Destructive Emotions

As you know, I’m constantly on the lookout for scientific studies that connect with spiritual wisdom – those that echo or even offer scientific backing to what mystics and shaman have told us all along.

I’ve just been reading the fabulous ‘Destructive Emotions’, which is a long exploration of the relationship between Buddhism and science, written by Daniel Coleman.

The book goes into research that shows the benefits of meditation practice in great detail (along with lots of other amazing stuff) but one bit really jumped out at me. Spiritual wisdom tells us that we are all one. That’s certainly something that quantum physicist Schrödinger believed, and is echoed in Bohm’s complete insistence that, on a quantum level, the entire universe is fundamentally connected. But spiritual wisdom also tells us that because we are all one, our outer world is a reflection of our inner world and that if we want things on the outside to change, we have to change on the inside.

That’s a lot harder to set up a lab based scientific study to explore which is why I was delighted to read Coleman’s book as it contains a hugely significant experiment involving a monk called Oser. European in origin, Oser had been ordained as a monk some thirty years previously and had also spent a great deal of time alongside what Coleman describes as Tibet’s great spiritual masters.

As part of the scientific research they were undertaking, Oser agreed to take part in an experiment in which he would have two discussions with two different people about a subject on which they totally disagreed, during which their physiology was measured. Osers discussion partners comprised one mild-mannered professor and another who was known for having an ‘aggressive, rather confrontational style of disputation’.

Oser and the mild-mannered professor thoroughly enjoyed their lively debate, but when it came to the professor with the cut and thrust style, he went from showing a high level of physiological arousal which began to drop the more he talked with the radiant monk to the point where he eventually said, ‘I couldn’t be confrontational. I was always met with reason and smiles; it’s overwhelming. I felt something – like a shadow or an aura – and I couldn’t be aggressive.’

As I find further studies, I’ll bring them your way – but in the meantime I invite you to be the scientist in your own life and experiment with how this works for you. Keep a journal in which you record the day’s events and also how you felt at the time. That way, you can begin to track a direct relationship between what is going on inside you and what unfolds in your world outside. Don’t think that you’ve failed if you run up against a problem as this is the perfect opportunity to notice if there is a difference in how and whether you can sort it out according to how you feel inside. And in particular, as you change, notice how the things around you change.

Loads of love,

Michele x

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