We Are Warm-Hearted by Nature
H.H., the Dalai Lama often says that we are essentially warm-heartened by nature; yet, when many of us hear H.H. say such things we cynically think to ourselves, “He’s obviously not talking about me. I mean, if he only knew what I was thinking just a moment ago…!”
This kind of thinking is destructive as it keeps us from recognizing that we are indeed capable of positive change, let alone if we adopt the mind-training methods that effectively lead us to becoming more warm-hearted.
Research Provides Evidence That We Are…
Fortunately, we now find ourselves living in an era whereby good science is providing corroboration to the statement that, “We are essentially warm-heartened by nature.”
After exploring the areas of the brain that fuel our empathetic impulses -- and temporarily disabling other regions that oppose those impulses -- two UCLA neuroscientists are coming down on the optimistic side of human nature.
"Our altruism may be more hard-wired than previously thought," said Leonardo Christov-Moore, a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA's Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
"It's almost like these areas of the brain behave according to a neural Golden Rule," Christov-Moore said. "The more we tend to vicariously experience the states of others, the more we appear to be inclined to treat them as we would ourselves."
Hard-wired to be Altruistic
Although these researchers discuss using methods to block regions of the brain habituated to impulsivity, their findings can aid the doubtful in trusting the ultimate efficacy of time-honored Buddhist mind training methods geared to experientially develop - in the mind the yogi/yogini - a genuine, non-biased empathy and loving/kindness. Thus, the neural potential to infinite altruism is now substantiated on the verity that our “brain[s] behave according to a neural Golden Rule."
So, for the Mahayana aspirants, there should no longer be an excuse to grasp at a false notion of self, that mistakenly believes oneself to be incapable of amounting to more than being a self-centered, selfish, piece of crap.
Ahem! That means no more kicking up dust on the road... Evidence heralds the time to train our hearts and minds like real Bodhisattva Yoga yogis and yoginis. It’s in your code…
This is a regular posting of reflections from Bodhisattva Yoga founder Vivekan on all manner of topics related to the broad path of Yoga.