Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010.12.15 Biology of Goodness and Love

It’s nice to see that the secular world of science is catching up with one of most religions’ major platforms: love your neighbor as yourself or what you hate do not do to others.

The vocabulary come from the Bible but every religion has as its moral base: COMPASSION.

Too bad we have to organize a Choosing Greater Good project. And thank God we are.

It is now affirmed by American scientists and German scientific research that being big hearted and generous may trigger the brain’s pleasure centers. Giving feels good.

It is the giving season. Science says that “evolution has wired the human brain to promote helpfulness.” (Boston Globe, Nov. 29, 2010, G) The brain responds to cooperative behavior by releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Evolution is another new name for God aka creative force for ongoing good. We get more and more innovative seeking names for a transcendent, mystical, benevolent phenomenon (energy) no one really wants to give up. A divine name change is called for— probably because of years of bad publicity in the church advertising God as monarch, judge, voyeur, failed Mr. Fix-it, and more. I stick with God, often spelled Godde, because that is the name by which I was introduced.

We project all our control issues onto God, then blame God for everything. Easy fix.

It is not biologically possible to be extremely anxious and very giving at the same time. It’s also not possible to carry your body with your head hung down and your eyes downcast and your step shuffling and feel happy. (The “let us pray” posture should be changed!) Giving helps with anxiety, lifts depression and can be a powerful “medicine” for those who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorders. I bet giving also helps people with addictions as long as they don’t celebrate the good feeling with a drink, a snort, pill, or a drag.

If the mall packed with shoppers is even a partial indicator science and religion are right. People plan to shop and give even in a shaky economy. Foolish, greedy or excessive it is still giving. There are unemployed people, people without homes, who will find a way to give.

Empathy is catching. It travels with Spirit.

Give yourself by volunteering, making a phone call or three, writing a letter (yes in your actual handwriting) take a child to see a show.

Look what happens in the wake of natural disaster or an accident or catastrophic illness. Cooperation and love. Yes, but why doesn’t it last?

And why does it take a catastrophe to get us to do what we were made to do?

My dopamine is released just by seeing that science and religion are on the same page about Love and Gift.