Shinzen Young vs Russell Hurburt et al.

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If you like or dislike Shinzen Young’s “atoms of experience”

  • touch
  • sight
  • sound
  • feeling
  • image
  • talk

you may be fascinated to know that a peer-reviewed scientist (Russell T Hurlburt) has come up with a similar-but-different list over decades of careful research:

  • Inner Speech (IS)
  • Partially Worded Speech (PWS)
  • Unworded Speech (UWS)
  • Worded Thinking (W)
  • Image (I)
  • Imageless Seeing (XI)
  • Unsymbolized Thinking (U)
  • Inner Hearing (IH)
  • Feeling (F)
  • Sensory Awareness (SA)
  • Just Doing (JD)
  • Just Talking (JT)
  • Just Listening (JL)
  • Just Reading (JR)
  • Just Watching TV (JW)
  • Multiple Awareness (M)

For each phenomenon, he lists the “pure phenomenon” as well as examples, variants, discriminations, and additional considerations.

I prefer more complex objects when doing foreground/background meditation, but you might use either Shinzen’s or Hurlburt et al.’s lists within Shinzen’s meditation system or mine.

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