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Available in Paperback ($22) and Kindle ($11).

Presence is not a thing we can perceive. It is the space within which things can be known. It is not a tangible object (like a bird or a person) or an intangible object (like a thought or a mood). Rather, it is a field of awareness which makes knowing possible.

This book explores the confluence of the ancient Buddha’s understanding of the mind with the emerging neuroscientific understanding of the brain. Engaging this odd couple can deepen meditation and help us relate to life with greater wisdom, heart, and presence.

Also see Buddha’s Map, Beginning the Journey, Kindness and Wisdom Practice, Meditator’s Field Guide, Befriending the Mind, and Resting in the waves.



1. Introduction: Emerging Clear Awareness

Constructing a Consciousness

2. Roots of Consciousness: Primordial Affective Emotions

3. Relax and Expand: Spaciousness and the Negativity Bias

4. Spectrum of Awareness

5. Three Ennobling Practices

6. Awareness is Magic: Enlightened Futility

7. Homeostasis: Pain and Pleasure as Messengers

8. Consciousness is Born: Complexity is the Midwife

Constructing a World

9. Guessing Reality: Brain as a Modeling Machine

10. Updating Reality: Top-Down Bayesian Inference

Constructing a Consciousness

11. Self as Process

12. Heaps of Experience: The Buddha’s Khandhas

13. Untangling the Self: From Monolith to Motley Crew

14. Shadows in a Mirror: Constructing Selves

15. Summary: Emerging Consciousness and Twilight Awareness