Track: Mystical Spirituality as a Link between World Religions
CONFUCIUS TODAY VIA MOLECULAR BLISS
Confucius’ 2,000-year imprint of ethics and morality, worldly orientation and attitude of happiness on the Chinese character, though based on his profound meditations on human existence, has not engaged him in serious dialogues on spirituality, due to a perception of lack of common ground. By happenstance, in the effort to stem the devastation of drug addiction, the 1972 discovery of the opiate receptor in the body--and later of the body’s own endorphins to bind with this receptor--yielded a neurobiological map of bliss centers in the body. This breakthrough supports Confucius’ observation that happiness is a given, by nature integral to the spirit embodied.
Molecularly, bliss plays out in 3 sectors: (1) thousands of receptors on cells awaiting ligands of perfect fit, (2) free-gliding ligands traversing the anatomy for a perfect bind, and (3) each perfectly bound duo slipping into the cell to carry out its task. Meantime, the gross human organism of sensations/emotions swoons into “feeling good.”
In an analogous set-up, in Confucius, the endowed 明德mingde-Luminescence that is our spiritual potential and receptor binds with “ligands” from lived experience to intensify luster. But just as molecular receptors unwittingly accept opiates, so the mingde receptor can suffer imposter ligands, leading to dead-ends rather than actualizing destiny. His psychological schema to assess happiness revolves around an安-at ease—i.e., “feeling good,” spanning a range of comfort/fit/ecstasy states of being at home or in flow with self, world and universe. Human bonding, for instance, elicits oxytocin, the feel-good luster of species union.
The quest for bliss is real--spiritual, existential, corporeal—and accompanies actualization. For Confucius, the node is the body where it happens, its workshop daily life. Now that molecular science substantiates the spiritual journey in real time, we can look to analyzing Confucius’ mundane ethics as spiritual counsel--from bliss to bliss.
Born of Chinese parents in China, but raised and educated in English in India, Japan and the U.S., my biculturalism has steered me to integrate East and West in myself and in my work. I am now inviting parallel ideas and practices of Confucius into dialogue in the transpersonal matrix.
My education includes MA--English and Education, Columbia University; PhD--integral psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco; many programs in integrative psychology; and 5 years of Jungian studies and analysis. I have presented on world literature in 20+ US cities and on Confucius’ psychology in the U.S., China and Europe.
In world literature, I have created curriculum, taught, presented, contributed to textbooks and represented New York at National Teachers Forums. Currently I am an independent scholar and researcher. On Confucius I have published The Great Learning: Confucius’ implicit integral psychology of individuation amplified through Jung and Aurobindo (1998 Dis.); The heart-mind fusion (2010); Confucius, septuagenarian (2011); Confucius, mediator (2012); Confucius on psychological peace and joy (2014); Confucius A-Z: A psychological exploration (2015).