Where Does the Brain Process Spiritual Experiences?

The practice of spirituality has long existed, but now we can see the brain and spirituality connection through scientific inquiry. This connection allows for the study of religion, meditation, and ritual practice like never before as it shows how these phenomena affect the physical body and mind.

Definition Of Spiritual Experiences

People are attracted to religion or to spiritual ceremonies because it provides a feeling of oneness and euphoria. Even the simplest form of inquiring beyond day-to-day tasks can lead to the sense of belief in something higher than mundane existence. Some people take the task of spiritual enlightenment seriously through vigorous mediation, singing, chanting, fasting, and praying. The goal in any of these practices is to reach a higher state of consciousness. To do so means to stop parts of the thought process that leads to negativity, obsession, and materialism. The method of spiritual experience begins with physical duty, which ultimately leads to a mental alteration.

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Physical Effects

According to Science Daily, a Yale University study found that test subjects who recalled spiritual experiences produced similar brain activity in the parietal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for the concept of self and awareness of others, according to TheAtlantic.com. There are also other parts of the brain that stimulate speech, which through spiritual activity either decrease or increase in activity. The result depends upon the physical stimuli. For instance, meditation and forms of concentration activate the front part of the brain while chanting or speaking in tongue decreases this area’s sensations.

The environment and genetic make-up of people who practice spirituality can also affect aspects of the brain function. Either as a social norm or a trait passed on from another generation, the more exposure one has to religion or spirituality, the greater influence it has on their lifestyle.

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Perception Change

Channeling certain parts of the brain during a spiritual experience can alter one’s perception of reality. This occurs by naturally relieving stress, creating positive reactions, and igniting empathetic emotions. Continuous spiritual practice can lead to long-term personality changes as certain parts of the brain can easily be accessed with less effort.

People who are open to awakening their consciousness can also be more prone to change. Adaptability flows as spiritual enlightenment creates a sense of unity with all living things. Questions may become answers as the brain is challenged through thought yet liberated through acceptance.

As reported in The Huffington Post, a study at Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine discovered that many people report a sense of awakening from a dream after experiencing a spiritual revelation. This realization often causes significance life changes to occur. Often a feeling of in-authenticity is generated as people catch a glimpse of their true selves.

Spirituality is still not an objective subject as it all depends upon the individual experience. One thing is for certain: that the brain and spirituality work together to generate both a physical and mental transformation.