Shakti – New technology for spiritual process.
Todd Murphy Researching
Behavioral Neuroscientist Laurentian University
Behavioral neurosciences program Associate researcher.
www.spiritualbrain.com (Part 2 of 5)
Some years later, while reading about near-death experiences (NDEs), I read an account of an NDE that included a story of being in an infinite, black the void with a tiny, brilliant point of light in the center. At last, I had some point of reference for the experience that had so shattered me as a child. Whatever it was, it could appear during the human death process. I was very excited, and of course I wanted to know more. I found a couple of fragmentary reports that were similar in the works of Wilder Penfield, the Canadian neurosurgeon who first mapped the brain’s surface by stimulating it with an electrode, and then observing the patient’s response. I wasn’t really looking to understand my own experiences so much as to understand what science had to say about death and dying in the human species. NDEs seemed to offer the best evidence about that. And so it seemed a simple enough thing to do to watch television documentaries on the subject. One of them was to completely change my life. I was staying at a friend’s house for the week end, watching a program that featured near-death experiencers telling their stories.
It featured a segment filmed in a Canadian Neuroscience Laboratory. A man was shown wearing a motorcycle helmet and a blindfold. to describe experienced by saying that he felt himself to be in infinite black space with a tiny point of light, very very bright, at the center. Now, I was really excited. I knew that I was being shown an experiment, and that all experiments are guided by theories. Beside myself with excitement, I stood up and kept watching the documentary.
Then, someone entered the room and told me to turn off the television because it was going to keep them awake. I ask to be allowed to keep watching it long enough to find out the name of the Researcher, but I was told that I was being “too attached”. To my vast disappointment, they shut off the television. I walked away from the TV thinking: “THAT’S what I want to do with the rest of my life. Whatever that man is using to create such experiences reflects a whole science, not just the specific experiment I saw.”
A couple of months later, I read a book that mentioned this line of research, and gave me the name of the Researcher. Dr. Michael A. Persinger.
30 minutes later, I was in a medical library reading a list of Persinger’s Publications. I was amazed by two things. The first of them was the subjects mentioned in the titles. Out-of-body experiences. Paranormal phenomena. Precognition and precognitive dreams. Meditation. The other amazing thing was that his methodology was completely conservative. He wasn’t explaining anything in terms of orgone energy, kundalini, Chi, Prana, or parts of the brain labeled God-module’ or “The circuit Boards of Mysticism.”
Some of these concepts are totally valid, but they’re still controversial. Ordinarily, that can be a good thing. But nothing seems to inspire scepticism and ridicule from scientists like efforts towards the integration of science with spirituality. But Persinger had found a way out. He published quite a lot of papers correlating religious and mystic experiences with patterns of neural activity. Now, by itself, this might have created a certain amount of hostile criticism. Except for one thing. He didn’t study religious and psychic experiences. He studied the “propensity to report” them. And that’s sound methodology. Talking about religious and spiritual experiences is one of the most common human behaviors known. Everybody does it at some point in their lives, if only to express disbelief, and all human cultures (excepting a few communist regimes) support it. A statistical study of the people who make such reports is totally sound science. On reflection, it seems strange that nobody thought of it before. What he concluded was that religious experiences were more likely to happen for people whose brains put them on the high end of a spectrum; one that includes TLE at one of it’s extreme ends. Now, it was beginning to make sense.
Mystic experiences share a lot in common with seizures and NDEs because the human death process requires the human brain to be pre-wired for certain experiences. When a seizure recruits one of these areas, it includes whatever phenomena that area supports. In one place, it might be an OBE. In another, it might be a being made of light. This explains why only some TLE seizures elicit mystic and religious experiences.
Copyright: Todd Murphy, Author and AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2006) Granada Hills, CA. All rights reserved.