TOWARD A SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The Tucson Conference 2014 - 20th Anniversary
APRIl 21-26, 2014 Tucson - University Park Marriott
under the direction of the Center for CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES, University of Arizona
Nondual awareness and the unity of consciousness: experience and research
Presenters: Zoran Josipovic and Judith Blackstone
Date: Monday morning, April 21, 2014
Session: 9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Zoran Josipovic Judith Blackstone
The apparent unity of consciousness has been a much-debated issue in consciousness studies. Anecdotal reports of contemplative experiences often describe a sense of unity that transcends self-object dichotomy and subsumes the multiplicity of phenomena in a unified field of awareness/consciousness. Nondual contemplative traditions assign a special ontological status to a background nondual awareness - a non-conceptual consciousness that precedes intentionality - and regard it as that which allows for the experience of unity.
This workshop will explore the possible neural mechanisms of such unity, including a precuneus awareness network. The neuroimaging data will be discussed in light of experiential exercises, and the different models for the neural correlates of nondual awareness will be presented, including the recent research from our lab at NYU (Josipovic et al., 2012; Josipovic, 2013).
The experiential component of this workshop presents Realization Process, a series of original exercises developed over the past 25 years by Judith Blackstone, for facilitating direct attunement to nondual awareness, and for connecting with another person in this dimension. In this work, the radical openness of nondual realization is based on inward contact with one’s own body. When two people attune to nondual awareness together, they experience a single expanse of awareness pervading them both as a unity. They also experience resonant connection between the qualities of their being, including the qualities of intelligence, love, and physical sensation. This is not merging and loss of identity, but rather a concurrence of self-experience and self-transcendence.
An outline of the workshop:
- Introduction of the themes
- Experiential exercises
- Neuroscience background: functions of the parietal and the prefrontal areas in unified experience.
- Dyad RP exercises
- Global networks in the brain; the precuneus awareness network.
Zoran Josipovic, PhD, is the director of Contemplative Neuroscience Lab, in the Department of Psychology, New York University, and adjunct assistant professor for cognitive and affective neuroscience. With his wife Judith Blackstone, he is the founding director of Nonduality Institute, Woodstock, NY. His research interests are states of consciousness cultivated through contemplative practice, and the relevance they have for understanding the global and local organization in the brain.
Judith Blackstone, PhD, is a nondual teacher, psychotherapist, and a founding director of Nonduality Institute in New York City. She developed the Realization Process, a method of embodied nondual realization. She is author of Belonging Here, The Enlightenment Process, The Intimate Life and The Empathic Ground.