Uechi-Ryu.com

Discussion Area
It is currently Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:24 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 33 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 4:47 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
As promised, I'm back.

NEB wrote:

One person can have reliable, repeatable experiences and the other one can dismiss them in any number of ways, due to lack of a scientific model of what the experiences are. Nothing I can do about that. I can't compete with your (or any scientist's) knowledge and education in these matters, but I CAN do a simple chi-gung and have a familiar experience, and watch as that experience intensifies with ongoing practice.

It may surprise you to know that I've practiced chi gung. In 1983 a professor at the University of Virginia who was born, raised, and trained in China took me (and several others) on as one-on-one students. At the time I was living on a graduate school stipend, and for me those lessons were not cheap. Given the personal sacrifice I went through to experience the training myself, one can hardly classify me as someone dismissive of the art and/or what comes from its practice. At the time I was also teaching Uechi karate at UVa, studying yang style tai chi from Robert Smith (treks to Bethesda on Saturday mornings), and studying Goju Ryu, kobudo, and aikido from Steven King (a mixed martial artist, chiropractor, and former green beret combat instructor). I was in the "ABD" mode in school (All But Dissertation) where students are left on their own to finish their research or be proven unworthy of a doctorate. I used that time period well, plunging myself into a myriad of activities. I wasn't going to let school get in the way of my education.

Meditative practices have long been a part of martial arts. Through some oral and some written history, Bodhidharma is traditionally credited as the leading patriarch and transmitter of Zen from India to China. He is the patron saint of the Shaolin Monastery, and is credited with developing the physical training methods for his monks that later evolved into the practice of Kung Fu.

The tie-in of meditation to physical martial ways is not without merit. Modern neurophysiologic researcher LeDoux et al have done much research to show how life-threatening fear works with (and against) the upper and lower brain to create the myriad conditions that become part of the self-defense experience. Mastering the brain means learning to find the neurohormonal "sweet spot" which gives us more of the benefits (enormous strength) and less of the incapacitating side effects (e.g. loss of complex motor coordination).

However there's absolutely nothing wrong with personal exploration in this internal frontier with no martial endpoint in mind. This is often the goal of many meditation practitioners - for better or for worse.

Tie in now the admonitions of a very famous monk.
Dalai Lama wrote:

The practice of meditation has been abused by people. They want immediate and quick results, just as they expect quick returns for everything they do in daily life . . . the mind must be brought under control in slow degrees and one should not try to reach for the higher states without proper training. We have heard of over-enthusiastic young men and women literally going out of their minds because they adopted the wrong attitudes towards meditation.

So exactly what are these "higher states"? They are referred to both in eastern meditative arts and in western spiritual experiences.

The most reputable and interesting research I can find is by Andrew B. Newberg, a Neuroscientist who is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. Newberg has a theory about the transcendental feeling of being one with the universe. One area of research has focused on the activity of the posterior superior parietal lobe in long-term practitioners of Buddhism while they were meditating. He discovered that blood flow to this region decreased significantly during meditation. So what's the connection? This area of the brain is involved with processing the boundaries of one's body with respect to the 3-dimensional world around us.
Newberg wrote:

We know that the posterior superior parietal lobe plays that particular role because there are patients with damage in this same region who literally cannot move around without falling ... They'll miss the chair they intended to sit on, and generally have a fuzzy understanding of where their body ends and the rest of the universe begins. ... If you block that area, you lose that boundary between the self and the rest of the world.

So what does it all mean? What we've shown is that there's no magic. There are no unknown forces involved. We've identified an area of the brain responsible for the sensation of how one's body exists with respect to the world around it. And we've shown that those with significant experience in meditation have unusual control over that region of the brain.

More in another post.

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 11:19 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
I saved this second piece for last, as it is the most interesting but perhaps the least developed. So far this line of research is young. It'll take independent investigators to confirm that which has been found to date.

Not surprisingly this research of meditation has been done with altered states and even religiosity as a backdrop. At the end of the day, there isn't much difference between practitioners of eastern meditation and western rituals that span the spectrum from simple prayer to the speaking of tongues. And in those rituals, the mind can experience altered states.

Michael Persinger is a professor of neuroscience at the Laurentian University in Canada. He's spent a good deal of his career studying the activity of various parts of the brain during meditation. One particularly interesting line of research in 1993 involved studying the electroencephalographs of 1,018 meditators. He documented symptoms of complex partial epilepsy such as visual abnormalities, hearing voices, feeling vibrations, or experiencing automatic behaviors such as narcolepsy. Not coincidentally, epileptic patients who experience seizures in the temporal lobes have auditory and visual hallucinations, which can take on the appearance of mystical experiences. Some are convinced they've had conversations with God.

That part of his work is not new or even controversial. What is radical - and hasn't yet been reproduced that I know of - is work where he used magnetic coils to induce mild seizure activity in various regions of the temporal lobes. These artificially-induced seizures (in some) were associated with the same mystical experiences found with the above advanced meditation experiences.

Should we be surprised that the brain made to enter unusual states either artificially (chemically or electrically) or naturally (with years of meditative work) would be capable of producing altered perceptions?

Image

And if someone perceives it, is it real?

Image

Image

And personal harm aside, is there anything wrong with self exploration other than the known risks associated with checking out from the world most of us live and work in?

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 4:40 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2002 6:01 am
Posts: 329
Location: Los Angeles,CA USA
Interesting research to say the least. I understand of course why you make the comparison, but please note that I made/make no "spiritual" claims or comparisons about my own experiences practicing standing chi gung. The experience may be somewhat esoteric or seemingly out of reach, but I certainly don't mean to compare it to something paranormal, spiritual, religious, divine or eternal. My personal opinion is that its quite physical-in what way I've no ideal-but physical none the less.

That said, could the experiences I had be chalked up to some phenomenon resulting from changes in blood flow to certain parts of the brain or increased activity on some other part? Yes, perhaps so. To me, that only reinforces the validity of these types of exercises. Just as lifting a weight causes the muscle to grow stronger in response to the demand placed on it, maybe standing in a relaxed manner as I was doing repetitively over a number of weeks causes some other part of the body/nervous system to be stressed in a way that causes the reaction I had to take place. I find it fascinating that doing these simple activities has these kinds of results.

In another thread recently someone posed the question as to whether karate was a valid part of the "well being" movement. Its interesting to note that strenuous practice in karate, while challenging and not always pleasurable results in a feeling that is recognizable as "well bring" after the fact. You are familiar with Goju; I've been practicing Tensho kata lately. My teacher taught Goju Ryu in new York back in the 60's and 70's (and some of the 80's) at the New York Goju Kai. He loves Tensho and has added it to my curriculum. As you are aware, there is quite a lot of deep breathing involved with that form. While we don't do the breathing with the intensity that some in the Goju arena do (or as they do in Sanchin), there is quite a lot of powerful breathing co-ordinated with the movements. A good round of Tensho kata seems to result in a feeling of well being. The limbs tingle with blood flow and oxygenation, the senses get bright, and a feeling of calm and stress release takes over. The miracle of exercise I suppose-giving the body and nervous system something it likes.

A similar thing happens when you just sit peacefully and breathe. The mind gets quiet and things seem to slow down. As I said above, the really interesting question is how does doing these simple activities cause such profound changes to take place in the nervous system?

_________________
"Well, let's get to the rat killing..."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:25 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:36 pm
Posts: 414
Location: Strongsville, OH
It's called Hyperventilation... :lol: :lol: :lol:

_________________




SILENCE!!! I Kill You!!!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 2:03 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:29 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Murphy North Carolina
I've been following this thread since it's inception with interest. Claims of extraordinary power and martial prowess have always fascinated me. I have no where near the experience nor education to compete with you all but I've looked at this from a much simpler point of view. And I don't believe anyone can fly across the room without a wire, but....

The Chinese are not stupid people. Yes they have a long history going back much further than we here in the USA. But with technology as it is today China has become somewhat of a technological powerhouse. I cite the fact that most of the cyber attacks on our country originate from them. And they have been at "medicine" much longer than we have. I say all that to simply say this............why, given that the educational and technological advances globally, do the vast majority of Traditional Chinese Medicine (at least that I can find) still to this modern day put so much emphasis on "chi" or energy or whatever terminology one chooses to use? If there were accepted modern "versions" of chi that could be proven to be something else then would not even the Chinese change their explanations and come into the "modern" world?

Just a thought


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 5:12 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2002 6:01 am
Posts: 329
Location: Los Angeles,CA USA
Stevie B wrote:
It's called Hyperventilation... :lol: :lol: :lol:

:shocked!: :sleeping:

_________________
"Well, let's get to the rat killing..."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 4:04 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
NEB wrote:

In another thread recently someone posed the question as to whether karate was a valid part of the "well being" movement. Its interesting to note that strenuous practice in karate, while challenging and not always pleasurable results in a feeling that is recognizable as "well bring" after the fact. You are familiar with Goju; I've been practicing Tensho kata lately. My teacher taught Goju Ryu in new York back in the 60's and 70's (and some of the 80's) at the New York Goju Kai. He loves Tensho and has added it to my curriculum. As you are aware, there is quite a lot of deep breathing involved with that form. While we don't do the breathing with the intensity that some in the Goju arena do (or as they do in Sanchin), there is quite a lot of powerful breathing co-ordinated with the movements. A good round of Tensho kata seems to result in a feeling of well being. The limbs tingle with blood flow and oxygenation, the senses get bright, and a feeling of calm and stress release takes over. The miracle of exercise I suppose-giving the body and nervous system something it likes.


I've had an extremely busy week doing research and programming. I didn't want to give this a half-asssed answer.

The breathing used in Goju Sanchin and Goju Tensho is something very familiar to me both from having done it and from the standpoint of understanding it at a physiologic level.

In the past we've had "breathing wars" over the way we should and shouldn't breathe in karate. With 20/20 hindsight, much of it seems silly. If you branch outside of what I call "provincial Uechi Ryu", you see all manner of breathing in various martial arts and various physical endeavors. There is no one-size-fits-all breathing for martial arts, or even Uechi Ryu - in my not so humble opinion. There are many ways to breathe, and each has a specific purpose.

The Goju Sanchin and Tensho breathing is one that I've even gotten into "discussions" with Scott Sonnen about. Scott's a great guy, a smart man, and a great athlete. I quote him at times - particularly the concept of "being breathed" in movement. But this Goju breathing is something that gives him fits when I describe it. To this biomedical engineer who did a dissertation on cardiopulmonary rhythms, it's no big deal. I even practiced it while hooking myself up to an electrocardiogram in the lab, and did Fourier transforms of a computer-generated heart-rate curve (from 1/R-R interval ) to show how this breathing affects cardiovascular systems. And just for the record... the part that gives my friend Scott fits is the idea that you put as much effort on the inhale as you do the exhale. But again... there is no one-size-fits-all breathing for martial arts. These Goju exercises have a very specific purpose. And I use this breathing in other endeavors such as when I'm doing certain exercises in the weight room.

The breathing involves giving resistance to the exhale with a narrowed epiglottis (hissing like a dragon) and giving resistance to the inhale with narrowed nostrils (sniffing the inhale). Why do this? Well this creates high positive intrapleural pressure on the exhale, and equally high negative intrapleural pressure on the inhale. Why do this? Well it's a little bit about the breathing and oxygenation in the alveoli of the lungs. But it's much more about "milking" the vena cava. By sucking blood into the vena cava on the inhale and pushing it into the heart with the exhale (because of one-way valves in the cardiovascular system), you subsequently also excite pressure sensors in the right heart, the aortic arch, and the carotid sinuses. These in turn trigger the medulla to cause waxing and waning of heart-rate and blood pressure that matches the inhale/exhale cycle. The more the resistance (sniffing and hissing), the more the stimulation of the cardiovascular system - both mechanically and electrically. Essentially you're flushing your body the way you might flush the radiator of your car. It's a way of warming the body up while otherwise doing nothing with it. Do it along with physical movement and the synergistic effect can be dramatic.

No, I don't like the asthmatic Goju breathing you see some people do - particularly some Japanese branches of Goju. When I see that, it makes me want to grab the fools by the collar and shake them. This is supposed to invigorate the practitioner, and not exhaust them or give them a cerebral aneurism. Oy!!!

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 4:25 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Steve Hatfield wrote:

The Chinese are not stupid people. Yes they have a long history going back much further than we here in the USA. But with technology as it is today China has become somewhat of a technological powerhouse. I cite the fact that most of the cyber attacks on our country originate from them. And they have been at "medicine" much longer than we have.

Stop right there please.

"Medicine" has been going on in both the east and the west for an equally long period of time.

Evidence-based medicine - that which is developed from the scientific method - is only about a century old. Really!

It's also worth mentioning that the chairman of my biomedical engineering program at UVa just after I left (and my biophysics instructor) was from... China. He had Mandarin as a first language. So too was Y C Fung - one of the most insanely brilliant biophysicists I've ever read. Both used the Western approach to science and medicine. And both recruited students from... mainland China.

That which people like to call "Traditional Chinese Medicine" is a mixture of acupuncture and herbs. Acupuncture now has some narrow applications in pain management in modern medicine, and does NOT use the "5-element theory" of TCM. The latter was found to be nothing short of useless. Chinese herbal medicine already exists here. It can be found practiced in a much, much more sophisticated fashion by Merke, Pfizer, Eli Lily, etc., etc. It's just drug therapy, only without standardized concentrations and amounts of the active ingredients.

So please, please stop making "old" practices of medicine to be more than they are. Some "old" things still work like the bark of the willow tree (aspirin). But if I'm at risk, I'd rather take a Bayer at exactly 81 mg to prevent a heart attack.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

If there were accepted modern "versions" of chi that could be proven to be something else then would not even the Chinese change their explanations and come into the "modern" world?

Just a thought

Much is lost in the translation.

When we've have these discussions before, I've had several who are bilingual (or close to it) in English and Mandarin tell me how badly people botch things up when translating from Mandarin to English. Dan Miller sent me a copy of a book on Xin Yu Quan after such a discussion (he was one of the translators), and it doesn't use the word "chi" once. And this is one of the three internal styles.

Call it fuzzy bunny if it makes you feel better. In my opinion, it's calling something by a placeholder name because you don't know what it is or how better to articulate it. Modern medicine, physics, and biophysics made the placeholders anachronistic and unnecessary.

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:51 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:29 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Murphy North Carolina
My point wasn't that the Chinese have been doing it longer than we have. My point was, the further we go back in time, the more simplistic are the explanations for stuff. On either side of the pond. As I said I can't compete with the higher education crowd. And I can't believe that some major Chinese medical institutions haven't come out yet and said that "chi" or whatever you want to call it is all bunk. Doesn't exist. OR, the same major Chinese medical institution would come out with a modern explanation. And are you saying that the word "chi" doesn't exist in chinese medicine or martial arts? I may have misunderstood you. And whether I choose to use 81 mg to prevent a heart attack or someone in China uses a certain amount of bark to me is not the point. I think everyone agrees that there is an "energy" of some sort flowing through our bodies. And it travels in specific paths. And there are certain things we can do to enhance its journey, or impede its journey. What we call "it" does not make it scientific or not. "It" exists in some form. But it's all good. I still think there is something to "chi" (or whatever it's called) whether it's enhanced by "western" methods or "eastern" methods. And while "modern" medicine may have made certain terms unecessary, even modern medicine is finding out that older holistic methods add much to treatment. As an example I believe more and more doctors are resorting to adding things like "prayer" and finding that they make a difference in recovery. Singing to your plants reportedly increases their growth. There's probably a scientific explanation but that's ok to. In some corners of the globe they call it "magic" but it works. Sorry I went round in circles.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 2:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Steve Hatfield wrote:

I said I can't compete with the higher education crowd.

****

Sorry I went round in circles.

And I am grateful that you bring your opinions and ideas to a discussion. It's best to put things "out there" and give it a go. Otherwise it's difficult for all of us to get our arms around what people think, how they train, and what works.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

My point wasn't that the Chinese have been doing it longer than we have.

That's debatable. Both our cultures survived, did they not? Somehow the medicine practiced in Europe and the Americas kept them alive. If not then the Chinese would exist, and we would not.

Part of my training in both undergraduate and graduate school was in the history of medicine and infectious disease. I would argue that western practices afforded the Europeans the ability to conquer Native Americans without the use of modern weapons. It is a fact that more Native Americans died of disease than they did by war with the settlers or starvation. Western Europeans conquered infection, influenza, smallpox, sexually transmitted diseases, the plague, and myriad other scourges that subsequently wiped out the residents of the new world they settled in.

China now is playing catch-up to the west academically, politically, and economically. Yes, the Chinese as a large group have done incredible things. And they've made spectacular blunders as well. They are... human! But they're smart too. A third of the people who work beside me in my high-tech field are from China.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

My point was, the further we go back in time, the more simplistic are the explanations for stuff. On either side of the pond.

This is a good time to bring in an important concept - that of Occam's razor.
Wikipedia wrote:

The term "Ockham's razor" first appeared in 1852 in the works of Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet (1788–1856), centuries after Ockham's death. Ockham did not invent this "razor"; its association with him may be due to the frequency and effectiveness with which he used it (Ariew 1976). Though Ockham stated the principle in various ways, the most popular version was not written by him, but by John Ponce from Cork in 1639 (Meyer 1957).

The version of the razor most often found in Ockham's work is Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate, “Plurality must never be posited without necessity". For Ockham, the only truly necessary entity is God; everything else, the whole of creation, is radically contingent through and through.

Here's the amazing thing about this. As the 5-element theory supporting acupuncture and kyusho/tuite began to bump up against the scientific method, more and more post hoc rationalizations were needed to support it. The theory began to absorb exception after exception after exception in order to support the very reason for its existence. At some point, Occam's razor dictates that a series of alternate, simpler theories which explain causality in these venues were likely the better ones.

Simple is good. Simple is desirable. But simple must explain the available data. Newton's laws worked extremely well until we started approaching the speed of light. Then and only then is when new theories (relativity) were needed to deal with how speed, time, and mass interact with each other.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

I can't believe that some major Chinese medical institutions haven't come out yet and said that "chi" or whatever you want to call it is all bunk.

Peer review journals haven't been involved with the publication of articles supporting a dead theory. They're getting on with the business of physiology, math, physics, and statistics.

Speaking of which... Do you know why there are so many Chinese in my line of work? I've discussed this with them. Other than this country being a brain drain on others... What we speak in my field is a universal language. They speak a language of medicine, math, statistics, and computer software that is universal. They can do the same work I do using a language I use, and not have to worry about the fact that they suk at English.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

are you saying that the word "chi" doesn't exist in chinese medicine or martial arts?

It's quietly being abandoned for words, languages, and theories that work better - one concept at a time.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

I think everyone agrees that there is an "energy" of some sort flowing through our bodies.

Indeed! We talk about it all the time here! And the word "chi" never comes up in my language except for the occasional use of it as a tongue-in-cheek metaphor to explain the "feeling" you get when all the pieces and parts are working together as they should.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

it travels in specific paths. And there are certain things we can do to enhance its journey, or impede its journey.

"Energy" works for me! It starts with phosphate bonds in ATP, and finishes out the end of my fist. It also involves the use of gravity and potential energy stored chemically, elastically, and positionally.

Steve Hatfield wrote:

I believe more and more doctors are resorting to adding things like "prayer" and finding that they make a difference in recovery.

Duke University is a place where religiosity is studied in medicine. Here are two fascinating findings.

  • A person who believes in a loving and forgiving God will have better medical outcomes than a person who believes in a vengeful, punishing God.
    ...
  • Prayer DOES help with medical outcomes. But prayer only helps when YOU are the one praying, or you KNOW that others are praying for you. Get 1000 people to pray for your good medical outcome and you don't know about it? You get zero "lift" from the effort.

Wow! ;)

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 5:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:29 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Murphy North Carolina
Only as to prayer......some "scientific" minded folks might say it has nothing to do with verbalizing words to a supposed diety. They might say.......when one forms their mouth in a certain way, and uses a particular part of the brain associated with etherial thoughts and precepts, then and only then are certain endorphines released in the body, etc. etc...... (I know I'm not using proper terminology or examples.) The person doing the praying says it's the prayer. The scientist says it's not. It's a matter of viewpoint. By the way, I'm not sure how the scientific community could explain the use of "religious terminology" that works and non-religious terminology performed under the same circumstances does not work. People think through things with different methods. The result is the same. Personally, I'm with the prayer explanation. It works for me and my faith. Someone looking purely from a scientific standpoint might disagree. That's me.

Love the discussion.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 5:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Steve Hatfield wrote:

Love the discussion.

I do as well!

Steve Hatfield wrote:

Only as to prayer......some "scientific" minded folks might say it has nothing to do with verbalizing words to a supposed diety. They might say.......when one forms their mouth in a certain way, and uses a particular part of the brain associated with etherial thoughts and precepts, then and only then are certain endorphines released in the body, etc. etc...... (I know I'm not using proper terminology or examples.) The person doing the praying says it's the prayer. The scientist says it's not. It's a matter of viewpoint. By the way, I'm not sure how the scientific community could explain the use of "religious terminology" that works and non-religious terminology performed under the same circumstances does not work. People think through things with different methods. The result is the same. Personally, I'm with the prayer explanation. It works for me and my faith. Someone looking purely from a scientific standpoint might disagree. That's me.

Let me give a little bit of background here before proceeding.

I am what I like to call a "George Carlin Catholic." In his album George Carlin, Class Clown, he starts off with...

I was born a Catholic; now I'm an American!

I did a 7-year tour of duty in parochial school, and then went to private school and subsequently university thereafter. I was an altar boy - a star one at that. I got up to do the 7 AM mass when my classmates were sleeping before school because I was dependable. (I hear George Mattson had a similar past.) At some point however the nuns and I started bumping heads. They were cool with the fact that I'd bring in unsolicited science experiments for show-and-tell. But when we arranged to get the students to visit a pit near the James River where fossils could be found in large numbers, that's when things got a bit sketchy. People who believe in a literal view of Genesis have problems with petrified whale bone that is 20 million years old. Oh well...

Here's the thing though. While I am not a practicing Catholic, I value my Judeo-Christian training. I've managed to take the best of what it had to offer without all the baggage of The Institution. There's great value in Christian teachings both for the individual and for society. It's a reason why I made my dad happy by having both my sons baptized, and had them both attend Christian schools for a spell.

Back to prayer... Look very carefully at the Duke findings. It really doesn't matter what words you use, or what deity you believe in. What matters more is that you believe. What studies of religiosity do is reveal the power of the mind-body connection. It works for us when we think positively, when we engage in charitable work, and when we support each other. It works against us when negative thoughts and emotions overcome us. For example... part of the reason my dad lived 16 years after my mom died (they were married 52 years) is because he created a charitable foundation in her name, and started commissioning original pieces of art (bronze statues) for various churches and schools (16 of them). Even in his latter years when he had metastatic prostate cancer, I kept him alive and happy longer than statistics would have us believe he should live by helping him live with joy and purpose.

There was a television program (name escapes me) which studied cultures where people lived extraordinarily long lives. They went culture to culture, and tried to find out what combination of things people did that gave them longer life with good health. And guess where one of their episodes was? Okinawa. Guess who was filmed "doing his thing" and was interviewed extensively? George's teacher Tomoyose Ryuko. Go figure. ;)

See 3:30 to 5:40

Okinawan Longevity and Health

In the end, it's about attitude and mindset. Religion and spirituality MAY help us manage it in ways that are beneficial to ourselves and others around us. It's all about the approach. The same can be said for good martial training.

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 5:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:29 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Murphy North Carolina
Well if it's only about mindset and attitude then prayer has nothing to do with it. I agree that one needs to believe that one's prayers will be answered. But if it's not about praying to a deity, and all you have to do is believe in yourself and believe that you will get better, then the studies should be on the effects of positive thinking and not prayer. One wouldn't need an "object of their prayers" for it to work. One could simply sit there and say "I'm gonna get better" repeatedly and not need a deity to focus on. Personally I believe that the reason it has an effect is that the person praying actually believe that "who or what" they are praying to has the actual ability to make a difference in their circumstance.
Found these definitions......

A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship
- I'll say a prayer for him
- a commitment to a life of holiness through prayer and Bible-reading

A religious service, esp. a regular one, at which people gather in order to pray together
- 500 people were detained as they attended Friday prayers

An earnest hope or wish
- it is our prayer that the current progress on human rights will be sustained

Now, as to number three I think even in it there is an object prayed to in order for the current progress on human rights etc., will be sustained. The first two indicate that there is some "object" being prayed to. When I say object I mean focus of, such as a god or God religious figure such as praying to Mary, or Mohammed or what/whoever.

Guess I got off the subject.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 6:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17137
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Steve Hatfield wrote:

Guess I got off the subject.

Not at all!!

Now... The emphasis below is my own.
Steve Hatfield wrote:

Well if it's only about mindset and attitude then prayer has nothing to do with it. I agree that one needs to believe that one's prayers will be answered. But if it's not about praying to a deity, and all you have to do is believe in yourself and believe that you will get better, then the studies should be on the effects of positive thinking and not prayer. One wouldn't need an "object of their prayers" for it to work. One could simply sit there and say "I'm gonna get better" repeatedly and not need a deity to focus on. Personally I believe that the reason it has an effect is that the person praying actually believe that "who or what" they are praying to has the actual ability to make a difference in their circumstance.

Yes, yes, yes!!!!

Ecstacy

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But notice that she invoked god as well! :lol:

It isn't the prayer per se or the particular deity. It's the fact that YOU BELIEVE!!! If you don't believe, the "magic" goes away.

The reason we scientists need to do double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial is because of the power of this belief. Even if I give you a sugar pill... if you BELIEVE that you're getting "the good stuff", then you very well may get a measurable clinical benefit. That mind-body (placebo) effect is so strong that we need to subtract it out (with a control group) to see the difference between mind-body and mind-body plus the efficacy of the drug or treatment in question.

- Bill


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: One for the chisters
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 6:34 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:29 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Murphy North Carolina
so then you agree that the prayer does not need to be addressed towards anything then. if all you have to do is believe, then you don't need anything to pray "to". To me, I don't think that gives proper credence to the meaning of "prayer". If that's the case then these doctors and scientists aren't really studying the effects of "prayer" they're studying the effects of belief and it doesn't matter what you believe in or even if you believe in anything. I still think you have to have an object that you truly believe CAN heal you. If you do not need an object then you can simply say "I believe, I am healed, period!" and it will be done. This is no more than an extension of the "power of positive thinking" philosophy (and I do believe being positive has a positive effect on your health). I don't think the studies on prayer use that premise. Prayers have historically and typically been addressed to some sort of conceived deity. I guess there are exceptions though.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 33 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group