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Contemplative practice

Attention is one of the higher-order cognitive processes. In the brain, it enables the selection of privileged neural signals by enhancing their intensity through neural feedback, thereby decreasing the relative intensity of competing neural signals. For example, attention allows a writer to focus on the topic at hand while neighbors are loudly arguing; their thoughts are highlighted (akin to the metaphor of a spotlight, albeit controversial today), at the expense of the neighbors' conversations.
Bernard Stiegler's philosophical reflection on attention (2010; 2014) illustrates how attention is more than just concentration or vigilance. Attention also concerns desire, waiting, active participation, interest.
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso’s deep fascination with Western natural sciences needs no introduction. MSA itself stems from his encouragement to take that path, that "gentle bridge" which was launched in the 1970s by the dialogue between Francisco Varela and His Holiness and then blossomed in the activities of Mind & Life. 
In this series of articles we discuss some of the key reflections of Bernard Stiegler's analysis on the link between digital technologies and the destruction of attention; on its consequences for individual and collective life.
Amy Cohen Varela is Chair of the Board of Directors of Mind & Life Europe and has been involved in Mind and Life since its inception.
As described by linguist George Lackoff, a spatial metaphor (also orientational metaphor) is a conceptual metaphor in which the elements involved are spatially related to each other, i.e. they are respectively above or below, in or out, in front of or behind, in depth or on the surface, in the center or on the periphery, and so on.
Data-driven neuroscience from Buddhist meditation and mindfulness has gained enormous popularity recently. Yet, the transformative potential of man offered by Buddhism, under the fMRI scanner (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - delimited as an 'object' of study - can become sterile, inanimate, and inert when it is displaced from its performative dimensions, constitutive of its meaning.
The question we try to address here is: do we really understand what Buddhism is?
An article from The Guardian in 2019 states that the mindfulness movement has become the "new capitalist spirituality" – "magical thinking on steroids" that, instead of subverting the "neoliberal order," now "only serves to invigorate its destructive logic."