Welcome to NeuroSpirit's first blog, a discussion platform for those of us interested in learning more about how humans experience the holy. Our research focuses on discovering what happens in the brain during various spiritual experiences.
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The neuroscientific research of spirituality has grown tremendously in the last decade, but we still don't have a good understanding of what happens in the brain during such experiences. Determining the “processes” by which we can feel connected to the divine (whether that word is defined) may help us better comprehend the nature of transcendence and how we can connect with all things beyond the self more readily and easily.
First and foremost, there are a few topics that this site will not discuss or infer.
- There are no plans to talk on religion's negative elements (I'll leave that to Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens). It is a waste of time and energy to compare and contrast different religions. We'll concentrate on the amazing parallels that people of all religion systems share in their spiritual connections (or lack thereof).
- There is no purpose of implying that there is a single part of the brain that causes us to believe in God.
- It is not intended to imply that having spiritual experiences necessitates the presence of a brain damage or illness.
It's also crucial to differentiate between spirituality and religion. Religion is defined as a set of codified behaviors (e.g., prayers, meditations, rituals, etc.) and beliefs (e.g., adherence to a set of creeds necessary for salvation, etc.) associated with different faith traditions for the purposes of this blog. Spirituality, on the other hand, is described as the emotional bond that people have with anything they regard to be divine. This blog will focus on the common neuropsychological mechanisms that underpin spiritual experiences reported by everyone when they engage with something they consider sacred or heavenly. For Abrahamic traditions (i.e., God, Allah, Jehovah), many divinities for polytheistic traditions (e.g., Vishnu, Brahman, etc. ), the universe/Void for mystical traditions (e.g., Buddhism), or nature/the universe for atheists, this could be one divinity or multiple divinities. I hope this essay will pique your interest in what it is about humans that allows us to experience spiritual transcendence. We (the University of Missouri's interdisciplinary faculty) believe we've discovered a neuropsychological process that explains how this spiritual link develops.
Simply put, we contend that spiritual experiences are the result of a neurological process known as “selflessness.” Certain areas of our brain are linked to defining and focusing on the “self,” according to psychological research and neuropsychological case studies (i.e., those involving people with brain injuries). Individuals who focus less on themselves are better equipped to focus on things other than themselves (which is the basic definition of transcendence).
In a nutshell, the brain's right parietal lobe (RPL) is linked to “self-orientation.” The RPL is activated when you gaze at an image of yourself. If your right parietal lobe is injured, you may have “disorders of the self,” such as disregarding the left side of space (in extreme cases, people may reject that their left arm or leg belongs to them). The bottom line is that if you harm your RPL, you will become more “selfless,” or less focused on oneself.
What are the three main spiritual aspects of transcendence?
Ego transcendence (self: beyond ego), self-transcendence (beyond the self: the other), and spiritual transcendence are the three types of transcendence (beyond space and time).
What is Soul transcendence?
Soul transcendence, according to John-Roger, is becoming conscious of yourself as a soul and as one with God. We are living a life of soul transcendence when our acts and presence are in harmony with our awareness of the soul and the divine.
This program is designed to provide a community or cohort of learners (students and teachers) with a variety of chances to increase learning and progress, as well as to support each of us in our own direct experience of divinity and living love. The relationships that develop among the members of each cohort are an important aspect of the learning process.
The core of this program, like other programs in J-organizations, R's is those spiritual truths that have been taught through John-teachings Roger's through soul awareness speeches and other resources. Through rigorous curriculum that highlights these universal truths of spirit, the TL program offers another level to the PTS experience, integrating John-understanding Roger's with the efforts of others across time and across countries and traditions in personal, practical, and scholarly ways. A dedication to following spirit's direction, perceiving the divinity in all, trusting the perfection of all, and embodying love are among these universal lessons.
All of the J-R programs and groups, according to the TL faculty, present routes that aim towards the same end goal: personal and spiritual transcendence. Individual emphasis varies within each path, resulting in a vast array of opportunities for people to connect in as many ways as they desire, in the ways that speak to them and call to their hearts. The MSIA and PTS faculty's work is to make soul transcendence teachings available to people who are seeking them; the TL faculty's work is to share these spiritual truths in an open, integrative, connected, and academic manner.
What does it mean God is transcendent?
“In His world, God is both transcendent and immanent. These statements from the eighteenth century represent the idea that, on the one hand, God is separate from His world and does not require it. On the other hand, He pervades the universe with sustaining creative power, moulding and leading everything in such a way that it stays on track.”
In religious discourse, the terms transcendent and immanent are frequently used interchangeably. God's transcendence implies that he is beyond humanity's entire experience, perception, and understanding. God's immanence means that he can be known, perceived, or grasped. For example, because Jesus Christ is God incarnate (in the flesh), he was immanent among people who knew him, perceived him, or experienced him with one or more of their five senses in the first century.
The Christian Worldview maintains that God is transcendent, despite the fact that Jesus Christ was imminent throughout his earthly life. God's transcendence implies that he is separate from us and beyond our comprehension. Despite the fact that Jesus was among us, the Triune God is bigger, greater, and more glorious than anything that human humans can comprehend.
Goodness, truth, and beauty are three attributes that have been referred to as transcendentals throughout philosophical history. These traits are immanently perceivable, but they are also transcendent in that they cannot be entirely perceived, possessed, or known. I can recognize goodness when I encounter it, such as in a good dinner or a good conversation, but goodness itself is not completely realized in those things and did not originate in a good meal or a good conversation. Goodness must originate elsewhere, and a nice meal or discussion echoes or reflects goodness, but never in its whole.
In the Christian worldview, God is complete kindness. God is the source of all truth. God is a thing of beauty. We are experiencing God when we encounter these immanent attributes of God in our life, but it is merely a mirror or echo of who God is. God's love, truth, and beauty are beyond his creation and cannot be fully comprehended by it.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD in Isaiah 55:8-9. “My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your ideas, just as the skies are higher than the earth.” The biblical notion of God's transcendence is echoed in this line. He is greater, higher, and more than humans can comprehend. Humanity has restrictions and boundaries, but God is greater than those constraints. God's thoughts and ways are greater than humanity's because he exists outside of the constraints that humanity encounters as part of the creation order. As a creator, he stands apart.
Both God's immanence and transcendence are motives for humanity's devotion. Because the creator God of the universe has made Himself known to humanity, humanity worships the immanence of God. Humanity worships God, the transcendent God, because they recognize him as the creator and sustainer of the cosmos, as well as the source of life and all good gifts, and as being bigger and greater than anything they would ever be able to fathom.
- God, in Martin Davie, ed., New Dictionary of Theology: Historical and Systematic, second ed. (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2016), 1. S. R. Holmes, God, in Martin Davie, ed., New Dictionary of Theology: Historical and Systematic, second ed. (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2016), 1.
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Why is transcendence important?
Self-transcendence, according to Maslow, provides the individual with what he refers to as “enlightenment.” “They have “peak experiences” in which they are able to perceive things from a different perspective and transcend their own personal problems. Strong positive emotions such as joy, peace, and a well-developed sense of awareness are frequently evoked by these experiences (Messerly, 2017).
A person who is very self-transcendent may also have these feelings “plateau experiences,” in which they retain or enter a level of serenity and elevated perspective on a consistent basis (Messerly, 2017).
When Maslow's theory is quoted in the literature, his addition of self-transcendence to the pyramid is not always noted, but it has made its way through the research community nonetheless. It has been discussed in a number of research streams, but it is arguably most well-known in the nursing research community.
What are the characteristics of transcendence?
“Transcendence refers to the greatest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human awareness, behaving and connecting to oneself, significant others, other humans, other species, nature, and the universe as ends rather than means.”
What are the possibilities of transcendence?
This chapter delves into the concept of transcendence, concentrating on the possibility of connecting with “higher energies” beyond the confines of the ego. The arts provide one location for the (potential) action of such higher energies; music, in particular, has long been regarded as a key component in establishing such communication. In addition, William James and others investigated mystical, spiritual, and religious experiences in the hopes of better understanding both the essence of human nature and the probable connection between the human and the divine. Both aesthetic and religious experiences, according to James, point to the (potential) existence of a higher, transcendent universe that is both parallel to and distinct from the one we live in. We have an important vehicle for thinking about the human situation in hand if we entertain this option.