Q. Gary, Someone on a Tolle board mentioned your name connected to Default Mode Network. Can you send me a link explaining what this is?

Thank you.

G. Namaste.

Default Mode Network is what your brain "defaults" to when you aren't doing any specific "task" with it (which is called the Task Positive Network). This is a relatively new concept arising over the last 10 years or so.
Initially, the investigations of the brain with tools such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) gave an incorrect impression of what happened when folk weren't doing a task, which was usually what was measured initially with these tools. What does the brain look like when someone is solving a problem, or lying, or angry, etc.? As the focus was on determining what was just activated during the activity, that difference was determined by subtracting the initial signal from the "doing something" signal. The assumption (very incorrectly) was that when there was no "doing" or "tasking", the brain was just on idle, with no neuronal activity. As it turns out, the exact opposite situation was the reality. Only about 5% of the energy consumed by the brain is used for activities such as reading, or routine tasks; the vast majority of the energy used by the brain (about 20% of the entire body's energy consumption) is consumed continuously by a very busy brain. The "doing" that we attach so much attention to, consumes very little energy. The figure, which appeared in the March 2010 Scientific American, shows the difference.

Since "discovering" this baseline, DMN, activity, much excellent work has been done on defining what it is, and what parts of the neuroanatomy are involved in its functioning. IMHO, the best paper was done by Andrews-Hannah, et. al @ Harvard which was published in Neuron in 2010. This paper found 11 different "selfing" centers that constitute most of the DMN activity. They found that these 11 centers were divided into two "core" centers, and two "subnetworks" which the core communicates heavily with.

The "core centers" are those shown in yellow; the two subnetworks are shown in blue and green. The blue subnetwork is involved in "self and other", i.e you and your chair, you and your computer, you and your partner, etc. The green subnetwork is responsible for "you in time", i.e. you in the future, you in the past, etc. If there is no "tasking", the DMN is active, and the core network is functioning and whatever other subnetwork is required, perhaps both.

For most folk, their DMN is a randomly wandering self-narrative, of I, me, my thoughts. That self-narrative of "I/me/my" thoughts is what causes most of our (imagined) problems, fears, craving, suffering and unhappiness.

we have found in the on-going Yale study that experienced meditators can permanently change their DMN to one that does not have the randomly wandering self-narrative, as mine has done, to one of stillness.

my presentation @ the Science and NonDuality Conference in San Francisco, CA in October "No Thoughts - No Time; The Experience, The New Science" (VideosĀ I and II) discusses this as well as the background papers on meditation and cognitive neuroscience. you might also want to c/o the blog posting on this presentation.

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