Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happiness Influences DNA

Recently, researchers discovered that the type of “happiness” an individual experiences actually influences that individual’s genetic profile.
The researchers examined the biological implications of both hedonic, pleasure seeking happiness, and eudaimonic* happiness, contentment from a life of purpose and meaning, through the lens of the human genome — a system of some 21,000 genes that has evolved fundamentally to help humans survive and be well. 
The researchers drew blood samples from 80 healthy adults who were assessed for hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, as well as potentially confounding negative psychological and behavioral factors. The team used the CTRA gene-expression profile to map the potentially distinct biological effects of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. 
While those with eudaimonic well-being showed favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells and those with hedonic well-being showed an adverse gene-expression profile, “people with high levels of hedonic well-being didn’t feel any worse than those with high levels of eudaimonic well-being,” said Steven Cole, a University of California, Los Angeles, professor of medicine.
Both seemed to have the same high levels of positive emotion. However, their genomes were responding very differently even though their emotional states were similarly positive.
The study, published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said doing good and feeling good have very different effects on the human genome, even though they generate similar levels of positive emotion.
Apparently, the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds,” Cole said.
From the above, it follows that our behaviors (such as the ability to put oneself in another’s place, care for, and/or empathize with others) impacts DNA and DNA transmission. Couple this with practices (such as Yoga, meditation, Reiki, Tai Chi) that actually trigger super-consciousness and you have a well-rounded recipe not only for influencing DNA, but for self-realization as well.

© Life Force Books and JJ Semple, 2913. All Rights Reserved
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Imagine a feedback instrument capable of monitoring the levels of eudaimonic well-being in real-time. With this type of instrument, everyone — not just Kundalini adepts — would receive continual feedback on their behavioral states and would be able to “pull themselves back” to the eudaimonic norm when tempted to act selfishly or immoderately. Likewise, Kundalini adepts, especially those in the early disorienting stages, would be able to harmonize their behavior with the pranic forces of super-consciousness.

In the early stages after Kundalini activation, the initiate gets pulled in many directions at the same time. Eventually, he/she is able to recognize, accept, and integrate the various effects and phases of the Kundalini experience. Having a biofeedback device to monitor behavior would help initiates integrate the pranic energy Kundalini generates.

Now I realize that studies like the above may leave you scratching your head, wondering if it's for real. Is it science? Is it metaphysics? Is it gobbledygook? Does it have any real world value? Is the author citing another study and moving on, leaving me, the reader, to derive what I can, hoping I won’t question the study’s authenticity?

All I can add is: I wasn’t there when this study was conducted. So let me see if I can make it more relevant by relating it to my own experience.

After my Kundalini activated, most of my hedonistic tendencies disappeared immediately. I didn’t have to work on eradicating them, didn’t have to pray to God to deliver me from temptation. Gone was the desire for drugs and alcohol. Gone was the thrill of wild parties. Chasing women; gone overnight. This happened when I was 35. I didn’t have to grow old, watch myself continue to lust after the hedonic. I consider myself lucky. There’s nothing more pitiful than watching someone of advancing age fall victim to continued dissipation. Once I comprehended the vastness of the force I had awakened, I gave thanks at no longer being motivated solely by the pursuit of pleasure.

A couple of years before this, while I was in college. I used to hang out in a bar on Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the George Washington University campus with a disparate group: students, young couples, artists, writers, professionals, quasi-criminals, recent graduates, job hunters. One day, two guys, who obviously weren’t college students, showed up. At first, we thought they were attracted by the girls. But that wasn’t it. It was the ambiance, the camaraderie, at least 
at first. One guy I’ll call Frank became an everyday regular. He liked being with the students, liked talking with us.

Turns out he had just retired from the US Navy at 37-years-old. He had a small apartment in Foggy Bottom, used to invite students for chili dinners on Saturdays. Beer and chili. No drugs. Frank didn’t approve. It was in the early 60s, before drugs became a universal staple.

Frank spent more and more time in that bar, just drinking. I watched him age. His face was a journal of his condition. Day-to-day it reflected his worsening state. Not only did his whole appearance — face, skin, hands, arms — age rapidly, he became glassy-eyed, as if he was looking through you while speaking directly to you. It was graphic, but in my hedonic state — my mid-twenties — I thought Frank just another good ‘ol boy enjoying the ambiance of the bar scene.

From stopping to chat with him, I began nodding and passing by quickly. Sometimes he’d be sprawled over his table, passed out. His friend would carry him home.

Having witnessed the efficacy of AA in my father’s life, I tried to talk to Frank about it once. To no avail. The Frank that first walked into the bar shortly after his retirement was no more. He was an empty vessel, drained of sense and spirit. He lived to drink.

I frequently look back those early days with wonder at the person I once was. How I went one way and Frank another. Frank had his whole life in front of him. A generous retirement, a genuinely nice person, yet he drank himself to death at 38, one year after retiring. Why him and not me? I consumed as much as he did, was often drunker and more out of control. Yet, I have always been optimistic about life, believing that I would find ways to remove myself from the grip of bad habits and materialistic urges. This evolutionary impulse was very strong; it led me away from pessimism, fatalism, and negative emotion. It led me to Kundalini meditation. I was able to change my nature and Frank wasn’t. Thinking about Frank makes this study real for me.

By altering brain chemistry, Kundalini produces an entirely new being, one much less inclined to hedonic, pleasure seeking happiness. It actually helps eudaimonic tendencies flourish.

I found meaning in my life and Frank didn’t. I jumped five layers of Maslow’s pyramid, from Belonging & Love Needs to the Self-Actualization layer in one do-not-pass-go leap. By the way, it wasn’t me that jumped those five layers in the Maslow pyramid; It jumped me. Kundalini did. That’s the way it works if you let it. Doesn’t happen overnight. You have to surrender, not see it as some sort of character aberration or soul warp. Not fall victim to depression. And that’s difficult because Kundalini wants to erase your ego and start you over from scratch. An empty vessel that gradually integrates the wonders of super-consciousness into everyday life.

Kundalini drained me just as alcohol drained Frank. Two sorts of empty vessels: one whose ego, indoctrination, conditioning were swept away in one fell swoop by Kundalini; the other, a vessel whose soul was anathematized by alcohol.
It’s not like I went out one day to search for meaning; I didn’t. I began a meditation practice that involved breathing. One thing led to another. Relatively simple breathing exercises led to the activation of a biological process that overhauled my being. Is this so unusual, something only I could accomplish? Is feeling happy the right way really so boring, so unexciting? Before Kundalini, I felt the pull of hedonic living day and night. Felt sorry for those living normal lives. What a joke life plays on us — that the hedonistic life style our culture exalts is an illusion many discover too late. At the same time, Being Happy the right way remains largely ignored. 

*According to Aristotle, eudaimonia actually requires activity, action, so that it is not sufficient for a person to possess a squandered ability or disposition. Eudaimonia requires not only good character but rational activity.

This material is excerpted from JJ Semple's book, The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini, © Life Force Books and JJ Semple, 2014. All Rights Reserved. Publication date, July 2013.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. incredible post! love the book cover.

  3. Mekah,

    Thank you for the comment. Click book cover image for more information on Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini ...

  4. I am guessing that Mehak comment is spam

  5. You may be right, but it's not malicious, so I'm leaving it...