Monday, September 19, 2011

The Biology of "Heaven"

It's been about six years now since I first watched "What the 'Bleep' Do We Know?" My housemate at the time brought a copy home with her and shared it with me. There were some ideas in the movie that were already familiar to me, but what was new, and most interesting of all, was the information about how our hypothalamus makes biochemicals that are essentially biological analogs of every type of emotion we experience. In other words there are distinct biochemicals for anxiety, or joy, or anger, or happiness, etc., etc., and whenever we are "feeling" those emotions, it is in part because those emotional-biochemicals are racing through our bodies, having all kinds of various effects on all of our cells. In addition, just as it is possible to get addicted to chemicals we take in from outside the body, it is also possible to get addicted to chemicals that have been internally generated.

Over the course of the next several months, I became much, much more sensitive to my "patterns of desire." What I had learned from the film was that such desires, or compulsions, to use a stronger word, were probably being driven by early-life experiences, early-life biochemical conditioning. There were certain emotions, and therefore, certain patterns of biochemicals that my body had experienced in the past and that it wanted to keep on experiencing now, and in the future. More than that it was longing to have those experiences. Recognizing a pattern in the present, made me wonder what the original pattern had been in the past - the pattern that left an "imprint" biochemically to which my body was now "addicted."

The first pattern I looked at more closely was my "longing to 'fall in love'", but I will save further discussion of that for another blog. Instead, as the title of this blog suggests, I'd like to look at our "longing for heaven".

As for me, I was raised in the Christian tradition. Although my mother said I was the one who told her about "reincarnation" from about the age of four or so, saying something like "You know, Mommy, we've all been born lots of times"; like other Christian believers, I had some idea that heaven would be a lot like earth only better, "perfect", in fact. There would be no pain or suffering, no bodily imperfections, etc., etc. As an adult, I have realized that one of the key elements of this fantasy of heaven is that there is no "work" in heaven, at least, not in the sense that we experience it from day to day here. And yet, even without "work", everything just gets taken care of, I guess, by "God" and/or his "Angels". In summary, this idea of heaven is a place where everything gets taken care of, all of our physiological (or spiritual) needs are met with no effort of our own.

As I considered this from a biochemical patterning point of view, I got to thinking: Where have we ever experienced that before? Where in our early human existence was there a situation where "all of our needs were being met with no effort of our own", and so there was a biochemical patterning associated with that, something we (i.e. our bodies) would want to experience again?

It didn't take too long for me to figure it out: It's while we are still in our mother's womb.

Think about it: There you are surrounded by warm fluid that stays at more or less constant temperature (i.e. around 98.6 degrees). All of your physiological needs are being met as nutrients from you mother's body are being pumped into your bloodstream through your umbilical cord. It is all happening pretty automatically. And "you" or, at least, the physiological part of "you", gets to experience that kind of "bliss" for about nine months or so.

Then, all of a sudden, things go "terribly wrong" and you are forthwith "Cast Out of the Garden of Eden" and it is your Mother's (i.e. the Woman's) "fault". From that point on, it is all about Work, Work, Work to get your needs met. You have to cry and squirm, and eventually you learn language to help communicate your needs. Maybe your parents respond appropriately, maybe they don't. Then you have to go to school and there's all kinds of "homework", and then there's college, which is even more work. Maybe you'll work while you are going to college, and then there's more work to follow that. It's just work, work, work, work, work.

And, maybe, if you are like many people in the world today, you will continue to carry that latent memory of "heaven" in the back of your mind, in the depths of your body. Through all the work and struggle, there will be a part of you that is still clinging to that memory of "heaven" which has now become a "dream of heaven" - some future place and time where you can finally "relax" again, where somehow, all of your needs will be met with no effort of your own , or, at least, a LOT LESS effort, say when you "retire". Or maybe, you'll create a whole socio-political ideology that has as its underlying theme "everyone should be taken care of by the State"!

Or maybe, when you die, you will be longing for "heaven" so much, that you will choose another physical incarnation just so you can experience it least for nine months. Nine months of "heaven" in exchange for 80 years of "hell"...? Hmmm? Not so sure that's a fair trade???

So, what's the alternative?

Pretty simple really, not unlike my previous communication in the last couple of blogs: Understand where your "longing" is really coming from and Let It Go! Honestly, if you want to at least increase your chances of Not Doing This Trip Again (the "80 years of 'hell'" part), then stop longing to crawl back in the womb. Let go of your fantasies of "heaven" and accept the reality of life as an independent human being. Be prepared to work, because it does take a lot of work to get through one lifetime, and especially in modern society. Even if you manage to find more efficient ways to live, there is still going to be work involved. But, it will be so much easier when you Stop Resisting - At All! You will be amazed at how much more Life Energy becomes available to you when you let go of your Longing for "Heaven", when you let go of even the inkling of desire for someone else to "take care of you."

Evolution has not happened because the fish decided to crawl back into the water! (At least in most cases. : )) No, evolution has always moved in the direction of more and more opportunity for personal ACTION, creative ACTION, dynamic ACTION and dynamic INTER-ACTION with one's environment. You see, that is the problem with "being in the womb" - You have no opportunity for dynamic Action and Interaction with your environment. In truth, you have no Freedom. And if you look around you, the orientation of Life Itself is towards more and more complex and dynamic forms of action and interaction, with each individual Playing Their Part.

I will leave you with a story about alf-alfa sprouts. (! : )) When I was growing them, I started out just putting them in a jar, hiding them in a dark cupboard somewhere. Eventually, I'd have this big tangled mass of leaves and roots all going in different directions. However, when I started putting weight in the form of damp paper towels or clothes on top of the seeds, surprise, surprise, they started Growing Up Straight. Furthermore, as I considered this phenomenon more broadly, I realized Most Seeds need some "dirt on top" in order to grow properly. It is as if they need to have something to "push up against" in order to know where to sink their roots in and where to spread their leaves.

And really, that is all that "work" is in a human life. It is like a weight we have to lift in order to grow stronger. If there is no "work" necessary, if there is no "weight" to lift, if "all of one's needs are met with no effort of one's own", then there will be no growth of the individual, no development, no realization of anything meaningful. It will certainly not be "heaven", individually or collectively.

It is not the work itself you need to worry about. It is your own Resistance to Work that will forever hold you back. Better to Get On With It, in your current life-time, whatever form it takes for you, Embrace It! Appreciate that work simply represents an opportunity for growth, and you might be really amazed at what you will grow into, and what a difference you can make in the Real World when you simply let go of your fantasy of "heaven".

Speaking from personal experience, it may never be "heaven" here, but with a little work, (okay, sometimes a Lot of work), it can be a whole lot less like "hell". And if Everyone Gives up their "longing for heaven" - if Everyone stops expecting others to "take care of them", or "make things easier for them" (including the "poor" people AND the "rich" people), imagine how much more Life Energy will be Freed Up to "work" on making this world a better place for Everyone to live, and work, and grow, and realize their Full Potential as Dynamic Human Beings! Just Imagine... : )) ... and then Get to Work!!! : ))