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What is a Spiritual Experience? Part 2

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As long ago as the 1920s, scientists knew that applying an electric shock to nerve cells in the brain could generate a spiritual experience. Wilder Penfield found that by electrically stimulating the limbic cortex above the amygdala he could generate "spiritual" experiences in some subjects.

More recently, Michael Persinger of Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada, found a way to reliably generate spiritual experiences in people in his laboratory by focusing electromagnetic fields at specific parts of their brains. Persinger and his team used a helmet with solenoid coils to pulse electromagnetic fields into the temporal lobes of the subject. About 80% of volunteers who have worn the helmet have reported a presence of someone in the room with them, despite their being alone.

How do they do this? Persinger directs very weak currents, currents less than those in a hairdryer or a word-processor, to specific parts of the brain. The weak electromagnetic field imitates a brain wave pattern that is known to produce learning in the hippocampus. The pattern of the wave is more important than its intensity! The result is, he says, is "a synthetic ghost, a ghost generated by technology— in this case, the technology being the computer-generated electromagnetic fields through your brain. And the important thing is they were not very intense; they could be generated in nature, easily."

Persinger theorizes these electrical patterns shake-up your nerve networks, reroute electric impulses in the brain and release a flood of images that somehow entwines the subject's dream and waking states so they are perceived in tandem.

Interestingly, while the helmet generates spiritual experiences in most subjects, it does not create the same spiritual experience in every person. Everyone reports a different experience. He found the experience of each subject reflected their beliefs and cultural background. The more religious the person the more religious the experience, while atheists tend to sense a presence or detachment from their bodies. These differences are believed to be due to different neural pathways, the different ways the subjects have experienced the world and tagged their learning, memories and emotions. This indicates that personal knowledge and experience are important in developing spiritual experiences.

Persinger also notes "natural" spiritual experiences occur once every few years within the normal person. He suggests they are "precipitated by personal crises, such as the loss of a loved one (real or imagined) or the confrontation of an insoluble problem.
What is a spiritual experience? Part #2
As long ago as the 1920s, scientists knew that applying an electric shock to nerve cells in the brain could generate a spiritual experience. Wilder Penfield found that by electrically stimulating the limbic cortex above the amygdala he could generate "spiritual" experiences in some subjects.

More recently, Michael Persinger of Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada, found a way to reliably generate spiritual experiences in people in his laboratory by focusing electromagnetic fields at specific parts of their brains. Persinger and his team used a helmet with solenoid coils to pulse electromagnetic fields into the temporal lobes of the subject. About 80% of volunteers who have worn the helmet have reported a presence of someone in the room with them, despite their being alone.

How do they do this? Persinger directs very weak currents, currents less than those in a hairdryer or a word-processor, to specific parts of the brain. The weak electromagnetic field imitates a brain wave pattern that is known to produce learning in the hippocampus. The pattern of the wave is more important than its intensity! The result is, he says, is "a synthetic ghost, a ghost generated by technology— in this case, the technology being the computer-generated electromagnetic fields through your brain. And the important thing is they were not very intense; they could be generated in nature, easily."

Persinger theorizes these electrical patterns shake-up your nerve networks, reroute electric impulses in the brain and release a flood of images that somehow entwines the subject's dream and waking states so they are perceived in tandem.

Interestingly, while the helmet generates spiritual experiences in most subjects, it does not create the same spiritual experience in every person. Everyone reports a different experience. He found the experience of each subject reflected their beliefs and cultural background. The more religious the person the more religious the experience, while atheists tend to sense a presence or detachment from their bodies. These differences are believed to be due to different neural pathways, the different ways the subjects have experienced the world and tagged their learning, memories and emotions. This indicates that personal knowledge and experience are important in developing spiritual experiences.

Persinger also notes "natural" spiritual experiences occur once every few years within the normal person. He suggests they are "precipitated by personal crises, such as the loss of a loved one (real or imagined) or the confrontation of an insoluble problem.

Once again, we have things considered spiritual to be intertwined with energy...

Once again, we have things considered spiritual to be intertwined with energy...
 

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