Tag Archives: Rick Hanson

Pursuit of Understanding

I am introducing my recommended reading list to anyone who has attained the Scientology state of Clear.  By doing so, I am not promoting or trying to win over anybody to a particular line of thought.  Nor am I attempting to dissuade people from continuing to worship their firmly held religious constructs. I respect their First Amendment rights to continue to do so.  Instead, I am responding to the relative few who have expressed genuine curiosity about from whence I have come and to where I am going.  Folks can take it or leave it, or pick and choose to satisfy their own curiosities. And, as is their wont, Scientologists can of course nitpick and snipe so as to kill the agent who brings news they will likely find is anathema to their Scientology religious beliefs.

I recommend that these materials, minimally, be studied before embarking on Scientology OT Levels 2 through 8.   Actually, I think anyone would gain a tremendous amount of insight by reading these books. But, I believe this (or a comparable) recommended study is essential to understanding from a scientific and spiritual view what it most likely is that makes a meter read on a Clear.  It also gives a much deeper understanding of what it is that Ron Hubbard was grappling with on the upper levels.  To pursue a subject calling itself a ‘science of the mind’, while subjecting oneself to religious mythological belief constructs (as one inevitably does by running headlong into the OT Levels of Scientology) sets up a vicious form of cognitive dissonance: religious belief masquerading as scientific certainty.   The result is the inability to perceive as-is; defeating the entire stated purpose of Scientology.  More debilitating, Scientology at the upper levels continues a process of self-affirmation and self-fixation that firmly shackles an individual from rising to greater heights; locked into a solidified ego as he or she becomes. I think this recommended study can alleviate that dissonance, freeing an individual to continue to move on up a little higher.

I am not creating some new study by this recommendation.  I am sure there is an infinity of gradients and steps one could, and some certainly have, take to navigate the mire that is implanted at the Scientology upper levels.  I did not follow this recommendation.  I went through numerous other valleys and peaks along my own way. For example, as part of my own study, I studied and evaluated what Hubbard studied and drew from in developing Scientology; and I haven’t included that byway on this list.  I reviewed my path and noted those studies I feel were integral in understanding Scientology in the only way Hubbard himself recommended anything could be fully understood. That is, studied against data of comparable magnitude.  When one does, I believe one cannot help but recognize that Ron was definitely onto something in his upper level research, but that developments in science and consciousness far more rationally and accurately revealed what it was.  One may or may not also see in the light of this understanding, that continued, blind adherence to mythological constructs supplied in Scientology might be crippling of spiritual evolution.

If sufficient interest is communicated, I may follow up with a series of posts on each of these references, explaining why I consider them important, connecting dots demonstrating relevance to the Scientology experience, and making sense of the sequence, etc.  In either event, I hope some people find this of some assistance in their graduation and transcendence process.

1)      Tao Te Ching – Stephen Mitchell translation

2)      Siddhartha – Herman Hesse

3)      The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

4)      The Four Agreements – Don Migel Ruiz

5)      The End of Suffering – Russell Targ and J.J. Hurtak

6)      Buddha’s Brain – Rick Hanson

7)      A Brief History of Everything – Ken Wilber

8)     Kosmic Consciousness – ten part interview with Ken Wilber, Sounds True Productions.

9)      A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

10)   The Biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton

11)   The  Unobservable Universe – Scott Tyson

12)   The Secret – Rhonda Byrne (book and video)

13)   The Intention Experiment – Lynne McTaggart

14)   The Field – Lynne McTaggart

15)   Entangled Minds – Dean Radin

16)   The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra

17)   Quantum Enigma – Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner

18)   Biocentrism – Robert Lanza

19)   A Gradual Awakening.- Stephen Levine

Some folks have already expressed dismay at such a recommendation in that it is a hefty amount of reading.  One person implied that I am asserting that one must become proficient in Quantum Mechanics in order to achieve enlightenment.  I am not suggesting that.

I am suggesting that if one devotes the better part of one’s life to following someone who implants in one’s mind a certainty that what he is following is proven scientifically to be the only road to spiritual freedom, one is demonstrating a large degree of gullibility in accepting and dramatizing that implant with no context explored against which to evaluate the truth of that implant.  Understanding is an universal solvent, in my opinion.

Buddha’s Brain


I have added Buddha’s Brain, (Hanson/Mendius – New Harbinger Publications, Inc, 2009) to the recommended reading list.  The following is my review.


Buddha’s Brain is authored by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Richard Mendius. Hanson is also a meditation teacher, and Mendius is also cofounder of Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom.   These fellows give a relatively easy to follow sum up of what developments in science have taught us about the function of the brain.  They also, through work with Buddhist contemplative practice masters tested for neurological and hormonal/chemical patterns created by decisions of the being, detail how the brain – and thus the body – is affected by thought.  

Buddha’s Brain provides great food for thought and correlation to those trained in Dianetics and Scientology.  The authors’ description of science’s 2009 understanding of the human brain is remarkably consistent with L. Ron Hubbard’s 1950 description of the reactive mind in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.   They describe the brain as being hardwired for avoiding danger, taking precedence over behavior/action patterns that seek pleasure or reward.   They describe how transcendent states attained through contemplative practice – their main frame of reference being Buddhism – erase reactive neuron channels and create new, more analytical, intelligent and rational ones.

Just as Scientology was somewhat vague in differentiating between the Thetan (spirit) and the mind and nearly mute on the subject of the brain, the authors of Buddha’s Brain are somewhat vague on differentiating between brain and mind, and never label that which is making the decisions that are creating a better functioning mind/brain.  To get hung up on such difficulties with constructs describing that which is invisible to the eye and physical measures would be to miss the forest for the trees.

Hard core Scientologists, if they could muster the curiosity or courage to read the book, would likely heavily tune out somewhere in the last 2/3rds of it.  That is because the material for the most part prescribes contemplative practice that the authors claim demonstrably reforms the brain/mind.  To react in such wise would be a mistake in my view.  To read it, for example, might lead to some insights into why running pleasure moments, as in Self Analysis by L. Ron Hubbard, is so therapeutic.  Could it be that Scientology processes do far more good than L. Ron Hubbard even knew given the relatively archaic state of science in his day?   One thing is for sure, those who are afraid to look will never know.