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Can You Learn Meditation from an AI? – with Shinzen Young

Host Michael Taft talks with teacher Shinzen Young about Shinzen’s decades-long dream of computer-based meditation instruction, his current creation of a rule-based, expert system based on Artificial Intelligence, the upcoming major upheavals in science and culture that AI will bring, the problems inherent in AI, and Shinzen’s most positive vision for the future.

tree earth sky

The Tree of Earth and Sky 

And so Earth energy is rising up spreading out through the trunk and branches and leaves of the tree.  This ancient, grounded, humble energy that is paradoxically both humble and noble. And the branches of the tree spread out into the vast, open sky, and the brilliant warm, healing, sacred light of the Sun is soaked up by all the leaves of the tree and runs down the branches and into the trunk. 

Meditating on the Stream of Thought

Sometimes when we’re just resting as awareness, doing nothing, we want it to be a certain way, we want it to be peaceful. But awareness itself is always peaceful. We want it to make sense or have a pattern but awareness itself doesn’t need that at all. It’s vast, it’s spacious, it has room for everything. We want it to not be distracted or somehow not be filled with upsetting emotions, or whatever. But awareness is never upset. Any emotions can arise and it’s fine. So whatever is happening right now, just let that be okay, just let that be okay. Allow the sky of awareness to just let everything be what it is, without interfering in any way. And yet totally accepting, not ignoring or denying, accepting everything, just as it is.