Inner Peace w/ Dr. Reese
Jan. 31, 2021

Science of Meditation w/ Shinzen Young

Science of Meditation w/ Shinzen Young

In episode # 83, Dr. Reese sits down with notorious mindfulness teacher & neuroscientist, Shinzen Young. In this conversation they discuss what science has learned about the ancient practice of meditation. They talk about being born enlightened, how to note thinking activity and why becoming equanimous is important. They also dive deep into the "detox process" of transforming through meditation. What are the ufouric feelings about? What is the horrifying visions about? And what is the dark knight of the soul!?

__________________________

Support Dr. Reese's Work by becoming a member on PATREON & receive bonus recordings, behind-the-scene updates, Q&A sessions & more HERE

Check out Dr. Reese meditations, books & more podcast episodes HERE



--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/drreese/message
Transcript

Dr. Reese (01:41):
So how would you describe Contemplative neuroscience?

Shinzen Young (01:48):
Neuroscience is, um, a relatively young science, uh, relative to some sciences, um, and contemplative neuroscience is a young branch within a young science. Uh, so that's an exciting field. We're trying to mine the field of world meditation, mysticism, uh, and so forth, mine that for, um, scientific facts. And the way we know they're scientific is we relate them to biology through the nervous system. So we're looking at that. So that's the contemplative part. Um, but we're looking for phenomena that we can fit into the general framework of biological science and therefore all of science phenomena that have applications in mainstream medicine or other areas of science that benefits human beings. So it's a very exciting, uh, field <laugh>, but it's a, a do it yourself field <laugh> it's, uh, you have not only do you not know what the answers are, you actually really don't know yet what the questions are.

Shinzen Young (03:30):
And so it has that excitement of a new frontier here yet, despite the fact that we don't really quite know what the questions are. Um, we're still getting very, very interesting results that are very encouraging. And, uh, so it's a, a Galileo time, you know, Galileo looking through his relatively primitive telescope, showing the DOJ of Venice that in fact, the, of the is perfect the way Aristotle and everyone said, so contemplative neuroscience, the, is that kind of, uh, frontier at this point? So I would say, um, I would also describe it as a lot of fun.

Dr. Reese (04:27):
It seems so you're you smiled as soon as I said it <laugh> is it safe to say that there's a, a formless substance all around us that can be, you know, penetrated and used in a certain way?

Shinzen Young (04:45):
There is certainly an experience of an allness nothingness that is available to practitioners. That is, I would say that is certainly the case. However, you, you notice that I said an experience, I didn't say a physical reality. Physical reality is a very, very tricky area. It's important in science to make modest claims. All I would claim is an advanced practitioner who has been successful with a standard meditation path will likely have the experience of a kind of allness nothingness that is available in ordinary life, uh, on, on demand, so to speak, or, you know, it's like, there's always birds in my garden. And if I wanna listen to them, I can't anytime what that experience has to do with, um, physical reality. And indeed what physical reality is an interesting question. One would be tempted to say, well, it reflects physical reality. Well, once again, we have to be careful an experience is going to have neural correlates, as far as I know, maybe there are exceptions, but in general, if you haven't experience something is happening in your senses and that's the physical world. So yes, that experience of allness nothingness must be related to the physical world, at least insofar as it's an experience. And therefore has neural correlates, whether objective reality is in fact, an all miss nothingness beyond space, time, self, and world.

Shinzen Young (07:18):
That's a different question. I wouldn't comment on that question. I think that's reaching way too far. The temptation is very strong because I experienced this and it's the centerpiece of my life I would say is who I am at the deepest level. So in terms of insight or under self understanding, this is the deepest that I know of. It facilitates positive behavior change and dynamic creativity and points to a life of service. It has all these goodies. So the temptation would be to say, because it's so vivid and so important for a human being that this must be what reality is. However, if you say that then to put it bluntly, you are not going to be able to dialogue with scientists because a scientist would consider that to be way too big. A claim science does not make those kinds of claims. Science only claims that we have a pretty reliable procedure for investigating, um, questions about the natural world. That procedure is called the scientific method. One part of that procedure involves description, hypothesis, experiment analysis. Science is based on this and any dialoging with any other human field is fine. We can do it, but if someone from another field say theology or philosophy or meditation claims that there is a scientific phenomenon in their field, <laugh>, uh, something that science can look into well, great. But you have to accept the epistemological basis. That is the basis of the success of science. So epistemology is a very fancy word, but it's a word that's worth learning.

Dr. Reese (10:05):
Yeah. The theory of knowledge,

Shinzen Young (10:09):
Your beliefs, three possibilities, direct experience of the senses. There's fire on the mountain. How do you know? I saw the fire, right? Logical inference. There's fire on the mountain. How do you know? Well, I didn't see fire. That's true, but I saw smoke and where there's smoke there, there's fire. So we can make the logical inference fire on the mountain. There's fire on the mountain. How do you know the village elder, who is a wise and admirable and profoundly humble human being said, there's fire on the mountain. We believe it because of his character or her, or because he has not been known to lie if we believe it because of his character. Well, that could be off <laugh> if he's never been known to lie well, but who knows? And maybe this is the first time. So that time mm-hmm <affirmative> so that, um, third criterion is sometimes referred to as, um, reliable, uh, authority, except there are limitations actually there's limitations on all of the above early Buddhism, largely them largely rejected the role of authority as a basis of a story.

Shinzen Young (11:52):
You believe that leaves just direct experience and lo logic, logical inference, right? Um, science takes exactly the same point of view, but adds adds something that was never there before is not present in Buddhism and was really not present in the world until, you know, the early Renaissance, late middle ages. You can see in medieval Islam in Al Hasen, you can see the beginning of the scientific method, couple centuries later, a few centuries later, Francis bacon and others. You can see it completing, you know, as the centuries go, it took a long time to make a claim that the experience of a meditator of an allness nothingness that connects you with the transcendence of space time and facilitates the refining of yourself and the serving of the world to make the claim that that human experience reflects the objective nature of the physical universe. There's no way to test that claim in science yet.

Dr. Reese (13:25):
Okay.

Shinzen Young (13:26):
And if you want to see here's the main thing, if I had to say, what does this world need? Most people I know are pretty freaked out in the us at this point. Mm-hmm,

Dr. Reese (13:42):
<affirmative>,

Shinzen Young (13:43):
It's bad, but it has a silver lining for meditators. <laugh> of course it gets you serious about the practice. And quarantine is just, yeah. A non-consensual retreat. There is not yet science of meditation. There's the beginning of a science of meditation. There's at this point, we're, we're trying to create the science of meditation. When scientists look at the effects of meditation seems to make people in general happy. Uh, but so do a lot of things,

Dr. Reese (14:21):
Right? So there's been no experiments done on the pineal gland, also known as the third eye or, um,

Shinzen Young (14:32):
Oh, I would suspect that there have been experiments done on that part of the body, but that is not a standard, uh, neuroscience target for contemplative neuroscience at all. Okay. Uh, that area would be one of the, probably one of the last areas a neuroscience scientist would look for. Look at most neuroscience research in meditation experience looks at what's called the posterior singulate cortex. Anterior insular cortex were particularly, we're particularly interested in the, uh, basal ganglia. In fact, there's several other areas that, uh, you know, prefrontal areas that, uh, people have looked into. Um, however, um, that Pineland is not normally considered relevant to this research.

Dr. Reese (15:33):
Hmm. I don't know for effect, but I'd say around five or six, we as human beings, we really start these, these thoughts. Right. We start thinking, we start becoming program kindergarten, first grade, second grade society, mom and dad. Religion.

Shinzen Young (15:49):
Yeah.

Dr. Reese (15:49):
And the thoughts by the time you're 13 or so these thoughts are everywhere, right? They're left. They're right. They're up, they're down by the time you're 25, even more. And we have this voice in our head. We have this, the ability to go to our past and go to our future. And that might cause anxiety that might cause depression, but it's not real. What would you say? Someone who knows science and missis about these illusionary thoughts? There's there's

Shinzen Young (16:27):
Oh, well, that's, that's very straightforward thinking. Uh, well let me just back up what you're describing the onset of thinking with the associated worry and so forth. I remember that coming on.

Dr. Reese (16:49):
Hmm.

Shinzen Young (16:49):
I can remember the onset and it's actually earlier than what you're saying. Uh, that's why they call it the terrible twos. It's when you start to acquire language 2, 3, 4, um, from four, you stabilize a little bit, but that period is a very difficult period for the parents and children, typically the terrible twos. So yeah. And, and, you know, you can say, no <laugh> before that, you didn't know the word. No. You didn't know that you had a will to exert in the world. So the, um, I can remember that coming on. Wow. I can. And it was what is happening to me. I was happy.

Shinzen Young (17:46):
And now I'm worrying all the time. Wh why am I thinking? I mean, I wouldn't have had that thought, but those words, but it's like, what's happening to me. This isn't who I was. I, I was okay. And now I'm not okay. You were enlightened <laugh> now you're not. Yeah, yeah. Sort of, yeah. Enlightened, but didn't know it. Right. See, that's the whole path you're you are enlightened month, but you're not enlightened cuz you don't know it. It's perhaps natural to assume that the presence of thought is the problem thought itself is the problem. And by thought let's make things tangible by thought. I mean, mental images, mental is mental talk and whatever may lie behind the surface images, which ISR settler visual associations and whatever may lie behind the mental talk in your head, which ISR and settler sort of whisperings deep, deep down that is mind space.

Shinzen Young (19:09):
And the surface of mind space is visual and auditory. Most people it's primarily auditory yet at what, you know, what you mentioned in their native language. And if they speak more than one language, like when I learned this stuff, when I was in Japan and my mind used to wander in English and Japanese, Hmm. I have to sit there. It's like, well, because I have two languages, am I gonna be twice as scattered? Doesn't quite work out that way. But um, so mental talk is part of it. And I could hear when I was speaking English and when I, to myself and when I was speaking Japanese to myself, um, it's auditory. So thought is not a problem. I repeat thought is not a problem anymore than physical or emotional body sensations in and of themselves are a problem or sight. And sounds in and of themselves are a problem.

Shinzen Young (20:19):
Thoughts, not a problem, but thought has a couple characteristics that are highly problematic. One is, it is um, obsessive <laugh> for everyone. You don't have to have obsessive compulsive disorder to see that thinking is obsessive. That there's a drivenness to the thinking that everyone experiences with rare exceptions. So being driven to think is not good. But thinking itself is just like seeing and hearing the world is, you know, you're seeing mental images, you're hearing mental talk, but being driven to do that, that's not good. The other thing is that it's sticky. As soon as it arises, it's a tar pit. We're stuck in a tar pit. We can't get out. That's also not good. So one way to deal with all of the above is sort of cool out the thought so that you are at a state of no thought or can abide in a state of no thought that's, that's a strategy. Um, but clearly at some point you have to think, cuz you have to figure out stuff and take care of business. So it's okay to use the strategy of I'm going to attain a blank screen in a quiet head.

Shinzen Young (22:02):
That's fine, but a deeper paradigm, a deeper story or way of looking at things would be work through the drivenness and the stickiness, uh, and the nebulosity around the thinking process. So one of the techniques that I give people is called noting mind activity. The object of meditation is thought itself, but it's being done as a noting technique, a mindful awareness technique. And therefore you actually could speak a label as, uh, to describe in real time, moment by moment. You really see it. And you could even say to yourself, see, when you have mental talk, you really hear it here. And then if that image disappears, you're aware of that when the talk goes, then the next arising.

Dr. Reese (23:06):
Yeah. This is a, a, a great technique of witnessing the mind. What I call the conscious eye. Can you give a quick example for the listeners?

Shinzen Young (23:20):
See C here, see here, rest, rest here. Rest, you are bringing sensory clarity to the thought process. So you're working through some of the nebulosity the Fu the low resolution, the tangling in that domain. The other thing that you're doing is you noticed I had a kind of matter fact voice. Of course, if I was making mental labels, um, I wouldn't say it out loud, but I would still have that gentle, welcoming attitude towards each image or mental sentence. That's that skill is called equanimity. So I'm bringing sensory clarity, equanimity, and also I'm momentarily actually experiencing Soma or a Kika Soma a Kika, Soma a momentary high concentration on that mental image, penetrating it and knowing it same with the mental talk. So now what happens is that the thinking process starts to become dynamic and spacious and spontaneous. And that then through that fluid and attenuated matrix, intuitive insights and creative manifestations can flow. So notice this strategy did not entail getting rid of thought, certainly did not entail demonizing thought. In fact, I just described how to escape into thought <laugh> witnessing is a synonym for equanimity. Mm. So yes, exactly.

Dr. Reese (25:34):
So your very experienced in the Zen tradition, you lived in a Zen monastery in Japan, in your younger days. Part of the tradition of Zen is partake in what's called Shain old Shein, which is when it's like a week long retreat where you're meditating pretty much all day. I mean, you take breaks for Zen walking and some food and some bathroom breaks, but for the most part, you're meditating all week long. This is a lot of sitting. This is, this is intense stuff. And there's a long tradition of people sitting and meditating for longer periods of time. Of course, we hear the story of Goma, the Buddha underneath the tree and him not leaving until he becomes enlightened. We can go back to Dogan. Bohi Dharma. I mean, through the ages, we can even talk Jesus in the desert. There's a history of it. So what's happening when somebody sits down in a chair or Lotus position and they meditate for long periods of time.

Shinzen Young (26:56):
As I mentioned, science doesn't know yet about we're looking, but humans know <laugh> any, you can find any human can find out by just doing it, just do that. <laugh> do practice and you'll know by your own experience what that is. And even humans have two dozen different ways of describing what you're talking about. So that's a little bit, you know, tricky. If I had the established theory of the science of enlightenment, then I would be the first person in history to get both the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine and the Nobel peace prize for the same discovery. <laugh> so, no we're not there yet. First of all, some people get enlightened without meditating just happens.

Shinzen Young (27:54):
Um, however, usually in those cases, they still end up doing a practice to help integrate that. So practice often enters in, even if what started you out was an experience that you didn't seek, but it naturally happened to you. Second thing is even in practice, we can talk about practice two ways. We can talk about it as exercises that develop certain skills in the sense of cultivated improvement. Or we can talk about practice as developing certain skills in the sense that develop means take off the envelope. Those skills are always already there and all you need to do is realize it. Mm. So, uh, but even that is a practice. It's a practice of realizing that you don't need to practice in a sense, but that's a practice. So one way or another practice is a central piece for, um, let's just call it enlightenment <laugh> for lack of a better term mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Shinzen Young (29:24):
So if I could make a guess as to what is involved, my guess would be that evolution is amazing, but it's not perfect. There are flaws. I think that there is a slight evolutionary flaw in how information is processed in the human brain, actually, in some ways, rather analogous to the problem with the autoimmune system or autoimmune, uh, conditions, the higher level executive sort of monitoring slightly interferes with the bottom up feed forward flow. So there's basically the human nervous system is all based on expansion and simultaneous expansion and contraction. So as information is coming in and being processed, layered by layer, the higher levels are reacting at each level to that information. Now that reaction is all natural it's needed for the full process of information, uh, transfer. But I believe that because it's layered so deep and it's so complex in our species, that there's a subtle way in which moment, by moment, the surface is actually interfering with the depths specifically inappropriately impeding a process that doesn't need any outside agency to mess with it.

Shinzen Young (31:39):
The deep flow of the deep consciousness by and large can just take care of itself, just like any other part of nature then, and this other thing, con controlling that's okay. That's part of nature too. That's how it works. But then I think in there, there is a subtle friction that is analogous actually to friction in a mechanical system circuit and so forth. So, um, my guess would be that the central feature in practice that we call equanimity, which is, uh, not pushing and pulling on the natural flow of the census, letting go of quote, craving and aversion with respect to the pleasant and unpleasant experiences that come and go mm-hmm <affirmative>. I think that that might be the training away of that interference factor. So if that's the case, then what we would do in science is try to find the neuro correlates of that interference, the neuro correlates, meaning what happens in the nervous system to cause that interference and then suspend the interference with a, uh, a neuromodulation noninvasive neuromodulation, suspend the interference and train the participant to sense what that's like, and then to replicate that on their own. So they don't need the neuromodulation boost. It's like training wheels. Um, then we may be able to have the beginning of both the science of enlightenment and a technology of enlightenment.

Dr. Reese (33:58):
When we sit down and meditate for long periods of time, why is it that many people go through sort of a mental and emotional detox process? We hear the story of go Toma, the Budha underneath the tree and things happening. And lots of people have come on this podcast and talked about their experience. Detox seems to be the one word that everyone

Shinzen Young (34:26):
Yeah, because

Dr. Reese (34:27):
Analogizes

Shinzen Young (34:28):
With, yeah, it it's pretty good analogy, VDI and sanscript means purification in Greek it's catharsis means purification and in Latin Perga purgatory, the place purgatory is not heaven, but it's not hell either. It's a place of purification that prepares you for the beatific vision,

Dr. Reese (34:58):
Right?

Shinzen Young (34:59):
So you're right. It's it's central. And the primary cathartic factor I would say is equanimity. So when you experience unpleasant, physical, emotional, or mentals and or mental states, and you have equanimity with that, you sense something's breaking up and being released. And although it may be unpleasant, there's a kind of silver lining that I called the VI the taste of purification. You actually can feel the sun scars being snapped. The limiting forces deep down, breaking up. The thing is though you can get that same flavor with pleasant experiences and neutral experiences. So the taste of purification is simply what happens to ordinary sensory experience. When you bring a lot of equanimity to it, Well, a Buddhist interpretation of what you just reported or talked about rather would be, well, the first noble truth, <laugh> that life's actually less comfortable than we think it is. Mm-hmm

Dr. Reese (36:29):
<affirmative>

Shinzen Young (36:30):
So that it's not so much that when you meditate, all this shit comes up. It's all that shit was, was always there for everyone. Yeah. You just start to notice it when you meditate. Um, that might be one aspect of things. And then that sort of works its way through. And, uh, you come to more, um, soothing aspects <laugh> of the, uh, of the path. That might be one comment. I'm not sure that it really explains why we go through this, but also not everyone goes through it. Some people have an easy time, but a lot of people you're right. You have to have to face some stuff.

Dr. Reese (37:19):
Mm it's described very vividly in a famous book. The Tibetan book of the dead it's just described in a way of after death, but similar with images and scary things. And, and you just said, equanimity, being able to have that autonomous.

Shinzen Young (37:44):
Yeah. That's you see, you don't have to go through these dramatic phenomena in order to purify consciousness. You can, I have a student, his entire practice is in daily life. The not in sitting it's centered in the activities of the day. And what he does is he notices every time he has a minor annoyance and he either on the fly or pausing focuses all of his attention on that minor annoyance with perfect equanimity until he tastes purification with the minor annoyance. So it is not necessarily the case that a person has to go through intensities. Although some people do it is not necessarily the case that a person has to go through weird dity, but some people do. I think what you may be alluding to, but I could be wrong. Cause of course I haven't heard all those guests. So I'm just guessing mm-hmm <affirmative> I think you may be referring to what in the Buddhist tradition is called bunga B H a N G a it's described as a stage in practice. That's actually a very significant stage. It means you're not a beginner anymore and you're on the threshold of transcendence, but bunga means dissolution means falling apart means breaking up in Sans and poly.

Shinzen Young (39:37):
And traditionally it's described as potentially involving pleasant experiences, unpleasant experiences, or a mixture of both the pleasant experiences are a sense that the world is light and thin. Um, a sense of heightened, bouncy energy, a blisful champagne, bubbly flavor of energy that perhaps is initially experienced in the body, but then extends out to sight sound. And the mind also, everything just sort of turns into shimmering, mist, very pleasant, effortless gushing, and gathering. That's just delicious and spontaneous. That's the pleasant side of dissolution. The unpleasant side of dissolution is a sense that you're scattered and on tilt. You're just, can't concentrate. You're dispersed in constantly in all directions. And you cannot find a center to stand. As soon as you take a step, the rugs pulled out. So you're UN tilt and you're scattered, scattered, scattered, and there can be uncomfortable energy that seems to be tearing you apart or, uh, heart or, um, is intense or hot.

Shinzen Young (41:33):
There can be images of destruction, fear, really, really disconcerting, weird stuff. You alluded to the Budda experience, uh, under the bohi tree assailed by the armies of Mara Mara, meaning the devil in Sanskrit. Yeah. 2,500 years ago, you say I was assailed by the armies of the devil. Um, in the 20th first century, you say, I saw a lot of weird disconcerting shit and it was related to rage, terror, grief, shame, you know, plus uncomfortable physical sensations. Now what's interesting is shamans around the world. Also typically go through this kind of thing. I've been in sweat lodges with like, uh, Sue Lakota Indian, and he Des he was a medicine person. And he described exactly, exactly classical dissolution experience with his vision questing. And, um, in west Africa, it's often associated with the, a disease. You get sick and you almost die. And then you recover and then you have this shamonic vocation.

Shinzen Young (42:59):
Although these traditions are very different shamanism associated, primarily with, uh, pre literate cultures and Buddhist practice, which arose in a very different environment, but this whole dissolution and seeing all this weird stuff and monsters eating you up and skulls, and oh my God, you can see all, you can see yourself being dissected. You can see the organs just like they were there. Mm. Um, now just one principle to master. If it's blissful great, bring equanimity to it. If it's horrific, great bring equanimity to it. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, there's a mixture of both. Great. You know what I'm gonna say? And let time pass. And hopefully if it's severe, the real one concept you have to master is if at all possible get a competent coach who's been through it. Who can guide you if it's severe, but know that it is a natural process.

Dr. Reese (44:09):
Yes.

Shinzen Young (44:09):
So I maybe it's that dissolution aspect that you are referring to it. That was my guess based on the limited that I heard.

Dr. Reese (44:20):
Yeah. Well, it's interesting because enlightenment is always described as this beautiful thing, liberation from the Mo from the world, right. But many people such as yourself have let it be known that enlightenment has this evil twin isn't there. This evil twin.

Shinzen Young (44:42):
Well, the evil twin of enlightenment is D P D R right. Depersonalization derealization disorder. But that's fairly rare. That's a fairly rare condition. You know? I mean, we have to talk about it, but right. It's both good and bad. If we don't talk about it, then you know, people on the rare occasion that it might happen, you know, where you weren't forewarned. But if we do talk about it, everyone thinks it's gonna happen to them. And it's very unlikely. You're going to develop D P D R. That's just not a common condition. It's a disorder, meaning you're not a happy camper. Why? Because depersonalized you add insight into no self de realization. You add insight into emptiness. The world's feather is cartoonish, feather, light paper thin from now on.

Dr. Reese (45:47):
Hmm,

Shinzen Young (45:48):
No. Going back now with a context and a practice, that's the best thing that ever happened to you without that context and the practice. And who knows perhaps with some trauma in your background, it's the worst thing that ever happened to you. But if you're listening to this podcast, it's unlikely it's gonna happen to you, right? So don't freak out. Well, maybe an experienced mindfulness coach could help or even cure a clinical D P D R diagnosis, same guidance that we would use for meditation students. That's what I call it in my own language. The issue of integrating no self and emptiness into a human life that is effective in the world and fulfilled from within

Dr. Reese (46:49):
Where does dark night of the soul fall into

Shinzen Young (46:53):
All? Ah, yeah. So any term like Somadi enlightenment equanimity, these are technical terms and whenever you encounter a technical term, your first thought should be, what is the context who, within what context is this word being used? Dark night doesn't mean anything without saying whose definition of dark night, the term goes back, not to Buddhism, but to Christianity, it's Western. And it goes back actually to one figure, basically San Juan Cruz, Saint John of the cross 16th century, Spain, the Christian mystic, the greatest poet of Christian mysticism, except for Ts Elliot <laugh> and his partner, San de Avila, Saint Teresa Avila was the greatest saist on the mystical path. Her interior castle is the VSU de mug, the VSU de mugga of Christianity. It's the path of purification. It's the manual. It shows you the steps and it maps onto the Buddhist. One of course, even though there was no historical contact that we can really imagine, come on 16th century, Spain, fifth, sixth century, Sri Lanka.

Shinzen Young (48:39):
In the case of St. John, the cross, it referred to difficulty integrating emptiness. So in that sense, corresponds to what Buddhism is called the pit of the void. So you start out, imagine you're in the 16th century, you're Catholic Christian, my God, do you have beliefs and opinions about things? I mean, people, people complain about this or that in the us, but you know, it's been a long time since you had to answer to the inquisition for your personal opinions. Now imagine living in a culture where actually that's the way it works. If you have the wrong opinion about God, your belief, but belief constant, your belief will get your head cut off or burned to. Well, you know, those were probably the extreme cases. You know, most of it was just you experienced disadvantages or they kicked you out of the country, you know, in 1,492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but you know what else happened in 1492 Ferd NA and Isabella Columbus sponsors kicked my people out of Spain, the Jews, as it's like Christian or leave Saint Teresa's parents were Jewish and they were forced to convert.

Shinzen Young (50:17):
She was a first generation convert to Christianity. I take great glee in the fact that the greatest Christian mystic was Jewish, technically from a Jewish point of view, <laugh> she had a Jewish mother. I know she converted, so she's not Jewish, but she was <laugh> um, the dark night, man. So yet had all these ideas about God. And then he experienced God and didn't quite match the ideas, uh, turns out God is <laugh> not quite as, um, cinematic, as religion would like you to believe much more ordinary in certain ways. So he had difficulty reconciling the nothingness of God and the nothingness of self and world with it. Wasn't what he thought it was gonna be when he got there.

Dr. Reese (51:28):
Mm.

Shinzen Young (51:29):
That he described that as Noche screwed up Delma the dark Knight of the soul. Now that in some ways, roughly does correspond to the pit of the void in Buddhism. Here's the problem though? The term dark night, it sounds sorta like a catchy thing,

Dr. Reese (51:55):
Right?

Shinzen Young (51:57):
So now people are using that term to refer to other stuff you meditated and, uh, you had some emotional dysregulation. Oh, you were in the dark night. Oh, the dark night. I, I got the dark night. No, you just got some emotional dysregulation. It happens to everyone. Or maybe you had some really serious duke can, what we call where you went into the dissolution and it had mostly the unpleasant stuff. Well, someone might be tempted to call that the dark night.

Dr. Reese (52:42):
Hmm.

Shinzen Young (52:42):
That's a, a related, but not exactly the same kind of thing. So the lesson here is for technical terms and for terms that come from civiliz civilizations with long traditions, many lineages context, context, context, location, location, location, whose meaning of somebody whose meaning of dark night, whose meaning of enlightenment.

Dr. Reese (53:15):
The bottom line is when we go through this process, as our so-called ego starts to die, and we start to come awake to reality, we might have some emotions that come up because we're, we're dying, not physically, but who we thought we were is not who we thought we were. <laugh> Our story is dissolving

Shinzen Young (53:44):
The dissolution of the story and then the transformation.

Dr. Reese (53:50):
Mm

Shinzen Young (53:51):
You're. Right. That's the bottom line.

Dr. Reese (53:55):
Perfect place to end right there. Where can someone come check out your work and say, hello?

Shinzen Young (54:02):
I'm very easy to find on the internet, but, um, one stop shopping would probably be unified mindfulness.com to start, uh, or shinn.org. Thank you. Have a good one and keep up the great

Dr. Reese (54:17):
Work. Thank you. If you are interested in seeing the video version of this podcast episode, which is much longer, actually, and you want to support this podcast, be sure to hit the link in the description and consider becoming a exclusive member of our Patreon page on page so that I can continue my work. I would also like to ask you to send this episode to someone that you know, that you feel needs to hear it. And I'll talk to you on the next episode.

Speaker 1 (54:59):
Thanks for listening to inner peace with Dr. Reese. If this episode opened your heart, feel free to share on social media and tell your loved ones. Also be sure to subscribe. So you never miss an episode until next time may peace be with you.