I have an article and some video to share on the progress of spiritual practices and on the evolution of spirituality… Let’s look first at spirituality practices. There are two examples today.
Prayer Changes Things
Preacher: John Piper, Teaching Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church
The research and the evidence is clear that the Christianity so many of us grew up with, the Christianity of the 20th century and earlier, is changing. In place of dogma, Christians are seeking connections in prayerful joyous worship experiences. We want to sharpen our spiritual practices. We just know that inspiration is an important part of our fellowship.
Not sure about how prayer works? Here is a sample Christian prayer.
Prayer is one method of spirituality that has been evolving for at least 3000 years. Here is more information on how mindfulness and prayerful healing is being scientifically demonstrated as healthy.
Life is Now… using meditation and mindfulness
PRESENT MOMENT: Eckhart Tolle
“The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are.”
For two years, a small man sits quietly on a park bench. People walk by, lost in their thoughts. One day someone asks him a question. In the weeks that follow there are more people and more questions. Word spreads that the man is a “mystic,” and has discovered something that brings peace and meaning into our lives. It sounds like fiction, but today that man, Eckhart Tolle, is known worldwide for his teachings on spiritual enlightenment through the power of the present moment.
The UnCourse provides you with free resources to work towards a deeper level of consciousness. There are nine units of teachings and exercises in the UnCourse. As you finish each unit, your progress forward will be visible. You can return to the UnCourse site at any time; record your feelings and ideas as you progress.
Additionally today, I have a short video and an article presenting some scientific evidence that spiritual practices change our physiology — so we continue to evolve these experiences — we want to because its beneficial.
What is the evolutionary reason for our capability to achieve spiritual states?
Evidence of biological basis for religion in human evolution
Source: Auburn University
An Auburn University researcher teamed up with the National Institutes of Health to study how brain networks shape an individual’s religious belief, finding that brain interactions were different between religious and non-religious subjects.
Gopikrishna Deshpande, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and the NIH researchers recently published their results in the journal, “Brain Connectivity.”
The group found differences in brain interactions that involved the theory of mind, or ToM, brain network, which underlies the ability to relate between one’s personal beliefs, intents and desires with those of others. Individuals with stronger ToM activity were found to be more religious. Deshpande says this supports the hypothesis that development of ToM abilities in humans during evolution may have given rise to religion in human societies.
“Religious belief is a unique human attribute observed across different cultures in the world, even in those cultures which evolved independently, such as Mayans in Central America and aboriginals in Australia,” said Deshpande, who is also a researcher at Auburn’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center. “This has led scientists to speculate that there must be a biological basis for the evolution of religion in human societies.”
Deshpande and the NIH scientists were following up a study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to scan the brains of both self-declared religious and non-religious individuals as they contemplated three psychological dimensions of religious beliefs.
The fMRI — which allows researchers to infer specific brain regions and networks that become active when a person performs a certain mental or physical task — showed that different brain networks were activated by the three psychological dimensions; however, the amount of activation was not different in religious as compared to non-religious subjects.
The above story is based on materials provided by Auburn University. The original article was written by Morgan Stashick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Dimitrios Kapogiannis, Gopikrishna Deshpande, Frank Krueger, Matthew P Thornburg, Jordan Henry Grafman. Brain Networks Shaping Religious Belief. Brain Connectivity, 2013; 131126141800007 DOI: 10.1089/brain.2013.0172
I hope you’ll come back often — there is more to be discovered.
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How the Universe Works (in 25 minutes)
Hawking: ‘Heaven is a place for people afraid to die’
- C. S. Lewis – why he still matters so much today
C. S. Lewis: The Magician’s Twin
Auburn University. “Evidence of biological basis for religion in human evolution.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2014. [www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117153635.htm]