Excerpt from the Series: Engineered for Divinity
How Meditation Can Change You — and the World
Hosted in-person The Expanding Light Retreat and live online with Online with Ananda.
Recorded November 17-18, 2017 from Ananda Village in Northern California
Scientific study of meditation has exploded in the last two decades. Not only has there been study after study of the health and wellbeing benefits of meditation but there is now also a much deeper understanding of what actually happens physiologically, neurologically, metabolically, genetically, energetically, and quantum physically.
There is now ample scientific evidence that regular meditation significantly affects you through:
- Physiology: Transforms our entire body chemistry cellularly and systemically
- Neuroplasticity: Restructures and rewires the brain
- Epigenetics: Activates positive genes and deactivates negative genes
Science is now also able to confirm the reality of the more subtle experiences of your meditation:
- Quantum neuroscience: Explains how meditation creates neurological connections to quantum reality
- String theory: Provides the scientific foundation of a high-frequency, circumambient reality that interpenetrates our physical world and body
- Entanglement: Reveals the bridge between Intelligent life force and the physical body
- The Holographic Principle: Forms the paradigm that we are continuously creating our bodies, even small changes in consciousness instantly manifest physical changes
Learn and explore how science is confirming and affirming the ancient science of meditation.
Recorded November 17, 2017:
- Moderated Panel Discussion with all presenters
Recorded November 18, 2017:
- Quantum Neuroscience: How Your Brain Gets Its Self, Mind, and Emotions, and How It Can Create Supramental Intelligence with Dr. Amit Goswami
- You have Two Bodies: One is a Holographic Projection, the Other is Full of Bliss with Joseph Selbie
- Meditation and Medicine with Dr. Shanti Rubenstone
- Pranayama: The Art and Science of Energy Control with Nayaswami Gyandev
- Engineered for Divinity: How the Brain and Body are Transformed through Meditation and Spiritual Practices with Dr. Peter Van Houten
- Q&A with all presenters
Key Note Presentations
How Your Brain Gets Its Self, Mind, and Emotions, and How It Can Create Supramental Intelligence
Amit will present the quantum theory of the brain’s self, mind, and emotions and present experimental data of current neuroscience in verification. Quantum neuroscience explains the development of our human condition: a simple hierarchy of the ego and me-centeredness, negative emotional brain circuits, and addiction to pleasure, but which also endows us with quantum potentialities to actualize and improve the human condition toward more happiness and more intelligence. Amit will talk about creativity and the brain’s neuroplasticity with which you can create even supramental intelligence if you so choose.
One is a Holographic Projection, the Other is Full of Bliss
According to the saints, sages, and near-death experiencers, even at this moment, we live simultaneously in two bodies—a physical body and an interpenetrating astral body—and that the physical body is a manifestation of the astral energy body. We find confirmation for this in physics. According to string theory, even at this moment, we exist simultaneously in two realms—the three dimensional physical universe and an interpenetrating two-dimensional energy-verse—and that the physical universe is a holographic projection originating from the energy-verse.
Understanding how our two bodies interact and the two realms in which they exist can help us on so many levels:
- Physical—your health and is an expression of the state of your energy body. Change your energy body and through the meditational bridge of quantum entanglement your physical body conforms instantaneously.
- Emotional—your feelings are essentially subtle astral energies moving through your astral body. Through pranayama, positive thinking, and meditative centering you can direct the movement of emotional energy to your highest feelings.
- Mental—your thoughts shape your energy body which in turn shapes your physical body, and meditation helps you shape your thoughts
- Spiritual—your energy body is essentially perfect. In meditation you shift from sensory awareness to inner awareness and experience your perfection as bliss.
For literally thousands of years great spiritual teachers of all religions have proclaimed that meditation is the way to optimal health of body, mind, and soul. These ‘anecdotal’ reports were not sufficient for the scientists, and questions regarding meditation went unanswered.
For the past 15 years or so the medical profession itself, along with great scientists in many areas, have been asking questions regarding meditation and its possible use as a treatment modality for various conditions.
Now, scientific evidence from well-designed studies—including images of the brain—is emerging. Some of these studies suggest that meditating for as little as 20 minutes daily can affect the function and structure of the brain in a positive way and that meditating for even short periods daily can have profound effects on many and varied medical and psychiatric conditions.
In this session, Dr. Shanti Rubenstone, Stanford Medical School graduate, Educator, and practicing Internist, as well as long time meditator, will present some of the most recent evidence regarding meditation and physical and emotional health and well-being.
How the Brain and Body are Transformed through Meditation and Spiritual Practices
Who do you want to be in 6 months? Whether we intend to or not we will be different six months from now. Your brain and body constantly change over time and we understand now that we can influence how we will develop. Since the early 1980s the scientific community has understood that the brain is incredibly plastic and re-programmable. Since then, there has been a broader understanding that significant permanent personal transformation is a real possibility.
Meditation and spiritual practices have been extensively studied and have been proven to bring about specific significant changes in the brain and body, some of which are permanent. We will review how brain structure and function are changed by meditation practices over time. We will discuss the specific parts of the brain that are transformed in this process. Much has been discerned about different types of meditation and their effects on the nervous system as well as the amount one needs to meditate to bring about significant changes in brain and behavior.
We will also review the new science of epigenetics and how our genetic material can be modified by meditation and lifestyle. This transformed genetic material can be passed on to our offspring in this new state. Lastly we will look at our recent understanding of the interplay between the body’s microbiome and our nervous system function and how spiritual practices may affect this.
The Art and Science of Energy Control
Although commonly understood to be breathing techniques, pranayama encompasses a broad spectrum of practices designed to help you control prana (life force, energy), and through that improve your health on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Contemporary research is confirming many of the beneficial effects that the greater science of Yoga has long claimed for pranayama practices — and my own empirical research over more than 30 years of teaching has confirmed even more of those claims. In this presentation, you will explore some of these ideas and discover practical ways to use them in daily life. You’ll also be introduced to the subtle art of pranayama practice, and how it requires going beyond mere control of the breath or body. You’ll learn how simple pranayama techniques can be a boon to your meditation practice. And of course: you’ll practice a bit of pranayama!
About The Presenters
Dr. Amit Goswami
Theoretical Quantum Physicist Dr. Amit Goswami is a retired full professor from the University of Oregon’s Department of Physics where he served from 1968 to 1997. He is a pioneer of the new paradigm of science called “science within consciousness,” an idea he explicated in his seminal book, The Self-Aware Universe, where he also solved the quantum measurement problem elucidating the famous observer effect.
Goswami has written several other popular books based on his research on quantum physics and consciousness. In The Visionary Window, he demonstrated how science and spirituality could be integrated. In Physics of the Soul, he developed a theory of survival after death and reincarnation. In The Quantum Doctor, Goswami sought to integrate both conventional and alternative medicine. In Creative Evolution, Goswami presented a resolution between Darwinism and the intelligent design of life. In God is Not Dead, he asserted that not only are science and religion compatible but that quantum physics proves the existence of God. In Quantum Creativity: Think Quantum, Be Creative, Goswami explained all facets of creativity—its definition, the quantum thinking it entails, and what is required to be creative. In Quantum Economics: Unleashing the Power of an Economics of Consciousness, he focused on critical issues for a new paradigm in economics and business for the twenty-first century, touching upon the stability and sustainability of the economy and leadership, as well as creativity and ethics in business.
In his most recent book, The Everything Answer Book (April 2017), Goswami’s basic premise is that quantum physics is not only the future of science, but it is also the key to understanding consciousness, death, God, psychology, and the meaning of life. In short, quantum physics offers a theory of everything.
In his private life Goswami is a practitioner of spirituality and transformation. He calls himself a quantum activist. He appeared in the film What the Bleep Do We Know!? and its sequel Down the Rabbit Hole as well as the documentaries Dalai Lama Renaissance and the award winning The Quantum Activist.
Author of the Physics of God, (New Page Books, Sept. 2017), Selbie makes the complex and obscure simple and clear. A dedicated meditator for over forty years, he has taught yoga and meditation throughout the US and Europe. He is an avid follower of the unfolding new paradigm of science and is known for creating bridges of understanding between the modern evidenced-based discoveries of science and the ancient experience-based discoveries of the mystics.
The Physics of God presents a clear and much needed paradigm that unites, rather than divides, science and religion, drawing on both the findings of science and the transcendent experiences of saints, sages, and those with near-death experiences. Clear, practical and inspirational, his books and presentations speak to our untapped energetic, mental, and spiritual potentials.
Selbie maintains several blogs, including Physics and God and Intersections, which explores how spirituality connects with culture and science. With David Steinmetz, he also co-authored, The Yugas, a factual look at India’s tradition of cyclical history (see online course, The Yugas In-Depth), and wrote a science fiction fantasy series, The Protectors Diaries, inspired by the abilities of mystics.
Dr. Shanti Rubenstone, M.D.
Dr Shanti Rubenstone is a Board certified internist who received her medical degree from Stanford University in 1983. After finishing her medical training and a chief medical residency she began what soon became one of the largest general internal medical practices in the country, always with the intention of caring for the whole person.
Throughout her career Dr. Rubenstone has had an interest in the field of Chemical Dependency. Her love of working with addicts and alcoholics has spanned her now 35 years in medicine, first as a registered nurse, then ultimately, as an MD. This culminated in her being the medical director of The Sequoia Center, a well-respected drug and alcohol treatment program in Redwood City California, from 2010 to 2012.
She currently has a practice called “Transformational Medicine”, working with people as they move through any major life transition, whether it is of the body, the mind, or the soul. Approximately 50% of her clients are recovering addicts and alcoholics.
In her words: “It is always my intention to help people feel harmonized within and manifest that by feeling well and finding joy.”
Dr. Peter Van Houten, M.D.
Dr. Peter Van Houten is a family physician with close to 40 years of real world experience in primary care medicine. He is nationally known for his pioneering work integrating meditation and behavioral healthcare into the medical setting. Sierra Family Health Center, which is the clinic he founded in 1982, has been widely seen as a leader in this field. His background includes his medical training at the UCSF School of Medicine. He has published two books promoting yoga as a therapeutic tool which focus on treatments for common medical problems like insomnia and headaches. These were among the first books ever published bringing yoga therapy into the medical office setting. He has lectured extensively on the transformation in brain function brought about by meditation and spiritual practices. Well-known for his charitable works, Dr. Van Houten’s clinic cares for a large indigent population in Northern California using cutting edge behavioral therapies as well as traditional medicine.
Peter has co-authored Yoga Therapy for Headache Relief and Yoga Therapy for Overcoming Insomnia. He also maintains an active interest in ongoing research into the subtle and powerful relationships between brain physiology and personal spiritual development.
Nayaswami Gyandev has taught all aspects of Yoga in the tradition of Paramhansa Yogananda since 1983. He currently serves as Director of Ananda Yoga® worldwide, directs the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training programs, and co-directs the Ananda Meditation Teacher Training program. All of this happens through the Ananda School of Yoga & Meditation, located at The Expanding Light, Ananda’s retreat center near Nevada City, California. He also teaches throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, India and Europe. He has been a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda for more than 35 years, and he is an ordained Ananda minister.
Gyandev’s books include Spiritual Yoga: Awakening to Higher Awareness and, as co-author with Dr. Peter Van Houten, Yoga Therapy for Headache Relief and Yoga Therapy for Overcoming Insomnia. He has created the 12 volumes (48 classes) of The Ananda Yoga Series online and in DVD—the first five volumes are now available—plus two separate yoga videos (Yoga to Awaken the Chakras and Yoga for Busy People) and five CD/MP3s (Pranayama for Deeper Meditation, Magnetize Your Life, Ease into Sleep, Connect with Spirit, and Dance of Divinity). His articles have been published in LA Yoga, Inspired Wellbeing, Clarity, Yoga in America, and Yoga for Everybody.
A co-founder of Yoga Alliance (the organization that sets training standards for yoga teachers in the USA), Gyandev served as on Yoga Alliance’s board of directors for 17 years. He currently serves on Yoga Alliance’s Advisory Council and Standards Committee.
Gyandev and his wife, Diksha, live at Ananda Village, a Northern California community of disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda. Both teach full-time at The Expanding Light retreat. They also lead Ananda Spiritual Travels experiences in India, Israel, Costa Rica, and Hawaii. Their personal website is Ways To Freedom.
Gyandev received a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College and M.S. and Ph.D. in Operations Research (applied mathematics) from Stanford University. After graduate school, he worked as a management consultant with clients from both business and government, before moving to Ananda Village, which has been his home since 1984.