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My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 3159 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
This was from an email I just sent off to some of my science/meditator/geek friends and I thought I would share it here also. I added just a few more titles to this version:

You know what I think the world needs?

A scientific, peer-reviewed journal in which we could totally meditation geek out instead of having to tip toe around things: a journal that would meet us at the level where things already are rather than, well, how to put it nicely?

Imagine the Visuddhimagga meets Nature, that sort of thing, a place where the terminology and lingo were alright and yet science could proceed and describe things with the technical meditation jargon that people already use in high level practice. Imagine the titles:

"The Effects of Deep 4th Samatha Jhana on Cortisol Levels, CRPs and Sed Rates"

"Electrophysiology of the A&P Event Measured At Last"

"SSRI's and the Dukkha Ñanas: do they help or harm?"

"Panoramic Perspectives of the Higher Paths and Emotional Resilience: how strong is the correlation?"

"ADHD Medications During the A&P: is there an increased risk of manic episodes?"

"Five Techniques for Navigating the Dark Night on Retreat Face Off: a randomized, controlled trial."

"EEG findings in Nirodha Samapatti"

"Candle Flame Kasina Meditation in Epileptics: A Bad Idea?"

"Can Neuroimaging Techniques Distinguish Between Fruitions and Other Unknowing Events?"

"Do Mood Stabilizers Alter Post-Path Cycling?"

"Custom-Tailored Techniques and Teachings Based on the Meyers-Briggs vs Standard Techniques and Teachings: Do They Make Better Progress?"

"Re-Observation-Induced Psychosis Treatment: 4 Modalities Compared"

"REM Sleep and Meditation Stages: The Sleep Lab Moves to a Retreat Center"

"Do Increased Serum Ketones from Skipping Dinner Improve Concentration? A Randomized Controlled Trial"

"Spasmotic Torticollis in Non-Meditators Presenting to a Community Emergency Department: does the A&P follow? A Longitudinal Study."

"The Genetic Basis of Natural Jhanic Ability"

"Does a Family History of Schizophrenia Correlate with Meditative Ability? A Case-Control Study"

"Do OBEs Cause Transient Cognitive Deficits?"

"Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, and 3rd Ñana: Which Helps it More?"

"The Perception of Physical Pain in the Three Characteristics vs the A&P, A Study of Substance-P and Endorphin Levels"

"Caffeine Intake and The Progress of Insight: Does It Make a Difference?"

"What Percentage of Non-Meditators with Depression can Identify a Clear A&P Event?"

and the follow up study:

"Do Non-Meditators with Depression who can Identify a Spontaneous A&P Event Respond to Vipassana-based Interventions?"

Just dreaming...

Maybe we should start it...

Hope you all are well,

Daniel
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Yes, I do think it's time for this, to get specific about physiological data about how what we're thinking or what the mind is doing affects and can be tracked in the brain and the body. For example, I am keen to know what is happening in muscle tissue and brain when long sits in jhana result in effortless arising, no limbs asleep; they are somehow fluid and fine.

It would be useful in the short- and long-term to keep a Cochrane review standard in mind.
Rod C, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 88 Join Date: 11/19/12 Recent Posts
HI Daniel,

I think its a great idea and very much needed. There are a bunch of things that could be done to develop mainstream interest and acceptance of these areas of investigation opening up an area that is probably quite prevalent in many people's everyday experience but either diagnosed as something else (within the limitations of conventional scientific knowledge at the moment) or just lived and suffered with. As a peer reviewed journal, it would assume that someone is actually doing some of this work - so I presume it might lead to aligning or incorporating such work into one or some university faculties' research areas? I know there is some work going on already but not aware of it to the extent your suggested topics indicate. Being a medical doctor you would know alot more about that than I. A great dream to start.....any rich benefactors/philanthropists around?

Regards
Rod
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Joshua .., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 86 Join Date: 9/28/12 Recent Posts
It looks like jhana and enlightenment are reduced to "oh look, he can manually alter his blood pressure, what strenuous training he must have had" or "a tiny bit of this advanced practitioners brain is slightly altered from the norm, I guess enlightenment is real". I imagine they would always miss the point, from my perspective, of enlightenment.

The science magazines I have read are awful, in the sense of "blah blah blah genetics blah blah chromosome blah blah validate bourgeoisie life style". Every article as scientific and laboratory tested as it may be only end up serving articles which strengthen social conditioning. Maybe if everybody had an enlightened view then we could have everything, but it is not so.

I think scientific progress is cool no doubt, but i cant imagine it mixing naturally with enlightenment. Surely there comes a point where only a highly enlightened scientist could even conceptually imagine models that may apply.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Joshua,

For me, it is not about changing blood pressure tricks (though I had a great EMS teacher who could do that and it was useful during practical tests).

Probably twenty years ago Bill Moyer's "Healing and the Mind" book was printed. It definitely moved me. I love to see today that major institutions are studying mind-body more and more; that it is mainstream now. The study that impressed me the most in Bill Moyer's book was that of patients with metastatic breast cancer doubling their life expectancy with just weekly group therapy, basically talking about their situation together.

So what I like in this idea and attempts happing now are the a) human benefits and also b) removing animals from the lab and inhumane conditions which affect human and animals; I would like to know that in the coming years such companies, like many industries, modernize their product away from abuse of sentient beings in order to stay in business.
Lara D, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 55 Join Date: 1/29/13 Recent Posts
I approve of all of this. Haha. I read a lot of scientific papers as per my research. There's a lot out there now about meditation and its health benefits or meditation as a possible therapy for ADHD and others. It would be cool to see it get taken a step further. It's very experiential, true, but with fMRI and other techniques, it shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

Starting a journal isn't impossible, especially nowadays. I remember reading about some guy who couldn't get his work published so he made his own journal. There are tons of internet journals out there, too. Check out PLOS One sometime.

What you'd need, though, is funding (and lots of it) and the ability to hire or recruit credible experts of the field, most likely a mix of meditation practitioners and healthcare professionals.

If this idea really hasn't seen any use by the time I get to medical school and beyond and I suddenly find myself with a lot of money, maybe I can try starting something. emoticon
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Lara,
Good luck with your studies!

What you'd need, though, is funding (and lots of it) and the ability to hire or recruit credible experts of the field, most likely a mix of meditation practitioners and healthcare professionals.
Well, one step at a time. A good idea and good planning precede funding usually. I take long, patient view on this project, but there's certainly an impressive momentum in many religious/methodological traditions to wick up that which is excellent, prosocial, and enjoyable in "the human condition".

I am glad Daniel has put this out there; there's a track-record for practical applicability, fostering a self-policing open-source community and critical transparency, as well as not taking form too seriously (meaning: he can understand, listen and speak practically across various traditions and studies). So, for me, that's a strong ember to start with.
Lara D, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 55 Join Date: 1/29/13 Recent Posts
katy steger:
Hi Lara,
Good luck with your studies!

What you'd need, though, is funding (and lots of it) and the ability to hire or recruit credible experts of the field, most likely a mix of meditation practitioners and healthcare professionals.
Well, one step at a time. A good idea and good planning precede funding usually. I take long, patient view on this project, but there's certainly an impressive momentum in many religious/methodological traditions to wick up that which is excellent, prosocial, and enjoyable in "the human condition".

I am glad Daniel has put this out there; there's a track-record for practical applicability, fostering a self-policing open-source community and critical transparency, as well as not taking form too seriously (meaning: he can understand, listen and speak practically across various traditions and studies). So, for me, that's a strong ember to start with.


Right, it all starts with a good proposal. Finding funds and support will be the difficult part. It's a little bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Proposals by folks that are already well established and/or have a good track record are more likely to get funded. But since this is a comparatively new field for scientific inquiry, it'll take comparatively more time and effort to establish legitimacy and to get things set in motion. I do think it's possible, though, given enough time.

I sincerely hope I do see a project like this come to fruition in my lifetime. emoticon
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Alan Smithee, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
This kind of project is totally and completely necessary. I just got back from a 3-day Goenka retreat, and on the final day we all got to talking and there was no consensus regarding anything, basically. The mundane mechanics of what happens to the mind phenomenologically during various types of practice was mixed with the mystical and mythological and the obscurantist. I couldn't even get folks to agree that it is at all possible or reasonable to even TRY to define what ANY kind of enlightenment experience might be, what it can be characterized by, etc. I got the guy quoting the Tao Te Ching to me: The Tao which can be named is not the real Tao, etc. Mass confusion all around. I also had the scientist guy stating that the idea of stages of insight is dubious, because, if there were clearly definable and recognizable stages, why aren't there scientific journals writing about them?

The time has come for this project.

Too bad I'm not a scientist, but an English major. Perhaps I could write a haiku on the subject?
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Simon T., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Imagine that an Arahant with decent knowledge of physic do a lecture to a class of physicists. It's start with very fundamental stuff, maybe some quantum mechanic there, related to non-duality, recall what happen why light meet an object, reflect into the eyes, get processed. etc... en then consciousness!!! He goes on this theme, maybe asking the audience to do simple tricks to see how the mind process only one sensory input at a time, etc etc. He end up showing logically that duality can never be more than an illusion.

He then process to explain that this sense of duality is gone in him and they can achieve the same. Now, they are forced to admits (they are logical people...) that they are living an illusion.

The problem with the Buddhist/Indian philosophy is that it found itself trap in psychology and study of religion. Those ideas belong to science and the target audience for the Dharma is naturally scientifically-minded people. People interested in eliminating bias from their work. And the self is the ultimate bias.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hello Simon T!

The problem with the Buddhist/Indian philosophy is that it found itself trap in psychology and study of religion. Those ideas belong to science and the target audience for the Dharma is naturally scientifically-minded people. People interested in eliminating bias from their work. And the self is the ultimate bias.
Religion and secular studies (like the sciences) are exposed equally to the same operator (human) flaws: power plays, possessiveness, conceit and so forth.

Social study and religion can be excellent frames, too. For example, much study of mind has been preserved through thousands of years due to religious framework and devout/studious persons in the major traditions. Sometimes the higher standard of preserving information without the corrosive of conceit is held by members of religious traditions and sometimes the higher standard is held by those in the secular body -- and many, many people find themselves open to all camps, because simply in acknowledging "not knowing everything" and respecting the variety of ways of study and awe.

The concerns I have for this project are two and they regard form:
1) Conceit in regards to form:
[indent]Form can be taken possessively and conceitedly by each party (e.g., the parable of the six blindfolded persons touching different areas of an elephant). I think the antidote is a conviction in sincere respect, the Golden Rule in several traditions. Continually protecting against this natural human trait --- conceit and superiority --- would be key for a credible, motivating investigative journal.

For seeing how research in multiple forms (such as as theistic prayer and buddhist meditation) are being shared openly, one can follow research presented by the Mind and Life Institute each year.[/indent]

2) Reification of forms:
[indent] tai chi, musical training, race-care driving, etc --- many forms are studying a similar personal experience: the mind and body changing as they each become more skilled in a particular practice, approaching what has been called "flow" in a modern secular parlance --- something that often has gradients of ineffability and "beyond my doing" to it. [/indent]

Both points are helped by the machinery of evolving scientific forms, even if they cannot measure too accurately just what's happening --- just as the Greeks worked with electricity very differently in comparison to our use of what is still a largely unknown phenomena today. In meditation studies, I think it very likely that practitioners from various traditions and practices will have similar MRI results, for example, or similar changes to markers of inflammation. It may be that theistic prayer/faith and jhana are producing a similar anti-inflammatory response and that those with certain fMRI results are really nice people to be around and that their respective forms are not predictors of their prosocial awesomeness.

Anyway, a project like this can have a long, useful life. The last decade of open-source has taught so much about keeping an open mind and working across forms, changing forms.
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James Yen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 4 Join Date: 2/18/13 Recent Posts
Exactly how would any of this benefit anybody at all.

Forgive me but I feel very strongly that nearly everyone here has their head up their ass, everyone here is seeking to escape some sort of daily life issue by practicing meditation, which would be better served by actually confronting that issue.

Furthermore I see a lot of interest in states or stages or mapping or mental warpholes, without a solid foundation in anything wholesome.

Without practicing precepts, morality, without the correct perspective, motivation, or whatever, it is not possible that crawling deeper into this rabbit hole of the mind would bring you any benefit whatsoever.

As such my diagnosis of this entire forum is really quite simple:

You have skipped steps, you have taken up advanced practices without first mastering the basics, you have sought to build a house without first laying a foundation.

Mentally labeling or noting various phenomena, while in contracted, scattered, or remorseful, worried, depressed or whatever state, will bring you no happiness.
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Nikolai ., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
James Yen was previously banned from the DhO (a number of times already), but due to some software mechanism on this forum, his handle was automatically unbanned after a couple of months. He has been re-banned again as the original intention of the moderators was to ban him for good.

Edit: And just for data, I was quite anal about and dedicated to upholding the precepts for many, many years. Though not anal anymore, I notice a natural inclination in behaviour that tends not to break them naturally. I just don't talk about it as i think it is a given that those who attend to discernment of the field of experience will see that certain behaviours of their own will lead to an unbalanced, unruly and not so malleable and pliant mind, and those serious about progress will attend to such behaviours in order for the mind to be malleable, pliant and fit for discernment. Wild generalisations on the lack of moral behaviour of everyone here are just that, wild generalizations. Though perhaps they are based on a lack of talking about such things here openly. But it does not mean there aren't yogis here who regulate their behaviour in order to develop such conducive pliant and malleable mind.

Nick (mod)
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Simon E, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 241 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
He has been re-banned again as the original intention of the moderators was to ban him for good.


Thank you.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Nikolai .:
James Yen was previously banned from the DhO (a number of times already), but due to some software mechanism on this forum, his handle was automatically unbanned after a couple of months. He has been re-banned again as the original intention of the moderators was to ban him for good.

That wouldn't have mattered in this case. He just made a new handle. Nothing stops him from making a new handle every few weeks and posting again.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 706 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Nikolai .:
James Yen was previously banned from the DhO (a number of times already), but due to some software mechanism on this forum, his handle was automatically unbanned after a couple of months. He has been re-banned again as the original intention of the moderators was to ban him for good.

That wouldn't have mattered in this case. He just made a new handle. Nothing stops him from making a new handle every few weeks and posting again.


Might I suggest rather than leave JY's posts, which give him the attention he craves (under whatever name he uses, he's easy enough to spot), they are simply removed without explanation? There is no need for any justification. This will undoubtably help keep US from giving him this undue, unhelpful (to him) attention...

Now look, i've derailed the thread further! See what I mean? emoticon

Edited - 'cos i can't write..
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 706 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Katy:
Yes, I do think it's time for this, to get specific about physiological data about how what we're thinking or what the mind is doing affects and can be tracked in the brain and the body. For example, I am keen to know what is happening in muscle tissue and brain when long sits in jhana result in effortless arising, no limbs asleep; they are somehow fluid and fine.


+1 for that. I'd like to see further what effect the dukkha nanas have on muscle tension and other "pain" factors.

Re funding --i'd take the agile programming path and just get a version out there online with one article in the quickest, cheapest way possible and make it better bit by bit. Else it'll be just another great idea...
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Jeff Grove, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 310 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
what about an online community based magazine made up of articles submitted by practitioners. It could start up as a quartily so there would be plenty of time to arrange content and could have a broad scope across the sciences, arts, philosphy, sports, traditons, health, cooking etc anything thats meditation related that people feel inspired to write about.
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Eric G, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 132 Join Date: 5/6/10 Recent Posts
I've imagined research, but never a specific journal. That would be cool. But I feel like we need to get our sample size up.

How cool would it be to get some hardcore beginners working with teachers and monitor their progress with fMRI or whatever thru the nanas, jhanas and paths. Kind of a hardcore vipassana project a la Wallace's samatha project.
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tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Howdy,
of course the idea is excellent and there is no time like the present...if that! :-)

many of the posts mention several hurdles right up front (funding etc.) i consider the idea of a science based peer review based journal excellent and long overdue.

funding, experts, boundaries of discussion...these are questions of implementation not of concept. there are MANY MANY MANY experts in various fields just waiting to weigh in on these "border jumping" themes.

one can see the "Nature" model as an admirable goal but one could also imagine many organic steps on that path for example the "open Software" concept where money is not the greatest concern. it is driven forward by passionate (and compassionate) people who are happy to contribute. there are lots of em.

daniels' provocative title suggestions are just a drop in the bucket compared to the possible avenues of interest / research review.

i hereby nominate the following people as the first peer review board:

daniel ingram
amit goswami
willoughby britton
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Bruno Loff, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Go for it, I might submit something to it sometime. I am finishing my PhD in math/computer science, but I thought I would shift into this area instead, as it is more attuned to my current interests.

I think this is the natural direction that pragmatic dharma leans to.

I'm not really in the field just yet, but I hereby step forward and volunteer for technical support in setting up an open access journal (which would require reading about it, and use some sort of freely-available software).

One thing that I think would get the field started is something along the lines of your "mind training terms," where phenomena that arise during mind training would be catalogued. Once that exists and is extensive and established and high-quality, you can do all sorts of interesting, measurable stuff, such as:

"Frequency of <phenomenon category XXX> in 10-20 day insight retreats, a comparison of Mahasi-style noting vs Goenka-style body scanning," could be carried out by simple daily or twice-daily questionares, or

"A methodology to bring about <meditative state XYZ>" could be described using a decision tree of some kind ("if practitioner reports that he still can not stay with the breath, then he can proceed by bla bla bla; if practitioner experiences <phenomenon ZZZ>, he should direct the mind thus: ..."

That kind of thing, which if done carefully and rigorously can be really deep and have real impact in practices, but doesn't even need fancy equipment like EEGs and fMRIs.

The major setback to this kind of thing that I can see is getting the data. In order to do these studies you need access to A LOT of practitioners, and practitioners that do specific practices in controlled settings with people who know what they are doing. In order to have such a setting you need (1) people who are highly trained and know what they are doing and are being paid to do it, and (2) people who are willing to meditate their ass off. This requires funding, and volunteers.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 3159 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Nice that so many people are interested in this, albeit in a very small, select community... ;)

A few more titles while they are in my brain:

"Re-Observation Restlessness and Restless Leg Syndrome: A Final Common Pathway?"

and the follow-up:

"Ropinirole (Requip) as a therapy for Re-Observation Induced Restlessness, A Randomized Controlled Trail"

and along the same lines:

"Pathways of Cogwheel Tremor in Parkinson's and Cause and Effect Compared: The Substantia Nigra and The Dopamine Connection"

"Altered Dopaminergic Receptor Response in the Third Ñana"

And some others more substance related:

"The Dark Night and Endorphin Withdrawal"

"A Comparison of the A&P Events of those on and off Entheogens and Implications for Practice"

"Entheogen Induced A&P Events: Does it Matter if it Happened While High? A Long-term Longitudinal Study"

"Benzodiazepines in the Dark Night: Do they Help or Harm?" (similar to one of those above)

And a topic much debated that just needs a scientific answer:

"Do Self-Induced Orgasms on Retreat Interfere with Progress? A Randomized, Controlled Trial"

So many questions! So much fun to be had for a researcher!
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tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:

And a topic much debated that just needs a scientific answer:

"Do Self-Induced Orgasms on Retreat Interfere with Progress? A Randomized, Controlled Trial"

So many questions! So much fun to be had for a researcher!


This has been definitively answered by myself. YES!
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
tom moylan:
Daniel M. Ingram:

And a topic much debated that just needs a scientific answer:

"Do Self-Induced Orgasms on Retreat Interfere with Progress? A Randomized, Controlled Trial"

So many questions! So much fun to be had for a researcher!


This has been definitively answered by myself. YES!
How? Would you elaborate? This is something I was wondering regarding upcoming retreats.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1311 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
J C:
tom moylan:
Daniel M. Ingram:

And a topic much debated that just needs a scientific answer:

"Do Self-Induced Orgasms on Retreat Interfere with Progress? A Randomized, Controlled Trial"

So many questions! So much fun to be had for a researcher!


This has been definitively answered by myself. YES!
How? Would you elaborate? This is something I was wondering regarding upcoming retreats.
There are threads about this already - http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5292599?_19_threadView=tree

Search google ---> site:http://www.dharmaoverground.org masturbation retreat
J C, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 644 Join Date: 4/24/13 Recent Posts
Thanks for the link! I've read some threads on that subject, but Tom said he had answered the question "definitively" and I was curious about that.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
"Re-Observation Restlessness and Restless Leg Syndrome: A Final Common Pathway?"
"Pathways of Cogwheel Tremor in Parkinson's and Cause and Effect Compared: The Substantia Nigra and The Dopamine Connection"
Wow, I realized how intellectual my take on this was until I read these two. Yeah, I would personally love to see people have such studies and avenues of relief.

So to follow up on what everyone is saying about quality: it's well known pharma spends a lot of money on R&D and FDA approval cycles and re-patenting cycles as well as hiring medical doctors to transfer into new products a sense of historical and professional medical credibility. So if research on the meditation side is not well formed and well scrutinized (again, Cochrane-style), there are always interests that would benefit from easily punching holes in it.

There may also be collaborative aspects as well: does the efficacy of leva-dopa improve xyz over x-days of treating re-observation with...



Daniel, do you see yourself writing something like a diagnostic desk reference and key-outs in order that there be some standard by which a mental state is map-isolated and then meditatively treated? I am reminded of the very lengthy and detailed Lam Rim Chenmo by Tsongkapa.
super fox, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 36 Join Date: 2/9/11 Recent Posts
While I like the spirit of the project, I have concerns over the "scientific" nature of this.

First, it seems that this project is largely focused on examining the various insight stages that arise in the progress of insight. Where is the hard data coming out of an fMRI machine or EEG or some other device showing distinctly different states can be identified compared to various baselines (I'm not sure what the various basic controls would be... sleeping? basic waking/conversing? etc).

I'm not saying I don't think there is serious merit to the progress of insight model (as I'm slowly becoming convinced through my own meditation practice that the technical aspects of the stages as described in MCTB seem to present themselves without scripting... as opposed to a few months ago when I could divide progress vaguely into pre-A&P, A&P, dukkha nanas and then EQ) - however, to push this into a more formal setup, I'd like to see data coming off machines that show that these states are somehow objectively measurable, otherwise my scientist friends will just say we're all scripting our experiences.

This assumes that the current measurement devices/machines we have are capable of measuring brain activity with enough precision... the reality may be that we simply have to wait a few more years for better instrumentation to be developed.

Once there is enough data showing that the insight stages are an objectively verifiable phenomenon that occurs, then it's possible to pursue work such as: "Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, and 3rd Ñana: Which Helps it More?" (you have to first convincingly demonstrate the objectively measurable state of 3rd Nana)

I would be curious to hear how Daniel and others would structure the initial groundwork experiments that objectively measure the insight stages. What types of measurement instruments would you use?*** What are your controls? How will you structure the experimental trials? If you're serious about this, lets turn this conversation towards serious details. I'll gladly spending my evenings helping with the data analysis and statistics (I'm from a CS/Math background).

*** It looks to me like EEG and MEG are the way to go for measuring A&P and Fruition events (high time-resolution)? I imagine getting time with those setups or purchasing them is much more doable than fMRI machine time...

PS: I would also be interested in seeing similar data for jhanas at various levels of "hardness" to see the correlation in the data between the insight stages and the jhanas...
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Pablo . P, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 379 Join Date: 3/21/12 Recent Posts
super fox:
Once there is enough data showing that the insight stages are an objectively verifiable phenomenon that occurs, then it's possible to pursue work such as: "Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, and 3rd Ñana: Which Helps it More?" (you have to first convincingly demonstrate the objectively measurable state of 3rd Nana)


Regarding Tai Chi at least, you don't need an fMRI machine or EEG to track symptoms. Have a look at the chart below on Zhan Zhuang (standing postures like "Primordial Void Posture" of Yiquan), a practice that have as a goal to deactive conscious control of muscles and "active the backup nervous system" (that's how it's presented), that is "switching from mobilizing to stabilising muscles". Actually, it's not that difficult to map in this ZZ practice the 1-4 ñanas, and then a general DÑ + EQ. Spontaneous thoughts are generally kept at bay as this is an active visualization practice too. Off the record, practitioners may comment on A&P and other High EQ experiences (not my experience), but in Taoism and martial circles that's kept as secret advanced practices.


.
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Bruno Loff, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
super fox:
*** It looks to me like EEG and MEG are the way to go for measuring A&P and Fruition events (high time-resolution)? I imagine getting time with those setups or purchasing them is much more doable than fMRI machine time...


Coincidentally, I just got myself an EMOTIV headset. My goal is to replicate the results in the following paper: Lost in thoughts: neural markers of low alertness during mind wandering.

Maybe the DhO could decide to do some research as a group... if each of us buys a device like this, with some suitable software we could get those measurements across the internet.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Maybe the DhO could decide to do some research as a group...

Well, I've thinking about this this week and just thinking about disregarding any journal structure at the moment: that structure adds can easily add a hardened tone that defies curiosity and fun and exploration, i.e, buying into "publish or perish" model when there is no need here for that.

So a playful way to start this would be something like Sugata Mitra's SOLE or problem-based learning.

Say, a question is posed to a group of people who joined the group for their interest in the question.
For example, a webpage is opened: www.does4jhanareduceparkinsonsfreeze.com
See who responds and how over each month for one year.
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katy steger, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Here is a new technology from MIT that uses amplified motion and color in video to detect and monitor changes in the body: http://nyti.ms/13kFiyv

Star Trek diagnostics emoticon

Apparently, they've made the source code open for all to use... http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/amplifying-invisible-video-0622.html
Lara D, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Wow! That's really neat emoticon Thanks for sharing!
Change A., modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 797 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
katy steger:
Here is a new technology from MIT that uses amplified motion and color in video to detect and monitor changes in the body: http://nyti.ms/13kFiyv

Star Trek diagnostics emoticon

Apparently, they've made the source code open for all to use... http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/amplifying-invisible-video-0622.html


Interesting stuff.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 3159 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
one recently on my mind "The effects of febrile illnesses on meditative ability"
anti anti camper, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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In theory, this is an excellent, exciting idea. In practice, there are significant scientific hurdles. The quality and rigor of scientific publication is, like our other institutions, in crisis and in biomedicine it is near tragic. There are some estimates that up to 50% of neuroscientifiic publications have significant or even critical statistical errors in the data analysis. This is consistent with my own limited observations during a brief foray into the analysis of fMRI and EEG data. I have not examined the literature dealing with studies of meditation but John Horgan recently wrote this critical piece in Scientific American:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/03/08/research-has-not-shown-that-meditation-beats-a-placebo/

I'm convinced that some of the research is rock solid (e.g. Alan Wallace collaborates with high quality scientists) and I'm also convinced this is VERY much worth doing. But don't underestimate the difficulty. Phenomenological studies would be equally as valuable (or more) but involve their own unique problems.

aac
Some Guy, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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I think it's a great idea, especially if helmed by able practitioners in both meditation and research.

A psychologist recently told me, "mindfulness is taking over" the field of psychology. What interests me in the connection between science and meditation is the question of how such effective technology (meditation) was founded in a pre-scientific world. What are the epistemological ramifications? How long would it have taken science to invent Vipassana if it hadn't been invented already? Does it point to a way of knowing that is outside of scientific methodology? These are more philosophical questions than scientific per se. But maybe there is a niche in there for someone with skill in both meditation and philosophical inquiry.
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Steph S, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Anatta and mental imagery (e.g. visual mental images and auditory mental images) - An investigation of the ways mental imagery can contribute to a sense of "self" or an "inner world" before anatta realization and the ways mental imagery manifests after anatta realization. This could shed some light on the mystery of how mental imagery works, what networks its connected to/where it actually happens, and what its function is.
Ivo B, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Great idea.

Personally in such a magazine Id love to see a section dealing with theory of everything. Physics, consciousness, meditation correlation...
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Shane Lindsay, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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I started to wonder if any of this kind of research actually existed.

This sounds like one of your titles
"EEG Power and Coherence Analysis of an Expert Meditator in the
Eight Jhanas"
http://www.wisebrain.org/EEGofJhanas.pdf

On the whole though it looks like there is very little on vipassana style meditation and sub-states within it

This paper review some of the few studies
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2009.0362

This person has some papers:
http://www.labome.org/expert/cahn/b-rael-cahn-1402034.html

I found some interesting articles comparing different practices (which included some summary of research on vipassana):

http://www.pmalinowski.de/downloads/chiesa%26malinowski2011.pdf
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12671-010-0016-3?LI=true#page-2
9

But such a journal does actually (kinda) exist - due to the explosion in mindfullness research a new journal was created in 2010 called Mindfulness.
http://www.springer.com/psychology/cognitive+psychology/journal/12671

If you check out the titles of papers some aren't massively removed from what you were suggesting. Here is one of interest:

Meditation-Induced Changes in Perception: An Interview Study with Expert Meditators (Sotapannas) in Burma

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-012-0173-7
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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"Do Increased Serum Ketones from Skipping Dinner Improve Concentration? A Randomized Controlled Trial"

My guess is that it would be due to ghrelin increase.
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Jen Pearly, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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This journal idea is a fantastic one, sorely needed--and it has crossed my mind a couple of times too (I'm a science editor of peer-reviewed journals). I'd love to be a developmental editor for something like this.
Elijah Smith, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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As a starting point, I think the mindfulness literature should put a lot more emphasis on looking at the comparisons between different techniques in terms of changes in brain states, treatment of conditions, etc., and a lot more emphasis on looking at the progress of more advanced meditators. From what I've seen, it seems to be obssessed with evaluating the effects of 8 week MBSR courses on (fill in the blank: anxiety, depression, test scores, OCD, compassion, flu, etc.). The problem is the first 8 weeks are often a honeymoon period and tell you very little about what to expect down the road.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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The degree to which some of the more skilled practitioners that we find in some of the better online fora are not being studied by scientists is freakish. How is this stuff not totally amazing and fascinating?

A few of us get to play with things like fMRI and EEG on occasion, as well as take some other tests, but nobody is really taking this stuff seriously, which is extremely weird from this POV.

Daniel
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Jen Pearly, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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I was earlier seeing Sawfoot's playful suggestion about surveying 4th-Pathers. But, seriously, a scientifically designed survey of practitioners would actually yield interesting and helpful results--anything from whether people sensed "formations" in EQ, and how they characterize them, to number of "signs" of SE those with a certain long-term shift in perceptual threshold had (or didn't have). What others actually see, if anything, when the three doors present--I believe that results like these would offer much food for thought. While rereading MCTB, I often wonder whether your experience of, say, the three doors, is really like that for all others who have carefully noted fruitions repeatedly.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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There was this guy Jeffrey Martin who was going around surveying people, including me, and now they seem to have set up some sort of cooperative to help researchers network with people to research, but I don't know what has come of that.
Eudoxos ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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it seems to be obssessed with evaluating the effects of 8 week MBSR courses on (fill in the blank: anxiety, depression, test scores, OCD, compassion, flu, etc.). The problem is the first 8 weeks are often a honeymoon period and tell you very little about what to expect down the road.
This is very true (and from the point of non-beginner practice, unfortunate). Though there are good reasons for that: MBSR is very much standardized and has a lot of academic research backing; you can compare with the studies already published; given its reputation in completely secular circles, it is easy to get people to participate.
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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There are 33 papers (not necessarily published) on the academic study of vipassana meditation, here:

https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Vipassana_Meditation

Also 334 papers on mindfulness meditation on the same site:

https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Mindfulness_Meditation
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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Derek Cameron:
There are 33 papers (not necessarily published) on the academic study of vipassana meditation, here:

https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Vipassana_Meditation

Also 334 papers on mindfulness meditation on the same site:

https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Mindfulness_Meditation

academia.edu
has some good stuff, occasionally, among a lot of graduate-student level self-contributions.

Recently I found an important paper by Alexander Wynne through academia.edu: 'The Buddha’s ‘skill in means’ and the genesis of the five aggregate teaching' (2010). (Probably because this paper won some prize.)

And there are a lot of 'phenomenology' related papers that show up there, of uneven quality.

Thanks for bringing this up, as I should change my preference-settings in academia.edu to included those categories you mention.

(As I understand, anyone can join and get notifications about available papers according to your preferences; one can easily pretend to be a scholar, as we all know.)
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 326 Join Date: 7/21/10 Recent Posts
Chris J Macie:

academia.edu
has some good stuff, occasionally, among a lot of graduate-student level self-contributions.


They're definitely of variable quality!

This whole field is seriously under-researched.
Derek Cameron, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 326 Join Date: 7/21/10 Recent Posts
Chris J Macie:

academia.edu
has some good stuff, occasionally, among a lot of graduate-student level self-contributions.


I added my own graduate-student level self-contribution. Zero views, zero comments LOL.

https://www.academia.edu/14994567/What_Is_Spiritual_Awakening
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Rednaxela, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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i tried to view this but page cannot be found.  Is it still available for public viewing?
Alex
Derek2, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

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Rednaxela:
i tried to view this but page cannot be found.  Is it still available for public viewing?
Alex


Do you mean the essay "What Is Spiritual Awakening"? If so, it eventually morphed into chapter 14, "Understanding," in The Slacker's Guide to Stream-Entry.
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Rednaxela, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 158 Join Date: 12/23/11 Recent Posts
This is great.  Thank you.  i hope to look at this over the weekend.  

best
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Rednaxela, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: My Dream of a New Scientific Journal

Posts: 158 Join Date: 12/23/11 Recent Posts
Derek2:
[Do you mean the essay &#034;What Is Spiritual Awakening&#034;? If so, it eventually morphed into chapter 14,  in The Slacker's Guide to Stream-Entry.]

thanks again.  I read chap. 14 and most of Slacker's on Friday, with an americano at Paneera's and my preschool daughters in their dance class.  I really liked it, liked being taken to the West Coast, the Carmelites etc.  I can't quote it but i seem to remember enjoying the bit about enlightenment/SE being about the experience of being alive.  i'll read the bits a haven't got to and see if i can provide any better feeback.

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