On Insightful Creativity
Rested and fresh body,
Silent and curious mind,
Keen to learn aptitude,
Spontaneous and homeo-dynamic
The white streak in the blue sky,
And a thin line of horizon,
Between the quietly flowing river,
And the ever-unmoving sky;
All this is a fertile ground for the
Sprouting of insightful creativity!
Vinod D Deshmukh
January 4, 2018
50 Year Old “Painting”
This is a painting that I completed 50 years ago, in the year 1968. I clearly remember that winter evening, when I drove down a wooded valley to a remote historic village in England called, “Storthes Hall.” I distinctly remember the leafless naked trees and a winding road that went downhill to the village. The road was barely visible at night by the yellow fog lights. I stopped by the roadside and took a picture with my Retina reflex 4 camera, which I still have. I had spent almost a month’s salary to buy that expensive camera. That was one of my dreams. This painting was based on one of those images.
I remember sitting on the floor to paint (as we had no furniture yet and my wife and son were still in London). I used poster colors and a charcoal pencil to draw trees on an art paper. I loved that mystic landscape and the peaceful solitude of the place that inspired my creativity.
That was a difficult and uncertain period in my life. I had come to London on January 9, 1967 to do a residency in Neurosurgery at the Atkinson Morley’s Hospital and the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, at Queen Square, London. After one year of that arduous experience, I decided not to pursue Neurosurgery. I thought it was as mechanical as many other branches of surgery, which I had done for the previous 3 years in Mumbai, India. I had completed my MS and FCPS in General Surgery, then. I was more interested in the functions of the human brain and mind. So, I was without a job for a while, till I could find this locum job for 4 months in Psychiatry, at the Storthes Hall Mental Asylum, near Huddersfield, in Yorkshire.
I did not know where this place was or what kind of place it was. There was no Google or Internet then, and I did not have any professional friend or a mentor. Basically, Storthes Hall was a remote village populated by hundreds of learning-disabled and chronic mentally ill patients, who lived there for years. One honorary psychiatrist from Huddersfield used to visit the place once a week and manage any problems. I was the only doctor on site for hundreds of patients. I was called, only if someone had an emergent medical issue or to certify a natural death. The nurses were good and helpful. The psychiatrist wanted me to go into a psychiatry residency, which I did not pursue. I was more interested in brain research; so I completed PhD from the University of Glasgow. That is a whole different story for another day. Thank you for reading.
Happy New Year, 2018
To all of my Family and Friends! Cheers!
Vinod D Deshmukh, MD, PhD.
80 Year Old Photograph
I was told that this child was me. I don’t remember it. But, I do believe that it is true. This photograph was taken about 80 years ago. It was in our family album.
As the tradition goes in India, 12 days after my birth, I was given a name, “Vinod” by my parents. That name has stayed with me for the past 80 years. I was also told that my birth-name was “Parshvanath.” I have never used that name. All names are arbitrary. There is nothing intrinsic about them. But, by repeated use, memory and associations, the words and images get embodied with the entities that they represent. We and others get attached to them. Of course, this is true of all words; there is nothing intrinsic about the word, “elephant” that corresponds with the animal elephant. Words are arbitrary. Human language is also symbolic. We all agree to the meaning of words.
I was told that “Vinod” means a humor. It also means a diversion, an amusement, an interesting pursuit, a play, a pastime, an eagerness, a pleasure, and happiness. I am not sure how many of these meanings are intrinsic to my personality, although the child in the photograph looks alert, eager and curious; he seems to be keen to learn new things. That is probably an intrinsic character, as I am still curious about many things including our brain, mind and self-conscious being. But, the literal meaning of my name doesn’t matter. “Vinod” is a good and popular name in India. I always have to use my full name to avoid any confusion with other hundreds of “Vinods” in the world, especially on the Facebook and the mileage award programs of airlines.
I was also told that as a child, I was very short tempered and that I used argue and fight with my older sister, Manik. There is a well repeated story in our family, that in one of our fights, out of my anger and fortitude, I bravely told Manik, “I am not afraid of you; not only that, I am not even afraid of your father!”
A little side story about this cute photograph of Manik and me, is that the professional photographer gave Manik a beautiful doll and I was not given any toy. So, I refused to be photographed till I got a toy. That is how I ended up with that cricket bat and a ball and a serious look on my face as if I was the captain of a cricket team! As matter of fact, I did become a captain of our high school cricket team. It was quite an experience. I probably should not be distracted by too many of my cricket stories. May be, I will save them for another essay.
One incident that I clearly remember happened when I was eight year old. I did not like to eat raw onions. I still don’t like them. One day, in our family-home in Wani (Yavatmal District, India), my older cousin sister, “Krishna Bai” visited us from her nearby town called, “Pandharkawada.” She used to take great pleasure in teasing and annoying young and sensitive kids like me. She would call me, “Kande-khavu Mama.” It roughly means an “Onion-Loving Uncle.” One morning, I got so upset with her, that I packed all of my treasure of rocks and shells in an old metal box and left the house without telling anybody and started walking rapidly in anger towards the Motor-Stand, where public transport buses used to leave for other towns. I probably intended to leave my home for good. But, my uncle, “Anna-Kaka” noticed me and came running after me and helped me calm down and return home safely.
Although, when I grew up into a teenager, Krishna Bai and her family were very kind to me. They would encourage me to study, go to college and even to go abroad for further education. One day, Krishna Bai told someone affectionately, that Vinod is “Meeta-Bhashi.” It means that Vinod speaks briefly, deliberately and purposefully. That is intrinsic to me even now; I used to and still talk less and listen more. That probably helped me learn more about many new people, places and ideas.
Here I am, this morning! I woke up with a simple question to myself: Am I the same person that I was 80 years ago in this photograph? Do I still have any of those intrinsic childlike qualities that I used to have; that passionate eagerness to live and flourish; that insatiable curiosity to learn and to make sense of my experience of myself and the world; that flexible creativity to adapt to the ever-changing experiential landscape filled with incredible people, places and ideas? Am I still curious and creative to learn more about myself and the natural existence?
An honest answer would be “Yes as well as No.” The Yes answer is that even after a long life journey of 80 years, I am still the same person, the same human being, that I was 80 years ago. It is true that I have undergone infinite molecular and cellular changes in my physical and physiological form, and also in my psychological and philosophical perspective. But, I am still just as curious and creative as I was before.
My dear wife, Sunanda, often complains that I spend too much time in doing brain research and saving too many articles to read on my 8 year-old laptop. It has slowed down considerably, almost like a camel with many straws on its back. When I do search on a website, www.pubmed.gov, one interesting topic leads me to another one. Some articles are free; others I have to request them from the University of Florida library. The staff there is very helpful. I am on my second external drive with several terra bytes of memory, but even that is getting to be almost full.
In the process of my search on the internet, I come across some amazing research articles, which I often share with my family and friends all over the world. A few of the most exciting recent articles were on “The Central Homeostatic Network,” “The Two Ion Theory,” “The cortical and subcortical networks for stress processing,” “Integrate-and-Fire model of Neuron and neural networks,” “The global signal in functional MRI,” and several articles on my favorite subjects, self-awareness and meditation.
Talking about “self-awareness,” you may have noticed in this morning’s selfie that I intentionally included two pairs of beautiful birds on the room divider panel in the background. The pair of birds reminded me of a famous short poem in Sanskrit, titled, “Dwasuparna (Two Birds).” The two birds symbolize our two mental perspectives: With one mindset, we are totally engrossed in the act of eating fruit i.e., experiencing the transient events of life, while being unaware of our inner being. With the second mindset, one “steps back” and just witnesses the very act of eating or experiencing one’s life, as it flows like a majestic river; this state is self-awareness or meta-awareness, in which one is aware of one’s awareness itself.
The so called self-enlightenment involves waking up to a spontaneous, silent and peaceful energy-awareness-being. Such an insightful mode of being can be beyond speech, thought, and autobiographical memory. Such a mode of being is like a timeless spring, ever-fresh, creative and without an apparent beginning or an end. What more can one say about such a unique state? Instead of trying to describe it in many words, it is better to live one’s life whole-heartedly with this amazing inner silence and peace of mind!
Peace, Love and Cheers!
Happy New Year, 2018!
Vinod D Deshmukh
December 30, 2017.
“What we say to ourselves, has the most influence on our body, mind, ego and the world. Check this out and be careful in what you say. Be wise and loving to yourself and to others. All goodness and love will follow and flow naturally.”
This was my personal observation. What I emphasized was that we need to frequently observe our own internal dialogue or monologue, which goes on and on. It is like a river of our subconscious mind that has a great force of flow and momentum. Instead of tumbling down the river helplessly, we learn to pause along the shore, listen and observe what is happening within us from moment to moment. When we learn to pause with full awareness, and calm vigilance, this river of the subconscious loses its strength and momentum, because it is not getting our attentional and reactive emotional energy. Eventually, this subconscious flow transforms and normalizes by itself. It cleanses and clarifies by itself.
When we continue to pause and witness our mind, the wonder within, we notice some spontaneous positive feelings like appreciation of natural beauty, liking to be and silent, feeling of being free and fearless, having care and compassion for self and others. Subconscious is also the source of new ideas and creativity. Such positive feelings naturally grow and evolve. There is no limit, no destination, no individual goal to this timeless spring, this eternal flame of awareness and love for all that exists. One is enlightened by all things!
We have to be patient with ourselves. Don’t expect boiling water to cool down quickly. Don’t expect any quick results or rewards; they just drag you down in the turbulent waters. It is a process of maturation; at the same time the self-understanding or insight is instantaneous. Don’t repeat what someone else has said before. Your own observation is more important that any word or image. We have to persist in our self-watching and self-awareness. Eventually, one reaches that clarity of self-understanding, childlike simplicity, selflessness, curiosity to learn about self and others, and to work with the wonders and wisdom of the ever-enchanting Nature.
With love and best wishes,
A friend of mine asked me about the use mental verbal instruction or mantras; some call it mental alchemy. The direct verbal instructions to the subconscious mind do not necessarily work, but subtle suggestions to oneself to be calm and quiet (Shanta) like the most mantras or positive encouraging phrases like “Calm down” “Count breaths” “Divine energy is with you” have some effect. Mantras like “Soham”, prolonged (Deergha) “AUM” and some of the more subtle ones like “Humkar” instead of “Omkar.”
In humkar, one just breathes out with full awareness, while calmly listening to the dissipating sound, sensations, and chest movements, till one reaches the self-state of calm stillness and serenity. Humkar is natural and simple and can be done anywhere anytime. It helps to break the vicious cycle of our frequent reactive and agitated thinking, behavior and it helps to bring the mind to a state of calm alertness. We have to learn to be active but not reactive; and proactive not retroactive.
Humkar and meditation reduces the defensive sympathetic overdrive and increases the peaceful and restful parasympathetic tone. It reduces the activity of the amygdala-related neural network activity, and increases the hippocampus related neural network activity. These two networks act in concert, in the PVN nucleus of the hypothalamus on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and increase or decrease the secretion and release of stress hormone, cortisol. This can increase or decrease our stress level and thus our negative or positive feelings. We have to persistently overcome the negative feelings and learn to stay positive. Finally, the flow of mindful presence, cheerfulness, friendliness, calmness, mental peace, appreciation of beauty, and love for self, others and Nature, emerges flows steadily. That is a great source of self-understanding, new ideas and creativity. It is the potential sacred feeling within all of us; within all Life!
Cheers! Love and best wishes,
शान्तिः । शान्तिः । शान्तिः ।
Peace! Peace! Peace!
शान्त भाव । शान्त मन । शान्त आत्मा ।
Peaceful Feeling! Serene Mind! Tranquil Self or Being!
आत्म शान्ति । जगत् शान्ति । विश्व शान्ति ।
Personal Peace! World Peace! Universal Peace!
The words Shānta and Shānti in Sanskrit language have many interesting and profound meanings that are worth looking into and pondering. The following are some of the meanings from the Sanskrit-English dictionary*.
Appeased, pacified, tranquil, calm, free from passions (turmoil, stress), undisturbed, soft, pliant (smooth, adaptive flowing), gentle, mild, friendly, kind (compassionate, loving), auspicious (sacred, divine), abated, subsided (returning to baseline of normalcy), ceased, stopped, extinguished, averted (evil or sin), rendered ineffective (untouched by), innoxious (innocent), harmless (tools, weapons), come to an end, gone to rest (repose), deceased, departed, dead, purified, cleansed (from negativity and evil), an ascetic whose passions are subdued (overcome).
Peaceful energy or capacity for spontaneous mental stillness, silence and serenity.
Tranquility, peace, quiet, calmness of mind, absence of passion (turmoil, conflict, struggle, suffering), averting of pain (stress, anxiety, fear).
Shānti. Shānti. Shānti.
Positive meanings: peace, welfare (wellbeing), prosperity, good fortune, ease, comfort, happiness, bliss.
May the three kinds of pain be averted:
Negative thoughts and feelings.
Preoccupation with objects of pleasure and pain.
Infliction of evil, pain and calamity.
Personal Peace! World Peace! Universal Peace!
Vinod D Deshmukh
Article and Photographs
January 2, 2017
- Monier-Williams. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarasidass Publishers, Delhi, India. 1899. Last reprint 2005. Page 1064.
Reaching the Sky!
Answers to questions from Psychology students at The University of North Florida, on February 18, 2016
- If comfortable, will you please share your personal meditation practices? (How often? What type? How long? Etc.)
I meditate daily, first thing in the morning, when I am fully awake and refreshed after a good night’s sleep. I am not yet committed to any particular thought-emotion or intentional activity. I do this in three parts of 10 minutes each. I use a stop watch from my cell phone for each of the 10 minute periods. I avoid the temptation of checking any emails or messages before meditation, as that can be an unnecessary distraction.
- For the first 10 minutes, I just sit still, silent and serene. I sit in a vertical chair with eyes closed. I stay quiet, calm and attentive. I witness whatever happens. Initially, I watch my breathing with full awareness. I listen to the inhalation followed by a pause and exhalation followed by a longer pause. I breathe slowly. I do not rush at any stage. Mindful presence or full awareness of all activity is the most important part of this period. I let the breathing happen by itself, slowly.
I do not have expectations of any results or experience. I try not to recall anything or project anything in the future. If some random thought comes, I acknowledge it, and let it go. I stay unoccupied and empty, but fully attentive to myself and my surroundings. I listen to all sounds attentively. If there is a clock in the room constantly ticking, I keep it away in another room, so that it does not disturb me.
When it is very quiet in the room and when my wandering mind becomes still and silent, I hear a spontaneous sound of natural silence. I listen to the limitless silence attentively. That gives me a sense of spontaneous and peaceful energy-awareness-being. I appreciate it and abide in it. That spontaneous feeling may evolve into a natural bliss and a profound unconditional mental peace, which is the goal of sitting meditation. I try to maintain a mindful presence throughout the day.
- b) In the second 10 minute period, I do five rounds of different breathing exercises and postures with fully focused attentiveness. My mind is fully focused on the activity that I am engaged in. I will have to show you these breathing exercises, if you are interested. I notice that the breathing movements do not interfere with the background peaceful awareness.
- c) In the last 10 minutes, I stand up and do various bodily exercises, which have dawned on me intuitively over a period of many years. These postures again, I will have to show you, if you are interested.
- Are you familiar with Eckhart Tolle? If so, any thoughts or opinions on his teachings?
Yes, I am familiar with his work. His first book, “The Power of Now” was excellent. He mainly recommends continuous “nowness,” “presence or present mindedness,” “witnessing,” or “mindfulness.”
- Does meditation have a significant impact on the mind? In the sense that people who meditate more often are more connected to their mind/soul relationship that is discussed with Vedic psychology.
Yes, meditation affects the mind significantly. As I told you in my lecture, during meditation, our mind goes through five stages: 1) wandering mind, 2) indecisive, wavering and alternating mind, 3) externally focused mind that approaches pleasure and avoids pain, 4) internally focused mind, dwelling on an internal event like natural breathing or sound of silence, and 5) spontaneous, natural or essential mind. This is the intrinsic source, foundation, ground or baseline of all mental activity and experience. The goal of meditation is to dwell on and even function from this source or the “heart” of our blissful and intrinsic energy-awareness-being.
- Have you personally experienced no experience or great emptiness? What happens during it?
Yes, I have experienced the spontaneous peace. That is why I coined the term, “experience of no experience.” Such a pristine state is not objectifiable, observable or describable. One has to experience it directly by being in it and not by any observation, thinking, imagination or speculation. It is beyond all verbal-visual mental activities. It is the very ground of our existential being.
- What is, if any, the effectiveness of using this method to treat mental health disorders? Should meditation be used clinically?
Yes, it is definitely useful as a complimentary therapy in clinical practice. It has been shown to improve mental health, general wellness and quality of life. It helps the healing process by reducing stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, lethargy, anger, hatred, lust, greed, jealousy, disgust etc. In fact, all negative emotions are reduced and eventually dissipated. Most of the psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders are due to long-standing and habitual negative emotions and unresolved stress. Meditation also increases one’s resilience to stress. One can become peaceful, inspired, caring and creative.
- How do you know when a person has reached enlightened state of mind and is this the same for everyone?
Enlightenment is a spontaneous, ineffable experience of unity. Only the particular individual, who had such an experience, would know it directly and be convinced about its truth and authenticity. The ultimate pristine experience would be the same for any human being. The verbal expressions by different individuals would be different, but the essential experience of the universal source remains the same, just as the experience of silence is the same for all of us.
- Would any abnormalities in the brain, whether it be physical or chemical, affect a person’s ability to meditate?
Yes. All biophysical and chemical abnormalities including drugs and alcohol would affect a person’s brain-mind, cognitive abilities, emotions and perceptions. This would affect her/his ability to meditate as well. One should still try to learn meditative skills and do the best that one can to promote wellbeing.
- When the state of being is in meditation, where does the mind go? If it’s becoming self-aware then it’s not detaching, if it’s creating new ideas and strategies then it’s not resting—how does the brain rest to change or vice versa?
It is a process of mental self-integration. Mental activity resolves into a natural and spontaneous integrated energy-awareness-being. One may say the mind becomes potential rather than kinetic, like in my poem, “River and a Lake.” It takes on a different mode of functioning. During the actual pristine state, there is no creation of ideas, no perceptible event and nothing that can be described. It is nonverbal, nonvisual, non-interactive and ineffable. It is the pristine, selfless, space-timeless, unique primordial feeling. It is not a thought. Creative ideas and expressions occur after one comes out of the pristine state, when one returns to the worldly, interactive awakeness. Many times after meditation, I get inspired and have many new ideas for poems, paintings and self-understanding or insights into myself and my research in neuroscience.
- To what extent is creativity actually generative, rather than a complex recombination of elements from memory?
In a way, lot of it is a refreshing and reshuffling of one’s own memory-based knowledge. For example, Albert Einstein had great ideas and imaginations in Quantum Physics and Cosmology, which was also his educational background and field of interest. Meditation takes one back to one’s baseline or the source. One can make a new beginning in whatever one is interested in and engaged in. What can be entirely new and original is the self-feeling, the primordial feeling. It is qualia, which is, what it feels like to be fully present in the amazing timeless reality.
- What part or parts of the brain allow us to be aware that we are aware in regards to self-awareness?
It is the spontaneous, intrinsic, and central neural network with homeostatic self-organization between the interoceptive-visceral network and the cortical-reticular activating system. This composite but unitive, and spontaneous neural network is absolutely crucial for being alive, our self-awareness, biophysical energy, psychological wellbeing and social interactions.
- From what experimental/correlational data available, do the different types of meditation (complete focus/no focus) produce different types of brain activation?
What changes occur in the brain during meditation depend on what is being done during meditation. When wandering mind quietens, the default mode network is deactivated or becomes quiet. When one shifts from speaking and thinking mode to listening and receptive mode, the Broca’s and Wernicke’s speech areas become quiet. When recalling of the past self-situations and projections of future self-situations are minimized, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex with working memory and the parieto-temporal semantic-conceptual networks become quiet. When voluntary and intentional activity is minimized, then prefrontal cortex become quiet.
When stress-producing network, namely dorsomedial prefrontal cortex to amygdala-hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, is quieted the six major negative emotions dissipate naturally. When positive emotions are nurtured, the pleasure circuits including the septal-hippocampal system is activated, which then inhibits the stress-related HPA axis. When the whole mind is quiet, what remains is the spontaneous energy-awareness-being with a blissful primordial feeling!
- Is there a type of meditation that is better than another or more effective in certain situations, including the regenerative abilities of power naps? Do people typically practice all of the different types (or at least multiple)?
It depends on the constitution, personality and the aptitude of an individual. Some individuals are more thought-oriented than emotion-oriented. Some are more verbal than visual. Some are more outgoing than inward-looking. No one method is better than the other. Any or all of them can be followed. Whatever works for you will help you develop mental peace and skillful wisdom. The goal of meditation and the final destination or the pristine meditative mindset remain the same for all paths of meditation.
- Could meditation be a form of expectancy effect? Could one practice meditation as a form of alleviating pain and believe it to be working?
It can be at the beginning and at a superficial level like the placebo effect of a medicine. But, in advanced stages, one does not expect any result or miracles. One just lets things happen naturally. That is why it is described as an unconditional natural bliss.
- Do you believe the mind exists separately from the brain? If so, do you think science will ever reach a point where we can test this belief?
No. Mind is a function of the brain. Mental activity is entirely dependent on a well-functioning living brain. This is the current neurobiological perspective. One may believe in a spiritual world with afterlife etc., but that is speculative at the present stage of human knowledge and understanding.
- The author mentioned that the CPU process could happen through some other activities like sports, arts, etc. How does this happen? To what extent does one activity have the same effect on different people (as meditation) or is this effect individualized, depending on who is performing the activity (like one’s favorite hobby).
Yes, it depends on the individual and in what enjoyable activity one gets fully engaged in and is able to forget oneself. It is usually a spontaneous blissful feeling like a runner’s joy, a musician’s bliss, a painter’s engrossment, a poet’s inspiration or a meditator’s peaceful insight!
- How do you recommend learning how to meditate, and to direct your mind to be either entirely empty or hyper-focused? I realize it takes a lot of practice but how would someone start this technique?
You can start by sitting quietly in the morning for at least for 2 to 10 minutes and just listen, witnessing whatever is happening in your body, breath, mind and ego. Don’t react to it and don’t expect anything or participate in any stories or daydreams. Don’t rush. Use a stop watch. Be fully present, attentive and calm. One has to let things happen naturally. I have described more steps above in my answer to the first question. I will be happy to show you more steps if you are interested.
- How do we balance such a practice as mindfulness meditation with our daily lives, if we were to desire to integrate it? Dialectical behavioral therapy uses this practice, as do other psychological therapy schemes.
I use both sitting meditation in the morning and mindful presence or awareness throughout the day. It is just a matter of our awareness, mindset and self-perspective. Once one advances in the meditative skills, it becomes spontaneous and effortless. It is the most healthy, happy and natural way of being and living.
Vinod D Deshmukh, February 23, 2016.
What is preconscious primary process and meditative presence?
Preconscious: In classical psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, it is the level of the psyche that contains thoughts, feelings and impulses not presently in awareness, but which can be more or less readily called into consciousness. Examples are the face of a friend, a verbal cliché, or the memory of a recent event. It denotes or relates to thoughts, feelings and impulses at this level of the psyche.
Preconscious thinking: It is the pictorial, magical, and fantasy thinking of children that precedes the development of logical thinking. In psychoanalytic theory, thinking takes place at the level of the preconscious. Preconscious thinking has sometimes been cited to explain apparently unconscious, intuitive thought processes, as well as certain kinds of creative leaps and insights.
Primary process: In psychoanalytic theory, it is the unconscious mental activity in which there is free, uninhibited flow of psychic energy from one idea to another. Such thinking operates without regard for logic or reality, is dominated by pleasure principle, and provides hallucinatory fulfillment of wishes. Examples are the dreams, fantasies and magical thinking of young children. These processes are posited to predominate in the ID.
Secondary process: In psychoanalytic theory, it is conscious, rational mental activities under the control of the ego and the reality principle. These thought processes, which include problem-solving, judgement, and systematic thinking, enable individuals to meet both the external demands of the environment and the internal demands of their instincts in rational, effective ways.
From The APA Dictionary of Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2007.
Note: Preconscious primary processing is preattentive. It can work in parallel with conscious processing. It has an unlimited capacity for cognition, problem-solving and creativity. It is nonspecific, non-sequential, non-interactive, involuntary, spontaneous, presymbolic, preverbal, and prepersonal mental process. It is the global matrix or the source-and-sink of all conscious mental processing.
The difference between the above psychoanalytic description of preconscious process and the meditative experience of blissful presence is that it is founded on reality principle and not pleasure principle. There is no fantasy or dreaming in meditation. When the preconscious is clear and empty of conscious contents, it is described as Shunya-bhava or Shunya-Atma, and when the preconscious is full, holistic and all-inclusive, it is described as Poorna-bhava, or Poorna-Atma.
September 17, 2015
The Art of Meditation
The following are some of the suggestions for meditation with self-awareness (Atma-dnyana). They can be practiced at any time, for a few minutes, every now and then, or throughout the day.
- Pause in what you are doing right now, and just watch attentively.
- Finish your current train of thought and remain quiet at this moment.
- Disengage from the past context and let go of any mental pursuits, searches, expectations, worries, plans and wishes.
- Be aware of your posture, breathing, mood, emotion and thought as they occur.
- Witness the present reality as it is, without any comments, corrections, descriptions, associations, or recollections.
- Listen to the spontaneous, background sound of the peaceful silence within.
- Expand your attention from a specific object to the global background of consciousness.
- Remain calm, peaceful and observant. Be a silent witness (Sakshi) of all that is happening now.
- Enjoy the natural wonder of being in the present moment, and the reality of being present with Awareness, Learning, and Love for Life (ALL).
- Appreciate this moment of inspiration, the wonder of ever-new reality unfolding and one’s being in it. Be open, receptive, cognizant and self-content.
With practice these skills will become part of your daily living and each conscious experience will become a great teacher and a healer in your life. Remember each conscious moment has the potential for true understanding and self-realization. You already have all that is needed at each awake moment. Just remember to be present, mindful, and to return always to your pristine being. The sacred is ever-present.
From Vinod D Deshmukh’s published article in 2007.
Please study the following two scientific review articles in order to understand how a living organism (including us) works. The biological or “living” water plays a very important role in the overall life’s organization. For an organism, the biological water functions in three interconnected compartments, namely milieu exterior, milieu interior and milieu intracellular. The biological water is finely tuned and maintained by homeostasis in terms of its pH, temperature, and composition. All biochemical reactions occur in this biological water. Biological water is coherent. Because of its coherency, it can transmit information (change) from one locus to the other (of the organism) faster than the speed of light.
The second article proposes a quantum electrodynamic field for the overall organization of a living organism. A unique quantum electromagnetic field is trapped in an organism’s biological water. Such a QEM field guides and is guided by the organism’s biological water and all of its constituent molecules and their electrochemical interactions. This QEM field also guides the embryological form, development, and growth for the whole life span. It is involved in both brain activity and resting state of an organism and all of its emitted behavior and mentation. It is organized in a nested hierarchy with coherent dynamics and holistic behavior and mentation.
This holistic biological organization of a living being~organism gives us a sense of wholeness, being “one” or “unity” and the feeling of being interconnected with all Existence. We exist in One Natural Existence.
Vinod D Deshmukh
May 27, 2015
Physiol. Res. 59: 157-163, 2010
Holism and Life Manifestations: Molecular and Space-Time Biology
Appeals of philosophers to look for new concepts in sciences are being met with a weak response. Limited attention is paid to the relation between synthetic and analytic approach in solving problems of biology. An attempt is presented to open a discussion on a possible role of holism. The term “life manifestations” is used in accordance with phenomenology. Multicellular creatures maintain milieu intérieur to keep an aqueous milieu intracellulair in order to transform the energy of nutrients into the form utilizable for driving cellular life manifestations. Milieu intérieur enables to integrate this kind of manifestations into life manifestations of the whole multicellular creatures. The integration depends on a uniqueness and uniformity of the genome of cells, on their mutual recognition and adherence. The processes of ontogenetic development represent the natural mode of integration of cellular life manifestations. Functional systems of multicellular creatures are being established by organization of integrable cells using a wide range of developmental processes. Starting from the zygote division the new being displays all properties of a whole creature, although its life manifestations vary. Therefore, the whole organism is not only more than its parts, as supposed by holism, but also more than developmental stages of its life manifestations. Implicitly, the units of whole multicellular creature are rather molecular and developmental events than the cells per se. Holism, taking in mind the existence of molecular and space-time biology, could become a guide in looking for a new mode of the combination of analytical and synthetic reasoning in biology.
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Molecular Biology International
Volume 2013, Article ID 987549, 19 pages
Communication and the Emergence of Collective Behavior in
Living Organisms: A Quantum Approach
Marco Bischof1 and Emilio Del Giudice2
Intermolecular interactions within living organisms have been found to occur not as individual independent events but as a part of a collective array of interconnected events. The problem of the emergence of this collective dynamics and of the correlated bio-communication therefore arises. In the present paper we review the proposals given within the paradigm of modern molecular biology and those given by some holistic approaches to biology. In recent times, the collective behavior of ensembles of microscopic units (atoms/molecules) has been addressed in the conceptual framework of Quantum Field Theory. The possibility of producing physical states where all the components of the ensemble move in unison has been recognized. In such cases, electromagnetic fields trapped within the ensemble appear. In the present paper we present a scheme based on Quantum Field Theory where molecules are able to move in phase-correlated unison among them and with a self-produced electromagnetic field. Experimental corroboration of this scheme is presented. Some consequences for future biological developments are discussed.
Network of Natural~Existential Reality
Vinod D Deshmukh
May 25, 2015
My hypothesis is that the whole of natural~existential reality, including us, is interconnected as a single holistic network of energy, matter, information, cognition, and conscious being. This is my own neuro-scientific understanding as well as self-experience. This personal experience was artistically expressed in the last two of my poems, “One Life-within-LIFE” dated May 22, 2015, and “Petty Little Mind” dated May 23, 2015. I would also like to refer to my book, “The Astonishing Brain and Holistic Consciousness: Neuroscience and Vedanta Perspectives” published in 2012 by Nova Science Publishers, New York, NY, as an additional supportive material for my hypothesis.
Here are a few relevant scientific quotations, in support of my hypothesis, from Olaf Sporns’ book, “Networks of the Brain” The MIT Press, 2011, and a recent scientific article by van Leeuwen C (2015) as quoted below.
Page 181: “Cognition is a network phenomenon. It does not exist in synapses or single neurons. Instead, it is a collective property of very large numbers of neural elements that are interconnected in complex patterns.”
Page 182: “Marcel Mesulam proposed that the physical substrate of cognition is a set of distinct large-scale neurocognitive networks that support different domains of cognitive and behavioral function (Mesulam 1990). He conceptualized brain-behavior relationships as both localized and distributed, mapping complex cognition and behavior to a ‘multifocal neural system’ rather than a circumscribed set of specialized anatomical regions.”
Page 183: “The multifunctional nature of the brain’s network nodes leads to the idea that functions do not reside in individual brain regions but are accomplished by network interactions that rapidly configure, resulting in dynamic changes of neural context (McIntosh, 1999; 2000; 2008).”
Page 184: “Segregation and integration are two major organizational principles of the cerebral cortex.”
Page 186: “Integration by convergence is also found within large-scale neurocognitive networks. Mesulam suggested that a special set of ‘transmodal nodes’ plays a crucial role in functional integration (Mesulam 1998). These regions bind together multiple signals from unimodal areas and create multimodal representations.”
Page 187: “Experiments by Wolf Singer and colleagues have provided evidence for stimulus-dependent neural synchrony within and between cortical regions (Gray & Singer, 1989; Gray et al, 1989; Engel et al, 1991) and for its potential role in perceptual processes such as grouping and figure-ground segregation (Singer & Gray, 1995; Phillips & Singer, 1997; Singer, 1999). Intra- and interregional synchronization, particularly of neuronal activity in the gamma frequency band (~10-80 Hz), is encountered in a great number of vertebrate species, including primates, and in the context of a broad range of behavioral and cognitive tasks (Ward, 2003; Fries, 2009).”
Page 205: “Several themes have emerged in this brief discussion of network basis of cognition. First, cognition has an anatomical substrate. All cognitive processes occur within anatomical networks, and the topology of these networks imposes powerful constraints on cognitive architectures. The small-world attributes of large-scale structural and functional networks, as well as their hierarchical and modular arrangement, naturally promote functional segregation and integration across the brain. Much of cognitive processing can be characterized in terms of dynamic integration of distributed (segregated) resources.”
“Second, integration involves dynamic coordination (synchrony, coherence, linear and nonlinear coupling) as well as convergence. Recurrent connectivity enables system-wide patterns of functional connectivity, while highly central network nodes play specialized roles in coordinating information flow. These hub nodes are invoked in the context of association, transmodal processing, or dynamic convergence.”
“Third, stimuli and cognitive tasks act as perturbations of existing network dynamics. Patterns of functional connectivity due to spontaneous neural activity are reconfigured in response to changes in sensory input or environmental demands.”
Page 206: “Viewed from a network perspective, cognition is nothing more (and nothing less) than a special kind of pattern formation, the interplay of functional segregation and integration and the continual emergence of dynamic structures that are molded by connectivity and subtly modified by external input and internal state. The shape of cognition, the nature of the information that can be brought together and transformed, is determined by the architecture of brain networks. The flow of cognition is a result of transient and multi-scale neural dynamics, of sequences of dynamic events that unfold across time. The variety of cognition, the seemingly endless diversity of mental states and subjective experiences, reflects the diversity and differentiation made possible by the complexity of the brain.”
Please see Figure 12.1 on page 256. The duration of “cognitive present” is about 500 milliseconds or half a second. Also notice that the momentary neurocognitive synchrony correlates with a behavioral event (turn head) with subjective experience (recognize face).
Page 305: “W. Ross Ashby emphasized that organism and environment must be treated as a single system, and that ‘the dividing line […] becomes partly conceptual, and to that extent arbitrary’ (Ashby, 1960, p. 40).”
Please see Figure 14.1 on page 307. Dynamic coupling between brain, body and environment (World).
Please see Figure 2: A random network prior to (left) and after (right) several iterations of adaptive rewiring (From van Leeuwen, 2008) from the citation: van Leeuwen C (2015). What makes you think you are conscious? An agnosticist manifesto. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 9:170. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00170. (A pdf file was attached to my email dated May 24, 2015).
Vinod D Deshmukh
May 25, 2015.
The observed ever changes.
The observable observer also changes.
The integrate presence is change-free.
That is our true nature.
50th Anniversary Speech
Sunanda and I would like to welcome and thank all of you for participating in this happy occasion. Many of our family members and friends have traveled from out of town to join in this event. Thank you all once again.
We feel very fortunate to have reached this milestone in our lives. We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to that Universal Energy~Being~Awareness, the Chidaatmashakti, and also to Mother Nature and our late parents. We have fond memories and great respect for my late father Dhundiraj Govind Deshmukh, my late mother Leelabai Dhundiraj Deshmukh, Sunanda’s late father Vasant Vinayak Deodhar and her late mother Sumati Vasant Deodhar. All four of them have given us guidance, strength and inspiration. They have been our role models for a happy married life that we are so enjoying and sharing today. My father’s words, “Ishwari-Shakti tujhya pathishi aahe,” still resonate in my heart.
It is true that time flies for all of us. It does not seem like 50 years. It feels as if all this started just a few years ago in this Punya Nagari. In 1956, Sunanda and myself were casually introduced by Sunanda’s cousin and my classmate, Miss Malati Lele, in the Biology Lab of SP College. Malati was good at dissecting the nervous system of a cockroach and she was proudly showing us how to do it. For some unknown reason, our brains were busy with something else. Sunanda and myself developed mutual respect and a gentle good feeling for each other. That mutual respect, gentleness and love in our hearts has continued ever since.
Our friendship sparked and grew slowly and gracefully, when we were in BJ Medical College. We had some common interests like photography, arts and the Eastern Philosophy. We used to share books and articles. Some of our class picnics and especially the excursion to the mountain peak, Kalasubai brought us even closer, which resulted in the big decision in 1960 and our wedding on May 26th 1962. We have been very happy together for the past 50 years.
It is funny that Life uses a more complex mathematical equation. In our case, it was 1+1 = 11+2. How could that be? Yes, it is true; we had three wonderful sons, two daughter-in-laws, and six lovely grand children. Both of us are now retired from our professional careers and pursue our own hobbies of painting, photography, interesting travels, and the enlightening company of our grand children. They are our new teachers. Life is good and there is lot more to learn, every day. Sant Jnaneshwar beautifully described that each conscious moment comes dressed up in new clothes and it is adorned with new ornaments. We have to learn to be receptive and appreciate the wonder of each moment anew.
I enjoy writing poetry and also writing and presenting scientific articles that integrate the two great disciplines of Neuroscience and Vedanta together. My new book on this subject titled, The Astonishing Brain and Holistic Consciousness” will be published by Nova Science Publishers of New York.
Finally, I want share with you two of my poems that express the essence of a happy married life. Hope you will enjoy them. “Two Glasses, One Wine,” and “Bicycle Tracks.”
List of recently published articles:
- Deshmukh, VD. Presence as a new mode of human attention. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 1982 November:8.
- Deshmukh VD. Oscillatory Neural Ectoderm (ONE): the “ONE” hypothesis for human holo-encephalon and behavior. Medical Hypotheses 1987, 23: 107-108.
- Deshmukh VD. Mental Excellence. Self-published and registered with the Library of Congress: 1988.
- Deshmukh VD. A chain of supra-segmental neuro-oscillatory circuits: A human brain theory. Clinical Electroencephalography, 1988, 19(1): 7-13.
- Deshmukh, VD: Presence: The Key to Mental Excellence. Jacksonville, Florida: Sunanda V Deshmukh, MD; 1990.
- Deshmukh VD. Neurophysiological Interpretation of Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Neurology India, 1991; 39:125-31.
- Deshmukh VD. Limbic-autonomic arousal: its physiological classification and review of the literature. Clinical Electroencephalography 1991, 22(1):46-60.
- Deshmukh VD. Physiological classification of sleep-wake states: based on tri-vesicular (3V) model of the brain. Clinical Electroencephalography 1991, 22(4):225-235.
- Deshmukh VD. Cascading morpho-regulatory energy and the biological form: Theory and Reality. Medical Hypotheses 1991, 35: 59-67.
- Deshmukh VD. 1994. The quiescent brain and consciousness. Poster presentation in the conference on “Toward a Scientific Basis for Consciousness,” Tucson, Arizona April 12-17, 1994.
- Deshmukh, VD. Turiya: The fourth state of consciousness and the STEP model of self-consciousness. Journal of Interdisciplinary Crossroads 2004 Dec:1, 3, 551-60.
- Deshmukh VD. Ipseity, Atman and consciousness. In the Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of World Association of Vedic Studies. Washington, DC: 2004 July; 9–11.
- Deshmukh VD. Neuroscience of Meditation. TSW Holistic Health and Medicine. 2006:1, 275-89.
- Deshmukh VD. The Multistream Self: Biophysical, Mental, Social, and Existential. TheScientificWorldJOURNAL: 2008;(8):331-41.
- Deshmukh VD. Introduction to Vedānta. In Tattva: An International online monthly magazine for Hindu youth 2009. Available from: URL: www.hinduyuva.org/tattva.
- Deshmukh VD. Functional Brain Model: A Nested Hierarchical and Parallel Organization during Development and Evolution. Journal of Alternative Medicine Research 2010:1(1) 5-13.
- Deshmukh VD. Vedic Psychology: A Science of Wisdom. J Altern Med Res 2011;3(1): 29-43.
18. Deshmukh VD. The Energy~Being Perspective in Neurophysics and Vedanta. In print as proceedings of a conference by the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
19. Deshmukh VD. Breath-Meditation: Prana-Dhyana. J Altern Med Res 2012;4(2):163-169.
20. Deshmukh VD. Cognitive pause-and-unload hypothesis of meditation and creativity. J Altern Med Res 2013; 5(3):217-231.