Cults Come in All Kinds: The Head Is Not a Great Neighborhood to Live In

This post is in response to an article by Lama Surya Das, a new friend who also happens to be “the Western Lama,” according to the Dalai Lama.  He has amazing insight into the mind-body connection and is geographically situated to be right in the heart of many major neuroscience discoveries.

Great piece, Lama Das! As a brain doc, I particularly appreciate your references to neuroplasticity. I also agree with your comments about the connection to the heart. We shouldn’t be so reductionist that we focus on the brain to the exclusion of the whole human, including the human spirit.

As we enter the NeuroEconomy, the concept of followership will take on new dimensions. New tribes are emerging from the hyperconnected societies of Facebook, Google, Second Life, etc. We can expect charismatic leaders to attract hordes of like-minded, devoted acolytes to all sorts of causes. And in an effort to survive the upheavals inherent in the transition to the new economic system, many will grab on to any “savior” out of desperation.

I advocate, then, that we learn to elaborate on the BS detector that you mention, through an increased awareness of the Neuroenteric pathway. It turns out we have many more neurons in our intestinal system than in our brain. And we have two broadband cables connecting our emotional (limbic) brain to our gut. These Vagus nerves give bidirectional connectivity to our intestines, where we offload many emotions for processing. So training ourselves to become aware of our “gut feelings” is going to become more important than ever.

Meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness help us to engage our Neuroenteric system intentionally. These practices, so inherent to Buddhism, will benefit all humans in their daily cultivation of an independent, aware mind and spirit free of enslavement to self-centered cult leaders.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


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