Biological Underpinnings for Spirituality
Posted by honestpoet on December 25, 2008
Because I recognize that our consciousness is centered in the brain, I always figured they’d eventually figure out how spirituality and the brain are related. Well, this article reports how they’ve shown that when an area in the right parietal lobe is suppressed (whether through lesion, injury, or meditation), one is more spiritual. It’s the “me-defining” area, so it makes sense, considering that the key to spirituality, as the various scriptures point out, is selflessness.
It’s way cool, imo, that they’re proving this scientifically. I was talking to my daughter yesterday about how important it is to fight our instincts for selfishness. Of course, Ayn Rand would roll over in her grave, and it’s true that martyrdom and survival are opposing goals, but it’s also true that for those for whom greed is a value, happiness is an unattainable goal. When one focuses constantly on the self and acquisition, enough is never enough, and happiness recedes from your approach like a mirage in the desert.
I also like it because it shows how even atheists can practice a beneficent spirituality (good for themselves and for others) without requiring them to subscribe to a belief in the supernatural that they find irrational and therefore unacceptable. The article also points out that this egolessness is sometimes experienced by appreciating — and “losing oneself in” — the beauty of nature or art, something I’ve long found to be personally rewarding.