Thursday, April 17, 2014
(The following idea had been submitted in 2009 for the IIT Bombay's 50 Anniversary celebration's competition: Great Ideas to Change the World in 50 Years)
Title of your Idea:
REBP: A New Way To Learn
Scientific and/or Technical Area of Your Idea:
Neuro-Cognitive Science, Psychotherapy and Physiology
What is unique and novel about your idea (50 Words):
The novelty of my idea is that it offers us a way to learn by observing experiences with our sense of touch.
It is the only effective therapy for drug addiction and alcoholism.
It is the only simple way to teach children how not to get angry.
How will this idea impact the world (50 Words):
This idea will help people control their anger and hatred and thus prevent conflicts, wars and terrorism.
It will help in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.
It will help avert the environmental crisis.
Brief description of the idea and how it can be realized in practice (1000 Words):
Man has so far been unable to be scientific about his inner life. Mainly because the apparatuses we had been using to observe it—our eyes and ears—were inappropriate. My idea is to use the apparatus of our sense of touch to observe our body to learn from it and understand ourselves. I have used Vipassana or dhamma, the scientific teaching of Gautama Buddha, to observe and understand the subtler realities occurring within ourselves, or our body, by using our sense of touch. This technique, or Body Awareness Exercise, helps us to overcome emotional suffering. By observing and understanding our own suffering, we begin to understand the suffering that others must be going through and start having compassion for other beings; we become more reasonable and considerate, and lead a moral life. By diligent practice, this technique even makes it possible for us to experience the laws of physics, such as the law of relativity, within our own body. Now that we are in a quandary as to which path to choose to understand the one universal law or the ‘law of everything’, this technique might well be our best option.
Conflicts about our personal problems and thoughts about our anger and hatred distract our awareness when we start to look within ourselves. This is one of the biggest obstacles in doing the exercise, and why people stop or give up doing it. In order to overcome this obstacle, I have added a psychoanalytical process, which involves a simple inventory of our anger and hatred, in my idea that I have named REBP or the REB Program. The inventory is a part of the original Alcoholics Anonymous program and is very effective in removing one’s anger and resentments. By doing the inventory and sharing it with another person, before starting the Body Awareness Exercise, most of our anger and hatred get removed and stop distracting us too much, and we are able to do the awareness exercise regularly and benefit from it. The inventory sharing also helps us to sort out our problems or come to terms with them and enables us to make the necessary restitutions to restore our relationships with others.
In times of stress, and poverty is the greatest stressor, the brain is overworked in transmitting excessive messages, and neurotransmitters get depleted. Unless the store of neurotransmitters in the brain is replenished, we experience anxiety, depression and other emotional problems. This also is an obstacle in doing the awareness exercise. Neurotransmitters are produced from the nutrients we consume as food and nutrition supplements. Misinformation by health care providers has made us believe that the proteins we eat are nutrients for the cells of the body. They are not. The nutrients for our body cells are the twenty amino acids that the body extracts from the proteins we eat by the process of digestion. Different combinations of these twenty make up practically everything in our body. When any one of the amino acid is deficient in our diet, the health of the part or system of our body that requires it for its growth or functioning suffers, and we become prone to illness and diseases. Taking the particular amino acid as nutritional supplement can restore out health.
Most of the neurotransmitters in the brain are produced from amino acids, serotonin from tryptophan, dopamine and epinephrine, as well as adrenaline and thyroxin, from tyrosine or phenylalanine. GABA, which relieves anxiety, is itself a neurotransmitter, but also produced from glutamine. Pfeiffer's Law states, "For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect." People need to be educated about this amino acid aspect of nutrition, for then they would be able to take care of their physical, as well as emotional, health by taking the necessary amino acid as nutrientional supplements rather than unnecessarily poisoning their bodies with drugs, unless absolutely necessary.
So my idea is to educate people about the Body Awareness Exercise, inventory and nutrition and to tech them how to do the exercise and the inventory.
To awaken is to see and understand! Once people see this idea and understand it, we wouldn’t have to do much more to implement the idea. They would want to practice and implement it themselves. Everybody wants to control their anger. Everybody wants to overcome their fear and emotional suffering. But science has failed us. This idea makes it possible. All that this idea needs to get implemented is for the scientific community to accept the idea as a scientific idea. Once this is done, it would be implemented worldwide through the efforts of universities, schools and affiliates. I have written a book giving a scientific explanation of the processes of both the inventory and the awareness exercise and detailed instructions on doing the inventory. The inventory teaches us to take care of our anger, and with it parents and teachers will now finally have a way to teach children how not to get angry. The inventory alone would be highly beneficial to the all people. It also makes us more compassionate and considerate towards our environment and its people. Along with amino acid supplements to replenish neurotransmitters, it is a highly effective therapy for drug addiction and alcoholism.
People can learn the simple Body Awareness Exercise from the book Sadhana by Anthoney de Mello, and practice it at home. Centers for teaching this exercise along scientific lines would also have to be set up, as the continuity in its practice is more beneficial. Even young children can learn this exercise to start taking care of their emotions from an early age itself.
Vipassana is known to help executives remain calm in times of stress, increasing their efficiency and productivity. When more executives of commerce and industry and leaders of nations start doing the awareness exercise and inventory, it will go a long way in averting the environmental crisis.
Authority rarely brings about a change; change comes only from within.
Any general comments:
Please note: I will send you a copy of my book and related material, for more information about my idea, by post.
The inspiration for my idea: “Over Great areas of the world it still survives; it is possible that in contact with western science, and inspired by the spirit of history, the original teaching of Gautama, revived and purified, may yet play a large part in the direction of human destiny.” - H. G. Wells (The Outline of History)