State of scientific research into meditation & consciousness

Scientific challenges to the beliefs promoted by the Brahma Kumaris so called "World Spiritual University"
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post22 Aug 2019

Pink,

You have presented many invaluable points. The main idea being the 2 dimensional way of life, which becomes the BK theory and practice.

It's culturally dangerous and dangerous to the growth of any individual. We may cease growing biologically, with respect to our growth plates. Our personality and other parts of our souls never stops growing. However, the 2-dimension way of BK limits does stunt personality development.

The early Western BKs are part of the counter-culture revolution. Some of the energies absorbed by the teens of the late 60s and 70s were responsible for instigating some of us to look to the East, including BKism.

Benson risked his career when he commenced conducting psychophysiology tests on individual some of whom were hippies. John Lilly with his sensory deprivation tank and studies with dolphins, was a bit protected from being fully ostracized by the medical scientific community because his family was very connected. Elmer Green had the backing of the Minninger Foundation. Joan Borysenko was one of Benson's students. Candice Perth, who did the laboratory work for the discovery of opiod receptors, has forever been ostracized by the biomedical community because she reported her mentor and major professor at Hopkins, Sol Snyder, when he was granted the Lasker Award, the prelude to the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. Snyder was not granted the Lasker Award, after he was reported by Perth for not acknowledging her work leading to the discoveries of endorphins.

The BKs in the early days of Western service, tried to suppress some Western members from pursuing careers in medicine and/or science. They would not allow such Sisters or Brothers to speak at conferences or other BK platforms, while allowing other Brothers and Sisters to address audiences. Many such BKs, who are now ex-BKs and have gone on to highly successful careers in the neuroscience of meditation, as the BKs scramble and stumble to catch up with other spiritual organizations who have been conducting highly productive research.

Examples include, Harvard University Medical School, the Noetics Institute, ARE, AT Still University, and Saybrook University.


Huf fPost. (2009). Joan Borysenko. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/author/joan-borysenko
Goode, E.(2003, May 31). Famed psychiatric clinic abandons prairie home. New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/31/us/f ... -home.html

Hooper, J. (1983). John Lilly: Altered states.
Interview with John Lilly. Omni Magazine. Retrieved from https://erowid.org/culture/characters/l ... iew1.shtml

Lilly, J.C. (1988). The scientist: A metaphysical biography. Sausalito, California: InterLicense. Available at https://www.amazon.com/Scientist-Metaph ... 0914171720

Ryan, C. (2009, July 3). Fascinating figures: John Lilly Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... john-lilly
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ex-l

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post22 Aug 2019

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:The BKs in the early days of Western service, tried to suppress some Western members from pursuing careers in medicine and/or science. They would not allow such Sisters or Brothers to speak at conferences or other BK platforms, while allowing other Brothers and Sisters to address audiences. Many such BKs, who are now ex-BKs

... And the arts.

Bottomline is, the BK leadership always knew who their bread was buttered by and have developed a populist form that is dumbed down and non-challenging for their primary sponsors and free laborers, let's say the lower middle class merchant class they arose from and below.

Ditto, they will exclude anyone that question or makes their dumb down leaders look bad in public, and stick to the formula that works, or brings in the cash.

Do science? Good heavens!!! What a terrible though as it would involving spending money on something that was not marketing.

I suspect that even though the BKs' target audience has moved on from the original counter-culture types, there are just as many inspired and enlightened BKs being sidelined and disenfranchised. They appear to have embraced higher education to a degree ... but only as far as conforming in order to benefit from the status and income in confers.
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post22 Aug 2019

Ex-I,

Thank you, I forgot the arts.

In response to one of your previous posts, scientists have always been limited in our explorations. All we do is test hypotheses by experiments to solve problems. The mathematicians, they prove theorems.

Personally, before the BKs, I have been always fascinated by the mind and its mysteries and the journey being a physician-scientist conducting research in the the biophysics and physiology of meditation has always fascinated me. It is a fire the BKs policies and politics could to dampen nor extinguish.

I was not surprised in the early days of Western service by some BKs with doctoral degrees who were anti-intellectuals. I was not going to allow such souls to validate my quest nor my professional journey in the medical sciences.

I am grateful to the BKs or the spiritual founder of the BKs for the spiritual support I received during my medical school days. I do not like to discuss an aspect about me in the public. I positively responded to shamanistic calls in my early teens and my shamanistic attributes were a problem for the BKs. I was strongly convinced that my uniform would never be chorta and pajamas or saffron robes; my uniform has been the white coat of the medical scientist and blue blazer and fawn pants of the Ivory Tower.
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ex-l

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post22 Aug 2019

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:I positively responded to shamanistic calls in my early teens and my shamanistic attributes were a problem for the BKs.

An interesting question for ex-BKs to ask, and indeed current BKs, is why did they respond to the "shamanistic call" of BKism?

What was the deeper, sub- or supra-conscious reason?

We've often discussed sub-conscious reasons, eg fears, weaknesses, familial issues, prior religiousindoctrination, what we not hypothesised are supra-conscious reasons that we may have been guided or inspired to engage with it.

That's to say something like we were watchdogs for the rest of our tribe/society and our curiousity and engagement with BKism was not to adopt to it and be subsumed, as they seek to do to others to fuel and fund their global expansion, but to learn about a new danger and to fight and protect society from it.

Wild stuff, I realise, but not entirely without possibility.

I suppose one would start off by looking at the evolutionary bases or influences in the instincts of "early adopter" types. The curious and brave they go out exploring for our tribe.

Of course, part of those evolutionary influences would also include the too curious and too brave getting killed off and not procreating those genes or tendencies!

But, way out of the park of science, are there other higher power or collective/supra-conscious influences that guide us?

Relative to the topic, I have no idea where "science" sits with regards ideas like collective/supra-consciousnesses.
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Pink Panther

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post23 Aug 2019

ex-l wrote:An interesting question for ex-BKs to ask, and indeed current BKs, is why did they respond to the "shamanistic call" of BKism? What was the deeper, sub- or supra-conscious reason?

Well, I’d split that into two questions.
    1. Did you respond to a "shamanistic call” i.e. a deeper, sub- or supra-conscious reason?
    2. If yes, why was it the BKs rather than any other organisation that you became involved with?
For me I can say yes to the first part, and to go into that would take a lot of time (what was that ”shamanistic” call?).

I suspect that for many of us the answer to the second part is much more mundane. Since the 1970s there’s been a broad selection of ”service providers” for seekers. Traditional churches, foreign religions, Yoga groups, meditation groups, pagan & occult groups etc etc.

For me, the reason i joined the BKs was simple. I was interested in exploring new ”shamanistic” expriences, a.k.a. altered states of consciousness and was just getting into Yoga for health. I also knew of Yoga’s connection to meditation and spirituality. The culture was full of new areas to explore.

A friend of mine tried Transcendental Meditation but I had no money and they were based in the city. I saw an ad in a local shop window for Raja Yoga Meditation. I saw this as traditional combination of Yoga and meditation. The clincher for me was that it was close to my house, walking distance, and it was free. I was a cheapskate!

That got me there. What kept me continuing was that I invested meaning into what I experienced there, I saw meaningful associations with various ideas and experiences I'd already had and I took all those to be signs that I was on the right path. I fooled myself by wanting it to be true.

Maybe I was on the right path for a while, but what I resent about this, and my path, and blame the BKs directly, is that for anyone to take BKs seriously, to follow that path, is to accept entrapment into its cult-like mentality. I was blind to the paths many off-ramps because I did not believe there were more scenic routes, more interesting places to be, than where this ”freeway” went.

I can say that I took what benefit there was to take within my first few years, the rest was ”remembering the days of my childhood” so enmeshing myself in ”service” to find meaning.

But because I had become a "believer” (a self-convincer) there was no alternative, all effort was made to stay true to the "one true path” for as long as possible.

It was realising that this idea of a "one true path” was a trap that helped set me free from them, after giving over far more years to them than was warranted in terms of real benefit gained. I spent two to three times longer with them than I should have, most of th etime was treading water. Yes, it misdirected my life to be something very different to what it could have been. Bravo to you Gupta for sticking to your professional and intellectual goals.

I have established a relatively good life, considering all that can go wrong for anyone in life. I have not fulfilled my professional potential nor my intellectual potentia. I am still "growing” and still having realisations about human nature, human needs, psychology etc based on my BK time eg I have realised how easily we become ”enculted” to almost any ego-stroking way of life, even the ”cult” of mainstream mundane life.

"All dharmas are empty of own-being".
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post23 Aug 2019

The Western ex-BKs who have played the roles or are playing the role of guarding Western souls would be considered to be practicing a type of altruism from the perspective of evolutionary genetics.

When we look at genes, and DNA, it's fascinating how behavior from the spirit interacts with DNA, and the environment, and the reverse.

Our consciousness does have an influence on our DNA and the reverse.
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ex-l

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post10 Sep 2019

Here's an interesting development that's going to challenge the spiritually minded, including myself, who have hard time believing that consciousness can develop "from the meat upwards" rather than enter, occupy and operating it as a soul or ghost in a machine.
Lab-grown ‘mini brains’ produce electrical patterns that resemble those of premature babies

A team of researchers led by neuroscientist Alysson Muotri of the University of California, San Diego, coaxed human stem cells to form tissue from the cortex — a brain region that controls cognition and interprets sensory information. They grew hundreds of brain organoids in culture for 10 months, and tested individual cells to confirm that they expressed the same collection of genes seen in typical developing human brains1. The group presented the work at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego this month.

Surprising patterns

Muotri and his colleagues continuously recorded electrical patterns, or electroencephalogram (EEG) activity, across the surface of the mini brains. By six months, the organoids were firing at a higher rate than other brain organoids previously created, which surprised the team.

The EEG patterns were also unexpected. In mature brains, neurons form synchronized networks that fire with predictable rhythms. But the organoids displayed irregular EEG patterns that resembled the chaotic bursts of synchronized electrical activity seen in developing brains. When the researchers compared these rhythms to the EEGs of premature babies, they found that the organoids' patterns mimicked those of infants born at 25–39 weeks post-conception.

Full paper, here.
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Pink Panther

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post11 Sep 2019

ex-l wrote:Here's an interesting development that's going to challenge the spiritually minded, including myself, who have hard time believing that consciousness can develop "from the meat upwards" rather than enter, occupy and operating it as a soul or ghost in a machine.

Interesting article. Consciousness really is a matter of definition.

We need first to define "what is this thing we call consciousness"?

Whether consciousness ”arises", ”manifests" or ”comes from” somewhere can only be discussed after defining it. Any conjecture about ”comes from” would need some evidence to carry any weight ( pardon the pun).

The answer to the latter is often an attempt to bolster a ”preferred” answer to the first question - which has usually been hastily presumed as "obvious” (according to belief - Yes it exists in another dimension, God creates it at birth then it lives forever, it is the Universe becoming conscious of itself through us... etc) rather than spend the time sincerely inquiring into that first question and whether our presumptuous haste in accepting ”the obvious’ was well-founded or not.

If bacteria decide to move away from heat or cold or prods or chemicals that affect them, was that conscious?
How do sub-atomic particles ”know” which others to bind with to create new atomic elements? How do molecules ”know” which others to bind to to create new substances? How do these things become living organisms that learn to divide and grow, then know to die, and why do some forget to die (cellular alzheimers?) and become cancerous?

How is it that trauma can cause epigenetic changes in the traumatised to be carried forward into the genes of offspring - now seen in studies on both rats and in humans, so their consciousness is different to previous generations. (Discussed in another topic here on this site or you can google it).

Is the idea of pre-existing consciousness not similar to the idea of an ”Intelligent designer” - assuming a ”first uncaused cause” when in fact the world and the evolution of species is an ongoing, ever-changing product of physics, chemistry, natural selection and so on; where certain characteristics, be they resilience, cooperation, intelligence, adaptability, speed, fertility, etc enable those qualities to be passed on - to ”go forth and multiply” - while those without those qualities in given conditions simply rise and fall in slow motion, like a bad idea that seemed good at the time? ;-)

If we now have come to understand that Energy arises from Forces and can translate into Matter then back again, and all this is now known to be part of the natural universe, why do we still need to see consciousness as soemthing ”beyond”? Cannot the spiritual experience not be one part of the natural physical world? Does it really need to be divided and separated and insisted on as ”somewhere else, something else” because That makes sense and other new ideas don’t (yet)?

If Dementia turns a brain to mush and the person loses memory, identity, then all abilities, whither consciousness?

If the food we eat and our gut flora can affect our mood, our mental health, and even kill us, what does that say about consciousness? Is consciousness primary or a secondary ‘product' of all other factors including chemistry?

Are we not only talking about different levels of ”necessity”, aren't these different kinds of ”if this, then this; if that then that.”?

That is, are we not only now really beginning to understand more of the factors needing to co-exist for "something else" to come into being?
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: State of scientific research into meditation & conscious

Post15 Sep 2019

Lab-on-chips and micro-organ on chips will soon be combined to create robots with biological components.

As a young BK I was intrigued by such possibilities decades ago but was always told by the Seniors not to think in such ways. Now, as a pioneering physician-scientist, I am part of the scientific community conducting such research, which I was told by BK handlers were forms of Maya and distractions from attaining a Golden Age status.

It is a BK paradox that the emerging science of micro-organs will usher in a Golden Age, which will be much different and much real than the BK Golden Age. Cell phones may be obsolete in less than 3 decades, because there will be wearable devices enabling humans to communicate by thoughts.

In the mean time, many developmental biology researchers in laboratories are closing in on the invisible energy beyond DNA, which enables a collection of embryonic cells to become a new born human or animal.
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