Mind and Body

There are more things under heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 

W. Shakespeare in “Hamlet”


Even in the modern world among scientists and scientifically oriented physicians, belief systems play a controlling role in our perceptions of the world around us and inside us. For example we believe in science, something that goes beyond belief in the scientific method as a means to test ideas about the world. Ancient practices that purport benefits like meditation, yoga, tai chi and qigong but that don’t seem to have an easily explainable mechanism for those benefits often meet with resistance. We are often reluctant to accept what we cannot explain.


A big step in understanding the neuroanatomical basis for regulation of the adrenal medulla – the main effector of the stress response flight or fight reaction was published on August 30th 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Dum et al 2016). Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Neuroscience Institute employed a novel labeling technique using rabies virus to label the innervation of the adrenal medulla, and what they found stands modern assumptions on their head, while confirming the anatomical basis for traditional and ancient practices such as meditation and yoga in controlling stress.


Rabies virus is taken up and transported in retrograde fashion trans-synaptically up to the sixth order neuron, tracing an intricate neural circuit or connectome. In this study the adrenal medulla of Cebus monkeys were injected with rabies virus and the spread of the virus was then plotted into the central nervous system.


What the researchers found was startling. In contrast to previous assumptions that postulated frontal executive centers as the main innervation of the adrenal medulla the main top down control originates in the primary and supplementary motor cortex with additional contribution from the somatosensory cortex. In fact 63% of the innervation is derived from the motor cortex. This innervation is densest from areas that also innervated to proximal musculature including the muscles of respiration.


Our conscious minds – the thinking-planning-worrying-ruminating elephant that we try to train through mindfulness has little to say about this process, it can only interfere with it. As the ancients knew – and as we strive to remember among the phone calls, emails, text alerts and pages – the deepest wisdom lies in the body; the feeling of the breath, the gut, the heart. The ancients had names for these – pranayama, chakras. Now we get a glimpse into that truth from a perspective that makes sense in the context of our modern belief systems.  


If we want to tame our response to stress, we must begin with the body.


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Be Nobody

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Ignorance is..

Ignorance is the belief that what is impermanent is permanent, what is impure is pure, what will bring suffering will bring happiness and what is without essence has an essence. 

Lama Marut trans.

Lama Marut 


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Spike in Global Temperatures

Evidence of an alarming acceleration in the increase in global warming. February 2016 was the warmest month on record. NASA data show just how huge the increase in temperature was.

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.

Thich Naht Hahn


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In a Rhino, Everything

Charles Eisenstein is a profound thinker and philosopher…a 21st century Thoreau or Emerson. This short essay is a heartfelt encapsulation of his thought that speaks to so many issues we confront. Please consider taking a few minutes to read.


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Corporate mindfulness is bullsh*t: Zen or no Zen, you’re working harder and being paid less

The title is provocative but this lengthy Salon article is thought provoking. Are organizations including health care organizations guilty of expropriating Buddhist spirituality to further exploit an already stressed workforce? Are individuals having to go excessive lengths to cope work related problems rather than those problems being addressed? Is Buddhism being debased, devalued and dumbed down? Interesting questions to me, and possibly you.

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Can capitalism evolve to address the climate crisis?

this is a very thought provoking article that seeks answers ro. tge question: how can we continue an economic system that is based on growth in a finite world?

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