were between different meditative practices and also what the differences were between novice meditators an
00:20:58expense meditators practicing those so we actually brought people in experience meditators and novice meditators and taught the novices to practice birth awareness and loving kindness and choices awareness and then we get you know we had the experience meditative practices and we look to see what was different between
00:21:15their brains and the first finding was a non finding as in I did not confirm what of my hypothesis I figured that there were some some brain region that was activated during meditation you know like and we were going to isolate that and it was going to be
00:21:31more active and we did find a single thing and I was really struck by that I because it really help me re think what meditation and what mindfulness is all about because when we looked at the opposite when we look to see what was less active in experience
00:21:49versus novice meditators we actually found that there were a couple of brain regions that were the main hubs of this network that you mention this this narrative are self referential network of brain regions called the default mode network that were de activated an experience meditators and for me
00:22:07this is where there was this huge aha moment to cut to the chase this network gets activated when we think about ourselves in the past or the future name when we crave name when we ruminate when we feel guilty you know when we're anxious you know all these
00:22:27things activate this development and market in particular the one of the main house called the post your your cingulate cortex and the bush you're single cortex was deactivated during meditation and so the kind of the analogy is I think in the wrong way about the brain where in
00:22:46meditation doesn't is not about doing something it's more about getting out of our own way and so if you think of driving a car for example you've got your foot on the brake and you've got one foot on the gas our cars not gonna driver efficiently so instead
00:23:01of like pushing our foot on the gas more like doing something this is a bad taking her other foot off the brake and saying you know with with the brain do its thing and knows it knows how to work as in the self getting out of its own
00:23:15way which of course fits beautifully with Buddhist practice this is about seeing when were identified with things it we actually took it one step farther where we can use real time or a feedback to line up people subjective experience with their brain activity in real time and what
00:23:33that reveal for us was this literal caught up in this you know when we're contracted around trying to do something or craving or anxious you know because there's this feeling of contraction that comes with that and then there's this opposite feeling of expansion that comes when we let
00:23:51go and now we were starting to see a neural correlate for these you're listening to any person conversation which add brewer don't forget you can visit tricycle dot org slash podcast to listen to more conversations featuring some of today's most compelling Buddhist writers thinkers and teachers a tricycle
00:24:14that work you can also watch our monthly feature films interact with well known Buddhist teachers in our monthly dharma talk series or download one of our key books on Buddhist teachings and keep an eye out for the next issue of tricycle for a fresh look at the me
00:24:28too movement through the lens of Buddhist thought and practice now let's get back to Amy and Chuck so there is the narrative network now when you describe the experience on network I wonder it sounds an awful lot like meditation yes and there is there are number of of
00:24:53networks we certainly haven't studied many of them besides the narrative for the default a network so I don't want to speak too much out of school but what I can say is that there are these executive networks and there are these attention networks in their bunch of other
00:25:06networks that are typically anti correlated as in their quiet when our self referential network is online and when they're online ourself is generally out of the way in a pragmatic sense you know if we're planning something for example planning a trip or doing a math problem or something
00:25:23like that our executive network kind of online it's paying attention it's doing its thing it's doing the math and then you know the default one networks kind of quiet because we don't really need ourselves they're telling us to do math a brain can do math much better without
00:25:36us so this to tend to be anti correlated ends in that sense you know when we get out of our own way which is kind of in the flow of letting our brain work can do its thing rate and you've described the experience on that work is being
00:25:53out of time sense of timeless no judging reading what you said about it felt like this is where I want to be you know this is the piece that I associate with meditation added sweetest yeah yeah well you know it and I love that you bring up the
00:26:14word time because time is based on memory you know and the default my network and in particular the post you're single it is is linked anatomically to our memory networks that have a campus things like that and you know I love this I think I don't know if
00:26:33it's from the Dhammapada but it's you know let go of the past let go of the future let go if this president and crossed to the further shore and so it's about letting go of you know what I can't believe I did that or %HESITATION is this going
00:26:49to happen to me or so I am doing this so it's that you know that contraction around the identification with something in the past in the future or even something in the present I am I am I am a scientist I made you know I'm a physician I'm
00:27:07a psychiatrist whatever and just being in that timeless connection with the universe you know it's if we move from that contraction of you know I am a scientist that says you know I have to posture and I have to protect this identity and start to expand into the
00:27:25the vast not knowing the vast not me I start to lose that boundary between myself and the universe and this is where in even the psychologist me high tech semi described flow which is timeless it's effortless it's self less and those are the words used to describe the
00:27:45experience on that work yes and in those charts of the people hooked up in the PCC is going up and then the alternative to the PCC the default mode network acting up is the depths below when the PCC is being quiet yes and I'm thinking so is that
00:28:06meditation I mean that seems to be what meditation is so yes when I think I that kicks it up and when I go home kicking up and that ends on back down there so you know I'm I over simplifying no I don't think you are at all in
00:28:24that happens you know during formal meditation and it could even happen in informal moments you know this is why I love the Tibetan teachers to talk about you know short moments many times throughout the day where in any moment we can notice you know and I caught up
00:28:40in you know I have a great idea or you know self judgment what is that called up feel like verses just letting go and that's correlated at least we found when we were doing these experiments that caught up in this like you talked about correlated with PCC activation
00:28:55and deactivation so very much dads described it actually helped me understand these concepts behind meditation end that meditation is a support for mindfulness as support for selflessness another thing you learned from of the meditator experience versus novice is you research what's the most effective mindfulness skill and found
00:29:23it was rain which I found very exciting in terms of what you were laying out as the power moves in effect the power moves in meditating so you know the turning towards which is about recognizing you quote yogi bear one of my favorite things you know what is
00:29:43it you observe a lot by watching yeah you can see a lot just yeah he's a so you want to go through that or maybe a better way of doing that is what is the power of recognizing what is the power of accepting what is the power of
00:30:00investigating and then the power of not identifying I mean this does seem to be the whole process we're talking about yes yes and I'll preface this by saying this is a wonderful yet another moment where I completely fell on my face because I'd gone into this smoking study
00:30:18with the hypothesis that you know formal meditation was going to help people quit smoking because yeah how to practice and the formal practices work correlated with outcomes but not nearly as strongly as the informal practices and as you pointed out you know this rain practice we modified rain
00:30:37a little bit so this is one I think that Michelle McDonald heads started up and then Tara Brock his wrists really brought to the fore you know this recognition are recognized I in a allow or accept direct knowledge I is investigating this is our curiosity comes in and
00:30:55then end which is typically described as non identification that could be a mouth full so we just went with the terrified entered the Burmese practices of noting practice you know no tightness tension burning clinching whatever you know whatever your your moment to moment experience is so here this
00:31:12was profound we were seeing we're following our data and we weren't identified too much with our hypotheses which is really critical for paying a scientist and I say that because I'm always so good at that was like a let's see what the data says wow I was totally
00:31:28wrong the formal practices don't drive the process as much as informal practices and of course it made sense afterwards this is this short moments many times piece it's like oh what's it like to be identified with the craving can I break that down can I recognize that can
00:31:45I allow it to be here can I turn toward it can I investigate what it feels like and can I note as it rises as it goes away who well all I can actually quit smoking all I can change my relationship to eating %HESITATION I can actually change
00:32:00my relationship to anxiety which is something that also fits within this habit Lou but is we're we're finding that even harder than working with eating for example you know ahead number of people that are so identified with anxiety there like one person said I feel like this is
00:32:17deeply etched in my bones so that not identification piece where they can wake up and see %HESITATION anxiety feels like this as compared to I am an anxious person there's not identification and in the recognizing and in the turning toward which is so counterintuitive you talk about targeting
00:32:39cravings lessons intoxication and this is another way of talking about disenchantment but in the looking and in the kind of looking that you're going to be talking a lot about in the book about curiosity the hold is lessened the grip weekends and I think you wrote this that
00:33:02beautiful Buddhist reward that that looking at in that way leads to calm to direct knowledge to self awakening to on binding yes talk about rewards I mean that's a pretty good road yeah you know it's really interesting if I were only allowed to have ever heard wine line
00:33:26as the suit does you know and I couldn't hear anything else it would be I'll paraphrase but basically when the British talked about exploring gratification yes and you know wasn't until explore gratification to it and that knowledge envision a rose or something like that so he's talking about
00:33:43reward any stalking about paying careful attention to the reward that comes from intoxication right were intoxicated with intoxication basically were like wow craving is great we're craving for more craving in fact when we allow ourselves when we investigate what that feels like craving feels pretty crappy but we
00:34:04have to wake up to that first and if we don't wake up to that we can't wake up to all of this other stuff that you're talking about the comms with the joy literally the joy of letting go the joy of being curious the joy of connecting with
00:34:20ourselves and others yes and it also makes me think of the word intoxication you talk a lot about misperceptions of where happiness lies you know we missed perceive happiness is excitement and in a sense what you're saying in this book is like you know how they say falls
00:34:41money this is don't follow the dopamine right well yes and it's it's kind of like follow the dopamine and see how much it is actually worth does like the bassline well I don't want to get caught up in that scheme and who knows maybe big finally with a
00:34:59gazillion dollars it's pretty volatile and so his are fickle mind I remember reading in I think it was inside out appendages book in this very life where he talks about we mistake excitement of the mind for happiness and I was blown away like %HESITATION that's it that's it
00:35:21that's it I still get goosebumps thinking about that because that's it you know we're so intoxicated you know the US of eyes in again somebody translated that is intoxicants yes yes we're intoxicated by art intoxication it's an endless loop if we don't wake up to it now one
00:35:44of the things that surprised me took me back mensa seems so of course is you're talking about flattery you know the addiction to flattery the addiction to talking and thinking about yourself you know in the political situation wherein it's particularly fascinating so again so you you're talking about
00:36:05that basically in regard to Facebook and you say that we use Facebook as a way of emotional regulation that the clear unambiguous feedback that we get from Facebook lakes is we get like a dopamine spritz with every beat been tweet and I'm putting that together with you right
00:36:29isn't underlying uncertainty and volatility of tomorrow this uncertainty volatility we live with every day that leads to addictions and so I was wondering if here's the rise of Facebook which is totally addictive and and I'm wondering if you think this is a particularly addictive time period it's a
00:36:52great question you know there was a documentary I think called the century of the self and so I think this actually started awhile ago and they think that documentary highlights Sigmund Freud's nephew were something who kind of really started as a marketing tool basically getting people to think
00:37:11about themselves more and to say Hey man once you buy this to make yourself stand out from the crowd you that wasn't always the case and so I think it started awhile ago but then the crown probably still around at that time of the Buddha sense of self
00:37:27but whenever I began it never had these tools these modern day tools now that can just just perpetuated and make it just explodes so for example I think of our cell phones is as these weapons of mass distraction because you know there's there's you to which really should
00:37:48be labeled me too because it's all about me and you know Twitter which is all about can my tweet go viral can I have the perfect tweet or cures the opportunity to in an unabashed should and even rewarded way talk about myself every time I get a like
00:38:03on the tweeted says do that again you know especially if we got these Russian troll bots that are that that %HESITATION liking certain tweets to make them more popular we've never had this technology before and it's just running rampant with our minds and saying you know who these
00:38:20are such evolutionarily young structures let's totally take advantage of these and look at what's happening whether it's you know whether it's political uncertainty or environmental uncertainty or social uncertainty in our brains hate uncertainty they're trying to make things a certain as possible and so anything they can do
00:38:40to cut a lock things in even if it's a completely false or fake thing where they called and got it now I got it now abridging gonna do that the disaster movies that we create in our minds and the disasters that we're literally creating for our poor planet
00:39:03yes Stanhope %HESITATION moving right along sorry but we but I just want to pause for one second yes we all feel this this is real and we all need to wake up to this yes okay yes fine but I just wanted to like this is important for all
00:39:26of us as a species as a caretaker for this beautiful planet and what I feel when you say that is like a wave of helplessness and I can see going any number of ways to block that feeling you know so it's a game block that feeling it's excruciating
00:39:46it is literally it is actually painful it can be and so let's can we unpacked a little bit unpacked so this is beautiful in the sense that we could wall ourselves off this is painful our brains as unpleasant make this go away and so we wall ourselves off
00:40:06because we don't I'm missing you or me but I'm just saying there's the propensity of the collective mind to say don't go there and that's based on self protection right right aisle I don't want to feel this well what if we get out of her own way what
00:40:23if there's no self to protect what happens then into you know move at times for me this is sitting in this moment and and just like we did a moment ago I felt this wave of tenderness and it's coming back up it's this this tender heartedness that says
00:40:47here this is thus we're all in this together vowed to me he is at least for myself how I feel compassion arising on on contrived from not worrying about me this moment yeah that's good thank you thank you to but that also fits with what we've been talking
00:41:08about you know this is when there's contraction when there's fear when there is anxiety that's the post you know if you want to link it to the brain that's the posts here sing like go going crazy when we noticed those is physical sensations and we don't close down
00:41:25we can connect with the emotion we can turn toward it we can connect with others we can connect with our world and were less likely to feel helpless yes were more likely to feel hopeful yes and bringing in curiosity what can I do for me that changes everything
00:41:42him and for me too I'm smiling because I love curiosities of their only one thing you know it and in terms of a practice that I were allowed to do I would say it would be curiosity that's a yes so here we are one thing I've learned made
00:41:58clear in your book is that disenchantment replaces forcing controlling trying too hard the other thing is what you're talking about is a process that curiosity driven rather than craving driven and you're offering curiosity as an alternative to self punishing to forcing and you talk in the book about
00:42:23how good curiosity feels but I think you're also offering a kind of a shift in a way to meditate that is centered on curiosity you're stressed compass and this is her you know of my my meditation teacher to be like a house that goodness he finally got this
00:42:43you know it's around you can think of it from many angles so let's just take quickly the Buddhist angle which is the seven factors of awakening in the on upon a sub to suit today they're described in a particular order they're not just okay memorize the seven things
00:42:58and go into them it's about bringing together you know mindfulness is the first factor and I think of this is like kinda rubbing two sticks together you rub the stick of mindfulness together with curiosity and they generate the heat for the fire so when we're curious about something
00:43:16we naturally have energy which %HESITATION that's actually the third factor of awakening very courageous energy we turned toward stuff and then suddenly we become enraptured or joyful however you want to translate to PT so there's you know they're these these factors that are kind of based on the
00:43:33conditions of the previous factors in six steps down the road we get concentrated and then seven steps to get economists to take that and then turn that into monetary psychology what we talk about we're talking about real work based learning think of that the minimum elements you need
00:43:49for a to set up a habit loop is a trigger a behavior and a reward if the trigger is stress and the behavior is to you know get anxious or to eat cupcakes or to smoke a cigarette and then we get that briefer leaf of whatever that temporary
00:44:04you know feeling a little bit better is what if we replaced so we get stressed trigger we replace the doing something with simply being with and curious about what's happening in our body and mind right now that in itself that quote unquote behavior which is really simply NO
00:44:23bringing awareness to has its own intrinsic reward because we don't have to go somewhere to get it it's here it's always available and it feels so much better to be curious then contracted in craving because curiosity well you tell me craving feels contracted out of curiosity fail energizing
00:44:43exciting alive this to me costly field widely expanded yes I dislike because returning toward we're not turning away its energy you write something I love with curiosity we step out of fear based reactive patterns and step into being and that's the shift that's magic and I have to
00:45:04say I wanna credit John Cabot stand for some wonderful discussions that he and I had around he give me some feedback on the book and just the way that he has really helped the world wake up to this being rather than doing so I just wanna give a
00:45:20deep bow to John for these wonderful conversations we've had around that and all that he's done for the world in bringing these practices into modern day medical societies through mindfulness based stress reduction so I just wanna give a shout out there for a moment I shot with you
00:45:37so I think we're sadly out of time I want to thank you so much for your time and your work and your energy and and your joy and the joy of talking to you and %HESITATION great success with the book I I hope everybody reads it thank you
00:45:53it's been wonderful talking with you thank you you've been listening to any gross in conversation which add brewer we love to hear your thoughts about the podcast write us at feedback at tricycle dot org tricycle toxins produced by Paul realist Argo studios in New York City I'm James
00:46:14Dean editor and publisher of tricycle the Buddhist review thank you for listening

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