Empty Brain -- Happy Brain: How Thinking Is Overrated (Paperback)
Every brain needs a break and every mind needs some down time. Unfortunately, the brain is constantly seeking the next experience, which our society overwhelms us with, and has also evolved to expect the worst. Luckily, in Empty Brain Happy Brain, neurobiologist Niels Birbaumer shows how we're able to reach a state of emptiness in which "the defense and stress systems in the brain are inhibited, a strange kind of openness occurs in the senses, thinking in words and sentences is rolled back, and any feeling of 'drive' ebbs away." Music, meditation, flotation tanks, marching in step, chanting at sporting events, arrowhead poison and other portals to emptiness are described. The Buddha, Schopenhauer, locked-in patients, psychopaths and college students grace the pages. It is a wide-ranging book connecting many disparate disciplines, most interestingly contemplative practice and neuroscience.— Andy
Few things scare us more than inner emptiness. The presumed emptiness of coma or dementia scares us so much that we even sign living wills to avoid these states. Yet, as Zen masters have long known, inner emptiness can also be productive and useful. We can reach this state through meditation, concentration, music, or even during sex. In fact, our brain loves emptiness--it makes us happy. Leading brain researcher Niels Birbaumer investigates the pleasure in emptiness and how we can take advantage of it. He explains how to overcome the evolutionary attentiveness of your brain and take a break from thinking -- a skill that's more important than ever in an increasingly frantic world.