In his new movie, former Harvard psychology professor turned spiritual teacher Ram Dass (Dr. Richard Alpert), hails us to, “love everybody and tell the truth”.
Tell the truth. Not only a great rule to live by, but one of the things that I’ve always loved about science … its a way to discover and face the objective “truth” as separate from our subjective wants and wishes.
Take the latest scientific data on happiness. I mean, from a – scientific point of view – what really makes us happy? Daniel Gilbert (another) Harvard psychology professor has published a research article entitled, “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind” [doi:10.1126/science.1192439]. The researchers used a cool mobile web application trackyourhappiness.org to collect:
an unusually large database of real-time reports of thoughts, feelings, and actions of a broad range of people as they went about their daily activities. … The database currently contains nearly a quarter of a million samples from about 5000 people from 83 different countries who range in age from 18 to 88 and who collectively represent every one of 86 major occupational categories. … what people were thinking was a better predictor of their happiness than was what they were doing. … The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost. (the figure from the paper shows the happiness scores of mind wandering vs. not wandering)
As covered very nicely in the NY Times, it turns out that when folks’ minds were engaged in focused activities, they were happier as compared to when their minds were wandering. So, it seems that scientific data support the ancient teachings (and Dass’ 1971 book) to Be Here Now!
Here’s the new movie clip found on RamDass.org: