This is Your Brain on Buddha: The close encounters of Buddhism and neuroscience.



This is Your Brain on Buddha

Celebrated neuro-thinkers like Daniel Dennett and Paul and Patricia Churchland are reluctant to give the "inside" of awareness or experience much explanatory weight, insisting that objective accounts of consciousness are far superior if you want to understand how the mind actually works. Such thinkers argue that subjectivity may have an undeniable intuitive appeal, but our own experience is an unreliable source of information, a morass of illusions and myths that cloud the quest to describe reality.

Yet in his 1991 book The Embodied Mind, co-written with Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch, the celebrated neuroscientist Francisco Varela insists that experience is an irreducible component of the study of the mind. "To deny the truth of our own experience in the scientific study of ourselves is not only unsatisfactory; it is to render the scientific study of ourselves without a subject matter." Varela and crew argue that while cognitive science continues to dig into the material foundations of cognition, researchers should balance their resulting models against the "disciplined, transformative analysis" of experience itself -- an analysis provided by, in their case, Buddhist meditation and philosophy. A serious student of Chogyam Trunpa, as well as the organizer of a number of formal dialogues between the Dalai Lama and Western scientists, Varela believes that Buddhism provides a sort of finely-tuned introspective tool that has been neglected in the West.


The Ancient, Peaceful Art of Self-Generated Hallucination

So where are these lights coming from? They’re clearly not real, physical lights dancing in front of the meditator’s face, but rather a construction of the idle, meditating brain. What is it about meditation that opens the brain up to these kinds of hallucinations?
It's a bit amusing that there's simply no consideration that these lights might actually be something real in their own right.

Seems to me it connects to the whole "Orb" phenomenon.


I don't know whether you intend something different, but the most common "orb" phenomenon is a mundane photographic effect having no particular significance.
I was thinking of something Pinchbeck was talking about. IIRC he recalled stories of people actually seeing them without cameras.

But I'd say none of this Orb stuff is proof of anything, just interesting how it connects to these lights seen by those meditating.