Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View Your Religious Beliefs Alter Your Brain
6 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2009 - 8:35AM #1
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


An interesting article at ..."onClickUnsafeLink(event);">www.healthzone.ca/health/article/621471


What do you think?


C.H.
Beliefnet Host
Paganism Boards
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2009 - 9:39PM #2
samhainautumnwood
Posts: 666

Hey Creaky,


I like the report.


I've seen similar reports based on the results of using PET scans of both Buddhist monks and Catholic Nuns during prayer/meditation.


The key to happiness and health lie in the human brain.


The different religious practices (prayer, meditation, spell-work, ritual) are tools to tap into that ability of the brain.


As with any other tools, the results depend on how one uses them.


One can use a hammer to build a home for a homeless family, or one can use it in anger to cave in the skull of another human being.


All depends on choices...


The cause of most of our troubles is when we insist that other people use the exact hammer that we use because their hammer isn't real....


 


 


 

peace,

samhain autumnwood.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2009 - 10:23AM #3
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Thanks Samhain.


Brings to mind the 'gratitude attitude' way of living life, doesn't it?


Fascinating to consider that virtually every religion or faith system and/or magical system (I can't think of a workable exception) evokes an altered state of consciousness by various methods (prayer, meditation, visualisation, ritualistic participation) THAT fully engage the mind. Intriguing that the whole brain is affected and in a fundamental way, suggesting that spirituality is literally hard-wired into the human brain. While lasting positivity is constantly undermined by the post-40's 'self-help martyrdom' industry, positive-based spirituality it would seem can transcend 'personality' and tap directly into our 'values' instead.


Moreover the claim is that it isn't one's religion at all but what one is doing from within associated activities that are found with many faiths that seems to make the difference/changes in the brain. Individual commitment/belief as it were as the driver rather than collective consensus/belief. It also brings perhaps a bit of clarity about the linkage between extreme beliefs and the type of behaviours we label as extremist or even religious terrorism. As you say, insisting one use the same hammer has the result of damaging the brain of the one(s) doing the insisting.


UPG, I've experienced the difference over 20+ years that a daily meditative ritual makes within my life. Such activities and I would include the practice of whatever version of the Craft a Witch does as well, do become part of you.


Has that been your experience generally as well?


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2009 - 9:52PM #4
samhainautumnwood
Posts: 666

Hey Creaky,


I agree.


It's funny though. Not only do our habits (spiritual and otherwise) affect how brain works. But they also have an effect on those around us.


When ever I take my daughter out into the woods, I always say to her "welcome to my church".


She has learned to associate the forest with the sacred, and it has a soothing effect for her.


I can see her body language shift when ever we go to our usual hiking place, to a more relaxed posture.


Even though our spiritual exercises have a direct effect on our mental well-being, but since we're all interconnected, it has an effect on those around us as well...


 


 


 

peace,

samhain autumnwood.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2009 - 11:20AM #5
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Everything we do has consequences, one of the spiritual laws I am familiar with. The teeth behind the principle of self-responsibility as it were.


I experience that relaxation you described most profoundly at my lake-side cottage, which is fairly isolated. A heightened awareness filtered through my spiritual beliefs of how as a human being, I and everything around me should fit into and am part of the sacred natural world. Like your walks..:)


I have to work harder at maintaining that awareness within the city. Have you noticed that? Not sure whether you live in a city or not but even in one's home, one has to work harder at this than out in the woods. One has to deliberately look for and remain far more aware of nature within any man-crafted environment. Yet a city too like a house is not exempt from natural processes and nature or what we loosely term as nature remains always part of that synergy. 


Ones religious beliefs IMO are vital in this by crafting ones awareness and heightening ones relationship to that sacred synergy - however it is filtered and interpreted. Because if one does not perceive the sacred within nature, then one cannot perceive oneself as part of nature. When one does, the brain becomes fully engaged - within the moment wherever one is.


It isn't easy maintaining anything over the long term as I am sure you know. There are many things in modern life whose purpose is to distract and even try to turn off that awareness. One approach to dealing with such distractions is a form of parallelism, perhaps best exemplified by the Aboriginal Dreamtime or rather what we as Outsiders think we know about it. Living in a sacred landscape that interpenetrates what we call reality and living in both simultaneously. Another approach is to have a spirituality/faith that in itself so interpenetrates ones reality that either is inconceivable without the other. Again not easy to maintain and perhaps one of the reasons behind the wistful longing for retreats and spiritual enclaves where such distractions are minimized.


C.H.


 

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Quick Reply
Cancel
6 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2009 - 10:16PM #6
samhainautumnwood
Posts: 666

Apr 26, 2009 -- 11:20AM, CreakyHedgewitch wrote:


Everything we do has consequences, one of the spiritual laws I am familiar with. The teeth behind the principle of self-responsibility as it were.


I experience that relaxation you described most profoundly at my lake-side cottage, which is fairly isolated. A heightened awareness filtered through my spiritual beliefs of how as a human being, I and everything around me should fit into and am part of the sacred natural world. Like your walks..:)


I have to work harder at maintaining that awareness within the city. Have you noticed that? Not sure whether you live in a city or not but even in one's home, one has to work harder at this than out in the woods. One has to deliberately look for and remain far more aware of nature within any man-crafted environment. Yet a city too like a house is not exempt from natural processes and nature or what we loosely term as nature remains always part of that synergy...



I know what you mean about things being different in the city. I live in Baton Rouge (not a large city but a city none the less), and we're still pretty heavily tree'd ( a little less so after hurricane Gustav). I work close to a part of town that is refered to as the Garden District so the tree canopy is still pretty thick in areas. There is still the concrete/commercial barreness abounding though.


I wouldn't say that I have to work harder to maintain a sense of sacredness when surrounded by all the concrete, just have to look a little closer.


The concrete though "man made" is still a mixture of Mother Earth. I like to marvel at the different patterns of the rock that makes up the aggregate in it. Just like I marvel at the patterns in a creek bed.  As a child, I viewed the blade of grass forcing it's way up from the concrete as more divine than anything they tried to sell me on at my parent's church.


That was Life with a capital "L". Now I see it as Gaia (as in the Gaia Hypothesis). The Earth and Life interacting with each other, each shaping each other...


I feel my feet on the pavement and feel anchored to Her. Now, in the forest, I don't have to look as closely to see Her (there are more bugs buzzing in my ears - hence the Life is more diverse and readily visable). 


The hardest time I have maintaining that connection is when I'm working with certain patients.


I'm a nurse on a hybrid medical/sugical - psych unit where folks have a primary medical diagnosis and also a concurrent psych/cognitive/substance abuse diagnosis.


I'm finding myself getting very frustrated with my repeat substance abuse patients, specifically the ones with personality disorders. For someone honestly wrestling with addiction, I am 150% supportive and patient. It's the ones that don't want to get better and play the system to use the unit for a hiding place from dealers/police or a "hotel" when they've run out of money for food/drugs/shelter. Those I feel like I'm standing in the way of natural selection and am in opposition to Gaia.


It takes some mental gymnastics on my part to reconcile putting forth the effort to care for someone hell-bent on self-destruction. I keep telling myself that by caring for them, I am fullfilling my evolved purpose; we Homo sapiens take care of each other.  


Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't.  After 10 years on the unit, it works a bit less frequently...


 


 


 


 

peace,

samhain autumnwood.
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2009 - 2:29AM #7
Autumnbeth
Posts: 24

Oh my dear Samhain Autumnwood, it has been a long, long time. So nice to hear you again....


 I too find myself struggling with those that do not want to better themselves...just take what they can take and to hell with everything else. As time goes on, it does get harder and harder. I find myself asking the Goddess to redirect me...rid me of bitterness, anger, frustration and begin each day anew. I am trying not to become bitter....but I can certainly see why people become that way. I never felt that way before....not as intensely as I do now. I have no intention of letting it get worse either. No thanks, no bitterness for me.


As for feeling the sacredness of the earth....I see it in everything! I am constantly blown away by the beauty of this earth. The color of grass...the buds on the trees...earthy smells. I love that you tell your daughter "welcome to my church" that is awesome! I try to teach my sons that everything is sacred....take nothing for granted. Every year I plant a little more and more in my garden.....all I have to do is go outside and smell the lavender....the lilacs....and I am at peace.


I wish you well my friend. Blessings to you and yours.


Autumnbeth

Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  May 03, 2009 - 9:25PM #8
samhainautumnwood
Posts: 666

Apr 30, 2009 -- 2:29AM, Autumnbeth wrote:


Oh my dear Samhain Autumnwood, it has been a long, long time. So nice to hear you again....


 I too find myself struggling with those that do not want to better themselves...just take what they can take and to hell with everything else. As time goes on, it does get harder and harder. I find myself asking the Goddess to redirect me...rid me of bitterness, anger, frustration and begin each day anew. I am trying not to become bitter....but I can certainly see why people become that way. I never felt that way before....not as intensely as I do now. I have no intention of letting it get worse either. No thanks, no bitterness for me.


As for feeling the sacredness of the earth....I see it in everything! I am constantly blown away by the beauty of this earth. The color of grass...the buds on the trees...earthy smells. I love that you tell your daughter "welcome to my church" that is awesome! I try to teach my sons that everything is sacred....take nothing for granted. Every year I plant a little more and more in my garden.....all I have to do is go outside and smell the lavender....the lilacs....and I am at peace.


I wish you well my friend. Blessings to you and yours.


Autumnbeth




 


Hey Autumnbeth!


Good to see you again.


I need to learn from your example and get back into the garden (rebuild it to be honest).


My grandmother and aunt (though both Lutherans, were the biggest green-witches I'll ever see) both kept telling me "getting your hands into the soil is good for your soul".


Thanks for reminding me of that; the physical and pragmatic exercise of spirituality. I spend too much time in my head and not enough in the soil...


 

peace,

samhain autumnwood.
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  May 04, 2009 - 7:49AM #9
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


...for those of us balcony-challenged for gardening...just looking around even in the city reminds us.


The trees are all leafed now, the grass has greened with dandelions popping up on cue, robins are bobbing around, the forsythia is glowing and the magnolia tree down the block is in full glory...ah!


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Quick Reply
Cancel
5 years ago  ::  May 05, 2009 - 5:26PM #10
samhainautumnwood
Posts: 666

May 4, 2009 -- 7:49AM, CreakyHedgewitch wrote:


 


...for those of us balcony-challenged for gardening...just looking around even in the city reminds us.


The trees are all leafed now, the grass has greened with dandelions popping up on cue, robins are bobbing around, the forsythia is glowing and the magnolia tree down the block is in full glory...ah!


C.H.




 


The wilderness is alive (somewhat) in suburbia.


My daughter and I were driving back from dance class last week and had a small hawk swoop past with a mourning dove in it's talons.  Hunting during the five o'clock rush time.


A couple of days later we spotted a hawk (probably the same one since they're territorial) sitting on our fence. It just watched us pull up in the drive way and didn't fly off until we started to get out of the car.


Your writing about the dandilions just reminded me that it's thistle-whacking time. My daughter (now 16) loves to whack the tall bull thistle with my machete. I've let several of them grow up to about 4-5 feet just so she can take the machete to them. She's been doing that since she was little.


I've been on auto-pilot,  mowing around them for so long I don't even think about them anymore.

peace,

samhain autumnwood.
Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook