Saturday, December 31, 2005
Reform of Islam
Iranian_Engineer: hello Sitaram
Iranian_Engineer: I read a bit of your childhood it was quite interesting
Iranian_Engineer: special kid you were
Sitaram: oh, hi... I am watching educational television.... a Dr. who studies Tibetan monks brains while they meditate
Iranian_Engineer: its really interesting!
Sitaram: it just ended the show... and now... Religion and Ethics in World News is coming on
Sitaram: the doctor was Jon Kabat-Zin
Iranian_Engineer: what were the conclusions?
Sitaram: Jon Kabat-Zinn
Sitaram: MIT Massachusetts
Iranian_Engineer: how do they study the brains of meditators
Sitaram: electrodes... brain waves
Sitaram: now the show with Fareed Zakaria is on (he is an Indian intellectual)
Iranian_Engineer: what happened to brain waves while meditating?
Iranian_Engineer: they were slow?
Sitaram: yes... very unusual...in 20 yr practitioners...
Sitaram: patterns not thought possible
Iranian_Engineer: what were the patterns like?
Sitaram: I am doing Google search now
Sitaram: He was dismayed that the world’s most brilliant scientists, many of whom were on his own campus, could be so sophisticated about science, yet so unsophisticated about the nature of the mind that produced the science. “We use all these fancy instruments, which are extensions of the senses—electron microscopes, radio telescopes, spectrophotometers—to study the world, but we haven’t paid much attention to who’s doing all this studying. Who’s doing all this knowing? What’s the mind of the scientist? We were, and are, smart in a lot of ways, but idiotic in a lot of other ways,” he says.
Iranian_Engineer: do you meditate?
Sitaram: I did for years , now... only time to write now
Iranian_Engineer: how did you do it?
Sitaram: here is the show I just watched... from the station that broadcast
Iranian_Engineer: you mean you read this and started meditating?
Iranian_Engineer: ah ok thank you
Sitaram: here.... Washington post... brain waves and meditation
Sitaram: over the past few years, researchers at the University of Wisconsin working with Tibetan monks have been able to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination.
Sitaram: they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense.
Sitaram: the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before," said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior
Sitaram: Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance." It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.
Sitaram: Scientists used to believe the opposite -- that connections among brain nerve cells were fixed early in life and did not change in adulthood. But that assumption was disproved over the past decade with the help of advances in brain imaging and other techniques, and in its place, scientists have embraced the concept of ongoing brain development and "neuroplasticity."
Iranian_Engineer: you know the disease ADHD?
Sitaram: all children have it, joking
Iranian_Engineer: not all haha, some
Iranian_Engineer: in that disease which you they cant keep their attention etc
Sitaram: The Dalai Lama ultimately dispatched eight of his most accomplished practitioners to Davidson's lab to have them hooked up for electroencephalograph (EEG) testing and brain scanning. The Buddhist practitioners in the experiment had undergone training in the Tibetan Nyingmapa and Kagyupa traditions of meditation for an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods of 15 to 40 years. As a control, 10 student volunteers with no previous meditation experience were also tested after one week of training.
Iranian_Engineer: and concentrate
Sitaram: The monks and volunteers were fitted with a net of 256 electrical sensors and asked to meditate for short periods. Thinking and other mental activity are known to produce slight, but detectable, bursts of electrical activity as large groupings of neurons send messages to each other, and that's what the sensors picked up. Davidson was especially interested in measuring gamma waves, some of the highest-frequency and most important electrical brain impulses.
Iranian_Engineer: and guess which part of their brain has problem?
Iranian_Engineer: the prefrontal lobe!
Sitaram: Both groups were asked to meditate, specifically on unconditional compassion. Buddhist teaching describes that state, which is at the heart of the Dalai Lama's teaching, as the "unrestricted readiness and availability to help living beings." T
Sitaram: Davidson said that the results unambiguously showed that meditation activated the trained minds of the monks in significantly different ways from those of the volunteers. Most important, the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast-moving and unusually powerful gamma waves in the monks, and found that the movement of the waves through the brain was far better organized and coordinated than in the students.
Iranian_Engineer: yes I opened that page
Sitaram: so, the mullahs did not block it
Iranian_Engineer: its interesting
Iranian_Engineer: tell me about your experiences of meditation ..how you learned etc
Sitaram: I would need to compose an essay... to gather my thoughts...
Sitaram: which I am happy to do
Iranian_Engineer: compose essay about?
Sitaram: duh... about the complex question you just posed
Iranian_Engineer: ah ok
Sitaram: regarding my experiences with meditation
Iranian_Engineer: yes !!!I am really eager to read that essay!
Sitaram: look at this page I found JOY DETECTIVES
Sitaram: I have been writing things about it over the past 8 years
Sitaram: I suppose visions are the most interesting aspect of it
Sitaram: I will give you one link
Iranian_Engineer: what kind of visions?
Sitaram: there is good example
Sitaram: you can see music and pictures if this link is not blocked but I think they block this
Iranian_Engineer: its not blocked
Sitaram: noooooo!!!!! this one
Sitaram: is that block.... I think yes
Sitaram: here is copy at non blocked site... I think
Sitaram: that is perhaps not blocked
Sitaram: otherwise, first link is minus pictures/music
Iranian_Engineer: I meant your first link doesn’t have pictures
Sitaram: duh... that’s what I told you... not blocked... but no pictures/no music
Sitaram: you can download my entire site, as zipped files ... and unzip it on your hard drive... with music and pictures on several pages
Iranian_Engineer: ah there was problem the page disappeared!
Sitaram: but... perhaps, if the authorities discovered it on your hard drive... you might be in big trouble
Iranian_Engineer: come on
Sitaram: if you download only the first 100 pages... plus wav plus gif
Sitaram: I am serious... after page 100, there are some pages which would get you executed or imprisoned in Saudi
Sitaram: but, if you only download 1st 100 pages, wav, gif, jpg... you can see music and pictures
Iranian_Engineer: well how can they know what I download?
Sitaram: well, if police come to your home.....
Iranian_Engineer: why police should come to my home?
Iranian_Engineer: its not that much anarchy
Sitaram: for example... let us say that I am charged here with some crime.... and police get search warrant (this is hypothetical example).... but this has happened.... and they seize my computer... and find child pornography on hard drive... then I could go to prison
Iranian_Engineer: and what are those which they can execute me for?
Iranian_Engineer: but here there are no such rules
Sitaram: ok... TODAY you do not have such a government... but how do you know that there will not be SOME OTHER REVOLUTION... another ayatollah, or perhaps.... some Wahabi group will gain power
Iranian_Engineer: I dont think so?
Sitaram: oh... nonsense... you have had morality police... and women are lashed for improper dress, makeup.. or acid in uncovered face (or is that just Afghanistan)
Iranian_Engineer: why should I fear of something which doesn’t exist?
Sitaram: well... in 1920... if I talked concentration camps to a German, and lamps made of human skin, that German would say "oh I don’t think so"
Iranian_Engineer: when there many fearful things already?
Sitaram: in northern Nigeria, they now have Sharia law, and are cutting off the hands of adolescents..... and stoning women... who would have foreseen that
Iranian_Engineer: you know
Iranian_Engineer: if they find out what I talk here etc ..they might put me in prison
Sitaram: in 1930s who would have foreseen in USA the Senator McCarthy witch hunts for communists,.... and the blackball lists which ruined careers of entertainers and others
Sitaram: OK, so... excellent example
Iranian_Engineer: but I don’t care
Iranian_Engineer: I don’t limit myself!!
Sitaram: martyrs rarely do
Sitaram: Nabokov said, in "Pale Fire", "Curiosity is the highest form of insubordination"
Iranian_Engineer: here many people are fearful
Iranian_Engineer: you know there are enough outer authorities without creating for yourself an inner authority to haunt you and stalk you.
Iranian_Engineer: but the main problem comes when you make yourself a prison
Sitaram: I was quoting something today to my wife, said I think by Asar Nafisi, or some Iranian... cant remember
Sitaram: they said that "the ultimate degree of religious fanaticism is when you do not feel comfortable even in your own home"
Sitaram: my wife said... "what does that mean"...
Iranian_Engineer: well she wasn’t living here so she might not understand
Sitaram: I said "well, you are alone at home, and you worry that you are properly covered up, ... or look at the clock for time of prayer.... or you must release gas, and you worry...
Sitaram: a paranoia that you are always being watched, judged
Sitaram: even when alone
Iranian_Engineer: I know what it means
Sitaram: hadith give account of one city where the toilets faced Mecca,.... so the muslims would turn their face away, as they moved their bowels
Sitaram: this is not a joke, but a true account
Iranian_Engineer: how stupid
Sitaram: so.... they do not feel at ease even to take a dump in the toilet... or fart
Sitaram: oh.... Islam teaches in Hadith, that if you wash wudu, and enter masjid, and then fart, you must hold your nose, walk out of masjid, wash again, and then return to prayer
Sitaram: that is not a joke... that is an actual hadith
Iranian_Engineer: these are nonsense !! and people are stupid really...you see how dangerous religion could be for blind followers!
Sitaram: I cite these to give dramatic illustration of how one might feel ill at ease even alone in home or in bathroom
Sitaram: you know.... I got to be intimately familiar with Sikh scriptures , the Adhi Granth, and Nanak, the founder... and it is truly ISLAM reformed.... and quite appealing and compelling....
Sitaram: Sikhism developed around 16th century, in an area in Punjab India, where Muslims and Hindus lived side by side
Iranian_Engineer: you are starting a religious talk again
Sitaram: so, we shall change the subject... I thought you might find the Sikh example fascinating
Sitaram: we shall change subject
Iranian_Engineer: you know that I agree those things are stupid and they exist in every religon and stupid people follow such silly rules and.......
Iranian_Engineer: so don’t try to persuade me how terrible things are
Iranian_Engineer: I am more interested to know about meditation
Iranian_Engineer: or how can we change the situation?
Iranian_Engineer: you know its negative critic ...and its not productive
Sitaram: well, I told you about engineer in Tehran, who went to yoga classes,.... and when I asked what mullahs thought, he said it is billed as exercise, not religion
Iranian_Engineer: imagine a poor girl in a country like Iran
Iranian_Engineer: yes true
Sitaram: but the notion was that it was a secret way to go some place, and be spiritual in a hidden fashion
Iranian_Engineer: I am so worried about the future of my country I love to know what am I able to do!!!
Sitaram: you know... I felt the concern of my African friends for their troubled societies
Sitaram: which is why I created http://voicesofafricaunited.myfreeforum.org
Sitaram: so... I am not deaf and blind to the problems and sufferings of other nations and cultures...
Iranian_Engineer: I know
Sitaram: you are right.... what is to be done in countries such as yours
Sitaram: is there not a way to have Islam and also Democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, tolerance for other religious beliefs
Iranian_Engineer: you feel everything is in its wrong place and you cant do anything..upper system is corrupted!
Iranian_Engineer: I think not
Sitaram: you have mentioned a key word... corruption
Iranian_Engineer: I don’t think one can rule a country with religious absolutism?
Sitaram: in so many nations
Sitaram: the Philippines... such corruption.... when it could be a shining star...
Sitaram: in so many African nations..... those who seize power, and steal resources from their starving people
Sitaram: north Korea has now suddenly refused food from NGO foreign groups
Sitaram: Non Government Organizations
Iranian_Engineer: yes like us. we have such oil !! the price of oil increases each day and we become poorer each day
Sitaram: they will only accept help for power plants.... and no one wants to give that, because of their agenda for nuclear weapons
Sitaram: I will tell you a saying from American farmers...
Sitaram: the farmer is the only one who BUYS retail, and sells wholesale
Sitaram: if farmer needs hammer, he goes to hardware store, and pays retail price...
Iranian_Engineer: what does it mean?
Sitaram: but he sells his milk wholesale for such little price... but the milk factory (i forget correct term)... becomes wealthier, and grocery store becomes wealthier, than farmer who makes the milk
Sitaram: wholesales is cheap price
Sitaram: retail is highest price to consumer...
Iranian_Engineer: that’s a sad truth
Sitaram: the diamonds miners do not make the same profit as the jewelers
Iranian_Engineer: I know
Iranian_Engineer: that’s what happens to our poor people
// posted by Sitaram @ 8:18 AM 0 comments links to this post