Repairing Physical and Mental DNA
– Rebooting Meditation!
Setting the scene:
Thinking is the process of considering or reasoning.
Thinking happens in the present.
Thought is an idea or opinion produced by thinking; thought can also occur spontaneously in the mind as past thinking ‘joins up’.
Thoughts come from the past.
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid: a self-replicating material that is present in all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information.
Genetics: relates to genes or heredity. It is the passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another.
We can start to see that the process of self-replication may be applied to the mind. ‘Mind DNA’ is karma. Karma is imprints in the mind created by thoughts or concepts, resulting in a storehouse of bias or inclinations: thus, we replicate our behaviour. In Sanskrit, this storehouse of memory is called ‘vijnana’.
“Modern science might call this the hippocampus, which is essential for memory function, particularly the transference from short- to long-term memory and the control of spatial memory and behaviour. The hippocampus is one of the few areas of the brain capable of actually growing new neurons, although this ability is impaired by stress-related glucocorticoids. The amygdala also performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions and social and sexual behaviour, as well as regulating the sense of smell. The actual memory traces are encoded at various places in the cortex.”
Interestingly, meditation can affect physical DNA!
“Lead investigator Dr. Linda E. Carlson and her colleagues found that in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation – an adapted form of Buddhist meditation in which practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way, ignoring past grudges and future concerns – are associated with preserved telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA that cap our chromosomes and help prevent chromosomal deterioration: biology professors often liken them to the plastic tips on shoelaces. Shortened telomeres aren’t known to cause a specific disease per se, but they do whither with age and are shorter in people with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high stress levels. We want our telomeres intact.” http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/changing-our-dna-through-mind-control/
We have the wonderful facility to think, and to be able to reason. Thinking is spontaneous. Never leave this facility outside the door of the church, temple, gompa or spiritual centre. We need it in life – but not in the practice of meditation.
Thinking things through is so important, as it combats confusion, vagueness and fuzziness. The moment when we’re confused is the moment when we can be manipulated and misdirected. Question everything.
The process of a restarting a working computer system is known as a ‘reboot’. Rebooting is sometimes necessary to recover from an error, or to re-initialise drivers or hardware devices. Rebooting is a shock to the system to get back it on the right track. It is one of those Eureka! moments when we suddenly see; we wake up!
If we are brought up in a system or tradition, we just accept it as true. If we have to work at it, question it, think about it, fight against it and get emotional, a sudden moment of insight when the dots join up can propel us forward. One could call this ‘boot-camp’ because it’s the outcome of intense enquiry and hardship. Even though the introduction to the nature of mind through Dzogchen teachings is known as the path without hardship, if one comes across this through the process of hardship, it can have a devastating effect and everything falls apart. Many ancient masters had to go through this process of shock treatment, having the stuffing knocked out of them until they just let go. Zen has many aphorisms (koans) that throw the mind into utter confusion. 😀
In the moment when everything seems pointless, the system seems to open up and suddenly, information can come our way which can feel as if the teacher finds us rather than us searching for a teacher. This article came about through this process: I came across a definition of DNA, along with a piece of research suggesting that DNA can be repaired by our mental state.