In conversation with

Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School

6 Questions


An intriguing and fascinating 'in conversation with the mystic' on 'memory, consciousness and coma', between Sadhguru and Warren M. Zapol (Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School), Edward Hood Taplin (Professor of Medical Engineering and Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT); and Nicholas D. Schiff, MD, Ph.D., (Professor of Neurology ...


9:25 min

Is there some way that we can harness these insights, like you have, and use it as anaesthesia?


We can perhaps work as individuals to, now that I know, we take away wakefulness not consciousness, to move towards consciousness. And that’s an individual’s decision to maybe train in this particular way. So is there some way that we can harness these insights, like you have,. Harness these misunderstandings and use it as anaesthesia just to take care of patients? Because if we can reduce it to, or if we can adapt in that way, that would be very, very helpful because we would be using the powers in a way that would control the brain. In a way that would be perhaps more physiologic.  

12:57 min

Why do people under anaesthesia have this sense that no time has passed?


So, I did a little reading about you. And he’s not as uneducated as he would have you believe. He’s actually quite educated. And I was curious because, I think it was back in 1982, you had your first enlightenment experience I think. And, there’s a story here. So you mentioned how it seemed like only 10 or 15 minutes had gone by. But what had happened is you had been out in this state for maybe 4 hours or so, when you came and looked at your watch. This is what people under anaesthesia report all the time. In other words, they have this sense that no time has passed. But they report a very similar phenomena. It seems like they wake up sometimes from anaesthesia and they’ll go, have you started yet? You’re done? They seem quite surprised. So whatever our timekeeping mechanism is, right? It’s different from sleep. It’s noticeable different from sleep because often when you sleep you have a sense of time passing. You know, you went to sleep and you woke up, you may not be able to judge it exactly. But characteristically, under anaesthesia when people come to they feel like no time has passed. Any thoughts?  

16:10 min

How do we solve the world issues?


The world has a lot of problems. Right? And, you know, one of the things that we need to solve, we were talking about some of this just as we were sitting down here before the programme started. So we could focus on that one issue, alright? What do we do? How do we use the insights, the understanding, the enlightenment that you have, to go after some of these issues? Because they’re very real and they threaten us.   

6:31 min

Is there a solution no matter how bad things are?


So, if I understand the answer, it’s a very hopeful answer. Because no matter how bad things look, they present us as a problem we can solve. Is that in the next generation? Is that sort of the point?  

18:13 min

Why should we leave memory aside?


I’m wondering, one of the things you were asked is, as people are recovering from certain kinds of processes, maybe they’re entering different states of consciousness that science has not yet learned about. I’m wondering if that theory is necessary because we know at the plasticity of the brain, and extraordinary things that the brain can do to recover, functions in different parts as dimensions. That’s one, and maybe that’s a more technical question. I have a larger question for Sadhguru, you spoke very eloquently about memory, intellection, asking us to put those aside, and I’m trying to understand exactly what you mean. Because I haven’t caught it, I’m sorry to say. Because it seems to me those are the unique or extraordinary things about us as human beings. The fact that we have this historical memory going back to Mesopotamia and beyond in India thousands of years ago. And also as individual human beings, an intellection which allows us to build spaceships. So I’m not quite sure how you mean for us to leave those aside or place less value on them?  

9:26 min

Thoughts on near-death experiences


So I want to hear your thoughts on near death experiences. A lot of people in surgery have said that, in the middle of the surgery they could come out and see what’s happening, see the conversation, what the doctor is doing. So just a thought, you know when, do people really die at the time or they reach some heaven and come back?