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A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment

A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment
enlightenment neuroscience default mode network
Answer
6/15/17 4:35 PM
Recently, I became very curious about bridging science and enlightenment. So, I went through many articles, books, scientific papers etc that have addressed this subject so far and tried to create a synthesis. 

I put together everything in one article, citing all the sources. You can read it here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/is-there-a-scientific-evidence-for-spiritual-enlightenment/

It is very long one but I hope you enjoy it.

RE: A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment
Answer
6/15/17 5:32 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
This is cool, thanks.  Maybe post a 1 paragraph summary & a 5 paragraph summary.

RE: A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment
Answer
6/17/17 11:20 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Noah D:
This is cool, thanks.  Maybe post a 1 paragraph summary & a 5 paragraph summary.


Sure, I can explain the gist of it in a nutshell.. The whole duality is created by something called left-brain interpretor in the left hemisphere of the brain. The left-brain interpretor is what divides the world into 'me' vs 'world', good vs bad. and 'how I am' & 'how I want to be'.. It is interested in categorising things and try to find a meaning in everything. It creates the whole story of 'me', a personal identity...

And according to the principle of operant conditioning, there arises a need to protect and enhance this self-concept, the personal story of the illusory identity. i.e anything that enhances the self-concept is rewarding and anything that damages our self-image is painful. Soon, a structure in the brain called amygdala starts to react to every threat for the self-image. This is what creates suffering.

There is already a strong evidence for the fact that mindfulness increases well-being, helps in emotional regulation and changes the perspective of self. Continous practise of mindfulness rewires the brain and helps us find the way out of suffering. Also, this change brought about by mindfulness can be directly observed in the brain. Since enlightenment breaks the walls of the illusory idenity, it should reduce all the self-referential thoughts. A network called default mode network in the brain is responsible for all the mind wandering, rumination and self-referential thoughts that happens in our mind. Long term meditators and enlightened people have very little or sometimes no activity in the default mode network. Also, they have a small amygdala that has week connections to the higher parts of the brain, which shows that the suffering has been reduced.

I have also included some links to various studies that have been conducted and the various ways enlightenment has been defined..

RE: A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment
Answer
6/16/17 12:06 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
Thanks for sharing. I haven't the time to read it right now but it looks very interesting. Will get back to it later.

RE: A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment
Answer
6/16/17 6:49 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
I've enjoyed reading your blog posts. Some of them are very well articulated and a refreshing read. I particularly like that they offer a different reality model than the default one my mind likes to resort to which is helpful in breaking down resistant patterns of thought.

It also puts into perspective (but in an intellectual context ironically), just how vast and unexpected the enlightenment experience can potentially be. I think we have a habit of thinking that it is just our gross thoughts or senses that change within our experience, but when prolonged mindfulness offers us some sort of a cognitive separation between our beliefs and experiences, the sense of a universe is a very different one, but our left brain is unchanged by this which offers continuity in a progressively changing scenario.

This leads me to feel that we obviously (I speak from my own limited understanding) haven't got a murkiest idea what this headcase of a cosmos is all about, and unless any fully enlightened scientists know otherwise, we will possibly have no hope of ever finding out.

My mind is ticking over this, definitely room for getting some interesting insight, but it's far too comfortable with the highschool universe I've been brought up in, and I can't be bothered to suffer the "ego wants to get outside the ego" trap in the process hehe.

RE: A scientific explanation of spiritual enlightenment
Answer
6/17/17 11:21 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Thanks for you detailed feedback Dom Stone..