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Decoding subconscious mind: How dreams can be guided by yoga

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BY ANIL K. RAJVANSHI

In 1953 three major events took place. The Everest was conquered by Hillary and Tensing Norgay, Watson and Crick discovered DNA’s structure and a young Ph.D. student Eugene Aserinsky in U.S. discovered rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.  During REM sleep the brain is extremely active and produces dream. This was the beginning of whole area of research in sleep and dreaming. Now almost 60 years later there has been tremendous progress in mountaineering and genetic engineering but sleep and dream remains as much a mystery as before.

In every religion and society dreams and sleep have been thought to be mechanisms to connect the present physical world to that of supernatural.  Before Buddha’s birth his mother Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant has entered her body. Similarly the mother of Shri Ramakrishna dreamt that a small green figure, whom she identified as God, was telling her that he will be born in her house and even mother Mary dreamt about the birth of Christ. There are other innumerable instances of prophetic dreams in the annals of history of mankind.

Similarly there are many celebrated cases where persons have produced wonderful solutions through their dreams. Kekule’s benzene structure, Mendelyeev’s invention of periodic table, Howe’s invention of sewing machine, Neils Bohr’s atomic model and Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of Dandi March came in their dreams. There are also large number of examples where scientists, inventors and technologists have literally dreamt up solutions to problems which they could not find in the waking state.

How does mind produce such prophetic and solution dreams?

During dreaming there is blockage of sensory inputs and thus the ego sense ‘I’ is absent. The sense of identity ‘I’ comes with the body and the sense organs like eyes, nose, ears, etc. In the absence of ‘I’ during sleep the brain allows free reign to random thought patterns. These thoughts emanating from existing memories from different parts of the brain produce dreams. The dreaming process therefore follows the Maxwellian distribution (the bell curve), where majority of people generally dream about a day’s events and activities. Scientists claim that the day’s learning process is consolidated in the memory during sleep. This type of dreaming process produces disjointed and sometimes nightmare dreams since the random thought patterns produce a surreal movie. Scientists claim that in REM sleep the brain somehow ignores the obvious in favor of the crazy, the unexpected or the bizarre. It is somehow biased towards activating the weak neural connections.

However under certain circumstances, about which very little is known, the brain synchronizes the random thoughts into a powerful single thought. This is almost like a Samadhi where 100 billion neurons of the brain synchronize in a laser like fashion to produce a higher dimensional thought signature. This thought connects us to the higher dimensional space – time continuum from which we get the knowledge and powers of clairvoyance. The probability of this type of synchronization is very small but still is finite and lies at one end of the bell curve. This synchronized thought leads to prophetic and solution dreams. Quite a number of people sometime or the other in their lifetime are blessed and do get such dreams, which help us understand the existence of higher thought and reality. However such prophetic and solution dreams come to those who have a prepared mind and have been thinking deeply about these problems.

What can we do to produce prophetic and solution dreams?

Since the ever present director-the ego sense ‘I’ is absent during the dreaming process, we have no control of over dreams. However, we can control our day’s events which ultimately are reflected in our dreams. Yogi’s have all along claimed that Sanyam which is a combination of contemplation, reflection and Samadhi helps in producing a powerful thought process which ultimately leads to a non-REM or dreamless sleep.

Recent evidence from sleep research corroborates it. Scientists have discovered that REM and non-REM sleep are totally dependent on how active the brain is during daytime. The MRI scans of sleeping volunteers brain show that most of the dreaming activity takes place in the region of the brain which was most active during the day time. Scientists have also discovered that non-REM or slow-wave dreamless sleep occupies the central position in the sleep process. The information and memory consolidation process takes place in the brain only during non-REM sleep. Hence REM sleep is simply a mechanism for the brain to check whether the memory consolidation has taken place. Besides it also helps us remember dreams. Thus to produce happy and productive dreams one needs to be very active mentally and physically during waking hours. Whatever memories we make during daytime are reflected in the dreams including the prophetic dreams. Probably the solution dreams of great inventors also came because of the very active prepared mind during waking hours. There is still no single definite theory of sleep and dreams. However the jigsaw puzzle is slowly being assembled by research inputs from all over the world. As our science and technology advances we will probe deeper into the mysteries of sleep and dream because they provide the best windows for getting a peep into the workings of human mind and ultimately will lead to the discovery of what is thought.

(The author is the Director and Hon. Secretary Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). He could be reached at  anilrajvanshi@gmail.com)

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Scientists Find New Ways of Tracking Objects by Combining DNA of Dust Particles

Clothing, medicine and other items in one’s environment all have genetic markers, or fingerprints, that provide clues to where they came from, according to scientists

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Scientists say they have new ways of tracking where clothing, medicines and other items are made, making it harder for unscrupulous businesses to sell items that don't work or violate laws. VOA

Clothing, medicine and other items in one’s environment all have genetic markers, or fingerprints, that provide clues to where they came from, according to scientists.

Researchers are analyzing the microorganisms in dust particles that land on surfaces and are using artificial intelligence to read and classify the unique genetic codes of the microbes that vary from place to place.

“It is the collection of bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa that are present in any environment,” said Jessica Green, microbial systems expert and co-founder of Phylagen, a company that is building a microbial map of the world. Phylagen is collecting dust from different places and turning it into data by studying the DNA of the microscopic organisms in the particles.

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This digitally colorized microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in yellow. Bacteria are part of the collection of microorganisms that tell scientists where an object has been. VOA

Exposing labor abuses

Phylagen says its findings will provide real world applications. The California-based company says one application involves companies that outsource the manufacturing of products, such as clothing.

According to Human Rights Watch, unauthorized subcontracting of facilities in the apparel industry occurs often, and it is in these places that some of the worse labor abuses happen.

Phylagen is digitizing the genome of different locations by working in more than 40 countries and sampling the dust in hundreds of factories. The goal is to create a database so the microbes on each product can be traced.

“We sample the DNA of the products, and then, we use machine learning algorithms to map what is on the product with the factory, and can therefore verify for brands that their goods are made by their trusted suppliers in factories where you have good labor conditions, good environmental conditions versus unauthorized facilities which can be really detrimental,” Green said.

Tracking diseases, ships

With a database of distinct microbial DNA, Green said other possible future uses could include predicting the outbreak of disease and helping law enforcement track the movement of ships, since shipping logs can be falsified. Even counterfeit medicines could be traced as the database of microbial information grows, she said.

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“We can sequence the DNA of seized counterfeit pills, cluster together pills that have similar microbial signatures and then use that to help both pharmaceutical companies and the government, the U.S. government, gain some intelligence about how many different sources of these manufacturing facilities are there,” Green said. (VOA)