The Science of Yoga
In our teacher training, on the first day, I always say… Question Everything…
Only after careful analysis, will you find that truth for yourself. Teachers can show you where to look but not tell you what to see.
Buddhism is the root of many modern day sciences, from the study of the mind in psychology to study of the universe in Astrophysics. A questioning mind is essential to the Buddhist path.
Perhaps because of my Judeo-Christian background, I have a tendency to regard doubt as something shameful, almost as an enemy. We feel that if we have doubts, it means that we are denying the teachings and that we should really have unquestioning faith.
The Bible say’s, “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you can not see.” Hebrews 11:1
In the Indian Pali language, the words “ehi passiko,” was taught by the Buddha and means “come and see,” or “come and investigate,” not “come and believe.” An open, questioning mind is not regarded as a drawback to followers of the Buddha dharma. An open mind, which questions and doesn’t accept things simply because they are said, is no problem at all.
One of the outstanding principles that Buddha taught is to believe in the Law of Nature and the Rule of Cause and Effect. He taught, “If you plant a seed of bad deeds you will get a bad deed. If you plant a lemon seed you cannot expect a sweet mango tree. Buddha never taught anyone to have blind faith.”
The Buddha taught his follows, elders and scholars to not take anything on with blind faith, but only accept his or anyone’s teachings only after careful observation, reason and analysis; only then should one believe in anything.
“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts.”
In the famous Kalama Sutta, the Buddha tells of a group of villagers who came to visit. (This is 2,600 years ago, but sounds so familiar today) They said to him, “Many teachers come through here. Each has his own doctrine. Each claims that his particular philosophy and practice is the truth, but they all contradict each other. Now we’re totally confused. What do we do?” Same problems today. The Buddha replied, “You have a right to be confused. When there are reasons for doubt, uncertainty is born. This is a confusing situation. Do not take anything on trust merely because it has passed down through tradition, or because your teachers say it, or because your elders have taught you, or because it’s written in some famous scripture. When you have seen it and experienced it for yourself to be right and true, then you can accept it.”
“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth. [Verse 223]” ― Siddhārtha Gautama, The Dhammapada
The Dalia Lama teaches that it is in the study of science we find anything that proves a teaching in Buddhism false, then that teaching should be discontinued. In this way Buddhism continues to evolve and grow, as our understanding of the universe does.
In 1987, the Dalai Lama formed the Mind & Life Institute (on Netflix: Upper Story – On the Road to Well Being) where he brought together the world’s greatest scientist to collaborate on topics ranging from quantum physics and cosmology to compassion and destructive emotions.
While scientific research confirmed that ancient Buddhist philosophy and practices, such as mediation could reverse the effects of negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety, they began to explore together how the teaching could grow positive emotions, such as compassion, love and kindness.
“Material development certainly contributes towards happiness – to some extent – and a comfortable way of life. But this is not sufficient. To achieve a deeper level of happiness we cannot neglect our inner development. I feel, for example, that our sense of fundamental human values has not kept pace with powerful new developments in our material abilities.
For that reason I have been encouraging scientists to examine advanced Tibetan spiritual practitioners, to see what effects of their spiritual practice might be of benefit to others, outside the religious context. One approach would be to take the help of scientists in trying to make the workings of these inner methods clear. The important point here is to increase our understanding of the world of the mind, of consciousness, and of our emotions.
Experiments have already been carried out that show some practitioners can achieve a state of inner peace, even when facing disturbing circumstances. The results show such people to be happier, less susceptible to destructive emotions, and more attuned to the feelings of others. These methods are not just useful, but cheap: you don’t need to buy anything or make anything in a factory. You don’t need a drug or an injection.” – Dalai Lama
Already this collaboration has borne fruit. Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has published results from brain imaging studies of lamas meditating. He found that during meditation the regions of the brain thought to be related to happiness increase in activity. He also found that the longer a person has been a meditator, the greater the activity increase will be.
“Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger the wind the stronger the trees.” Thomas S. Monson
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Mahatma Gandhi
“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.” Marianne Williamson
“The biggest wall you’ve gotta climb is the one you build in you mind.”
“Adversity, similar to lava, appears to destroy everything in its way. But out of the ashes and smoke, new, better, and stronger things emerge that may have not been born in any other way.” Zoe V
“Fire is the test of gold; adversity of the strong men.” Martha Graham
“The last mile of any marathon is the longest mile.” – David Scott
“When things change inside you, things change around you.”
“Let go of the thoughts that don’t make you strong.” —Karen Salmansohn
““Peace begins with a smile.” —Mother Teresa
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” —Wayne W. Dyer
“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” – Buddha
“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.” – Ram Das
“Avoid negative people, they find a problem for any solution.” – Albert Einstein
“Don’t walk away from negative people… Run…” Mark Twain
Our illusionary universe… Like Lego Blocks, our entire universe is made up of an arrangement of subatomic particles. How those subatomic particles are arranged, defines the matter we witness around us as our perceived reality.
There are six main elements that are the fundamental building blocks of life. They are sulfur, phosphorous, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen.
Tiny changes make huge differences: (H2O vs H2O2). It is possible for the same kinds of atoms to combine in different but definite proportions to form different molecules; for example, two atoms of hydrogen will chemically bond with one atom of oxygen to yield a water molecule, whereas two atoms of hydrogen can chemically bond with two atoms of oxygen to form a molecule of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
The basis of life is carbon. Carbon’s importance comes mainly from the enormous variety of structures that it can form due to its unusual four valence electrons. Most important of these structures is the carbon chain, which forms the “backbone” of fatty acids and carbohydrates, among other organic molecules.
Our bodies have 3 billion genetic building blocks, or base pairs, that make us who we are.
And of those 3 billion base pairs, only a tiny amount are unique to us, making us about 99.9% genetically similar to the next human.
What if we could in the same way alter simple things in our patterns of thought that would bring about more joy, peace and happiness into our lives.
“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” ― Shannon L. Alder
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” ~Wayne Dyer
“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.” ~Zen Master Hsing Yun
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” —Nhat Hanh
“Joy that is not shared dies young. Joy should be our journey, not our destination” – David Scott
“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” —Joseph Campbell
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell
“It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.”