The Bliss Experiment
Purchase at amazon.com > The Bliss Experiment: 28 Days to Personal Transformation

28 Days to Personal Transformation sounds almost like a parody of a self-help title—Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Days or Think Rich, Get Rich—which this book is not at all. The facts of Sean Meshorer’s own life testify to the depth of his spiritual commitment. A disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, he lived in an ashram for 15 years; 10 years ago he sustained a spinal injury that left him bedridden for two years and in chronic, incurable pain to this day. For all that, he says, he is grateful for his suffering, which has taught him lessons that enabled him to achieve “greater—and deeper—levels of genuine happiness than I ever imagined possible.”

An outgrowth of a course he teaches at the Ananda Center for the Arts, The Bliss Experiment doesn’t promise to effortlessly turn one’s blahs into bliss; rather, it offers a program designed to change its students’ ideas about what happiness truly is and, in so doing, open the door to a more fulfilling life at one end of the scale of possibility, and to cosmic consciousness at the other.

The real goal of The Bliss Experiment isn’t so much to rewire oneself as to plug oneself into the universe’s circuit board. In the words of Paramhansa Yoganda, bliss has no boundaries; it is “center everywhere, circumference nowhere.”

Each of the book’s 28 chapters contains a central insight—that happiness exists on a continuum, for example, or that our negative thoughts are no truer than our positive thoughts. The lessons are illustrated with personal anecdotes, backed up by a surprising amount of scientific evidence and accompanied by a set of practices and meditations to help inculcate them. As incremental and seemingly obvious as each teaching may be when viewed in isolation, their cumulative effect is considerable.

And, interestingly enough, some of the exercises do yield almost instant benefits. Take affirmations, the practice of repeating a positive statement to oneself. Meshorer cites scientific studies that confirm that when practiced correctly, affirmations literally rewire us, “reinforc[ing] a chemical pathway in the brain, strengthening the connection between neurons, making them more likely to conduct the same message again.”

The Bliss ExperimentAt root, happiness is an idea—and nothing is as contagious as ideas. Happiness and bliss are self-reinforcing feedback loops, Meshorer points out, and they spread dynamically. “When we access or attain higher levels of consciousness, we gain the ability to sow the seeds of inner peace, love, and bliss far beyond the limited scope of our physical bodies.”

Science backs that up, too. A 2011 study conducted at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. According to the scientists, when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief that they are committed to spreading, over sufficient time their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. An astounding study published in the mainstream journal Social Indicators Research measured the effect that a small group of meditators had on the crime rate of the entire city of Washington, DC. Researchers found that after controlling for known variables, crime rates dropped by as much as 23% during the course of the study.

The real goal of The Bliss Experiment isn’t so much to rewire oneself as to plug oneself into the universe’s circuit board. In the words of Paramhansa Yoganda, bliss has no boundaries; it is “center everywhere, circumference nowhere.” Never mind the self. Practiced assiduously, the bliss experiment can change the world.

Read about Arthur Goldwag.

 

 

1 Comment

  • Michele Rosenthal
    Posted June 3, 2013 10:51 am 0Likes

    Arthur, I love these kinds of books — the ones that suggest that by actually using happiness/joy/bliss we can change the world. There are so many voices that say we have to change by other methods just in the hopes of accessing those good internal states. I love finding voices that say the opposite, that the key to change is through feeling good vs. just getting on the path to that ultimate goal. Thank you for highlighting what sounds like a stimulating read!

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