Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(9) Neurotheology

Neurotheology is a new field, wherein neuroscientists are
considering the possibility that the human brain is "wired"
to ponder upon "God."  It's a new field that involves scientific
examination of subjective religious experiences.  One such
example that might be considered is as follows.

A number of years ago the Dalai Lama invited biological
psychologist Richard Davidson to come to India to test one
of his Tibetan monks--a Frenchman, actually--by applying
electrodes on his cranium while the monk was meditating on
"unconditional loving-kindness and compassion."  This
particular Buddhist monk had already accrued more than
10,000 hours of meditation, so he surely had to be a seasoned
contemplative.  Davidson's team, from the University of Wisconsin,
nearly immediately noticed powerful gamma brain wave activity.
Later more Buddhist monks were tested by Davidson, and he
found similar results.

Gamma brain waves essentially are considered the brain's
optimal frequency of functioning and associated with a
conscious awareness of reality and increased mental abilities.
The reported benefits of gamma brain waves are as follows:
Boosted Memory, Enhanced Perception of Reality, Building
of Senses, Increased Compassion, High-Level Information
Processing, Natural Antidepressant,  Advanced Learning
Ability, IQ Increase, High Level of Focus, and Improved

These reports about these monks and their brain waves
caught my interest when it comes to how the Universal Spirit
might be working through us, perhaps upon us by enhancing
our brain's capabilities.

Meditation more than often has been in Religion's bailiwick,
though nowadays this kind of mental focus has also rapidly
moved out into the world: i.e., Transcendental Meditation
and Biofeedback.

Regardless the specific milieu for meditation, it's an interesting
phenomenon when the study of such has come under the
scrutiny of neuroscientists.  It would seem our brain is far more
activated.  As to "why," well that's a question that will have to
wait for another day to be answered.  As for "what" might stand
behind all this, well that's open to speculation.

Just maybe there really *is* a Higher Reality acting upon us,
an Universal Spirit, that might actually be evolving us. Could
be our brains have finally reached the level where some of us
humans, like the French Buddhist meditator, seem to have
become an open channel for the reconfiguring of our brain
[Some of this text was originally posted in my "Seeker's Sojourn"
essay site, post 18.]