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Veda a duchovno

Our Ability to Connect with God: A Conversation with Dr. Andrew Newberg, Part 1 of 2

2023-03-22
Jazyk:English
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Science and spirituality have traditionally been seen as separate realms, with science focusing on physical principles and technology and spirituality on the divine connection. However, recent advancements in science, especially in the study of the brain, are blurring this divide and raising questions about the relationship between the two. As science sheds light on spiritual experiences and the workings of the mind, it raises the possibility of scientifically explaining our connection with God.

Dr. Andrew Newberg timely addresses this question in landmark research books he coauthored, Why God Won’t Go Away and How God Changes Your Brain. Dr. Newberg is the Director of Research at Marcus Institute of Integrative Health and a professor at Thomas Jefferson University and is one of the 30 most influential living neuroscientists. He studies the brain of people with beliefs through scanned images taken during their practices of prayer, meditation, and sutra chanting. He concludes that spirituality is a ready ability of the human brain.

“There’s not one part of our brain that is the spiritual part of our brain. When people realize what their own spiritual or religious beliefs are, it incorporates their emotions, their thought processes, their experiences, and even their behaviors as well. So, all these different ways in which we kind of interact with the world, can potentially become part of our religious and spiritual practices.”

“For example, if you do a meditation practice or a prayer practice when you start out, then typically you have an increase of activity in your frontal lobes which are right behind your forehead. Interestingly, if you go kind of long enough into the practice, and you have a very profound spiritual experience, then what we actually see is that frontal lobe activity starts to drop because when that area starts to decrease. Instead of feeling like you're in charge and making it all happen purposely, you kind of let yourself go, you surrender yourself.”

“The other major part of the brain is the parietal lobe, which is located in the back of the brain. And this is an area that helps us to create our sense of self, in a spatial kind of way, how we navigate through the world and distinguish ourselves from the rest of the world. Well, in a lot of these very intensive prayer and meditation practices, we have found that people have a decrease of activity in the parietal lobe. And we think that this is associated with the loss of the sense of self and (an increase) in the sense of oneness or connectedness, which is so frequently described in these kinds of practices.”
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