“God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability. Prayer helps us tap and develop these powers.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Today we continue our topic from my earlier post and try to find out the importance of teachings of the holy spirits which include praying,meditating ,being happy and content. How are these activities beneficial to humans?Can chemistry help our logical minds to accept these teachings to some extent and see the power in believing in them?
Going further up from the earlier topic in subatomic realm to the world which we can perceive,chemistry helps us to understand the effect of meditation and prayer on our body.It also helps us to understand the spiritual teachings.
So why do people feel happy when they go to some devotional place or when they pray?Is there a chemical reason for the happiness? The answer is YES ! The reason is because praying causes the release of a chemical called Serotonin,which is a neuro transmitter and helps us feel more confident and relaxed. Serotonin is kind of anti-depressant which is produced within our bodies(in brain and intestine).
This structure has an indole ring – a bicyclic structure with a benzene ring fused to pyrrole ring.Deep prayer calms our minds due to the production of this chemical in our body.So,keep praying with all sincerity.
Similarly, it is scientifically proven that ,mediation has several benefits.In chemical parlance it can be explained as follows-
1)It helps reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline(or epinephrine).
Prolonged high levels of these stress hormones in our bodies can have very serious side effects like cardio vascular disorders,depression etc. So, meditation not only calms our mind but also relaxes our body and helps us maintain good health.
2)Mediation is known to increase DHEA molecule in our body.
This molecule(hormone) is produced by adrenal gland.Its function is to make androgens(male sex hormones) and estrogens (female sex hormones).Normally, DHEA levels peak at about 25years of age and later start to decline,making people older. Mediatation not only increases DHEA but also elevates growth hormone levels! No wonder the Yogis never seem to age! So ,forget the anti aging creams and start meditating for young flawless skin.
3)GABA–gamma-Aminobutyric acid is an amino acid which acts as a natural tranquilizer in our body. Insufficient quantity of GABA in our body leads to nervousness , disquietude and is chiefly responsible for major addiction to alcohol,caffeine etc. Meditation increase your GABA levels and also enhances the production of endorphins , the ‘feel good’ neuro transmitters ,thus keeping you calm and happy.
4)Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland .It is called the ‘miracle drug from within’. It helps regulating our sleep cycles, acts as a powerful antioxidant.This hormone heals and rejuvenates us from within. The Pineal gland gets activated only in the dark. This hormone is secreted when we are fast asleep. One always feels refreshed after a deep sleep(one should sleep in dark) , thanks to our pineal gland! Pineal gland is also referred to as the ‘chrown chakra’ or 7th chakra – the seat of the soul. Yogis are known to activate this chakra through years of deep meditation. In advanced stages of meditation, the pineal gland creates a wax like substance, which rejuvenates us and literally imparts youth to all the cells in the body.(I read this in Dan brown’s book –The lost symbol) .Thus again meditation helps you with youth,vigor and vitality.
Our thoughts are directly linked to the endocrine glands within our body, which are responsible for the secretion of various hormones and regulatory substances. When one is happy,calm and positive , it results in great chemistry inside our bodies ,which keeps us healthy and young.
Recent studies have revealed that ,Telomeres are like caps of DNA ,which protect the tips of our chromosomes.They are like plastic tips on shoelaces.They are responsible for aging.Telomere shortening happens naturally as we age, but research now shows that it can be accelerated by stress.As telomeres wear out ,our cells start to die slowly making us older. Daily meditation helps at the cellular level to maintain the length of telomres and thus keep us young and vibrant.Thus, meditation helps to prevent degeneration of our body.
The Chemistry of happiness.
There are 4 hormones which determine human’s happiness.
It is important we understand these hormones as we need all four of them to stay happy.
When we exercise, the body releases Endorphins.This hormone helps the body cope with the pain of exercising. We then enjoy exercising because these endorphins will make us happy.Laughter releases endorphins too.
When we get appreciated for our work at the office or at home,we feel accomplished and good, that is because it releases Dopamine.This explains why most housewives are unhappy, since they rarely get acknowledged for their work. Once, we join work, we buy a car, a house, the latest gadgets, a new house , dopamine is released.Now, do we realize why we become happy when we shop?
It is released when we act in a way that benefits others.When we transcend ourselves and give back to others or to nature or to the society, it releases serotonin. Even
providing useful information on the internet like writing information blogs, helping someone will generate serotonin.
It is released when we become close to other human beings,when we hug or shake hands.
See its all Chemistry!!
I shall limit my discussion on Chemistry and Spirituality , to just two posts.I am sure there are many more facts unknown and unexplored in this area and I hope that the seekers shall try to find out more, as per their interests.I would conclude by saying that I feel lucky that I understand Chemistry to certain extent and it helps me understand my spiritual teachings in a better way. Life is Magic and the more you explore it, the more you know that you still don’t know anything at all !
Be a perpetual student of life and keep learning …
References and Further Reading –
Image Sources – 1.https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c4/Serotonin-2D-skeletal.svg/220px-Serotonin-2D-skeletal.svg.png