Homeostasis (Damasio)

Both basic homeostasis (which is non-consciously guided) and sociocultural homeostasis (which is created and guided by reflective conscious minds) operate as curators of biological value. Basic and sociocultural varieties of homeostasis are separated by billions of years of evolution, and yet they promote the same goal – the survival of living organisms – albeit in different ecological niches. That goal is broadened, in the case of sociocultural homeostasis, to encompass the deliberate seeking of well-being. It goes without saying that the way in which human brains manage life requires both varieties of homeostasis in continuous interaction. But while the basic variety of homeostasis is an established inheritance, provided by everyone’s genome, the sociocultural variety is a somewhat fragile work in progress, responsible for much of human drama, folly, and hope. The interaction between the two kinds of homeostasis is not confined to each individual. There is growing evidence that, over multiple generations, cultural developments lead to changes in the genome. ~ Antonio Damasio, in Self Comes to Mind, p. 27, New York 2010. [Cambridge Dictionary: Homeostasis is the ability or tendency of a living organism, cell, or group to keep the conditions inside it the same despite any changes in the conditions around it, or this state of internal balance.]

Advayavada Study Plan – week 33

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 33] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is, as explained before, fully personalized: it is firmly based on what we increasingly know about ourselves and our world, and trusting our own intentions, feelings and conscience. Adherence to the familiar five precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and a well-considered understanding of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs of being and the Buddha’s four noble truths (or four truths for the noble) suffice to start off and proceed on the Noble Eightfold Path at any time. When the Path is followed conscientiously, it becomes nothing less than the main karmic [and neuroplastic] factor in one’s life. The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 27 to 31 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 32 we again honestly took stock of and responsibility for our personal situation at this time with respect to whatever we are presently doing or are concerned with, or about, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. and, to continue with this third quarter’s ASP, this week we shall again take an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course if necessary, bearing in mind that truly commendable initiatives are those which are in agreement with and reflect wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life. This task is based on the 2nd step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sankappa (Pali) or samyak-samkalpa (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism: our very best resolution or determination; in Dutch: onze beste beslissing (de tweede stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times! Follow the official pandemic guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing and where and when to use a mask! https://www.facebook.com/groups/advayavadabuddhism/

Advayavada Study Plan – week 32

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 32] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is, as explained before, fully personalized: it is firmly based on what we increasingly know about ourselves and our world, and trusting our own intentions, feelings and conscience. Adherence to the familiar five precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and a well-considered understanding of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs of being and the Buddha’s four noble truths (or four truths for the noble) suffice to start off and proceed on the Noble Eightfold Path at any time. When the Path is followed conscientiously, it becomes nothing less than the main karmic (and neuroplastic) factor in one’s life, i.e. in one’s fleeting share in the universal interdependent origination process (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada) that brings forth wondrous overall existence. The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 27 to 31 we therefore again treated the preliminary subjects and, to continue with this third quarter of 2020, this week we shall again honestly take stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time with respect to whatever we are presently doing or are concerned with, or about, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. This task is based on the 1st step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-ditthi (Pali) or samyag-dristi (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism: our very best comprehension or insight; in Dutch: ons beste inzicht (de eerste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times! Follow the official pandemic guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing and where and when to use a mask!

Advayavada Study Plan – week 7

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 7] As stated before, in Advayavada Buddhism the Noble Eightfold Path is fully personalized: it is firmly based on what we increasingly know about ourselves and our world, and trusting our own intentions, feelings and conscience. Adherence to the familiar five precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and a well-considered understanding of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs of being and the Buddha’s four noble truths suffice to start off and proceed on the Path at any time. When the Path is followed conscientiously and methodically, it becomes a strong neuroplastic factor and hence one of the main karmic factors in one’s life. In weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 6 we again honestly took stock of and responsibility for our personal situation at this time, and to continue with this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), this week we shall again take an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course, bearing in mind that truly commendable deeds are those which are in agreement with wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life. This task is based on the 2nd step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sankappa (Pali) or samyak-samkalpa (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism: our very best resolution or determination; in Dutch: onze beste beslissing (de tweede stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 6

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 6] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is fully personalized: it is firmly based on what we increasingly know about ourselves and our world, and trusting our own intentions, feelings and conscience. Adherence to the familiar five precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and a well-considered understanding of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs of being and the Buddha’s four noble truths suffice to start off and proceed on the Noble Eightfold Path at any time. When the Path is followed conscientiously, it becomes a strong neuroplastic factor and hence nothing less than one of the main karmic factors in one’s life, i.e. in one’s fleeting share in the universal interdependent origination process (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada). The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 1 to 5 we therefore again treated the preliminary subjects and, to continue with the current first quarter of 2019, this week we shall again honestly take stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time with respect to whatever we are presently doing or are concerned with, or about, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. This task is based on the 1st step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-ditthi (Pali) or samyag-dristi (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism: our very best comprehension or insight; in Dutch: ons beste inzicht (de eerste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post.

Social Influences on Neuroplasticity (Davidson and McEwen)

Experiential factors shape the neural circuits underlying social and emotional behavior from the prenatal period to the end of life. These factors include both incidental influences such as early adversity as well as intentional influences that can be produced in humans through specific interventions designed to promote prosocial behavior and well-being. Key extant evidence in animal models and humans is reviewed. While the precise mechanisms of plasticity are still not fully understood, moderate to severe stress appears to increase growth of several sectors of the amygdala while effects in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex tend to be opposite. Structural and functional changes in the brain have been observed with cognitive therapy and certain forms of meditation and lead to the suggestion that well-being and other prosocial characteristics might be enhanced through training. (Richard J. Davidson and Bruce S. McEwen, in Social influences on neuroplasticity: Stress and interventions to promote well-being, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491815/)