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Archive for October, 2009

Brain waves and oneness experience

Posted by Pelgrim on 16th October 2009

What follows is an excerpt from a television program aired on October 7th, 2009 by German television station ZDF. It takes a skeptical viewpoint in trying to debunk God and Faith. They also address an interesting scientific experiment which tries to research what happens in the brain during deep meditation in which the state of oneness is experienced by the believer. The program brings this up in an attempt to give a natural explanation of a deep devotional experience. The problem is however that the program misses the deep mystery of consciousness, especially the duality of a brain wave field created by the matter of our neurons and how in this experiment synchronized wave patterns produce a perception of being at one with the underlying reality of our universe, which in turn is also based on a matter/wave duality.

When our brain wants us to focus on certain parts of our visual perception, neurons in the prefrontal cortex fire in unison and send signals to the visual cortex to do the same in order to become synchronized, directing our focus of attention. Source

During meditation we do not focus our sensory perception, still our brain waves become nearly completely synchronized by which the boundaries between inside and outside dissolve.

Science and religion has a hard time understanding the paradox of Jesus the God-Man, uniting two perfect natures in one person, fully divine and fully human, one in essence.

The skeptical view:

Abenteur Forschung
Brain Research Brain and God

Is faith measurable?
Every year millions of believers go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the hope of a cure, and all united in the belief in the power of a miracle. In 1858 in the grotto Massabielle the Virgin Mary appeared several times to the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous. A vision, a fantasy, a perceptual illusion? Researchers are on the trail of the phenomenon. They want to find out exactly what happens when such a phenomenon occurs, and how faith can actually be created. Visions or apparitions are a particularly intense form of spiritual experience. Faith is apparently widespread in many different cultures as a universal principle. Does Faith have a material basis?Researchers are now looking in the brain for measurable traces of faith and religiosity. Experiments suggest that certain areas are more active in the brain during religious experiences than others.

What happens during a vision?
Meditation Is the brain of a believer distinct from that of non-believers, and how does our brain work, while we believe? During an observation brain researcher observe nuns during prayer in MRI. The aim is to find out what events occur in the brain during intense spiritual meditation, prayer, and if that leaves specific traces, so to speak, religiosity has a “place in the brain.” The comparison is striking: The brain of a person in prayer is different from a non-worshipers. The result: The activity of the brain during prayer varies by region. Fast passive is the center, with which we orientate ourselves in space and perceive. It is surprising that this region is supplied much less with blood during the prayer than, say, in resting subjects who do not pray. Some researchers see in this shut down of orientation the reason why prayer is often perceived as closeness to God.

The art of meditation
The Interest of science for Buddhist monks. In Buddhism meditation has for 2000 years placed meditation at its center. Many experienced monks train their brains in their lives often more than 10,000 hours. They describe their feelings as “one with the environment”, the borders to the outside world seem resolved.

That makes researchers interested. As neurophysiologists measure the brain waves of a monk in meditation, they are surprised: The brain waves vibrate remarkably uniform at a certain frequency. Die researchers draw the following conclusions from it: stimuli from our sense organs lead to nerve cells which continue to corresponding brain centers, there arises the perception of our surroundings. During the meditation changes the pattern. The derived excitation now shows nearly synchronized waves. A condition which probably completely changes the perception.
This provides the explanation for the brain researcher of what the monks during meditation experience: that the boundary between interior and exterior dissolves. This creates the feeling of being in complete harmony with the environment.

A matter of faith
Some scholars see in these results also a clue for the explanation of religious phenomena. As potential triggers they suspect specific excitation patterns in the brain. Some even go so far that they think they can selectively induce such visions. A converted helm is the ultimate tool for their experiment: It generates a weak magnetic field, and aims to stimulate such a small target area of the brain. The subjects should describe directly, which results in internal images. Some indeed report religious phenomena, others see mysterious luminous phenomena in the sky, UFOs or even extraterrestrial visitors. Again the images are determined by the individual cultural background. For example only those who have a strong religious commitment report corresponding appearances.

Source: ZDF Abenteur Forchung

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