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Self psychological-neuroscientific-vedantic perspective

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  • 1. CHINMAYA MISSION BOSTON Enquiry of the ‘SELF’ A Psychological, Neuroscientific and Vedantic Perspective March 4th, 2012Maximum Happiness to the Maximum Number of People for the Maximum Time
  • 2. Enquiry of the ‘Self’ Riddle of Experience vs Memory Widely regarded as the worlds most influential living psychologist, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioral economics -- exploring the irrational ways we make decisions about risk Stroke of Insight Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 2
  • 3. Enquiry of the ‘Self’ Riddle of Experience vs Memory Widely regarded as the worlds most influential living psychologist, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioral economics -- exploring the irrational ways we make decisions about risk© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 3
  • 4. Experience vs Memory Experiencing Self Remembering Self• Experience through the senses • Remembers the experiences• No decisions • Makes decisions• Objective • Subjective “From the point of view of the “For the remembering self, a two- experiencing self if you have a week vacation is barely bettervacation, and the second week is than the one-week vacationjust as good as the first, then the because there are no new two-week vacation is twice as memories added” good as the one-week vacation”© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 4
  • 5. Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5.Verse 11 YOGIS, having abandoned attachment, perform actions merely by the body, mind, intellect and senses, for the purification of the self (ego) . A Karma-Yogins attempt is to keep himself within himself --- as a detached but interested observer of all that is happening around and within himself. When he thus observes himself, from within himself, as a worker in any given field, it becomes easyfor him to see that all actions belong to the above-mentioned instruments-of-action and not to the detached OBSERVER in him. Here, however, he must realize that the OBSERVER in himself is not the Truth, but this OBSERVER is "Truth standing on the open balcony of the intellect." Even while thus observing ourselves in action, we are ever conscious of the very OBSERVER in ourselves. "The Consciousness that illumines the very OBSERVER, is the Spiritual- centre, the Self," is the declaration of all Upanishads. – Swami Chinmayananda© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 5
  • 6. Enquiry of the ‘Self’ Stroke of Insight Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 6
  • 7. Stroke of Insight Right Hemisphere Left Hemisphere• All about the ‘present’ – here and • All about the ‘past’ and the ‘future’ now – anxieties and expectations• Seeing the ‘one in the many’ • Seeing the ‘many in the one’“I am an energy-being connected “It‟s the little voice that says to to the energy all around me me „I am. I am‟. And as soon asthrough the consciousness of my my left hemisphere says to me „I right hemisphere” am‟, I become separate/” “We are energy beings “I become the single solid connected to one another individual, separate from the through the consciousness as energy flow around me and one human family” separate from you.”© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 7
  • 8. Geeta Vaatika – The Perfect Man In the right understanding of his own Self and the resulting realization of his own Self , he becomes the Self everywhere. He discovers a unity in the perceived diversity and a subtle rhythm in the obvious discord in the world outside. To him, who has realized himself to be the Self which is all- pervading, the entire universe becomes his own Self , and therefore, his relationship with every other part of the universe is equal and same. Whether I get wounded in the hand or the leg, on the back or in the front, on the head or on the shoulder, it is the same to me, since I am equally identifying with my head, my trunk, and my legs, as myself. – Swami Chinmayananda© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 8
  • 9. Synthesis – Psychological, Neuro-scientific and Vedantic perspectives Experiencing Self Remembering Self Right Hemisphere Left Hemisphere The ‘true SELF’ is the WITNESS to the Experiencing and Remembering Selves. Self-Realized people can ‘consciously’ identify with the experiencing self and with the ‘infinite energy’ while falling back to the remembering self, as needed.© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 9
  • 10. Synthesis – Psychological, Neuro-scientific and Vedantic perspectives “So who are we? We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid – separate from the flow, separate from you.” – Jill Bolte Taylor© 2012 Chinmaya Mission Boston Page 10

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