The horrendously tragic story about the fifteen-year-old victim of a recent gang-rape in California brings to bear more than just questions about “WTF is up with kids these days”, but really, “How the hell did it get this bad and what can we possibly to about it?!”
This past week Deepak Chopra was on Larry King to offer his unique insights into the incident and the perpetrators in particular, one of several on a panel discussing the issues and motivations precipitating the heinous crime.
Despite the flashy, diamond encrusted spectacles (he wasn’t wearing them this night) and the fact that at this point he rivals only Danielle Steel in literary proliferation, I still really like him. And I couldn’t help but nod in agreement with everything he, and his colleagues, had to say.
With the number of incidents of these kinds of crimes only growing among teens, made worse with their documentation for posterity and public consumption on sites such as facebook and YouTube, the conversation inevitably turned to the children’s ‘emotional intelligence’, or lack thereof, and their disregard, or more likely, their complete incapacity, for compassion and empathy.
To quote Dr. Chopra,”these children are victims of emotional retardation… growing up in emotionally retarded homes…”.
A point not shown in this short segment of the panel discussion is that studies have examined brain activity during and after meditation, as well as the general development of a brain regularly practiced in meditation- monks- and the findings are astounding.
Simply, meditation stimulates and develops the frontal portion of the brain, the region generally known to be responsible for compassion, empathy and love. According to Dr. Chopra, when contrasting the brain of a criminal and the lack of volume in the frontal portion of the brain, “people who experience love, compassion, kindness, joy at the success of others, profound peace and equanimity actually grow their brains… studies amongst Buddhist monks who meditate on these qualities… their brains grow, they secrete peptides like oxytocin and dopamine and seratonin and opiates which happen to be anti-depressants which enhance self-esteem… and modulate the activity of the immune system. “
He goes on to my favourite point of the conversation, “It’s very important now that we have this information, that we teach our children skills in emotional and spiritual intelligence… the ability to get in touch with your emotions, the ability to get in touch with other’s emotions and the ability to manage relationships non-violently.”