“Self” is a suffering machine. The default brain mode is evaluation.
Farb, Toronto, 2007: Brain scans of experienced meditators found that the default mode was deactivated. The thalamus (sensory information and consciousness), insula (experience) and lateral prefrontal cortex (attention) were all activated.
Grant, 2011: Experienced Zen practitioners could withstand greater physical (heat) pain than non-practitioners.
Zeidan, Wake Forest, 2011: Brand new meditators exhibited avoidance of pain rather than direct, aware experience.
Taylor, 2011: Brand new meditators ignored or subliminated their emotional responses when triggered.
Farb, 2010: After eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, new meditators who suffered from depression were shown heartbreakingly sad film clips. During and after the screening, they displayed presence with their emotions but were not overwhelmed by them.
+ openness to sadness = - depression