Ep76: Shinzen Young & Chelsey Fasano 2 – The Science of Enlightenment

In this episode I host part 2 of a dialogue between Shinzen Young, meditation teacher and neuroscience research consultant, and Chelsey Fasano, a Columbia University neuroscience student.

We get a front row seat for what Shinzen calls ‘early science’ as Chelsey consults Shinzen on her current research project, a review of the neuroscience literature that examine states of self-identification and non-dual awareness.

In the course of the discussion, we discuss different paradigms of enlightenment, including gating of attentional abilities, reducing self-referential activity, the neuroscience of clinging, top-down processing and more.

Chelsey shares her own meditation experiences and Shinzen reveals a detailed account of how he experiences the world after a lifetime of extreme meditation and hard-nosed science.


Audio version of this podcast also available on iTunes and Stitcher – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.

Topics Include:

0:00 – Intro
0:51 – The three stories of self and reality
6:23 – Gating attentional abilities vs reducing self-referential activity
7:59 – How the modern influences traditional teachers
8:27 – Integrating hard data and subjective experience
9:11 – Chelsey’s meditation experiences
11:23 – Antonio Damasio’s theoretical framework and other theories
14:14 – Decrease in identification with the body in advanced practitioners
16:50 – Is it possible to grade levels of enlightenment?
19:34 – How Shinzen proves someone is not an arhat
22:32 – Enlightenment in the body
26:28 – Clinging and the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)
35:27 – Reconfiguring top-down processing via meditation
40:12 – What is early science?
43:22 – Integration of liberation
49:40 – Shinzen’s experience after a lifetime of meditation and science
1:05:22 – Does theism have a place in science?
1:08:54 – Is enlightenment really about raw data?

Previous episode with Shinzen and Chelsey:
– https://www.guruviking.com/ep72-shinzen-young-and-chelsey-fasano-tantra-neuroscience-and-true-enlightenment/

Previous Interview with Shinzen Young:
– https://www.guruviking.com/ep37-shinzen-young-pandemic-edition-guru-viking-podcast/

To find out more about Shinzen, visit:
– www.shinzen.org

To find out more about Chelsey, visit:
– www.chelseyfasano.com

For more interviews, videos, and more visit:
– www.guruviking.com

Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

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