Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Emotional Intelligence’

Buddha Nature and the Divided Brain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 10, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a world that honors the servant, but has forgotten the gift.
–Albert Einstein

Except in the light of brain hemisphere lateralization, nothing in human psychology makes any sense.
–neuroscientist Tim Crow

An Old Tale

There’s a traditional Buddhist story about a statue of incomparable value, which is lost and then forgotten. For generation after generation, various kinds of human rubbish and debris accumulate to bury it. Nobody ever suspects that anything important lies under the ground. Eventually a clairvoyant person happens by who comments: “If you dig here, and clean up what you find, you will discover something invaluable.” But who would follow such advice?

Our Divided Brain

In his remarkable book, “The Master and his Emissary,” neurological psychologist Iain McGilchristprovides a wealth of scientific evidence to support his contention that two opposed realities are rooted in the bi-hemispheric structure of the human brain.

Although each hemisphere is specialized, neither functions as an “independent brain.” They integrate their activities to produce physical movements, mental processes and behaviors greater than, and different from, their individual contributions. With functional NMR scanners, real-time brain imaging is now routinely used to determine the functional effects of all kinds of strokes and brain injuries, and in that way we can observe how the hemispheres act together as “opponent processors.”

Basically, the right hemisphere is mute, perceives in a holistic Gestalt manner and synthesizes over space. The left hemisphere, the seat of language, analyzes over time. The right hemisphere codes sensory input in terms of images, the left in terms of words and concepts. Specialization of function offers all kinds of advantages, but integrating those functions is a special point of vulnerability. When it comes to the large and complex human mind-brain, harmony can easily be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Good News: You Are Not Your Brain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, and Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School Director, Genetics and Aging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

Like a personal computer, science needs a recycle bin for ideas that didn’t work out as planned. In this bin would go commuter trains riding on frictionless rails using superconductivity, along with interferon, the last AIDS vaccine, and most genetic therapies. These failed promises have two things in common: They looked like the wave of the future but then reality proved too complex to fit the simple model that was being offered.

The next thing to go into the recycle bin might be the brain. We are living in a golden age of brain research, thanks largely to vast improvements in brain scans. Now that functional MRIs can give snapshots of the brain in real time, researchers can see specific areas of the brain light up, indicating increased activity. On the other hand, dark spots in the brain indicate minimal activity or none at all. Thus, we arrive at those familiar maps that compare a normal brain with one that has deviated from the norm. This is obviously a great boon where disease is concerned. Doctors can see precisely where epilepsy or Parkinsonism or a brain tumor has created damage, and with this knowledge new drugs and more precise surgery can target the problem.

But then overreach crept in. We are shown brain scans of repeat felons with pointers to the defective areas of their brains. The same holds for Buddhist monks, only in their case, brain activity is heightened and improved, especially in the prefrontal lobes associated with compassion. By now there is no condition, good or bad, that hasn’t been linked to a brain pattern that either “proves” that there is a link between the brain and a certain behavior or exhibits the “cause” of a certain trait. The whole assumption, shared by 99 percent of neuroscientists, is that we are our brains.

In this scheme, the brain is in charge, having evolved to control certain fixed behaviors. Why do men see other men as rivals for a desirable woman? Why do people seek God? Why does snacking in front of the TV become a habit? We are flooded with articles and books reinforcing the same assumption: The brain is using you, not the other way around. Yet it’s clear that a faulty premise is leading to gross overreach. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Money Won’t Make You Nicer: What Science Says About Rich People’s Behavior

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 6, 2012

By  Share on Google+

Money Makes You Mean

The rich are more likely to:

a) Cut off other drivers.
b) Be disinterested in the welfare of others.
c) Cheat on a test to get ahead.
d) Give more to charities.
e) All of the above.

Science has shown that not having much money generally leads to all kinds of not-so-awesome outcomes: shorter life expectancy, higher stress, poorer health and a lack of social mobility. Increasingly, however, the rich are being put under the microscope.

Growing income inequality is providing research fodder for psychologists, economists and others who study what effect money–and socio-economic class–has on a person’s behavior.

Overall, research shows that having a lot of money is not necessarily a benefit, at least when it comes to embodying characteristics that lead to inner peace likeempathyhonesty and compassion. In fact it’s quite the opposite: Money can make you mean, according to this week’s cover story in New York magazine. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article, Global | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can We Consistently Redirect Conflict to Our Favor?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 12, 2012

By Peter Baksa, Investigative Journalist/Entreprenuer/Author of ‘The Point of Power’

Lead with the Tau and negativity has no power. The energy is not repressed but redirected so that it does not harm. — Lau Tzu, Tau 60.

Physics and Eastern theology converge in one important insight: that all creation is comprised of dynamic energy patterns. Everything, including our bodies, our emotional responses and our physical movements, is energy. Through this knowledge we can redirect anger, hostility or any other type of negative energy. If we recognize when we are experiencing anxiety, it allows for an affirmative defense. We can pivot our thinking and thereby alter the reality of the current life situation. If you are aware of your trigger points you are less likely to act them out.

I was introduced to this lovely girl in Chicago; most would consider her a 10 physically and mentally. We had endless conversations on the phone and had so much in common. We were both finally in the same city and were able to have dinner at my favorite Chicago restaurant. Dinner went well, and the chemistry was obvious, and so date two was set up. Same experience. I was excited — someone who loves my writing and enjoys discussing like-minded topics endlessly. This could be the one, I thought. Then a few dates down the road, I noticed her energy would change. She would get defensive, and this turned into aggressive, critical words. She would then break things off.

The first time I was left bewildered. She had responded to something said but the gravity of the conversation was so lighthearted and superficial that it did not match up with her response. I took the lower position, centered myself, and accepted full responsibility, apologizing profusely. Within 24 hours we were back in the saddle again, enjoying amazing conversations, holding hands as we gazed into each other’s eyes. This “break it off pattern” happened three more times in the next few dates. I realized that this young lady was not reacting to me; she was reacting to trigger points that were being touched, resulting in what I would term the “let me end this before you do” response. I believe in academic circles this might be referred to as fight or flight. She chose fight first and flight moments later. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

By 

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today.

Neuropsychology of the Unconscious

Brain research over the last generation has confirmed the difference between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Our left cerebral hemisphere is the place where language is generated and received. It serves a linguistic consciousness with which we describe and think about the world. On the other side, our silent right brain hemisphere serves an unconscious awareness that cannot be coded in language. Non-verbal contemplative practices — such as being quietly present in the natural world, “open presence” meditation, tai chi chuan or yoga — elicit sustained awareness rooted in the unconscious. We are fully aware of what is happening, within and around us. Yet such experiences cannot be put into (or directed by) words because they are served by modules for sensory awareness in the right hemisphere. Focusing attention in the present suspends the usual executive functions of the conscious mind, so that the resources of the unconscious may unfold. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can Your Brain Fall in Love?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 10, 2012

By Deepak Chopra

This post is co-authored by Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP and Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School Director, Genetics and Aging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The human brain is an exquisitely sensitive instrument. It registers the slightest nuance of any experience you have ever had. This is no more evident than in love. Imagine someone whispering, “I love you.” In romantic terms these are desirable words — probably the most desirable any of us will ever hear. The brain responds to “I love you” with an orchestration of positive reactions. People who are in love feel less stressed; their blood pressure goes down. When a couple who enjoys a long-term loving marriage hold hands, even their response to physical pain is strengthened.

These points and others in the same vein were detailed in a recent New York Times opinion piececalled “The Brain on Love” by writer-poet Diane Ackerman. We found it an empathic article, one that celebrates human bonding from the first moment a newborn baby imprints on its mother. Bonding takes place via complex brain mechanisms that follow us throughout our lives. The sense of oneness that characterizes a strong mother-child relationship morphs over time. It persists among happily married adults and gives such pleasure, as well as a sense of security, that our brains seek “at-one-ness” the way an addict seeks cocaine. Ackerman is quick to point out that love isn’t exactly the same as cocaine use, but her argument involves the same receptors for morphine-like chemicals in the brain as well as an impressive description of hormonal responses and other neurological particulars.

Yet the basic premise of the article is problematic. She doesn’t crudely claim that your brain is in love and therefore you are, too. (We suppose that’s why the article is titled “The Brain on Love” rather than “The Brain in Love.”) But at bottom it’s still the standard materialist argument, bolstered by tons of data from neuroimaging, which fails to separate brain from mind. When a person experiences love, the brain registers and expresses that experience through electrical and chemical reactions, the way a radio playing music registers and plays every note that Mozart wrote. But the brain isn’t in love any more than the radio is enjoying music. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Good News: You Are Not Your Brain

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 27, 2012

 

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, and Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School Director, Genetics and Aging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

Like a personal computer, science needs a recycle bin for ideas that didn’t work out as planned. In this bin would go commuter trains riding on frictionless rails using superconductivity, along with interferon, the last AIDS vaccine, and most genetic therapies. These failed promises have two things in common: They looked like the wave of the future but then reality proved too complex to fit the simple model that was being offered.

The next thing to go into the recycle bin might be the brain. We are living in a golden age of brain research, thanks largely to vast improvements in brain scans. Now that functional MRIs can give snapshots of the brain in real time, researchers can see specific areas of the brain light up, indicating increased activity. On the other hand, dark spots in the brain indicate minimal activity or none at all. Thus, we arrive at those familiar maps that compare a normal brain with one that has deviated from the norm. This is obviously a great boon where disease is concerned. Doctors can see precisely where epilepsy or Parkinsonism or a brain tumor has created damage, and with this knowledge new drugs and more precise surgery can target the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Use and Misuse of Gratitude

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 22, 2012


Without being able to bring more and more misusers into users it could be very hard to make the world wonderful.

By Deepak Chopra

Once a self-help term becomes shopworn, it needs to be refreshed. I think this is true of terms like faith, compassion, unconditional love and gratitude. Let me address the last one. How is gratitude a useful expression of spirituality? No one argues that it makes others feel good if you are grateful, but is that useful to their personal growth and yours? Many people find it much easier to give than to receive, for example, which makes it hard for them to feel grateful when they are on the receiving end of a gift, favor, appreciation or love. They look embarrassed and uncomfortable instead.

Until we get to the bottom of why gratitude is so hard, we cannot really understand what gratitude actually is. A few points need to be made.

  1. You are genuinely grateful when your ego gets out of the way.
  2. Real gratitude isn’t passing and temporary.
  3. Gratitude takes openness and the willingness to set your ego aside.
  4. No one is grateful for things they think they deserve. Therefore, gratitude is unearned, like grace.
  5. When it is deeply felt, gratitude applies to everything, not simply to goodies that come your way.

These points focus on gratitude as a state where “I, me and mine” has been set aside. In a grateful state you are vulnerable, as the ego sees it. In reality, this feeling of openness must exist in order to receive grace, love, beauty and inspiration. More than one painter and composer has thanked God formally, knowing that there is a higher source — something beyond the isolated individual — that brings inspiration. There is a spiritual reason for such a sense of receiving from “on high,” and it doesn’t need to involve God or religion. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Winning Back the Future: Here’s How! (Part 1)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 16, 2011

Huffington Post

Everyone, I think, wants a better future, even when troubled times arise and a better future seems far away. Our leaders are forced to keep their spirits up by promising a vision of the future — that’s how they stay in office — and yet it is very hard to get anyone to agree on a vision that insures a better life for everyone. A lot of the difficulty centers on your view of reality, and I’d like to see if there is a vision that unites all versions of reality, East and West, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, political and psychological. It’s a huge task to unite the world’s deepest conflicts, but there is a way to approach the problem.

We must begin at the beginning. Getting any two people to agree on something is difficult in terms of knowing what is actually being asked. It is only reasonable to settle on the order of meaning that is involved. An order of meaning is like a fence that encloses certain terms and facts. At the same time it leaves out other terms and facts. At the same time it leaves out other terms and facts. If I go to work and pass someone in the hall, automatically I ask, “How are you today?” This seems like a meaningful question, but that’s deceptive. Break the question down, and what I am asking is open to many interpretations, such as
* How is your health?

 * What’s your mood like?

 * How are your relationships doing?

 * Is your work going well?

 * How do you view the state of the world?

 * What does your future look like right now?

 These are all viable ways of interpreting “How are you today?” since we rarely stop to break it down, the question, being so vague, usually gets a vague answer: “I’m fine, thanks.” If you decide to pinpoint the question, you have to specify the order of meaning you have in mind. For example, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: