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Confluence between mysticism and madness, between shamanism and mental "ilness" according to neuroscience

 

In this TED talk in French (translated subtitles) it is studied from a neuroscientific perspective what has so many times been mentioned during classes at Mahamudra about the confluence bewteen mysticism and madness, between shamanism and mental "illness".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym0kIECFi0U

Also see the article "Una Visión Constructiva de las Minorías Mentales" ( http://www.mahamudra.fi/vision-constructiva-minorias-menta…/)

 

Hindu Maya rehashed in new tech terminology

 

Inspired by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom's reflexions about AI, Elon Musk claims that more likely than not we are already living in a simulated reality (perhaps orchestrated by an advanced civilization, who knows). Well, this is nothing new according to Buddhism and Hinduism. It has been called Maya, the illusion, or Lila, the play, the dance of Shiva, in Buddhism a theatrical-like play in which we are all immersed when not enlightened. Only the enlightened ones, the awakened ones or "buddhas" who open their wisdom eyes can realize we are indeed in a simulation and they can opt to live in or out of it at will:

 

Alien genes and issues of Identity: Science rediscovers what tantric yogis have known for millennia

 

Scientists are now realizing that we are colonized by tiny entities that might be affecting our minds. This is no news in esoteric tantra. Yogis have known for millennia that uncountable tiny entities dwell in key energy places or crossroads in the body, greatly affecting our minds. Tantric karma siddhi yogis have manipulated this fact to their own advantage by learning how to attract certain entities through specific spirit possession rituals. I prefer to stay clear from those practices; however, anyone with a minimum level of subtle energy sensitivity knows this to be a fact: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150917-is-another-human-living-inside-you



Recent studies on Stress: The political economy of Positive Psychology

Now scientists from top universities have statistically proved that it is not stress per se which causes disease and death necessarily, but rather our negative attitudes toward stress. People who experienced their stress with a positive outlook had longer and healthier lives than those who didn’t. Also, a positively approached stress not only was less harmful but actually was revealed to have various positive effects on our health and personality, in great part due to the production of higher levels of hormone oxytocin, the “cuddling hormone.”

For someone trained in critical thinking it is not hard to see that business and corporate forces around the world will gladly welcome these discoveries: “wonderful, now we can expose our employees and clients to higher levels of stress in order to circulate more capital and obtain more profit.” Fascist systems that promote exploitation, forced labor and so on and so forth would also welcome such friendly approach to stress. That’s the weakness of positive psychology. It could easily become politically misused.

On the other hand, at a personal level, we could always benefit from remembering that whatever we approach with a positive perspective—not just stress—will kind of magically transmute things from bad or horrible to good and wonderful. How so? Because at the end of the day, beauty is only held in the eye of the beholder. In Vajrayana this is called “pure vision,” or seeing everything as perfect. It is also called “divine pride,” or feeling that one is the deity and everyone around us is also a deity. The environment is the mandala and all sounds are mantra. In Hinduism this is called prati-paksha-bhavana, or dwelling in the positive half or side. And both in Buddhism and Hinduism it is also known as the brahma-vihara of equanimity, which consists of remaning neutral toward things that on appearance look negative, thus always remaining cheerful and light no matter what. If you could live like that, not only you would be much happier—you would become enlightened. And if businesses, corporations, and fascist systems would like to take advantage or you… who cares, they may do it, I choose to see them as deities and I am happy anyway. Interesting and scary! It all depends from where you analyze it...

Could it be that many of these top university studies on positive psychology tend to focus on things, values, and activities which are in the best interest of business and corporations to be proven to be good for humanity? For example, besides this stress study, other recent discovery (see Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work video in the colum on the right ) was that people who were given fewer choices and better accepted their current situation of things were able to find more happiness at work, thus increasing employee satisfaction, with obvious implications on rising levels of production. This should not be surprising, however, as these top universities are heavily financed precisely by businesses and corporations. No business or corporation would ever be willing to finance a study or a university that studies how by becoming more lazy, saving more money, paying higher taxes, stopping warfare, financing the poor, and feeding the hungry your health will improve and you will live longer!

I challenge those top universities to undertake those socially sensible studies. I bet the results will be exactly the same. If you live your laziness (let’s better call it being relaxed, laid back, easy on work) with guilt, negativity, low self esteem, feeling bad about it, of course your health will deteriorate and you will live less. However, if you are proud of being relaxed and work less, and embrace with joy your free time and your ability to just do little or nothing, then you will live longer and healthier. And I would bet to those top universities researchers that probably being good at being lazy would make you live longer and healthier than being good at being stressed out!



Dwell on the positive side: Harvard psychologists claim having discovered what yoga has known for thousands of years

A very interesting TED video about positive psychology, in which a Harvard psychologist rediscovers what yogis have known for thousands of years: that focusing on the “disease” only plunges you deeper in it and makes you feel more miserable, while focusing on the antidote or positive side (health, happiness, talents, etc.) makes you achieve happiness more easily (this has been sold for more than a decade as “the secret” or the “law of attraction”). As Swami Veda teaches, "prati-paksha-bhavana" – to dwell in the opposite half (on the positive side). Or as he also teaches: cultivate the brahma-vihara of equanimity, remaning neutral toward things that on appearance look negative. This implies being able to always see things from a positive perspective. For example, are you capable of expressing yourself without using “no”?

In the video the psychologist also talks about a happiness that is conditioned by the attainment of a goal—a happiness that will never arrive if you fail to achieve your goal, and will neither arrive even if you do reach your goal, thus rendering it unattainable. Unlike that, we have a happiness that comes from unconditionally accepting happiness in your life, starting from the cultivation of gratitude for what you already have, among other things. This has also been taught in spiritual traditions since ancient times: santosha or the niyama of contentment.

For more details on prati-paksha-bhavana and the brahma-viharas as part of our wellbeing, I recommend reading "Yoga for Wellness in the Himalayan Yoga Tradition"

For more details on the niyama of contentment or santosha (in Spanish) click here.



The power of contentment: Harvard positive psychologists rehash ancient Buddhist and Hindu knowledge on the Psychology of Happiness

Harvard psychology professor Dan Gilbert brilliantly proves how happiness does not really depend on anything exterior but is the result of inner contentment. In other words, to learn to like what we have is what makes us happy. People who actually have more choices were found to be statistically unhappier by Gilbert. Unsurprisingly, Gilbert also found out that if given the choice, most people would prefer to have more choices in life. In other words, people are constantly preferring a life situation in which they actually will be unhappier. People who are "stuck" with something unchangeable or irreversible actually were found to be statistically happier.

The implications of this research could be criticized by some as promoting social conformism and paralyzing the thrust for change or social reform or e/re-volution. However, I think Gilbert is pointing to something deeper than that, which has to do with realizing that happiness is an inner process and anyone actually can achieve happiness given the conditions they already have. Why then struggle to create external change in the world? Are we any better off than 100 years ago in the world? Surely some have achieved higher standards of freedom, education, material comfort, health, life expectancy, and many other things. But are we happier than what our great grandparents were?

In Manu's course and workshop the Psychology of Happiness, we study from a Hindu yoga transpersonal psychology perspective the niyama or personal observance of santosha--usually translated as contentment--which talks about the same conclusions Gilbert has reached through his research. Even enlightenment itself has been described by saints from diverse spiritual traditions as the ability to embrace everything as it is with love and joy.

According to Buddhist and Hindu teachings, contentment is just one of several other psychological attitudes that should be present in order to be truly happy. Gilbert focused on contentment, and that makes sense: in a society largely moved by the pursuit of happiness through the acquiring of material goods and the achievement of more freedoms and choices, contentment appears as one of the most important attitudes to develop. However, the "Buddhist" perfections of generosity, virtue, patience, diligence, concentration and wisdom; and the "Hindu" social observances or yamas of non-violence, truthfulness, protecting others' property, an orderly sexuality, and non-possessiveness and personal observances or niyamas of purity, discipline, spiritual study, and surrender to something superior are equally important: see third video on column to the right). For more information on this see: Cultivating Happiness and Cultivando la Felicidad



Fear of Death is behind todays' New World Order

Below, a documentary by Bill Still much in the line of Zeitgeist, but better documented on the particular phenomenon of interest- and debt-based monetary systems. I wish both Zeitgeist and Still's films would make strongly the point that usury can only prosper because we fall for the traps of getting indebted due to our greed and desires. It will be difficult to eradicate usury from the world unless our consciousness expands by losing fear of death (death of our egos), which will only happen when our minds part from duality and embrace unity. It won't happen socially, and that is why greedy plutocrats will probably always manage to reinstall central banks based on debt and interest even if we manage to wipe them out, as shown in the financial history of the USA. However, personally we can get out of the loop of samsara. An important step is to lose fear of death, because most of the hoarding and excessive consumption we do is related to the anxiety of impermanence and knowing deep inside that one day we will die. For more information see Life After Death and Vida Después de la Muerte. Bill Still's film is on the right column here. He has other films on this topic too.



Neuroscience confirms what Hindu and Buddhist wisdom has known for millennia: A strong adherence to rigid values only suppresses our natural empathy toward other beings

Neurologically we are wired for empathy but our values and prejudices suppress it. It's the same we see in the course Cultivating Happiness, only that instead of neuroscience we are using ancient Hindu and Buddhist wisdom...: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/…/mirror-neurons-how-our-abi…/ .

 

 

To Be is the Blissful Reality of Mind. To Do is the Activity of Love. Everything we Do is Just a Game to Recognize the Activity of Love.

There  are no people, things, or circumstances which are good or bad, beautiful or ugly; it is only our emotionality toward them what is there. Wisdom is to remain free from judging, aware of one's emotions. Alchemy is to transmute emotions, maintaining a homeostasis of harmony and wellbeing. Meditation is to recognize the thought that generates the emotion, observing it with equanimity. Mahamudra is to wake up after dying, having a vision of what has always been, is, and will be.

 

Yoga is a Technology of Consciousness-Energy Developed to Experience Union. It Transcends Religion and Culture.