Edutopia is a U.S. site run by the George Lucas Educational Foundation (yes, as in ‘Star Wars’, light sabres and the force being with us). Its purpose is to enhance public education in the U.S. Clearly many of the…
This report presents brain research breakthroughs that are continuing to develop our scientific understanding that the brain-body is a complex bio-mechanical system that can be directed towards inner peace and serenity. My findings via science are helping me be able to communicate how we may each find meaning in our lives that draw us — each one — to transcend self. I refer to this process as spirituality — not as religious practices. Everyone has biological needs for inner peace and transcendence of self.
Regarding spirituality, scientists speculated for a long time that there may be a “God gene” that possibly causes a person to believe in God and that the human brain possibly features a “God spot” area that may be responsible for increasing spirituality. The “God gene” is still unfound, but it isn’t ruled out. Presently, science is not focusing on brains as having a single “God spot” because…
“No ‘God Spot’ In Brain,
Spirituality Linked To Right Parietal Lobe.”1
University of Missouri research findings indicate spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences.“
We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions and others at the University. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.” Thus, preliminary speculation that there is a “God spot” in the brain may not be found to be true.
The brain is (probably) trainable. I’m in no way disappointed. In fact, this latest research finding confirms my belief that just about anyone may train their brain in order to increase peaceful sensations resulting from meditation, chanting, soothing music, prayer, spiritual activities, and the like. This study began after previous research findings by the same University scientists that the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is associated with how individuals relate to others.
Although the current study looks at people with brain injury, previous studies of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer.
Johnstone studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan.
The study found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.
“Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one’s focus on the self,” Johnstone said.
“Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves. ”
In addition, Johnstone measured the frequency of participants’ religious practices, such as how often they attended church or listened to religious programs. Research subjects were measured as to activity in the frontal lobe and the result indicates a strong correlation between increased activity in this part of the brain and increased participation in spiritual practices. “This finding indicates that spiritual experiences are likely associated with different parts of the brain,” Johnstone said.
The research makes no claim about spiritual truths. The study merely demonstrates how that the brain allows for different kinds of feelings of a spiritual experience that Christians might experience as God, Buddhists as Nirvana, or for atheists it may seem like a feeling of serene peacefulness.
Any one can learn to increase an experience of spirituality!
Professor Johnstone says that for him it is music that helps him transcend himself: “When I put on my headphones and listen to “Stairway to Heaven” I just get lost.
Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, studied spirituality in people with right parietal lobe brain damage.
So, spirituality is not limited to religious (people). Anyone can develop the experiences that allow for us to relax in a peaceful spirit. The pursuit of individuality and self-interests occurs in the side of the brain where it turns out that this strength may weaken “spirituality.”
Each person it seems must take action themselves. The old thinking that a “God spot” in the brain may direct spirituality is all but thrown out completely.
A person may strengthen “spirituality” by means of prayer, peacefulness meditations, relaxation or soothing music, and by other means that cause us to lose our sense of self and allow us to sense connections with a more universal presence. The article points out that this “inner place” is called many different names depending on what spiritual development practices that may be guiding an individual.
Do you have a regular spiritual daily routine? I believe that we humans are prepared better to live in a diverse culture if we’d take some action to develop daily practices of a “spiritual” nature. If you begin a regular practice, for example, of prayer, bible meditation, and fellowship, and prayer again, you may find yourself changed dramatically in a short time is what I think.
More: morning Meditation, Mindfulness is Self-Kindness, The Importance of Prayer.
Thanks for reading (spiritual topics in a secular world),