This is a review of an excerpt from an article in mindbodygreen.com about a remarkable new scientific study of spirituality and the brain. My comments about it appear at the end of the excerpt.
“Spirituality and the brain: What’s the connection? We’ll admit, the neuroscience has been a bit limited (even though research has gotten closer to mapping the specific brain circuit responsible for spirituality), but Lisa Miller, Ph.D., an award-winning researcher in spirituality and psychology and the author of The Awakened Brain, is on the case.
“Specifically, she combed through MRI scans of participants who have struggled with feelings of sadness (blues) to assess hether a sense of spirituality had any effect on their mental well-being—and, frankly, the results are astounding. “People who [had] a spiritual response to suffering showed entirely different brains,” she says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. “They showed not thinning but thickening across the regions of perception and reflection, the parietal, precuneus, and occipital [regions].”
“In other words, a sense of spirituality can have a huge impact on your brain health and mood. The question becomes: How do you incorporate spirituality into your everyday life? According to Miller, a deep sense of awareness is not tied to religion, per se—rather, the ability to connect spiritually is innate within us.
“‘We are all born with this capacity to see into the deeper nature of life, but the muscle has been left to atrophy in the great majority of people in our country,’ she says.
Dr Miller echoes historical reports of this latent spirituality existing in all humans. However she offers no data about ‘all humans’, though I happen to think it’s true, just that we can’t do anything about it ourselves.
However, Dr Miller seems to assume anyone can rouse this inner ‘spirituality’ on their own. My mystical experiences of Reality (MER) have, as I have reported ad nauseam on this Blog, indicated to me the experience of Reality can only be caught not taught.
So is the doctor talking about something other than MER? Has she discovered a part of the human brain that is just used by Reality to receive MER?
And why does she seem to assume that what she has discovered is all about humans? In my experiences MER is vastly greater than any single part of the infinite cosmic creation.
For the full report, see 4 Ways a PhD Uses Spirituality to Bolster Mental Health at mindbodygreen.com.
Spirituality and mysticism are not the same. Many mystics are quite spiritual, but few spiritual people are mystics.
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