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Maria Kozhevnikov on the nature of consciousness, and the scientific inquiry into post-mindfulness studies.

Join neuroscientist Maria Kozhevnikov as she shares cutting-edge research on the nature of consciousness, and expands the scientific inquiry into post-mindfulness studies. Mindfulness studies, which dominate the field, are great, but there is so much more. Dr. Kozhevnikov is a rare blend of scientist-practitioner, who has spent years studying advanced meditators in Bhutan and Nepal. Her ground-breaking work in deity yoga (generation stage meditation) and tummo (the inner heat practices) is revealing the untapped wonders of the mind from a scientific lens, and stretching research into uncharted territories. What is the promise and peril of conducting studies on practices that were previously kept secret? What is the “cash value” of this work, and how can it benefit the general public, or a meditator? Is the mind spread out across the body, or limited to the brain? Does mentation even expand beyond the body? Maria shares her work and experience with lucid dreaming (along with tips for increasing lucidity), and discusses the importance of “flow states” (the Zone) and their relationship to states of meditative absorption (samadhi). What happens to the default mode network, and the salience network, which are both central to the ego, in these deep states? Why does the Vajrayana (Tantra) engage flow states, while the Hinayana (Theravada) does not? Maria shares how her professional work has informed and impacted her practice of Vajrayana Buddhism, and then concludes with what lies ahead in her exciting arena of scientific inquiry. Dr. Kozhevnikov is a pioneering voice truly on the edge of mind.

Post interview correction from Maria Kozhevnikov: “I have realized only later after our zoom that I said yesterday that during arousal there is no cognition, this is actually not accurate, because there is dramatic focused attention enhancements and profound changes in perception, I just meant there is no higher-order cognition like reasoning, conceptualization or self-referential mental activity. I am strongly against the view that Vajrayana practices lead to cognition reduction.”

About Maria Kozhevnikov

Maria Kozhevnikov is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the National University of Singapore and also, she holds a faculty position at Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Harvard Medical School. Maria received her Ph.D. from Technion (Israel) jointly with UC Santa Barbara. Prior to joining the National University of Singapore, she has held faculty positions at Rutgers University (NJ) and George Mason University (VA). Her research interests focus on examining the neurocognitive bases of visualization and creativity and investigating the ways to enhance capabilities of human mind. Maria spent more than 15 years conducting field studies with experienced Tibetan practitioners in the remote monasteries of Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal to get insights into the unique neural correlates of these practices and the altered states of consciousness they induce.

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