Faith Wiring

Faith Wiring in the Brain?

 

A look at research in the new field of Neurotheology asking the question: Is there a biological basis for spirituality?

This article is adapted from a workshop given by Sara Blackstock at the 2001 Santa Cruz summer study session.

8/8/2001
FAITH WIRING IN THE BRAIN?
A Look at Research in the new field of Neurotheology asking the question:
Is there a biological basis for spirituality?

This article is adapted from a workshop given by Sara Blackstock at the 2001 Santa Cruz summer study session.

My interest in brain research began many years ago paralleling my interesting in the development of children. Over the 30 years that I have worked with 1000’s of children and their parents in education, I have been increasingly concerned about the imbalance of interest that parents have in their children learning the three R’s and facts, as compared to the development of their emotional, social, and spiritual intelligence.

This is not necessarily a workshop geared for parents, but has stemmed from my desire to work with parents, giving them information especially from the fields of science, psychology, and psychology, as they sort out their confusion about religion and spirituality. In my job as director of a large school age day care center located on the public school ground it is not wise to be too directly religious or spiritual. We are not connected with any religious organization and parents seem leary of conversations about religion, and yet it becomes more and more obvious that their children yearn for some form of spiritual guidance, expression, rituals and myths. The ones who send their children to Sunday school seem to feel that takes care of the spiritual realm or at least their feelings that they should “do something.” So when I came upon the information on Spiritual Intelligence and the God Spot, I was thrilled for here was “scientific proof” that part of the brain responds to spiritual symbols, meditation, and deep questions about life and the meaning thereof. And I found that parents are very interested in research, especially brain research and found the information that a part of the brain seems wired to deal with the very questions which they did not know how to handle – often found in the question: “Should I do something about my child’s religious education? At another time I would like to gear the following information more specifically to parents.

The information from science brings the physical aspect of the brain into a fascinating connection with the spiritual realms, and helps me with continued exploration of one of my favorite quotes:
“It is to the mind of perfect poise,
housed in a body of clean habits,
stabilized neural energies,
and balanced chemical function –
when the physical, mental and spiritual powers
are in triune harmony of development –
that a maximum of light and truth
can be imparted
with a minimum of temporal danger or risk
to the real welfare of such a being.
By such a balanced growth
does man ascend
the circles of planetary progression
one by one, from the seventh to the first.”
The Urantia Book (110:6.4)

SOURCES OF THIS WORKSHOP
Primarily from SQ – Spiritual Intelligence, The Ultimate Intelligence by Danah Zohar and Dr. Ian Marshall, Why God Won’t Go Away by Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Eugene D’Aquili, M.D., Ph.D., and Vince Rause, and How to Know God – the Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries by Deepak Chopra. There are many, many more books on this subject. ..one I didn’t get ahold of but want to: Zen and the Brain, written in the late 1980’s. A new one sounds very interesting: Neurotheology: Virtual Religion in the 21st Century by Lawrence McKInney, Director of the American Institute of Mindfulness.

DEFINITIONS, STUDIES AND RESEARCH FINDINGS
Neurotheology – is a discipline dedicated to understanding the complex relationship between spirituality and the brain; a “probe into the biology of religious experience”; a look at the brain’s spirituality circuit.
“Analyzing the brain state of spiritual practices started in the 1960’s when researchers form the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan., first went to India to record the brain waves of yogis.” Says Laurence McKinney. He claims his group first coined the tern ‘neurotheology in the 1980’s.

A. PRESENTATION OF BRAIN MAPS

* Neurons – “The basic functional unit of the human nervous system” (24). In primitive organisms the worm’s nervous system is comprised of just one simple string of nerve cells. As we go up the scale of evolutionary creatures the neural strings begin to loop and tangle as elaborate networks evolve and the neural cells increase in number until in the human they reach billions.

* Axon of one neurone or group of neurones stimulates the dendrites of the next one or group and an electrochemical signal passes along the chain of linked neurones being employed for any though or series of thoughts.” 46 SQ
The worm can only decipher the crudest elements in its environments, allowing for only approach/avoid reactions. (16) Why God

* Sensors in the skin, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose gather information. This information is passed along the neural system “in the form of billions of tiny bursts of electrochemical energy” (24) Inside the brain this information goes to the part of the brain that deals with it. Information from the eyes goes to the visual systems of the brain and so forth. After these individual impulses are “sorted, cross-referenced, amplified or inhibited, integrated with input from emotional centers and other senses, and finally assembled into a perception that has a useful, individual meaning to the owner of that particular brain.” (24)
* A ways down the neural tracks the “…sensory perceptions move to the association areas, where more sophisticated processing occurs.” There are 4 of these association areas and they are the most complex neurological structures of the brain.”It is in these areas where eventually meaning is derived from the initial sensory input through associating with input from other parts of the brain.

These four areas located in the cerebral cortex are:
1. Visual association area
2. Orientation association area – defining the self
3. The attention association area – the seat of the will
4. Verbal conceptual association area – naming the world.
The goal of these 4 areas is the same: to process and integrate information so as to “enrich our understanding of the world outside the skull by identifying specific objects and determining what our emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses to them should be.” (27) Why God

QUESTION: Which of these areas might be used:
1. to increase our spiritual insight
2. By spiritual agencies such as the Thought Adjuster, Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the 7 adjutant spirits

1. VISUAL ASSOCIATION AREA:
This area seems to play a prominent role in religious and spiritual experiences that involve visual imagery and this area is closely tied to the brain’s memory banks so it seems that stored visions are remembered and associated. Take a simple candle used by a family to celebrate or acknowledge the coming of the TA to their child. The optic nerve brings electrochemical impulses streaming into the brain. These impulses arrive in the cortex and in the primary visual area are translated into crude visual elements – maybe just a jumble of lines, shapes, and colors. These are further organized in a secondary area and a recognizable image begins to form. And even though this finished image may be accessible to the conscious mind, the brain will need to combine that image with components of memory and emotion which will allow association to be made and for the image to be made meaningful. This final stage is carried out in the visual association area where the original image in combined with input from other parts of the brain “giving it dimensional fullness and emotional meaning.” 26 If there has been positive experiences associated with the image of a candle – a feeling of love and security, or worship and thanksgiving, of words of praise and prayer, you can imagine how powerful the image of a lit candle can become.

Researchers have also been able to produce religious experiences or visions by stimulating the temporal lobes; creating a sense of the self departing the body: “I was along upon the seashore…I felt that I…returned from the solitude of individuation into the consciousness of unity with all that is…Earth, heaven and sea resounded as in one vast world encircling harmony…I felt myself one with them.”

2. THE ORIENTATION ASSOCIATION AREA
Situated in the posterior section of the parietal lobe (the top and back of the brain) this area receives input from the sense of touch as well as vision and hearing. Together these three sensory modalities give this area the ability to create a three-dimensional sense of “body” and to orient that body in space.” 28
This area process information about space and time and the orientation of the body in space – where our body ends and the rest of the world beings.

The researchers believe the orientation association area is “extremely important in the brains’ sense of mystical and religious experiences, which often involve altered perceptions of space and time, self and ego. Since the orientation association area is instrumental in shaping these basic perceptions, it must somehow be an integral part of spiritual experience.” 29 And you will see in a minute how this area is affected by the perceptions of the meditating monks.

This is the part of the brain that is affected by rituals – drumming, dancing, incantations, chanting, whispered ritualistic prayer, and liturgy, – because they rivet attention on a single intense source of sensory stimulating. This focused attention plus heightened emotion seems to drive the brain’s arousal system into hyperdrive, much as intense fear does. Newberg explains that when this happens “one of the brain structures responsible for maintaining equilibrium – the hippocampus – puts on the brakes, inhibiting the flow of signals between neurons causing certain areas of the brain to be deprived of neuronal input. The area most affected is this orientation area – the one that goes quiet during meditation and prayer – the boundaries of self are “softened”. The above work their magic on the hippocampus turning on this area and blocking neuronal traffic to other areas, specifically the orientation area.

These “unitary states are the primary goal of religious ritual” says Newberg.

The Urantia Book:
500,000 the 100 were organized in 10 councils. One of these was the college of revealed religion. Hap was the head of this council and he “yielded to the desire of the inhabitants of the city for the establishment of a form or religious service. His group provided the Dalmations with the seven chants of worship and also gave them the daily praise-phrase….”747/66:5.14

3. THE ATTENTION ASSOCIATION AREA: The Seat of the Will

This is also known as the prefrontal cortex. “..Plays a major role in governing complex, integrated bodily movements and behaviors with attaining goals.” This area helps us move towards a chosen destination (Paradise perhaps). The attention area “seems to be critically involved in organizing all goal-oriented behaviors and actions, even purposefully directed patterns of thought…” “…A number of researchers think of the attention area as the neurological seat of the will.” Helps sort out redundant noises – why we can read a book in a noisy restaurant, or a child can daydream with a teacher talking or kids. Much is found out about the brain by looking at damage to certain areas. Damage to this area are not able to plan a schedule for the day, may experience a profound indifferent to events around, an emotional flatness, a lack of will.

During certain types of meditation particularly Zen mediation, the electrical activity in the frontal lobe changes. “The frontal lobes are involved in the processing and control of emotion….” It is believed that the attention association area is activated during spiritual practices is because this area is heavily involved in emotional responses and “religious experiences are usually highly emotional”

The UB: “The divine spirit makes contact with mortal man, not by feelings or emotions, but in the realm of the highest and most spiritualized thinking. It is your thoughts, not your feelings, that lead you Godward. …… Such religious experiences result from the impress made upon the mind of man by the combined operations of the Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth as they function amid and upon the ideas, ideals, insights and spirit striving of the evolving sons of God.” 1104/101:1.3

4. THE VERBAL CONCEPTUAL ASSOCIATION AREA: Naming and cataloguing the world.
“Located at the junction of the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes, is primarily responsible for generating abstract concepts and for relating those concepts to words.” Here is where most of the cognitive operations requiring the use of and comprehension of language reside.
Comparison of concepts
ordering of opposites
naming of objects and categories
high order grammatical and logical functions.

Crucial to the development of consciousness.
The verbal conceptual area is “important in religious experience, since almost all religious experiences have a cognitive or conceptual component – that is, some part that we can think about the understand.” 31 Myth creation and its expression in ritual is associated with this area.

“These four association areas are the most complex neurological structures in the brain. Their rich, fully integrated perceptions allow us to experience reality as a vivid, cohesive whole that flows smoothly and comprehensibly from one moment to the next. The fuller these perceptions, the greater our chances for survival, which is the ultimate goal of all the neurobiological workings of the brain.” 32

Goal of the brain:
“The goal of every living brain, no matter what its level of neurological sophistication, from the tiny knots of nerve cells that govern insect behavior on up to the intricate complexity of the human neocortex, has been to enhance the organism’s chances of survival by reacting to raw sensory data and translating it into a negotiate rendition of a world.”
Pg.15 Why God Won’t Go Away

QUESTION: Which of these areas might be used:
1. to increase our spiritual insight
2. By spiritual agencies such as the Thought Adjuster, Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the 7 adjutant spirits

Even though we are told again and again in the UB that we humans with our limited mortal minds cannot conceptualize many things that the revelators are attempting to tell us, look at what they have presented to us which they must think in some way or another we will be able to conceptualize – the actual journey to Paradise, and attaining perfection, and the grand universe, and the God within. I believe that fact of the UB appearing on our planet shows us what our brain/mind system is capable of, even if it is only a limited degree compared to what it really is like. WE can anticipate and plan for our journey, not only on this planet but through 100’s of worlds. Our TA can give us picturizations of destiny:

“We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth, and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of personal religious experience – God-consciousness.” 17/F:XII

B. THE RESEARCH AND STUDIES
1. Tibetan Monks
With the MRI scans which begun in the 60’s, neurobiologists have been able to look into almost every nook and cranny of our brains. When an area of the brain lights up on these scans, it means that more energy is being used in that area.
The brain activity of 8 individual Tibetan Buddhists deep in their meditation practice was caught on a SPECT scans. The Buddhists reported they felt “actively blissful”, “profoundly calm yet highly alert and intensly aware”.

In this experiment a string was the connecting link between the researchers and one of the meditating Buddhists. The authors sat on the other side of a door with the twine wrapped around his finger and the Buddhist was to tug on the twine when his meditative state is approaching its transcendent peak. When the meditator was at this “peak moment of spiritual intensity” he experiences his inner self as more real than the outside world, he feels that a deeper, simpler part of himself emerges”, that this is his truest part of himself”, “the very essence of his being’. “There is a sense of timelessness and infinity”, “Like I am part of everyone and everything in existence.” (2)

When the researchers felt the tug on the kite string, they inject a radioactive material into a long intravenous line that also runs into Robert’s room and into a vein in his left arm.” They wait for him to finish his meditation and then whisk him away to a room in the hospital’s Nuclear Medicine Department, where a massive state-of-the-art SPECT camera awaits. SPECT images give a picture of blood flow patterns in the brain cells. This camera is a high tech imaging tool that detects radioactive emissions.” It scans inside Robert’s head and locates the radioactive tracer which is carried by blood flow. This tracer locks into brain cells and remains there for hours. The scan images show unusual activity in a “small lump of gray matter nestled in the top rear section of the brain(posterior superior parietal lobe.)
The scans showed what was going on in the different association areas, specifically a slowing of activity in the orientation area.

Before meditation (normal state) the orientation area is a center of furious neruological activity which register red and yellow. After meditation, The orientation area was bathed in dark blotches of cool greens and blues indicating sharp reduction in activity levels. The meditators and the prayers said they felt “at one with the Universe”, the self is endless and interwoven with everyone and everything” This is the description of peak meditative and spiritual and mystical moments.

In the words of the Hindu Upanishads: As the river flowing east and west Merge in the sea and become one with it, Forgetting that they were ever separate rivers, So do all creature lose their separateness When they merge at last.” 7

Francisan praying nuns. Again the SPECT scans showed the same changes during the sister’s most intense religious moments, except the nuns described their experience as a “tangible sense of the closeness of God and a mingling with Him.” 7
The big question of the majority of the neurobiologists/neurotherologians is: IS THE BRAIN CAUSING THESE EXPERIENCES OR IS IT PERCEIVING SPIRITUAL REALITY?

Critique of the research in relation to what the UB says is religion: “True religion is not ….. a fantastic and mystic experience of indescribably feelings of ecstasy which can be enjoyed only by the romantic devotees of mysticism.” 1104/101:1.1

2. SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE – THE ULTIMATE INTELLIGENCE
Danah Zohar and Dr. Ian Marshall
Hypothesize a third intelligence and a third neural system
The God spot is an isolated module of neuronal networks in the temporal lobes. On scans taken with positron emission topography of these neural areas, This God spot lights up when research subjects are exposed to religious symbols or spiritual topics.

These authors take a more holistic view of the God spot.
THOUGHT OSCILLATIONS:

“Adam and Eve could communicate with each other and their immediate children over a distance of about fifty miles. This thought exchange was effected by means of the delicate gas chambers located in close proximity to their brain structures. By this mechanism they could send and receive thought oscillations.” 835/74:6.6

NEURAL OSCILLATIONS
Neurological studies of people who meditate, practices like Buddhist vipassana meditation or raja yoga, transcendental mediation create coherent brain waves across large areas of the brain (40 Hz)

Three forms of brain neural organization: From SQ 12
1. Serial neural connections – basis of our IQ. Serially connected tracts allow brain to follow rules, to think logically and rationally, step-by-step. SERIAL THINKING – Linear, logical, dispassionate; 2+2=4; Newtonian science; B always follows A. Off/on; either/or works within a set of rules; functions within boundaries; cannot scan horizon for new possibilities
2. Neural network organization – ASSOCIATIVE THINKING – bundles of up to a hundred thousand neurones are connected in haphazard fashion to other massive bundles. The basis of EQ, our emotion-driven, pattern-recognizing, habit-building intelligence. Emotional intelligence, links one emotion and another, emotions and bodily feelings, recognize patterns life faces or smells, thinking with the heart and the body – Molecules of Emotion – found throughout our bodies, same cells in the heart as are in the brain; can change patterns – “rewire themselves in dialogue with experience; trial and error, not connected with our language faculty
3. Unifying neural oscillations – UNITIVE THINKING /SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE – a process devoted to unifying and giving meaning to our experience – a neural process that literally binds our experience together. Can ask WHY? Can look for the connections between things, to bring to the surface the assumptions we have been making about the meaning behind and within things, to become more reflective, to reach beyond ourselves, take responsibility, to become more self-aware, more honest, more courageous, insightful, intuitive. Hopes, visions, values. Austrian neurologist Wolf Singer in the 1990’s. Can move the goal posts and play with boundaries and change the rules; understanding – a holistic experience – an ability to grasp the overall context that links component parts.

Hyperthinking – SQ – goldfish in a bowl. Physicist Michio Kaku; the fish from their present perspective have no sense that are inside a bowl or in water; this is their world and they take it for granted. In Kaku’s exampe, one of the fish takes a big leap that raises him above the surface and he looks around: “Ah!” he exclaims, “Look where I’ve come from. He now knows there is a bigger world and he recontextulizes his world view. (65) Our SQ allows for the recontextualizing, transformative power to exert itself on an almost daily basis…..looking afresh we see objects in new relationships to each other and their surroundings.”
Upanishads – ancient Hindu writings – “a turning about in the seat of consciousness” 66

C. WHAT SCIENCE AND THE RESEARCHERS DON’T KNOW AND CAN’T PROVE
“Always should the domains of the physical(electrochemical) and the mental response to environment stimuli be differentiated, and in turn must they all be recognized as phenomena apart from spiritual activities. The domains of physical, mental, and spiritual gravity are distinct realms of cosmic reality, notwithstanding their intimate interrelations.” 740/65:7.8

1. The role of PERSONALITIES in the creation of life and life patterns:
* Life flows from the Father through the Son and by the Spirit.
* The Master Spirits become a “sevenfold channel of this river of life which is poured out upon all creation.” 464
* The Creator Sons and the Universe Mother Spirit create their local universe;
* The Life Carriers physically organize the electrochemical formulas and organize the material form or physical patterns of living beings.
* The Mother Spirit breathes life into these patterns, providing the initial life spark; and bestows animal and human mind through the adjutant mind spirits;
2. Mind – the source of mind; cosmic mind and mortal mind
3. The indwelling spiritual forces which act in the mind

A chapter at the first of the book is titled: HOW THE BRAIN MADE ITS OWN MIND and the authors admit that “…neurology cannot completely explain how a nonmaterial mind can rise from mere biological functions; how the flesh and blood machinery of the brain can suddenly become ‘aware’. Science and philosophy, in fact, have struggled with the question for centuries, but no definitive answers have been found, and non is clearly on the horizon.” 32

The scientists trying to explain the beginning of the universe with the Big Bang.
theory are having the same problem.
In Why God….: Definitions of mind and brain: “The brain is a collection of physical structures that gather and process sensory, cognitive, and emotional data; the mind is the phenomena of thoughts, memories, and emotions that arise from the perceptual processes of the brain”. Pg. 33
“In simpler terms, brain makes mind. Science can demonstrate no way for the mind to occur except as a result of the neurological functioning of the brain. “ ….”Neurologically speaking, then, the mind cannot exist without the brain.”
In order to be fair to the authors however, in their notes they say “The other possibility, of course, is that a divine creator produced the wonderfully complex workings of the brain…..However, for the purposes of this book, we will use the scientific interpretation of evolutionary development.” 177

D. BENEFITS OF THE STUDIES AND RESEARCH
1. We can be encouraged that scientists are having serious dialogue about spirituality and what it is and how it affects us. Scientists are expressing great interest and concern about these studies. The rise in neurotheology represents a radical shift . 20 years ago when a practicing Christian psychologist tried to discuss the role of faith in people’s lives in his introductory psych book, his publisher edited most of it out.

A. Ramachandran, the senior scientist involved in locating the “G” Spot in the brain said: “We are skating on thin ice. We are only starting to look at this. The exciting thing is that you can even begin to contemplate scientific experiments on the neural basis of religion and God.”

B. Gene Rudd, M.D. associate executive director for the Christian Medical Association said that he finds the results quite exciting: “If I were God and I wanted my creation to have an intimate relationship with me, I wold probably wire their brains to find something very satisfying about having that experience.” He also goes on to say that although he is not intimidated by neurotheology, “at the same time, I want to stop well short of giving any real credibility to the idea. From a human wisdom/knowledge standpoint, this is just a flirtation of an idea. Any claim beyond that would be ridiculous. I think it falls short of scientific evidence.” He asks: “How can the neurotheologians explain the hope, the sacrifice, the courage, the joy, the love that are so much a part of who we are. Do all those other things just suddenly become brain synapses and chemical reaction?”
C. Kenneth L. Woodward, Newsweek religion editor: “The chief mistake these neurotheologians make is to identify religion with specific experiences and feelings. Losing one’s self in prayer may feel good or uplifting, but these emotions have nothing to do with how well we communicate with God. In fact, many people pray best when feeling shame or sorrow, and the sense that God is absent is not less valid than the experience of divine presence.” He goes on to say that the neurotheologians confuse spirituality with religion. “But doing the will of God – or following the dharma – involves much more than prayer and meditation. To see Christ in the person of an AIDS victim or to really love one’s enemy does not necessitate a special alteration in the circuits of the brain.”
D. Lawrence Sullivan, director of the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions said that there is danger “that our technologies and our conclusions won’t be equal to the richness and complexity of religion. Science has no way to prove or disprove a Creator, but finding unique patterns of brain activity corresponding to religious experience is entirely compatible with religious beliefs.”
E. The author of Why God Won’t Go Away address these skeptics: “Though they may argue that God lives only in the mind of the faithful, the opposite conclusion is equally valid. If there is a God, it makes perfect sense that He would create a way for us to communicate with Him.”1.
Newberg: “…spiritual experience, at its very root, is intimately interwoven with human biology”. “That biology, in some way, compels the spiritual urge.” (8)

2. A CARROT – Many people are interested in science and especially studies of the brain. This is a carrot to intrigue those who come at religion with this perspective (the scientist) to look further into the realm of the spiritual. The public is being brought into dialogue with the scientists and the philosophers, of which Deepak Chopra represents.
3. In order to access the “maximum of truth with the minimum amount of danger” we must realize and understand how intimately woven together are the physical and spiritual worlds of brain/mind/choice. Understanding how our brain works can help us pursue balance.

E. GROUP DISCUSSION
F. Conclusion

As with everything else in the body – hormones, eyes, fingerprints, skeletons, the brain is individualized and helps us to individualize our experiences. Everyone has a God spot and it certainly looks like this God Spot enables us to seek out our own relationship with God. If it were not for the ability of some part of the brain to channel, as it were, spiritual reality, the Thought Adjuster, Spirit of Truth, Holy Spirit, nor our guardian angels would not be able to be present for us and guide us. The TA leaves as soon as the electrical activity in the brain stops.

From a review on God and the brain in Newsweek by Anne Underwood: “For all the tentative successes that scientists are scoring in their search for the biolgical bases of religious, spiritual and mystical experience, one mystery will surely lie forever beyond their grasp. They may trace a sense of transcendence to this bulge in our gray batter. And they may trace a feeling of the divine to that bulge. But it is likely that they will never resolve the greatest question of all – namely, whether our brain wiring creates God, or whether created our brain wiring. Which you believe is in the end, a matter of faith.”

“Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.” “Bidden or not bidden, God is Present” Carl Jung had this carved over the front door of his house in Zurich and also engraved on his gravestone.

From the Workshop: FAITH WIRING IN THE BRAIN?
Sara Blackstock, Santa Cruz, CA Summer Urantia Study Session
8/10/2001

TO HELP YOU KEEP THINKING ABOUT THE BROADER IMPLICATIONS

QUOTES FROM The Urantia Book

“The divine spirit makes contact with mortal man, not by feelings or emotions, but in the realm of the highest and most spiritualized thinking. It is your thoughts, not your feelings, that lead you Godward. The divine nature may be perceived only with the eyes of the mind. But the mind that really discerns God, hears the indwelling Adjuster, is the pure mind. “Without holiness no man may see the Lord.” All such inner and spiritual communion is termed spiritual insight. Such religious experiences result from the impress made upon the mind of man by the combined operations of the Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth as they function amid and upon the ideas, ideals, insights, and spirit strivings of the evolving sons of God.” 1104/101:1.3
“Religion lives and prospers, then, not by sight and feeling, but rather by faith and insights.” (The rest of the paragraph is excellent too) 1104/101:1.4

As we make intellectual decisions, make moral choices, and develop spiritually, the Adjuster will be able to “…increasingly register his picturizations of destiny with augmenting vividness and conviction upon the evolving consciousness …” 1210/110:6.5

MIND
“The material mind of mortal man is the cosmic loom that carries the Morontia fabrics on which the indwelling Thought Adjuster threads the spirit patterns of a universe character of enduring values and divine meanings – a surviving soul of ultimate destiny and unending career, a potential finaltiter.” MIND ARENA OF CHOICE 1217/111:1

“Mortal mind is a temporary intellect system loaned to human being for use during a material lifetime, and as they use this mind, they are either accepting or rejecting the potential of eternal existence. Mind is about all you have of universe reality that is subject to your will, and the soul – the morontia self-will faithfully portray the harvest of the temporal decisions which the mortal self is making.

“ … The mortal mind is first personal and second is in contact with superanimal realities; it possesses a supermaterial endowment of cosmic ministry which insures the evolution of a moral nature capable of making moral decisions, thereby effecting a bona fide creative contact with the associated spiritual ministries and with the indwelling Thought Adjuster.” 1219/111:2.9

“From the seventh to the third circle there occurs increased and unified action of the seven adjutant mind-spirits in the task of weaning the mortal mind from its dependence on the reality of the material life mechanisms preparatory to increased introduction to morontia levels of experience. From the third circle onward the adjutant influence progressively diminishes.” 1211:110:6.20

“But mortal personality, through its own choosing, possesses the power of transferring its seat of identity from the passing material-intellect system to the higher morontia-soul system…..” 1232/112:5.4

“The seven adjutants have been given the following names; The spirit of wisdom, worship, counsel, knowledge, courage, understanding, intuition – of quick perception.” 378/34:4.7

Worlds of the Life Carriers – world number five – “…is concerned wholly with life associated with mind. …Mind such as man comprehends is an endowment of the seven adjutant mind spirits superimposed on the nonteachable or mechanical levels of mind by the agencies of the Infinite Spirit. The life patterns are variously responsive to these adjutants and to the different spirit ministries operating throughout the universe of time and space. The capacity of material creatures to effect spirit response is entirely dependent on the associated mind endowment….”399/36:2.11

BRAIN
“….functions of the neural circuits in the material human body: Sensations travel inward over the neural paths; some are detained and responded to by the lower automatic spinal centers; others pass on to the less automatic but habit-trained centers of the lower brain, while the most important and vital incoming messages flash by these subordinate centers and are immediately registered in the highest levels of human consciousness.” 85/7:3.4

“Those mental associations that were purely animalistic and wholly material naturally perished with the physical brain, but everything in your mental life which was worth while, and which had survival value, was counterparted by the Adjuster and is retained as a part of personal memory all the way through the ascendant career.” 535/47:3.5

“Urantians are of the two-brained type, somewhat more imaginative, adventurous, and philosophical than the one-brained mortals but somewhat less spiritual, ethical, and worshipful than the three-brained orders. “ ….”The third brain of the three-brained orders is best conceived as an evolvement of our lower or rudimentary form of brain, which is developed to the point where it functions chiefly in control of physical activities, leaving the two superior brains free for higher engagements; one for intellectual functions and the other for the spiritual counterparting activities of the Thought Adjuster.” 566/49:5.6

“….the ….endowment of mind is a bestowal of the adjutant mind -spirits in accordance with innate brain capacity. Mind, while not a physical evolution, is wholly dependent on the brain capacity afforded by purely physical and evolutionary developments.” 670/58:6.7

“The physical brain with its associated nervous system possesses innate capacity for response to mind ministry just as the developing mind of a personality possesses a certain innate capacity for spirit receptivity and therefore contains the potentials of spiritual progress and attainment. Intellectual, social, moral, and spiritual evolution are dependent on the mind ministry of the seven adjutant spirits and their superphysical associates.” 739/65:6.10

HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND PERSONALITY
“Human consciousness rests gently upon the electrochemical mechansim below and delicately touches the spirit-morontia energy system above. Of neither of thee two systems is the human being even completely conscious in his mortal life; therefore must he work in mind, of which he is conscious.” 111.1.5

“Human personality, while transcending its constituent parts, is dependent on them for functional identity. The stoppage of life destroys the physical brain patterns for mind endowment, and the disruption of mind terminates mortal consciousness.” 1235/112:5.14

SUPERCONSCIOUS REALM
“The unconscious nature of religious growth does not, however, signify that it is an activity functioning in the supposed subconscious realms of human intellect: rather does it signify creative activities in the superconscious levels of mortal mind.” 1096/100/1.8

“During the earlier times of racial evolution and even at the present time, in the day-by-day experience of the average mortal, prayer is very much a phenomenon of man’s intercourse with his own subconscious. But there is also a domain of prayer wherein the intellectually alert and spiritually progressing individual attains more or less contact with the superconscious levels of the human mind, the domain of the indwelling Thought Adjuster.” 997/91:2.6

“Prayer induces the human ego to look both ways for help: for material aid to the subconscious reservoir of mortal experience, for inspiration and guidance to the superconscious borders of the contact of the material with the spiritual, with the Mystery Monitor.” 998/91:3.5

“If one is disposed to recognize a theoretical subconscious mind as a practical working hypothesis in the otherwise unified intellectual life, then to be consistent, one should postulate a similar and corresponding realm of ascending intellectual activity as the superconscious level, the zone of immediate contact with the indwelling spirit entity, the Thought Adjuster.” (Goes on to talk about great danger, voice of God.) 1100/100:5.6

“Altogether too much of the uprush of the memories of the unconscious levels of the human mind has been mistaken for divine revelations and spirit leadings……Under no circumstances should the trance like state of visionary consciousness be cultivated as a religious experience. The characteristics of the mystical state are diffusion of consciousness with vivid islands of focal attention operating on a comparatively passive intellect. All of this gravitates consciousness toward the subconscious rather than in the direction fo the zone of spiritual contact, the superconscious.”…. The more healthful attitude of spiritual meditation is to be found in reflective worship and in the prayer of thanksgiving.” 1100/100:5.9,10

“Certain abrupt presentations of thoughts, conclusions, and other pictures of mind are sometimes the direct or indirect work of the Adjuster; but far more often they are the sudden emergence into consciousness of ideas which have been groups themselves together in the submerged mental levels, natural and everyday occurrences of normal and ordinary psychic function inherent in the circuits of the evolving animal mind.”…. “There exists a vast gulf between the human and the divine, between man and God. The Urantia races are so largely electrically and chemically controlled, so highly animallike in their common behavior, so emotional in the ordinary reactions, that it becomes exceedingly difficult for the Monitors to guide and direct them.” 1208/110:4.3,5

TRUE RELIGION IS:
“…establishment of an enduring unity in human experience, a lasting peace and a profound assurance.” 66

“Devotion of the self to the service of meaningful supreme values”. 1012
“…is the only power which can lastingly increase the responsibility of one social group to the needs and sufferings of other groups.” 1087

“…is a meaninful way of living dynamically face to face with the commonplace realities of every day life.” 1089

“…is to know God as your Father and man as your brother.” 1091

“..is a matter of personal spiritual experience – it is inevitable that each individual religionist must have his own and personal interpretation of the realization of that spiritual experience”. 1091

“..wholehearted devotion to some reality which the religionist deems to be of supreme value to himself and for all mankind.” 1100

“…is a living love, a life of service.” 1100

“ consists in the experience that “the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” 1107

“..is simply the experience of yielding intellectual loyalty to the highest dictates of spiritual consciousness.” 1115

“..is an experience of believing and knowing as well as a satisfaction of feeling.” 1142
“.. Is the act of an individual soul in its self conscious relations with the Creator.” 1616

MEDITATION:

Rodan: “Talking about Jesus: “Even now he is out in the hills taking in power while we are here giving out energy. The secret of all this problem is wrapped up in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a quesiton of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity.” 1778/160:3.1
Jesus to Peter after his resurrection: “Let experience teach you the value of meditation and the power of intelligent reflection.” 2048/192:2.2

Favoring meditation; 146:2.17, 133:4.10, 131:4.7, 91:7, 1-2, 100:1.8, 192:2.2, 160:3.1, 99:7.4, 195:6.7, 155:6.13, 160:1.10-12.

Cautions re meditation: “This living faith of Jesus was more than an intellectual reflection, and it was not a mystic meditation.” 196:0.4

“Mysticism, as the technique of the cultivation of the consciousness of the presence of God, is altogether praiseworthy, but when such practices lad to social isolation and culminate in relgious fanaticism, they are but reprehensible. Altogether too frequently that which the overwrought mystic evaluates as divine inspiration is the uprisings of his own deep mind. The contact of the mortal mind with its indwelling Adjuster, which often favored by devoted meditation, is more frequently facilitated by wholehearted and loving service in unselfish ministry to one’s fellow creatures.” 1000/91:7.1

“But the minds of greater spiritual illumination should be patient with, and tolerant of, those less endowed intellects that crave symbolism for the mobilization of their feeble insight. ….Those who are God-conscious without symbolism must not deny the grace-ministry of the symbol to those who find it difficult to worship Deity and to revere truth, beauty, and goodness without form and ritual.. In prayerful worship, most mortals envision some symbol of the object-goal of their devotions.” 91?5.7/ 873

FAITH IS:
“That faith is concerned only with the grasp of ideal values is shown in the New Testament definition which declares that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” 1091

“Reason is the method of science; faith is the method of religion; logic is the attempted technique of philosophy. Revelation compensates for the absence of the morontia viewpoint by providing a technique for achieving unity in the comprehension of the reality and relationships of matter and spirit by the mediation of mind.” 1106/101:2.2

“But living religious faith is more than the association of noble beliefs; it is more than an exalted system of philosophy; it is a living experience concerned with spiritual meanings, divine ideals, and supreme values; it is God-knowing and man-serving……. “….faith can rise up only in the heart of the individual religionist.” “Faith vitalizes religion and constrains the religionist heroically to live the golden rule.” 1115/101:8.3,4

“Faith is the act of recognizing the validity of spiritual consciousness – something which is incapable of other mortal proof.” 1140/103.7.13

“Religion (the truth of personal spiritual experience) is founded on the inherent (Thought Adjuster) assumption that faith is valid, that God can be known and attained.” 1142/103:9.8,11

“But truth can never become man’s possession without the exercise of faith. This is true because man’s thoughts, wisdom, ethics, and ideals will never rise higher than his faith, his sublime hope. And all such true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness. Faith is the inspiration of the spiritized creative imagination.” “Faith acts to release the superhuman activities of the divine spark, the immortal germ, that lives within the mind of man and which is the potential of eternal survival.” 1460/132:3.6
“Faith leads to knowing God, not merely to a mystical feeling of the divine presence.”

“Let the term ‘faith’ stand for the individual’s relation to God rather than for the creedal formulation of what some group of mortals have been able to agree upon as a common religious attitude.” “Have your faith? Then have it to yourself.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY

SOURCES FOR THIS WORKSHOP

1. Why God Won’t Go Away
Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Eugene D’Aquili, M.D., Ph.D., and Vince Rause

2. SQ – Spiritual Intelligence, The Ultimate Intelligence
Danah Zohar and Dr. Ian Marshall

3. How to Know God – the Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries Deepak Chopra., M.D.
Deepak Chopra offers a very nice transition from the science of the studies, into philosophy and spirituality.

4. Newsweek: God & the Brain – How We’re Wired for Spirituality
Sharon Begley

5. Molecules of Emotions – The Science behind Mind-Body Medicine
Candace B. Pert, Ph.D

6. The Urantia Book

“Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.”
“Bidden or not bidden, God is Present”

Carl Jung had this carved over the front door of his house in Zurich and also engraved on his gravestone.

“Always should the domains of the physical(electrochemical) and the mental response to environment stimuli be differentiated, and in turn must they all be recognized as phenomena apart from spiritual activities. The domains of physical, mental, and spiritual gravity are distinct realms of cosmic reality, notwithstanding their intimate interrelations.” 740/65:7.8