About the blog

This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages and Twitter: @gunnarcedersund

Yesterday told by a few short quotes

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Aug 26, 2013 14:05
In the present times you are given less and less leeway in your previously more acceptable sloppy thinking. Even tiny thoughts out-of-alignment will now more and more quickly spiral you completely out of balance. Like a car that is driving faster and faster: you can reach further and further, but it gets more and more critical to not spiral off the road and hit a tree.

For the same reason, negative thoughts will more and more quickly manifest as physical imbalances.

When you only have access to negative thoughts, looking for no thoughts in the Now is the best option. It is always an option.

Out of a firmly established state of no thoughts, only positive thoughts can be born.

Because of your high speed, physical imbalances will quickly re-adjust themselves when your thinking comes into balance again.

Sleeping is a wonderful thing.

Rediscovering Kriya Yoga, to rediscover the whole long 4h Kriya Yoga meditation, when you haven't done it in a while, is like remembering that you have the keys to heaven, and the keys to a state full of wonder and energy. Energy to do things!

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Celebrate what's right with the world

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Aug 08, 2013 19:24

I just encountered a short little video, of 22 minutes, which made me happy and inspired, and made me want to share it with you as well. It is called "Celebrate what is right with the world", and it is about insights made by a renowned photographer from National Geographics. Here is a link to it, and as you see there is a whole home page around it, which probably is worth checking out as well.

Some quotes (as I remember them):

"Do you have a 6-word vision that you can say to your self in the morning? When that vision is clear, energy and creativity will come by themselves"

"Find what is right with a situation, and seek to magnify it"

"We need to move from scarcity and competition, to celebration and enjoyment"

"You cannot control the wave of change. But in change great possibility is born, and you can learn to ride that wave - by staying open to the unexpected"

"The change between a good picture and a great one is often just a few inches or a few seconds away"

"I wanted to go from seeking to be the best in the world, to being the best for the world!"

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The second half of my week - the inspired action part - has just started

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Apr 26, 2013 12:41
I am structuring my week in a bi-phasic way.

In the first phase, I have "meeting days" or "supervision days". In these days, which usually runs Monday-Wednesday, my calender (which can be found online by anyone) is completely open for the usage of others. The only restriction is that I have a long lunch, 12-13.30, and that I do not want to start before 9 (possibly 8.30). In other words, anyone who wants to meet me - be it some of my students, colleagues, friends, etc - can during these days themselves book in a meeting time into my calender. In that sense, my intent is that all people who are involved with me, feel that it is easy to reach me, and that they can get as much access to me as they need at the moment. For me it is also nice, because I can during this phase of the week just "float along", and go from meeting to meeting, with only two things on my mind: i) to be present and sensitive, so that I can respond as accurately, knowledgeably and inspiringly as possible to any questions or situations that I am being presented to, and ii) to be aware of my current feeling-indicator, i.e. of where I am in a fear/pressure vs love/inspiration scale. Apart from these meetings, planned in by others, I during these days do not expect anything more to be done, workwise. And that is a very relaxing feeling.

In the second phase, things are, suprisingly enough, even more relaxing. In this phase, which usually runs Thursday-Sunday, I have a completely empty calender. In these days, I go exclusively according to my own inner clock, and I try to work in a way where everything I do is out of inspiration, and out of a sense of freedom. In these days, I try to get things done. Important things. Things that require of me to really dive into the work, to create truly profound things. Things that I maybe hadn't even planned, or thought of before - but that just come to me in the moment, as pure inspiration. Such unplanned things are, in my experience, the most important things, the things that really change the game most profoundly - and such things you don't have time to do if your calender is full, and you feel stressed too much of the time. In these days, I really try to dive into the opposite feeling: a feeling of complete freedom, where I have all the time in the world, and where I always am on top of the game. In these days, I sleep when I feel tired, I eat when I am hungry, and I work when I feel inspired to - and, as far as possible, only with the kind of things that I feel most inspired to.

Last week, I spent almost all of this time, this second phase, in Stockholm, and there floated around between all sorts of non-planned events - which also led me into really wonderful meetings with both people that I know and love since a long time back, and with completely new people, whith whom I had really wonderful get-to-know-each-other unfoldings. These meetings with friends were wonderful, and something that fulfilled a desire within me that I have been longing to fill ever since my recent South America travels. However, during those days, i.e. during last week, I didn't get that much classical work done.

Now, during this week so far, I started off with some unusual first two days: the Monday was devoted to an important and potentially game-changing interview with the deans here at my University, and the Tuesday was spent at a convention where a nice meeting place between academia, industry, and health care had been arranged. Then, these last two days, Wednesday and Thursday, were this week's supervision days, and thus packed to the brink with inspiring and important meetings.

And, now, with all of this behind me, I have at last arrived at the much anticipated days of freedom: this week's 3 days of inspired action. In other words, since some 12 hours back, and lasting until Sunday evening, I have not a single thing planned in. And I have many things I am looking much forward to digging my teeth into, and I am looking much forward to seeing with which of these things I will go ahead, and - equally much - to see which completely unplanned and in-the-moment inspirations that I will attract.

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Out of variety, potential and desire for growth is born

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Apr 05, 2013 10:42
Finally back at the office, for the first time in some 5 weeks! Before I came this morning, I had some resistance to coming, but now it feels awesome! In periods, working home or on the road is more efficient for me; but after a while this effect stagnates - and then it is, at least for me, better to go back to being at the office again. It is interesting how all things seem to go in cycles in life. Even the Sun does that.

In Nature almost everything seems to go in cycles. Theoretically, this probably has to do with the fact that most systems in nature has some kind of regulatory feedback loops in their internal mechanisms, and such feedbacks combined with some time-delay typically produce cyclic behaviours. Spiritually, however, I think that this cyclic behavour has a deeper purpose, a deeper benefit: to make our longings more quickly fulfilled, and to produce more variety. And out of variety, potential and desire for growth is born. Picture from Wikipedia.

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To learn from regrets of the dying

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Mar 26, 2013 23:48
I am back again in Buenos Aires, the place where I started this South America journey. Many people come here, from time to time, and I have met many interesting and wonderful people on this journey. One person I did not meet, however, is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who in the video above makes a presentation at a conference, during her visit to Buenos Aires. Kübler-Ross was a pioneer in so many things, but in particular she was one of the first who took it seriously to spend time with and learn from people who are dying.


I think that one of the main things we are missing in our life nowadays is to spend time across the generations. Most importantly, we are not spending time with people who are really old and dying. This has all sorts of bad consequences, and missed opportunities. First of all, this makes us fear death - and a life in fear is never a good idea. I also think that this fear of death is the main reason why we in our society are so fixated on youth, and everything that has to do with that: young bodies, teenage shows, marriages, etc etc. These ideals of the young are perhaps unconsciously done with the hope to bring our attention away from death as far as possible, but I think that the opposite strategy is much better: the tantra strategy of focusing on that which you fear, and thus seeing right through it.

In our society there are a few people who have done precisely that. One of them is Elisabeth Kübler Ross. She was a remarkable woman who truly lived to inspire and transform the lives of those she met. She is the woman in the two videos above, and it is just one of many videos and books about and of her that exists. As with so many other remarkable persons, hearing them speak does not blow your mind away at the first impression, but you do hear that there is some kind of presence in their appearance, something in the tone of their voice, which makes you listen. And then when you have listened for a while you notice that they are saying really meaningful things, things that really touch you. And the true test is that those things that you hear, those stories that they tell, are stories that you remember, and that you bring with you as you go about your life in the coming days, weeks, and even years and decades of your life. It is also not uncommon that such people, once they have caught your attention, and you have approached their vibration a little bit more, can say just a few words that will completely change your outlook on life forever. Elisabeth did just that with many many people, both of those lying on their death-beds and those still within the midst of their lives. It is precisly such a person I want to be, as I keep growing into and reveals more and more of my true self in this life.

What made me want to write now, however, was another person, who also has spent a lot of time with dying people: Bronnie Ware. She made interviews with many people as they spent their last days or weeks in life, to learn about what kind of regrets they had - to see whether there were common regrets that we might want to know of now, before we are at the point of dying, before it is too late for us to actually change the way our lives will be led. Bronnie started to write about these experiences and insights in her blog, but this eventually got so popular that she decided to write a book about it instead. I did not read this book, but I have read the list of regrets she has compiled, and I can thoroughly support considering these 5 regrets - to consider this book as a gift from all of those who have died, to all of us who still are in the midst of things!

Here list is as follows:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

These four things are described at her blog, which she ends with the following fifth item, and final comments, which I just copy-paste to here.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

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My coolest paper yet published last week – a new level of understanding of type 2 diabetes

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Feb 23, 2013 01:14

Lab animals have for a long time been used as a model for the human situation. My research will help to gradually replace many of those experiments by computer simulations. This transition also saves a lot of time and money, and helps us to get a more deep and holistic understanding of the systems that we are studying.
Picture from Wikipedia.


So, where did I go next...?

The answer is Frankfurt! Frankfurt is the home of many companies, and one of them is Sanofi, which is one of the biggest drug development companies in the world. I have been here to talk to them about my research, in particular that part that concerns metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.

As some of you know, I have worked with type 2 diabetes for many years. In this I take a systems biology approach, where mathematical modelling is combined with experimental research in a more holistic approach, than what is typical in more conventional medicin and biology. "Holistic" is word that often is used also in yoga and spiritual societies, and it means that you take into consideration the whole system, rather than only a few of its isolated parts. Here, however, its usage is completely non-spiritual and used in a purely scientific fashion. For type 2 diabetes I am part of the coordination of a many-group initiative that attempts to create a mathematical model for the various organs involved in type 2 diabetes: both regarding their intracellular dynamics, and regarding their interactions. This has been described in a popular science way e.g. here. Since this description, an important new development has happened, maybe the most important development so far. It was published in a scientific journal about a week ago, and it is a first mathematical model for the important first step leading up to the development of type 2 diabetes: the reason why fat cells stop responding to insulin.

This means that our mathematical models for type 2 diabetes now have become so realistic and interesting that they are getting more and more relevant for drug developments. A type 1 diabetes version of the model we are using has already been approved by the FDA as a possible replacement for test animals, when certifying certain insulin treatments (meaning that a step that used to take 4-6 years and cost 1 Billion SEK now takes a few months and costs less than a million SEK - saving the lives and displeasure of thousands of test animals in the process!), and we are now rapidly evolving towards a highly relevant usefulness also for our type 2 diabetes models. Not only Sanofi, but also quite a few other major pharmaceutical companies have shown a high interest in our work. This is really cool, for several reasons. First, it could mean a lot of funding for my research :) . Second, it could mean that we have a new example of where the interplay between academia and industry is better than either of them alone. Regarding the usage of these mathematical models, they often need to be initiated in academia, since it requires more long-term project investments that industry is used to making. However, there is then often a big resistance within the mainstream academic biological fields to start taking these models seriously. This is because academia consists of research groups who have a vested interest in not seeing their own ways of doing things getting outdated, but in preserving the status quo to lie within their field of normal activities. Industry, on the other hand, are not going for the preservation of status quo, but for getting a competitive edge compared to their competitors. The short-termness that was a problem in initial developments, are therefore now an advantage, and they are therefore more likely to jump on new techniques, once academia has developed them sufficiently far. Industry's view on current techniques may therefore surprisingly enough be more objective and leading-edge than academia's!

I think that this part of my research lies in a very exciting meeting point between conceptually groundbraking views of biology and medicine in general; between usefulness to really make a diffeference for industry and for people's health by collaborating with pharmaceutical companies and medical doctors; and in a field that will allow me to eventually do research on why and how and when yoga is a useful tool in medicine. So, you will certainly hear much more about the interplay between my scientific carreer and my other interests as I keep elaborating on my thoughts and ongoing projects here at this blog. So look forward to that! :)

Frankfurt by night.
CC (non-commercial, non-derivative), from Wikipedia, by Roland Meinecke

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The wanderer within me emerges again

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Feb 20, 2013 18:00
Kwai Chang Caine from the TV-series Kung Fu. He was a wandering kung fu monk, who went to different places, resolved problems and inspired people, and thereafter wandered on to some other place, having his spiritual quest as the only thing that was truly important to him. I loved this show when I was a child, and it is one of the reasons for one of my two opposing facets: the wanderer.
Picture from wikipedia.


My life is a bit bi-phasic: oscillating between two quite different ways of life.

On the one I hand I really like to travel. To live my life as a wanderer, walking from place to place, being home where I am, in myself, everywhere and nowhere. To take myself and my presence as the only fixed points in my life, and everything else as joyful, but passing, adventures. To be friend with every stranger I meet, but to cling needily to no one. A friend of mine once said: to truly love is to first be a magnet that attracts, merges, and thrives in the company of the other, but then also to turn the magnet around and propel both yourself and the other person into new adventures, to remind both you and yourself of the joy of being alone, and that the important thing is the essense, not the form. The feeling - not the person! In order to truly bless, you need to make the other independent of your blessing.

On the other hand, I really like the ideal of having a piece of land that you are a steward for, that you and your ancestors have been stewards for for generations, and which it is now up to you to bring onwards towards the future; to have a true home, where you live and where you truly belong, where almost everybody you meet is your friend, or at least the friend of a friend; to make use of what you have, and to see the infinite potential in what you have been given - a potential that only you can see at first, but which you have the ability to carve out and later on show to the world.

In a way both these ideals come from some view of the north american indians. Many of these were tribal vagabonds, who took their homes with them when they travelled, but who also had a strong sense of stewardship for the land, and for the family to which they belonged. However, there are also many other role models that vibrate within me with regards to the two above facets of me: e.g. that of the walking asketic yogi, that of Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu (one of my favourite programs as a child), etc etc.

Since I have both of these personalities and ideals within me, and I want to live a life that brings together both of them, into a harmounious whole. I do this by living a bi-phasic life. In the first of these phases I am home, and truly home. I live in Linköping, where I have grown up, where my parents and my brother live. Furthermore, I even live a few hundred meters from all of these things, and on the 5 minute walk from my home to my work, I pass by many of the places I used to play at when I was a child - so that everyday I am home my life goes full circle, and I get a wonderful perspective of the current everyday problems I believe I have to worry about. This home phase is a wonderful basis which allows me to balance the other phase, the travel phase - the phase which I am about to embark on now.

In this travel phase, I often go to many different places in a relatively short period, and I usually try to combine several of my pleasures, like work, piano, dancing, friends, yoga, etc. Tonight, in a few hours, I am going down to Copenhagen. I lived there for a few years, and it is truly one of my favourite cities in the world. Where will I go next? That I will tell you tomorrow...^^

Copenhagen in the year 1890. Picture from Wikipedia.

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Why waste your time!?

karma yoga: life and workPosted by Feb 13, 2013 23:33
I really love to follow this little girl evolve! This she composed somewhere last year. So it was part of her re-scoring period (when she writes new music to existing mini-movies). Later last year she had started a new phase of writing for orchestra, and soon her first jazz-ensemble CD will be released. It is utterly intriguing and inspiring to see extreme talent evolve in real time like this. It makes me really eager to see what will come next. And - most importantly - it makes me really eager to not waste any more of my own time doing unimportant stuff. I also want to do profound and creative stuff that goes to the depth of my being, and that is worthy of preserving for the afterworld! Why waste your time doing anything else!? ;)

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