"that kid's amygdala isn't firing"

Brian, modified 11 Months ago.

"that kid's amygdala isn't firing"

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
http://nautil.us/issue/39/sport/the-strange-brain-of-the-worlds-greatest-solo-climber

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hat do we think (or do we know?) we'd see in the scans of someone highly attained? Low amygdala firing, or normal but subject reports not suffering due to fear?
shargrol, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: "that kid's amygdala isn't firing"

Posts: 1575 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
If you read the article, this is about repeat exposure and conditioning. He was scared in the past so his brain wasn't always this way:

"Yet Honnold ended up scared, really scared, on Corrugation Corner. He clung to the big, friendly holds. “I overgripped the shit out of it,” he says. Obviously, though, he didn’t give up after that first experience. Instead, Honnold donned what he called “mental armor” and crossed the threshold of fear again and again. “For every hard pitch I’ve soloed I’ve probably soloed a hundred easy pitches,” he says.One by one, acts that had seemed outrageous to him began to seem not so crazy: soloing moves in which he hangs only by his fingers, for example, with his feet swinging in the open air, or, as he did in June on a notorious route called The Complete Scream, climbing ropeless up a pitch that he had never ascended before. In 12 years of free solos, Honnold has broken holds, had his feet slip, gotten off-route into unknown terrain, been surprised by animals like birds and ants, or just suffered “that fraying at the edges, you know, where you’ve just been up in the void too long.” But because he managed to deal with these problems, he gradually dampened his anxieties about them."


So this is basically the same sort of thing that consistent daily practice with wise use of retreat does --- except meditation doesn't work on high cliff exposures, it works on for subtle greed, aversion, and indifference.
Brian, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: "that kid's amygdala isn't firing"

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
Sure, but I don't necessarily believe his explanation. He may have related it exactly as it happened. But then it seems funny that his fellow climbers aren't the same way. They had the same need, but it just never struck them to don mental armor to the extent that their amygdalas demonstrably don't fire, like Honnold? Personally I think it's more likely that Honnold always had very low fear.

I guess what I'd like to zero in on is, is this amygdala test at least a partial test for enlightenment?
shargrol, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: "that kid's amygdala isn't firing"

Posts: 1575 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Basically you're asking, does "enlightenment convey fearlessness?"  I doubt it.

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/the-equanimity-models/
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Zachary, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: "that kid's amygdala isn't firing"

Posts: 199 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
Brian:
Sure, but I don't necessarily believe his explanation. He may have related it exactly as it happened. But then it seems funny that his fellow climbers aren't the same way. They had the same need, but it just never struck them to don mental armor to the extent that their amygdalas demonstrably don't fire, like Honnold? Personally I think it's more likely that Honnold always had very low fear.

I guess what I'd like to zero in on is, is this amygdala test at least a partial test for enlightenment?


I remember listening to Shinzen Young describe that as a result of his meditation training, and with the condition that he had a few days to prepare using intense concentration practice, he would be able to endure a week of 24/7 torture at the hands of a "professional torturer". However, he remarked that there would still be pain, immense pain at that, but no suffering. 

From this I take it to mean that an enlightened physical body will continue to do what ordinary physical bodies do, namely producing fear, pain, etc.

A practitioner with strong concentration abilities may be able to enter deep states that allow them to endure, dissociate from or transmute otherwise unendurable sensate experiences. A practitioner with strong morality chops may be able to live in a way that gradually funnels them towards less and less situations that produce pain and fear. A practitioner with strong wisdom may have deep insight into the three characteristics of sensate experience that makes it a whole lot easier to deal with difficult sensations. Yet the total removal of pain and fear does not seem to be a persisting feature of enlightenment. 

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