Shinzen Young

Total Eclipse of Internal Interference

Total Eclipse of Internal Interference

The real magic happens when we become intimately familiar with the moment-by-moment experience of being alive. Instead of trying to force complete experiences to happen. I focus on setting the stage for them to happen by exercising my attention. 

When remembering to notice that we're alive becomes a habit, we begin to erode the internal friction that obscures our view of the richness we're swimming in every day.

Why Meditate?

Why Meditate?

"Why meditate? As you suffer less, are more fulfilled, as you understand who you are, and as you have a handle on changing how you carry yourself, all of that sums up ultimately in how you contribute to making this world a better place." 

~ Shinzen Young

The Threads of the Ego Experience Pulled Free

"Due to its nature as a construction, rather than as a metaphysical entity, the sense of being an ego can be radically deconstructed. Accomplishing this deconstruction requires noticing and tracking the sensory phenomena that together make up the construction of the self, and then patiently untangling them from the whole. One by one, as the threads of the ego experience are pulled free, perception shifts to encompass all of creation."

~ Michael Taft, highlighting key themes from his talk "Deconstructing The Perception Of The Ego/self" at the Science and Nonduality Conference, October 26, 2013

See also: The Atomic Components of Narrative Elements

Getting a Better Night's Sleep Paradigm

Excerpt from "Help for Insomnia: Yet Another use for Mindfulness," by Shinzen Young, August, 8, 2013:

Insomnia by Tony HuynhDifficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is a very common complaint. Mindfulness can help but one must first radically revision the nature of the problem.

People tend to get into a negative feedback loop with insomnia: Not getting to sleep leads to worry, leads to further difficulty sleeping, leads to more worry, leads to...

What to do?

One possibility is to start thinking about the night in a different way. This is a conceptual reframing, a profoundly different paradigm regarding the issue of sleep.

The normal paradigm is:

"I have to get a good night's sleep or I'll be a mess tomorrow."

The new paradigm is:

"If I get a good night's rest, I'll be fine tomorrow."

Amazingly, it's possible to get a good night's rest without necessarily sleeping much or at all. 

Learn more...

Able to Live in Two Worlds


Excerpt from The Science of Enlightenment(Session 9) by Shinzen Young

Freedom means the ability to have a complete experience when it's appropriate to.

Human beings are in some ways intended to be amphibians. We are intended by nature to be able to live in two worlds, to go back and forth between those worlds.

A frog is very happy because he is a creature of two worlds. When it's appropriate to be on dry land, it's completely comfortable on dry land. When it's appropriate to be in the water, it's completely comfortable in the water. It can go back and forth any time it wants, as frequently as it wants. And if it gets tired of the water, it can go to dry land. If it gets tired of dry land, it can go to water. There's no impedence in its freedom to traverse back and forth between two realms.

We human beings were also meant to be that way. To be able to go under the water of oneness, into the world of fluidity and connectivity. And then to come out into the solidity and aridity of dry land, for certain kinds of functions.

But the problem is, we forgot how to get back into the water and now we're stuck in the solid, arid, terrestrial zone. We have no way to refresh ourselves. We have no other perspective on things. And we can't really even appreciate the solidity and the aridity of the land because we have nothing to contrast it to.  

A liberated person is like the frog—they are able to appreciate the congealed world of separateness and individual self in an entirely different way because they have the option of going into the fluid, connected world of complete experience any time they want. 

To Get Back There

To Get Back There

"It is probably the case that our very ancient ancestors—before the arising of civilization, when we were still in a tribal state—lived an awful lot of their lives in a meditative state just naturally. 

And then, with the arising of civilization, that becomes lost and it's necessary to create conceptual frameworks and specific practice techniques to get back there."

~ Shinzen Young 

Prime Real Estate

"Where I'm staying now in Pacific Palisades, California, when I look out the window I can see the pacific ocean. And in California this kind of property is very expensive. Why? Well, at a deep level I think it is because you are paying to be able to, at anytime you want, go out on your veranda and have your sensory experience literallyliterallyinundated by the flow of nature. Now, a person who [practices] these [mindfulness] techniques is able to have that prime real estate available 24/7, wherever they may be. Because they are on vacation in the flow of their own senses, even if they are driving in rush-hour traffic on the freeway, they are still in the same state of flow as the clouds and the rivers. And that is the payoff for doing this work. " 

Shinzen Young

Balance in Nature

Shinzen Young, in reponse to a Brain Pickings post on seventeen historically significant mathematical equations:

Just for the record, here's my all-time favorite equation:

First, let me admit that the way I just wrote it involves some abuse of notation. Properly, it should be written this way:


But I think the former form is justified for the visual effect.

To the eye, it seems to equate two closed curves that have symmetry: A regular triangle, with 3-fold rotational symmetry (the minimum possible) and the circle with infinite rotational symmetry (the maximum possible).

But as a mathematical formula, it represents the "generalized Laplacian equation."

This equation is one of the broadest statements of balance in nature. Phenomena as different as three-dimensional thermodynamic equilibrium and four-dimensional relativistic motion can be described by this equation.

To me, it's a reminder that "mutually-canceling polarities" play a fundamental role both in the physical world as described abstractly by scientists and in the spiritual world as described concretely by mystics. 

See also:


You're Still Mindful

“When does your thought about the past or future arise? It arises in the present moment. And if in the present moment, you know you’re thinking about the past or future, you’re still mindful.” 

~ Shinzen Young, from a public talk to the Harvard Medical School community at the Cognitive-Affecitve & Contemplative Neuroscience Laboratory