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Join Dr. Alise Cortez and Abhijit Naskar on Voice America Radio as they have a delicious conversation on “How understanding Neuroscience can improve our lives“.
Neuroscientist, Author and Speaker Abhijit Naskar addresses the world on Peace and Harmony.
Dr Diane Hamilton, MBA Program Chair at Forbes Business School, Interviews Abhijit Naskar on Neuroscience, Religion and Social Issues.
“All I want for Christmas is you” – this is the phrase that’s popping in my mind, like popcorn in the microwave oven as I sit down to write this piece on love. But I wonder, what can I tell you via this piece that has not been said or written before! Yes, tons and tons of words have been born throughout the world surrounding the word “love”, yet what I intend to point out to you is that most of those words have been born to address not love rather only the early stages of love, which are more connected to the temporary mental state of euphoria, crush and infatuation than the actual experience of lasting invincible love which does not wear off in time.
The cynics would say, there is no such thing as “lasting invincible love” – they would say it’s all mere impractical romanticism, whereas the people who have fallen in love quite recently would say “of course there is, and that’s exactly how I feel”. Yet, the truth is, both of these people are speculating based on their current subjective biases either towards the lack of love in their life, or towards the pleasure of the honeymoon phase. They are both speculating based on their internal chemical states. But we are now going to go beyond both these opposite extremes, and look at the big picture.
If you truly look you’d find out that love is rarely, or perhaps, not at all, floating around you – what’s really floating is the element of either subconscious or conscious anticipation of instant gratification masquerading quite gloriously as love. And that’s the reason, why all the love in the world, or at least most of it, wears off or becomes tiresome and boring after the individual gets used to the gratification of romantic, emotional and sexual significance. It’s not love my friend – it’s a business deal that ends at a certain moment in the future.
So, what is true love – not the illusory love everybody is obsessed with for centuries – but actual love – the love of immense psychological potential – the love that liberates the mind, and not binds it with shackles of insecurity and fear! Unfortunately the only available form of this liberating love can only be seen, not among romantic partners, but between a mother and her child – this is a love less conditioned, or at least, comparatively less conditioned than other forms of love available in the society.
Love your partner like you love your mother, and that love will never lose its fragrance. I am aware that this very statement might sound weird to some. But let’s think over it and go deeper into it. But for that you’d need to first put aside all your pre-conceived notions about love. If your cup is full with conformities, then it can no longer acquire true insight into a certain phenomenon. So, for the time being, let’s put the conformities aside, shall we! And let’s look at love, as if you and me both are newborn babies with no understanding of love whatsoever.
You love your mother not because she gives you any kind of instant sexual gratification but because you either consciously or subconsciously are biologically aware of the fact that she is the person who’s never going to leave you no matter what. It is imprinted in your genetics – your bond with your mother – a bond that is beyond the conformities of love, sexuality, beauty, attachment, trust and everything else. It is a bond beyond labels. And a bond which is beyond labels cannot be ruined by sociological conformities comprised of those labels. The love for your mother is the most natural form of love, whereas the love for your partner is hugely acquired through external stimuli. And a love that is fundamentally dependent on external stimuli is a love, which is more a kind of business deal than real love.
So, ask yourself this – in all the relationships that you have ever been in, have you ever truly loved the other person, or were you loving the person because you were receiving something from that person – don’t condemn yourself or judge your actions – simply ask. And if one loves another in anticipation of something in return, then that’s not love, it’s a radical business deal. And in today’s so-called civilized world, this business deal called “love”, greatly begins with the revealing of genitals to each other. Genital euphoria and gratification have hugely become the measure for love and romance.
But the point is, showing your vagina or penis is easy, but showing your soul is not. And your soul is really all you have. And you don’t really live with another person’s body, rather you live with his or her soul, for the physical attraction to the body wears off after a while in a relationship, but the attraction to the soul is permanent. And this permanence defines the quality and content of your life with another person. So be picky with revealing your soul to another, not because of a subtle consideration for separation, no matter how subtle, but because you want to have something solid and permanent, not lousy and shaky. Also, be picky, but not too picky, that your bond with the other person never begins in the first place.
So the bottom line is, focus on what’s within, not without, and within as in, not within the pants, but within the mind – within the soul. And just to be clear, the mind is the soul – but in some cases I prefer the term “soul” over “mind” because of its superior impact upon the human psyche. Make the content of the mind your measure for a relationship, and you shall find solace. And don’t just take my word for it, rather go out there and figure it out yourself – if you are really serious about it. Nevertheless, all I see around in the name of relationships, are some superficial ships of lust, euphoria and instant gratification, and not genuine vessels of strong, pure, internalized love.
In a society where physicality takes preference over the content of the psyche, relationships can only be pleasurable for merely a few years, or alas, months. And that’s why the countless “I do”s of the world have become merely a matter of valueless words of over-glorified principles, without the foundation of purity and awareness to begin with. Hence, before anyone could foresee and comprehend, the “I do”s become “I do not”s. So, be aware of the outside, but focus on the inside. And here I am not condemning physical attraction, rather I am saying be aware of the outside, but be more watchful of the inside than the outside.
On the inside, we are all indeed chemical beings, but if you see it strictly that way, you can never think, feel and behave beyond chemistry. In order to have a pure loving relationship with another person, you need to take a step beyond chemical satisfaction, then only, those chemicals will behave according to your will, thus giving you the power to build something truly original, something with an unshakable foundation. If you ask the Neuroscientist in me, what love is, then that image which you have imposed on me, would tell you that – love is all about chemical activity and ultimately reproduction. But if you ask me the human who uses science as his tool to unify humanity and to make them take a step forward in the path of collective psychological evolution, then I shall tell you – love is born of chemicals, but if it stays that way strictly, then humanity is soon bound to die internally due to dehydration, for love is water to the soul. Open your heart and let the water flow – don’t condemn it, don’t anticipate it – simply let it flow.
(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.)
“True Love is 20% Care, 80 % Understanding.” – Wise Mating: A Treatise on Monogamy
In this talk, Neuroscientist and Author Abhijit Naskar discusses the qualities of love and illuminates the nature of a healthy romantic relationship.
Wise Mating: A Treatise on Monogamy, 2017
Love – the most beautiful word on this planet. This one word has revolutionized the whole planet in an evolutionary way. Without this none of us might have been born. It is mother nature’s magical wand by the touch of which everything turns surreal and captivating.
It is the most important ingredient of human life. That’s why the tiniest glance at your dearly beloved can make you experience heaven right here on earth. Or as I have said in my book Love Sutra: The Neuroscientific Manual of Love, “who wants Jesus when you can have the warm embrace of the person who is the living embodiment of all your desires”.
But, despite all the delightful descriptions of love, why is it so hard to maintain a healthy relationship?
If the mental state of love is so soothing then why do people often fail to maintain a healthy relationship?
The answer lies deep within the neural network of the human brain.
In short the cause of failure in relationships is the perceptual difference between the male and female mind. It is all in the fascinating neurobiology of the human brain.
The point is, the male and female brain constructs a vivid and gender oriented mental universe. Thus, the male mind perceives every situation of daily life from a typically male perspective and expects the female to do the same, while the female brain observes everything in a feminine manner and expects the male to do the same. And from this very gender based perceptual conflict rise all the predicaments of a relationship.
Therefore, the only way to sustain a healthy relationship is to have a basic insight of your own as well as your partner’s mental universe.
And the very first thing to know about the male and female mental universe is that the female brain is a highly intuitive emotion engine, while the male brain is an analytical powerhouse.
Through millions of years of evolution, Mother Nature has molded the female brain to thrive over emotions, and the male brain to thrive over competition. From a cursory reading, a man and a woman may seem to be members of the same species. But they are neurologically distinct and unique creatures, who see the world from completely different perspectives.
They think differently, feel differently, get mad differently and even handle problems differently. The male brain is a problem solving machine that uses analytical brain structures to find solutions for basic problems of life, unlike the female brain that uses emotional neural structures to solve problems.
Men are born with uniquely masculine neurological circuits while women are born with uniquely feminine circuits. This is what we call sexual dimorphism in clinical terms. And this dimorphism in brain structure leads to distinctive cognitive and behavioral features in men and women. You can read about these fascinating sexually dimorphic features in Love Sutra: The Neuroscientific Manual of Love. In this book I have opened up the entire mental universe of men and women while giving a basic guideline for a healthy relationship.
Let me tell you a little more about the fascinating difference between the male and female mind. For example, the male brain is evolutionarily programmed to think about mating far more than women. And this programming has led men to have sexual thoughts more often throughout the day than the women. Women only have such thoughts four or less times in a day.
Another fascinating feature of the female brain is its retention of memories connected to emotional events in the long run. Women are much better at remembering emotional events of life in the long run than men. And off course, the female brain is a great emotion sensor. It is capable of picking up emotional cues from the facial expressions and other body movements of people. Men are not so good at this, for which women often blame the men to be less sensitive. And here’s a little tip for all the ladies out there. If you want to make your partner sense your emotions, you can do so by bursting into tears. That’s the only way, the male brain can feel there’s something wrong. It is plain biology.
And as for men, I’d like to tell you, your neurology may not be as emotionally sensitive as the women’s. But that does not mean you cannot grow the virtue of patience. All that women seek in men, is patience with a little tinge of perseverance. And thanks to the amazing neurological feature known as neuroplasticity, the human brain, male and female alike, can learn and adopt new features in the neural network.
It is all about making efforts from both sides of a relationship. Relationships don’t fail due to lack of love. Rather they fail because the partners lose touch with each other’s inner selves. They get lost in the storm of confusions and meaninglessness. One way or another they start fighting with each other’s biological instincts, that ultimately leads to misery.
You must remember, biological instincts are the driving force or rather guiding force of a species. Everything our ancestors learnt throughout their existence is encoded inside our instinctual blueprint. It is the key to understanding how every single human being is wired. The marvelous interplay of various brain circuits creates the instinctual reality of daily life in both men and women.
Regardless of your gender, if you are conscious about the fact that there lies a complex yet vividly beautiful brain circuit mechanism behind every single impulse of your daily emotions, then you can choose how to react upon each of those impulses. You can thus program your behavioral response in a certain situation for the best possible outcome.
(This Article was first published on Goodreads, under the title “Key to Love”)