Articles by Peter Van Houten, M.D.

The mind has a way of tricking us into doing what is not in our best interest spiritually. But when these experiences occur repeatedly, I can feel Yogananda’s signature on my thoughts, telling me that this is my test.

Even apart from the fulfillment it imparts, meditation tends to moderate a person’s desire to eat. Most people who meditate regularly tend to have a lower and more balanced appetite. It is also very difficult to meditate deeply when the stomach is overloaded with food.

If I could choose only a single piece of advice to give to the followers of Paramhansa Yogananda on how to stay healthy and well, I would say attunement with the Guru is the most important thing because everything else will flow from that attunement.

The adolescent brain is affected differently by alcohol and marijuana than an adult brain. None of this is harmless, even to adults, but there aren’t as many permanent effects on cognitive function as are caused by even casual use in these younger years.

For self-preservation, the brain is designed to be hyper-sensitive to situations which, objectively viewed, are dangerous. That’s why when we suddenly see flames, no matter what else we may be doing, all we want to do at that moment is run out of the building.

What will dramatically change the field of cancer treatment is the focus on the genetics of the cancer. In the near future, the main approaches to cancer treatment will involve 1) targeting the cancer-producing genes or 2) stimulating the patient’s immune system to create antibodies to fight off the cancer.

Antibiotics save countless lives but they also kill beneficial bacteria along with disease-causing bacteria. The destruction of beneficial bacteria is related to the dramatic increase in certain illnesses: Crohn’s disease, asthma, allergies, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and obesity.

Pain is a brain phenomenon, and stress turns up the pain signals in the brain. It’s a bit like turning up the volume on a radio. Stress reduction techniques like meditation are so helpful because they turn down the pain signals in the brain.

Scientific research shows that meditation, by improving our body’s handling of stress, not only slows the aging process but, in some instances, reverses it. We now have a readily available way of measuring the effect of meditation on the aging process.

I think Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda would say that our DNA is the physical manifestation of our karma. In other words, we have the genetic material that best fits the karma we need to work out in this particular lifetime.

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