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Coffee, last call!!: The difference mindfulness makes in relationships

Non-materialist neuroscientists, friends of design, often talk about “mindfulness,” that is, the capacity of making changes in the brain by directing attention. Or, as psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz puts it, You are not your brain. Recent research suggests one difference mindfulness makes:

If a friend or relative won $100 and then offered you a few dollars, would you accept this windfall? The logical answer would seem to be, sure, why not? “But human decision making does not always appear rational,” said Read Montague, professor of physics at Virginia Tech and director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

According to research conducted over the last three decades; only about one-fourth of us would say, “Sure. Thanks.” The rest would say, “But that’s not fair. You have lots. Why are you only giving me a few?” In fact, people will even turn down any reward rather than accept an ‘unfair’ share.

Unless they are Buddhist meditators, in which case – fair or not – more than half will take what is offered, according to new research by … 

We are told that the mindfulness meditators were using different areas of the brain, a choice they make by meditating (in the Christian tradition also called “contemplating”).

Put another way: A slice from the loaf is better than none. The meditators realized this obvious fact by putting aside mere reactions, leading to useless squabbles when no conflict need arise:

meditate: Originally, Greek, “to take thought, plan”

contemplate: Originally, Latin, “looking at, considering”

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

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One Response to Coffee, last call!!: The difference mindfulness makes in relationships

  1. hi Denyse,
    But surely these findings must mean that certain people’s brains are just subtly working to make them believe they are being mindful…that would be the only rational explaination. Of course due to inherent, as yet undiscovered, genetic dispositions.
    no?

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