Wired For God
by Rev. Ann Emerson
Why have we humans always longed to connect with something larger than ourselves?
The emerging science of Neurotheology, dedicated to understanding the complex relationship between spirituality and the brain, is finding answers to that very question.
Dr. Andrew Newberg is a pioneer in the field of Neurotheology. His work explores both the miracle and biology involved in the yearning for an enduring relationship with The Divine that all human beings experience.
In every race and religion, there are accounts of people connecting with a Higher Power. Descriptions include, “there is a sense of timelessness and infinity,” and “it feels like I am part of everyone and every thing in existence.” Perhaps you have experienced this connection yourself.
In the book How God Changes Your Brain, authors Dr. Newberg and Mark Waldman use their extensive brain research to map these experiences and provide proof that mystical experiences are biological, observable, and scientifically real. Their work shows that the root of spirituality is intimately interwoven with human biology, and that biology compels the spiritual urge to connect with something larger than ourselves.
The biological basis for the experience exists in the Pineal Gland, referred to by mystics as the Spiritual Gland or God Gland. This tiny gland is protected in the very center of the brain. Its function is still not fully understood by older sciences, though it is believed to regulate diurnal and nocturnal cycles, and is linked to light sensitivity, circadian rhythms, and deeper natural biorhythms. The Vedic Scriptures view the pineal gland as an ultra-refined portal for the movement of energy or spirit from the invisible to the visible. The pineal gland has a unique place in the design of life; it is a conduit for the streaming of consciousness into the physical dimension.
Meditation, prayer and chanting all open the circuits in our brains that expand consciousness, bring clarity of mind, expand reality information, error detection, empathy, compassion, emotional balance, and the suppression of anger and fear. They activate the pineal gland.
To enhance the experience, there are specific steps to follow:
- 1. Desire to improve a part of your life
- 2. Have a strong, desired intention
- 3. Stay focused on your intention, be it consciousness, spiritual knowing, health related, or something else
- 4. Consciously regulate breathing, posture and some body movement
- 5. Be consistent in practice
- 1. A conscious commitment to making small improvements every day
- 2. A good dose of social support to help you honor your commitment
- 3. A hefty serving of optimism and faith