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The Neuroscience of HappYness - An Introduction

April 13, 2019

Bangalore, Saturday, 13th April 2019



"Like, dislike, are they real? What is the basis of such thought? What is the effect of people's past on their present and future? How do all those experiences affect people's lives?" These are questions that occurred after giving a talk titled, "The Neuroscience of HappYness" to a group of distinguished persons, a couple of weeks back.


I attempted to give people something to think about in the short time I had; ended up getting something for me to think about! After introspection and research, realised that all of it has already been handled by enlightened and evolved ones - from time immemorial. I (like everyone else does) am just reproducing what has already been shared by truly enlightened ones! Whilst so, this is my attempt at giving it a contemporary perspective.


During the talk, I said that most people classify their experiences in life into two categories - 'Like' or 'Don't Like.' When asked about the future, they desire that all their experiences be of the kind that will go into the 'Like' category. Some use a double negative, "I don't want anything that I'd put into the 'Don't Like' category ever again in my life."


Regardless, the outcome almost all wish to have is simple - Most, if not all, experiences that will be from the 'Like' category and very less, if not none, from the 'Don't Like' category.


This leads most to resist the potential occurrence of a 'Don't Like' experience. Here, two very old lessons taught by evolved, enlightened beings come to mind. 


First, the Zen teaching: "What you resist, persists!" 


Second, The Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 3, verse 34, which says, "The senses naturally experience attachment and aversion to the sense objects, but do not be controlled by them, for they are way-layers and foes."