using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
37 fall 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly The cingulate—the word is derived from the Latin for “belt”—is a complex region with a number of different func- tions, but brain scans and anatomical studies indicate that one of its functions is to act as a neural alarm. It’s activated by physical pain, but also, as shown by the research of UCLA psychologist Naomi Eisenberger, by emotional distress like the sting of social rejection. The aversive component of both physical and emotional pain is perhaps best captured by the word suffering. Our response to fear and our response to pain overlap in a subregion of the cingulate. This area prepares the body to flee. When alarmed, we tense our muscles so we can get away quickly. But as Ronald Siegel warns, if our muscles stay tense for a long time, this can lead to additional pain. The good news is that although the feeling of alarm arises automatically, we can allow it to pass. Scientists like Naomi Eisenberger, among others, are finding that prefrontal regions of the brain, which are associated with conscious thought, are connected to the emotional areas and regulate them. When our senses take in something that might be threatening, the cingulate region generates the experience of suffering to force us to pay attention. The prefrontal regions then assess whether there really is a threat. If there is no threat—if what’s going on is acceptable—the prefrontal regions seem to inhibit the neural alarm in the cingulate. We relax our muscles, take a deep breath, and feel relief. Thus, when we experience pain sensations without fear, the sense of suffering falls off. This is the physiological foundation of the parable of the two arrows. The impact of the second arrow is due to our resistance. With acceptance, it disappears. This understanding informs Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, the program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn that is now offered at many health care centers. Carnegie-Mellon research psychologist J. David Creswell has reviewed studies of MBSR and its effect on pain. “There seems to be a fairly consistent pattern of effect showing that mindfulness meditation is effective for reducing pain symptoms in chronic pain populations,” Creswell says. However, he points out that mindfulness may not necessar- ily reduce the actual sensation of pain. “In fact,” he says, “I think that when you’re more mindful of pain, you’re actually experiencing the pain in a more direct way.” Instead, mindfulness reduces the emotional suffering that normally accompanies pain, the second arrow in the Buddha’s parable. “I think that’s where the action is,” Creswell says. “There’s sort of a decoupling of one’s sensation of pain and the emotional response to that pain when you’re mindful.” cindylevineteRRydoyle