Books and resources
If you think that intelligence emanates from the mind and that reasoning necessitates the suppression of emotion, you’d better think again—or rather not “think” at all. In his provocative new book, Guy Claxton draws on the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology to reveal how our bodies—long dismissed as mere conveyances—actually constitute the core of our intelligent life. From the endocrinal means by which our organs communicate to the instantaneous decision-making prompted by external phenomena, our bodies are able to perform intelligent computations that we either overlook or wrongly attribute to our brains. Embodied intelligence is one of the most exciting areas in contemporary philosophy and neuropsychology, and Claxton shows how the privilege given to cerebral thinking has taken a toll on modern society, resulting in too much screen time, the diminishment of skilled craftsmanship, and an overvaluing of white-collar over blue-collar labor. Discussing techniques that will help us reconnect with our bodies, Claxton shows how an appreciation of the body’s intelligence will enrich all our lives.
The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience by Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, Eleanor Rosch
The Embodied Mind provides a unique, sophisticated treatment of the spontaneous and reflective dimension of human experience. The authors argue that only by having a sense of common ground between mind in Science and mind in experience can our understanding of cognition be more complete. Toward that end, they develop a dialogue between cognitive science and Buddhist meditative psychology and situate it in relation to other traditions such as phenomenology and psychoanalysis.
David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. He explores the character of perception and excavates the sensual foundations of language, which–even at its most abstract–echoes the calls and cries of the earth. On every page of this lyrical work, Abram weaves his arguments with passion and intellectual daring. “Long awaited, revolutionary…This book ponders the violent disconnection of the body from the natural world and what this means about how we live and die in it.”–Los Angeles Times
What can a brain scan, or our reaction to a Caravaggio painting, reveal about the deep seat of guilt? How can reading Heidegger, or conducting experiments on rats, help us to cope with anxiety in the face of the world’s economic crisis? And how can a bizarre neurological syndrome or a Shakespearean sonnet explain love and intimacy? We live at a time when neuroscience is unlocking the secrets of our emotions. But is science ever enough to explain why we feel the way we feel? Giovanni Frazzetto takes us on a journey through our everyday lives and most common emotions. In each chapter, his scientific knowledge mixes with personal experience to offer a compelling account of the continual contrast between rationality and sentiment, science and poetry. And he shows us that by facing this contrast, we can more fully understand ourselves and how we feel.
What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life but the fountainhead of human experience? What if our logic and science derive from art forms, rather than the other way around? In this trenchant volume, Rollo May helps all of us find those creative impulses that, once liberated, offer new possibilities for achievement. A renowned therapist and inspiring guide, Dr. May draws on his experience to show how we can break out of old patterns in our lives. His insightful book offers us a way through our fears into a fully realized self.
Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of medicine. We learn how meditation protects against depression and dementia, how social connections increase life expectancy and how patients who feel cared for recover from surgery faster. We watch as a transplant patient uses the smell of lavender to calm his hostile immune system and an Olympic runner shaves vital seconds off his time through mind-power alone. Drawing on the very latest research, Marchant explores the vast potential of the mind’s ability to heal, lays out its limitations and explains how we can make use of the findings in our own lives. Cure points the way towards a system of medicine that treats us not simply as bodies but as human beings.
Just as neurons communicate through mutual stimulation, brains strive to connect with one another. Louis Cozolino shows us how brains are highly social organisms. Balancing cogent explanation with instructive brain diagrams, he presents an atlas of sorts, illustrating how the architecture and development of brain systems from before birth through adulthood determine how we interact with others.
“There is no way in which to understand the world without first detecting it through the radar-net of our senses… Our senses define the edge of consciousness, and because we are born explorers and questors after the unknown, we spend a lot of our lives pacing that windswept perimeter… “
When the Body Says No is an impressive contribution to research on the physiological connection between life’s stresses and emotions and the body systems governing nerves, immune apparatus and hormones. With great compassion and erudition, Gabor Maté demystifies medical science and, as he did in Scattered Minds, invites us all to be our own health advocates.
Living With A Creative Mind describes a new simpler model of the creative process, and shows how creative people have different ways of interacting with the world as a result.
In this book Richard Louv suggests that if we reconceive environmentalism and sustainability, they will evolve into a larger movement that will touch every part of society. This New Nature Movement taps into the restorative powers of the natural world to boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv offers renewed optimism while challenging us to rethink the way we live.
Today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.
In “The Biology of Wonder “author Andreas Weber proposes a new approach to the biological sciences that puts the human back in nature. He argues that feelings and emotions, far from being superfluous to the study of organisms, are the very foundation of life. From this basic premise flows the development of a “poetic ecology” which intimately connects our species to everything that surrounds us showing that subjectivity and imagination are prerequisits of biological existence. The book demonstrates that there is no separation between us and the world we inhabit. By reconciling science with meaning, expression and emotion, this landmark work brings us to a crucial understanding of our place in the rich and diverse framework of life-a revolution for biology as groundbreaking as the theory of relativity for physics.
This book is about how to return to the incredible navigational system of the body and more fully inhabit each moment. For over twenty-five years, Suzanne Scurlock-Durana has masterfully taught her step-by-step practice of present moment awareness through her own combination of bodywork and CranioSacral therapy. The practices of Full Body Presence help you find a deeper awareness in the moment, even in the midst of chaos, family and work demands, or the pressure to perform. This deeper awareness also brings a fuller sense of trust and confidence in yourself and in the world. Full Body Presence is filled with concrete, life-friendly explorations and instruction clearly presented in both the book and the free accompanying downloadable audio files.
This practical book by psychotherapist Carol McClelland aims to reconnect you to your natural rhythms, and to see and live your life as a continuous spiral, rather than a straight path of growth and expansion.
In each episode host Brooke Thomas talks with thought leaders within the wide variety of somatic fields. Conversations revolve around why embodiment matters, and the emerging 21st century understanding of the body as a whole rather than a collection of parts (and what that even means).