Category Archives: Spirituality

Roadmap To Mount Pineal?

 Every culture that has ever existed on Earth has had at least one Diety running the show, who is not of Earth,  have you ever wondered……why?

Newsweek Cover: ‘God & the Brain: How We’re Wired for Spirituality’

Maynard S. Clark MSClark@MEDIAONE.NET
Mon, 30 Apr 2001 00:58:43 -0700

Newsweek Cover: 'God & the Brain: How We're Wired for Spirituality'
New Field of 'Neurotheology' Links Brain Activity to Spiritual, Mystical
Experiences, Contemplation

NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- A new field of scientific research is
showing how the human brain responds to -- and may create -- religious
experiences and intimations of the divine. A slew of new books, scientific
publications and the establishment of research centers in "neurotheology"
are trying to identify what seems to be the brain's spirituality circuit,
and to explain how it is that religious rituals have the power to move
believers and nonbelievers alike, Newsweek reports in its cover package in
the May 7 issue (on newsstands Monday April 30).

(Photo: )

All the new research shares a passion for uncovering the neurological
underpinnings of spiritual and mystical experiences and for discovering
what happens in our brains when we sense that we have encountered a reality
different from the reality of an every-day experience, writes Senior Editor
Sharon Begley. In neurotheology, the study of the neurobiology of religion
and spirituality, psychologists and neurologists try to pinpoint which
regions of the brain turn on, and which turn off, during experiences that
seem to exist outside time and space. The studies try to identify the brain
circuits that surge with activity when we think we have encountered the
divine, and when we feel transported by intense prayer, an uplifting ritual
or sacred music.

Brain imaging techniques have enabled scientists to prove that spiritual
contemplation or a religious experience affects brain activity. What they
found is that as expected, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the seat of
attention, lit up, and what surprised them was the quieting of activity. A
bundle of neurons in the superior parietal lobe, toward the top and back of
the brain, went dark. This region, nicknamed the "orientation association
area," processes information about space and time, and the orientation of
the body in space. It determines where the body ends and the rest of the
world begins.

But, the bottom line, says Dr. Andrew Newberg of the University of
Pennsylvania, a radiology specialist, is that "there is no way to determine
whether the neurological changes associated with spiritual experience mean
that the brain is causing those experiences ... or is instead perceiving a
spiritual reality." In other words, as Begley writes, "it is likely that
they [scientists] will never resolve the greatest question of all --
namely, whether our brain wiring creates God, or whether God created our
brain wiring. Which you believe is, in the end, a matter of faith."

In a companion essay, Religion Editor Kenneth L. Woodward warns that the
problem with neurotheology is that it confuses spiritual experiences with
religion. "The most that neurobiologists can do is correlate certain
experiences with certain brain activity. To suggest that the brain is the
only source of our experiences would be reductionist," he argues.

(Articles attached. Read Newsweek news releases at Click "Pressroom.")

Religion and the Brain

By Sharon Begley

One Sunday morning in March, 19 years ago, as Dr. James Austin waited for a
train in London, he glanced away from the tracks toward the river Thames.
The neurologist -- who was spending a sabbatical year in England -- saw
nothing out of the ordinary: the grimy Underground station, a few dingy
buildings, some pale gray sky. He was thinking, a bit absent-mindedly,
about the Zen Buddhist retreat he was headed toward. And then Austin
suddenly felt a sense of enlightenment unlike anything he had ever
experienced. His sense of individual existence, of separateness from the
physical world around him, evaporated like morning mist in a bright dawn.
He saw things "as they really are," he recalls. The sense of "I, me, mine"
disappeared. "Time was not present," he says. "I had a sense of eternity.
My old yearnings, loathings, fear of death and insinuations of selfhood
vanished. I had been graced by a comprehension of the ultimate nature of

Call it a mystical experience, a spiritual moment, even a religious
epiphany, if you like -- but Austin will not. Rather than interpret his
instant of grace as proof of a reality beyond the comprehension of our
senses, much less as proof of a deity, Austin took it as "proof of the
existence of the brain." He isn't being smart-alecky. As a neurologist, he
accepts that all we see, hear, feel and think is mediated or created by the
brain. Austin's moment in the Underground therefore inspired him to explore
the neurological underpinnings of spiritual and mystical experience. In
order to feel that time, fear and self-consciousness have dissolved, he
reasoned, certain brain circuits must be interrupted. Which ones? Activity
in the amygdala, which monitors the environment for threats and registers
fear, must be damped. Parietal-lobe circuits, which orient you in space and
mark the sharp distinction between self and world, must go quiet. Frontal-
and temporal-lobe circuits, which mark time and generate self-awareness,
must disengage. When that happens, Austin concludes in a recent paper,
"what we think of as our 'higher' functions of selfhood appear briefly to
'drop out,' 'dissolve,' or be 'deleted from consciousness'." When he spun
out his theories in 1998, in the 844-page "Zen and the Brain," it was
published not by some flaky New Age outfit but by MIT Press.

Since then, more and more scientists have flocked to "neurotheology," the
study of the neurobiology of religion and spirituality. Last year the
American Psychological Association published "Varieties of Anomalous
Experience," covering enigmas from near-death experiences to mystical ones.
At Columbia University's new Center for the Study of Science and Religion,
one program investigates how spiritual experiences reflect "peculiarly
recurrent events in human brains." In December, the scholarly Journal of
Consciousness Studies devoted its issue to religious moments ranging from
"Christic visions" to "shamanic states of consciousness." In May the book
"Religion in Mind," tackling subjects such as how religious practices act
back on the brain's frontal lobes to inspire optimism and even creativity,
reaches stores. And in "Why God Won't Go Away," published in April, Dr.
Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania and his late collaborator,
Eugene d'Aquili, use brain-imaging data they collected from Tibetan
Buddhists lost in meditation and from Franciscan nuns deep in prayer to ...
well, what they do involves a lot of neuro-jargon about lobes and fissures.
In a nutshell, though, they use the data to identify what seems to be the
brain's spirituality circuit, and to explain how it is that religious
rituals have the power to move believers and nonbelievers alike.

What all the new research shares is a passion for uncovering the
neurological underpinnings of spiritual and mystical experiences -- for
discovering, in short, what happens in our brains when we sense that we
"have encountered a reality different from -- and, in some crucial sense,
higher than -- the reality of every-day experience," as psychologist David
Wulff of Wheaton College in Massachusetts puts it. In neurotheology,
psychologists and neurologists try to pinpoint which regions turn on, and
which turn off, during experiences that seem to exist outside time and
space. In this way it differs from the rudimentary research of the 1950s
and 1960s that found, yeah, brain waves change when you meditate. But that
research was silent on why brain waves change, or which specific regions in
the brain lie behind the change. Neuro-imaging of a living, working brain
simply didn't exist back then. In contrast, today's studies try to identify
the brain circuits that surge with activity when we think we have
encountered the divine, and when we feel transported by intense prayer, an
uplifting ritual or sacred music. Although the field is brand new and the
answers only tentative, one thing is clear. Spiritual experiences are so
consistent across cultures, across time and across faiths, says Wulff, that
it "suggest[s] a common core that is likely a reflection of structures and
processes in the human brain."

There was a feeling of energy centered within me ... going out to infinite
space and returning ... There was a relaxing of the dualistic mind, and an
intense feeling of love. I felt a profound letting go of the boundaries
around me, and a connection with some kind of energy and state of being
that had a quality of clarity, transparency and joy. I felt a deep and
profound sense of connection to everything, recognizing that there never
was a true separation at all.

That is how Dr. Michael J. Baime, a colleague of Andrew Newberg's at Penn,
describes what he feels at the moment of peak transcendence when he
practices Tibetan Buddhist meditation, as he has since he was 14 in 1969.
Baime offered his brain to Newberg, who, since childhood, had wondered
about the mystery of God's existence. At Penn, Newberg's specialty is
radiology, so he teamed with Eugene d'Aquili to use imaging techniques to
detect which regions of the brain are active during spiritual experiences.
The scientists recruited Baime and seven other Tibetan Buddhists, all
skilled meditators.

In a typical run, Baime settled onto the floor of a small darkened room,
lit only by a few candles and filled with jasmine incense. A string of
twine lay beside him. Concentrating on a mental image, he focused and
focused, quieting his conscious mind (he told the scientists afterward)
until something he identifies as his true inner self emerged. It felt
"timeless and infinite," Baime said afterward, "a part of everyone and
everything in existence." When he reached the "peak" of spiritual
intensity, he tugged on the twine. Newberg, huddled outside the room and
holding the other end, felt the pull and quickly injected a radioactive
tracer into an IV line that ran into Baime's left arm. After a few moments,
he whisked Baime off to a SPECT (single photon emission computed
tomography) machine. By detecting the tracer, it tracks blood flow in the
brain. Blood flow correlates with neuronal activity.

The SPECT images are as close as scientists have come to snapping a photo
of a transcendent experience. As expected, the prefrontal cortex, seat of
attention, lit up: Baime, after all, was focusing deeply. But it was a
quieting of activity that stood out. A bundle of neurons in the superior
parietal lobe, toward the top and back of the brain, had gone dark. This
region, nicknamed the "orientation association area," processes information
about space and time, and the orientation of the body in space. It
determines where the body ends and the rest of the world begins.
Specifically, the left orientation area creates the sensation of a
physically delimited body; the right orientation area creates the sense of
the physical space in which the body exists. (An injury to this area can so
cripple your ability to maneuver in physical space that you cannot figure
the distance and angles needed to navigate the route to a chair across the

The orientation area requires sensory input to do its calculus. "If you
block sensory inputs to this region, as you do during the intense
concentration of meditation, you prevent the brain from forming the
distinction between self and not-self," says Newberg. With no information
from the senses arriving, the left orientation area cannot find any
boundary between the self and the world. As a result, the brain seems to
have no choice but "to perceive the self as endless and intimately
interwoven with everyone and everything," Newberg and d'Aquili write in
"Why God Won't Go Away." The right orientation area, equally bereft of
sensory data, defaults to a feeling of infinite space. The meditators feel
that they have touched infinity.

I felt communion, peace, openness to experience ... [There was] an
awareness and responsiveness to God's presence around me, and a feeling of
centering, quieting, nothingness, [as well as] moments of fullness of the
presence of God. [God was] permeating my being.

This is how her 45-minute prayer made Sister Celeste, a Franciscan nun,
feel, just before Newberg SPECT-scanned her. During her most intensely
religious moments, when she felt a palpable sense of God's presence and an
absorption of her self into his being, her brain displayed changes like
those in the Tibetan Buddhist meditators: her orientation area went dark.
What Sister Celeste and the other nuns in the study felt, and what the
meditators experienced, Newberg emphasizes, "were neither mistakes nor
wishful thinking. They reflect real, biologically based events in the
brain." The fact that spiritual contemplation affects brain activity gives
the experience a reality that psychologists and neuroscientists had long
denied it, and explains why people experience ineffable, transcendent
events as equally real as seeing a wondrous sunset or stubbing their toes.

That a religious experience is reflected in brain activity is not too
surprising, actually. Everything we experience -- from the sound of thunder
to the sight of a poodle, the feeling of fear and the thought of a
polka-dot castle -- leaves a trace on the brain. Neurotheology is stalking
bigger game than simply affirming that spiritual feelings leave neural
footprints, too. By pinpointing the brain areas involved in spiritual
experiences and tracing how such experiences arise, the scientists hope to
learn whether anyone can have such experiences, and why spiritual
experiences have the qualities they do.

I could hear the singing of the planets, and wave after wave of light
washed over me. But ... I was the light as well ... I no longer existed as
a separate 'I' ... I saw into the structure of the universe. I had the
impression of knowing beyond knowledge and being given glimpses into ALL.

That was how author Sophy Burnham described her experience at Machu Picchu,
in her 1997 book "The Ecstatic Journey." Although there was no scientist
around to whisk her into a SPECT machine and confirm that her orientation
area was AWOL, it was almost certainly quiescent. That said, just because
an experience has a neural correlate does not mean that the experience
exists "only" in the brain, or that it is a figment of brain activity with
no independent reality. Think of what happens when you dig into an apple
pie. The brain's olfactory region registers the aroma of the cinnamon and
fruit. The somatosensory cortex processes the feel of the flaky crust on
the tongue and lips. The visual cortex registers the sight of the pie.
Remembrances of pies past (Grandma's kitchen, the corner bake shop ...)
activate association cortices. A neuroscientist with too much time on his
hands could undoubtedly produce a PET scan of "your brain on apple pie."
But that does not negate the reality of the pie. "The fact that spiritual
experiences can be associated with distinct neural activity does not
necessarily mean that such experiences are mere neurological illusions,"
Newberg insists. "It's no safer to say that spiritual urges and sensations
are caused by brain activity than it is to say that the neurological
changes through which we experience the pleasure of eating an apple cause
the apple to exist." The bottom line, he says, is that "there is no way to
determine whether the neurological changes associated with spiritual
experience mean that the brain is causing those experiences ... or is
instead perceiving a spiritual reality."

In fact, some of the same brain regions involved in the pie experience
create religious experiences, too. When the image of a cross, or a Torah
crowned in silver, triggers a sense of religious awe, it is because the
brain's visual-association area, which interprets what the eyes see and
connects images to emotions and memories, has learned to link those images
to that feeling. Visions that arise during prayer or ritual are also
generated in the association area: electrical stimulation of the temporal
lobes (which nestle along the sides of the head and house the circuits
responsible for language, conceptual thinking and associations) produces

Temporal-lobe epilepsy -- abnormal bursts of electrical activity in these
regions -- takes this to extremes. Although some studies have cast doubt on
the connection between temporal-lobe epilepsy and religiosity, others find
that the condition seems to trigger vivid, Joan of Arc-type religious
visions and voices. In his recent book "Lying Awake," novelist Mark Salzman
conjures up the story of a cloistered nun who, after years of being unable
to truly feel the presence of God, begins having visions. The cause is
temporal-lobe epilepsy. Sister John of the Cross must wrestle with whether
to have surgery, which would probably cure her -- but would also end her
visions. Dostoevsky, Saint Paul, Saint Teresa of Avila, Proust and others
are thought to have had temporal-lobe epilepsy, leaving them obsessed with
matters of the spirit.

Although temporal-lobe epilepsy is rare, researchers suspect that focused
bursts of electrical activity called "temporal-lobe transients" may yield
mystical experiences. To test this idea, Michael Persinger of Laurentian
University in Canada fits a helmet jury-rigged with electromagnets onto a
volunteer's head. The helmet creates a weak magnetic field, no stronger
than that produced by a computer monitor. The field triggers bursts of
electrical activity in the temporal lobes, Persinger finds, producing
sensations that volunteers describe as supernatural or spiritual: an
out-of-body experience, a sense of the divine. He suspects that religious
experiences are evoked by mini electrical storms in the temporal lobes, and
that such storms can be triggered by anxiety, personal crisis, lack of
oxygen, low blood sugar and simple fatigue -- suggesting a reason that some
people "find God" in such moments. Why the temporal lobes? Persinger
speculates that our left temporal lobe maintains our sense of self. When
that region is stimulated but the right stays quiescent, the left
interprets this as a sensed presence, as the self departing the body, or of

I was alone upon the seashore ... I felt that I ... return[ed] from the
solitude of individuation into the consciousness of unity with all that is
... Earth, heaven, and sea resounded as in one vast world encircling
harmony ... I felt myself one with them.

Is an experience like this one, described by the German philosopher Malwida
von Meysenburg in 1900, within the reach of anyone? "Not everyone who
meditates encounters these sorts of unitive experiences," says Robert K.C.
Forman, a scholar of comparative religion at Hunter College in New York
City. "This suggests that some people may be genetically or temperamentally
predisposed to mystical ability." Those most open to mystical experience
tend also to be open to new experiences generally. They are usually
creative and innovative, with a breadth of interests and a tolerance for
ambiguity (as determined by questionnaire). They also tend toward fantasy,
notes David Wulff, "suggesting a capacity to suspend the judging process
that distinguishes imaginings and real events." Since "we all have the
brain circuits that mediate spiritual experiences, probably most people
have the capacity for having such experiences," says Wulff. "But it's
possible to foreclose that possibility. If you are rational, controlled,
not prone to fantasy, you will probably resist the experience."

In survey after survey since the 1960s, between 30 and 40 percent or so of
those asked say they have, at least once or twice, felt "very close to a
powerful, spiritual force that seemed to lift you out of yourself." Gallup
polls in the 1990s found that 53 percent of American adults said they had
had "a moment of sudden religious awakening or insight." Reports of
mystical experience increase with education, income and age (people in
their 40s and 50s are most likely to have them).

Yet many people seem no more able to have such an experience than to fly to
Venus. One explanation came in 1999, when Australian researchers found that
people who report mystical and spiritual experiences tend to have unusually
easy access to subliminal consciousness. "In people whose unconscious
thoughts tend to break through into consciousness more readily, we find
some correlation with spiritual experiences," says psychologist Michael
Thalbourne of the University of Adelaide. Unfortunately, scientists are
pretty clueless about what allows subconscious thoughts to pop into the
consciousness of some people and not others. The single strongest predictor
of such experiences, however, is something called "dissociation." In this
state, different regions of the brain disengage from others. "This theory,
which explains hypnotizability so well, might explain mystical states,
too," says Michael Shermer, director of the Skeptics Society, which debunks
paranormal phenomena. "Something really seems to be going on in the brain,
with some module dissociating from the rest of the cortex."

That dissociation may reflect unusual electrical crackling in one or more
brain regions. In 1997, neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran told the annual
meeting of the Society for Neuroscience that there is "a neural basis for
religious experience." His preliminary results suggested that depth of
religious feeling, or religiosity, might depend on natural -- not
helmet-induced -- enhancements in the electrical activity of the temporal
lobes. Interestingly, this region of the brain also seems important for
speech perception. One experience common to many spiritual states is
hearing the voice of God. It seems to arise when you misattribute inner
speech (the "little voice" in your head that you know you generate
yourself) to something outside yourself. During such experiences, the
brain's Broca's area (responsible for speech production) switches on. Most
of us can tell this is our inner voice speaking. But when sensory
information is restricted, as happens during meditation or prayer, people
are "more likely to misattribute internally generated thoughts to an
external source," suggests psychologist Richard Bentall of the University
of Manchester in England in the book "Varieties of Anomalous Experience."

Stress and emotional arousal can also interfere with the brain's ability to
find the source of a voice, Bentall adds. In a 1998 study, researchers
found that one particular brain region, called the right anterior
cingulate, turned on when people heard something in the environment -- a
voice or a sound -- and also when they hallucinated hearing something. But
it stayed quiet when they imagined hearing something and thus were sure it
came from their own brain. This region, says Bentall, "may contain the
neural circuits responsible for tagging events as originating from the
external world." When it is inappropriately switched on, we are fooled into
thinking the voice we hear comes from outside us.

Even people who describe themselves as nonspiritual can be moved by
religious ceremonies and liturgy. Hence the power of ritual. Drumming,
dancing, incantations -- all rivet attention on a single, intense source of
sensory stimulation, including the body's own movements. They also evoke
powerful emotional responses. That combination -- focused attention that
excludes other sensory stimuli, plus heightened emotion -- is key.
Together, they seem to send the brain's arousal system into hyperdrive,
much as intense fear does. When this happens, explains Newberg, one of the
brain structures responsible for maintaining equilibrium -- the hippocampus
-- puts on the brakes. It inhibits the flow of signals between neurons,
like a traffic cop preventing any more cars from entering the on-ramp to a
tied-up highway.

The result is that certain regions of the brain are deprived of neuronal
input. One such deprived region seems to be the orientation area, the same
spot that goes quiet during meditation and prayer. As in those states,
without sensory input the orientation area cannot do its job of maintaining
a sense of where the self leaves off and the world begins. That's why
ritual and liturgy can bring on what Newberg calls a "softening of the
boundaries of the self" -- and the sense of oneness and spiritual unity.
Slow chanting, elegiac liturgical melodies and whispered ritualistic prayer
all seem to work their magic in much the same way: they turn on the
hippocampus directly and block neuronal traffic to some brain regions. The
result again is "blurring the edges of the brain's sense of self, opening
the door to the unitary states that are the primary goal of religious
ritual," says Newberg.

Researchers' newfound interest in neurotheology reflects more than the
availability of cool new toys to peer inside the working brain. Psychology
and neuroscience have long neglected religion. Despite its centrality to
the mental lives of so many people, religion has been met by what David
Wulff calls "indifference or even apathy" on the part of science. When one
psychologist, a practicing Christian, tried to discuss in his introductory
psych book the role of faith in people's lives, his publisher edited out
most of it -- for fear of offending readers. The rise of neurotheology
represents a radical shift in that attitude. And whatever light science is
shedding on spirituality, spirituality is returning the favor: mystical
experiences, says Forman, may tell us something about consciousness,
arguably the greatest mystery in neuroscience. "In mystical experiences,
the content of the mind fades, sensory awareness drops out, so you are left
only with pure consciousness," says Forman. "This tells you that
consciousness does not need an object, and is not a mere byproduct of
sensory action."

For all the tentative successes that scientists are scoring in their search
for the biological bases of religious, spiritual and mystical experience,
one mystery will surely lie forever beyond their grasp. They may trace a
sense of transcendence to this bulge in our gray matter. And they may trace
a feeling of the divine to that one. But it is likely that they will never
resolve the greatest question of all -- namely, whether our brain wiring
creates God, or whether God created our brain wiring. Which you believe is,
in the end, a matter of faith.

With Anne Underwood

Faith is More than a Feeling   The problem with neurotheology is that it
confuses spiritual experiences -

which few believers actually have - with religion.

By Kenneth L. Woodward

Skeptics used to argue that anyone with half a brain should realize there
is no God. Now scientists are telling us that one half of the brain, or a
portion thereof, is "wired" for religious experiences. But whether this
evolving "neurotheology" is theology at all is doubtful. It tells us new
things about the circuits of the brain, perhaps, but nothing new about God.

The chief mistake these neurotheologians make is to identify religion with
specific experiences and feelings. Losing one's self in prayer may feel
good or uplifting, but these emotions have nothing to do with how well we
communicate with God. In fact, many people pray best when feeling shame or
sorrow, and the sense that God is absent is no less valid than the
experience of divine presence. The sheer struggle to pray may be more
authentic than the occasional feeling that God is close by, hearing every
word. Very few believers have experienced what Christian theology calls
mystical union with God. Nor, for that matter, have many Buddhists
experienced the "emptiness" that the Buddha identified as the realization
of "no-self."

Neurotheologians also confuse spirituality with religion. But doing the
will of God -- or following the dharma -- involves much more than prayer
and meditation. To see Christ in the person of an AIDS victim or to really
love one's enemy does not necessitate a special alteration in the circuits
of the brain. Nor does the efficacy of a eucharistic celebration depend on
the collective brain waves of the congregation. In short, religion
comprehends a whole range of acts and insights that acknowledge a
transcendent order without requiring a transcendent experience.

On the other hand, most of us have at one time or another experienced the
dissolution of the boundaries of the self -- and a corresponding sense of
being at one with the cosmos. But such peak moments need not be religious.
William Wordsworth found release from self in nature, where his spirit
"Rolled round in earth's diurnal course/With rocks and stones and trees." A
very different poet, Walt Whitman, escaped his individual self by merging
imaginatively with the whole of democratic America -- and everybody in it.
What else is a rock concert but an assault on all the senses so that
individual identities can dissolve into a collective high? Even ordinary
lovers can momentarily feel at one with the universe through the mutual
meltdown of ecstatic sex: "Did the earth move for you, too?"

According to the neurotheologians, evolution has programmed the brain to
find pleasure in escaping the confines of the self. Some religious
practices bear this out. As every meditator quickly learns, reciting a
mantra for 20 minutes a day does relax the body and refresh an
overstimulated mind. The Bible, too, recommends contemplative prayer for
the busily self-involved: "Be still and know that I am Lord." But in the
yogic traditions of India, where overcoming the boundaries of the self is
central to spirituality, severe ascetic practices like fasting for weeks
and more.


You Can’t Unring The Bell

Life on Earth is the most brutal thing a Soul can endure, Overlaid on your Human meat puppet, for a period of time that ranges from a few seconds to maybe 125 years max, you are strapped in for a mother of a hellride/fun house for Soul Building 101. Stripped of all memory of your prior Immortal existence (and also your immortal  powers) you are injected blindly into a new existence (with no manual) to learn all the lessons and deal with all your Karma issues as you inch your way to perfection, incarnation by incarnation. Earth is the home base of a Cosmic Navy SEAL Training Camp. It ain’t supposed to be easy, and we are all given the choice to either ring the Bell (drop out of Soul building) or grit our teeth,dig in and continue on our path. Eventually we get tired of ringing the bell and we move on up in the Spiritual food chain as we complete the course, lessons learned and all our debts paid. It could take thousands, maybe millions of incarnations to grow to that state of being. When you don’t ring the bell…….you don’t have to come back unless you desire to do so. Immortals do walk the Earth today, waiting for it to become time to lift the veil. You won’t be in any danger of hearing any bell-ringing from them.

Life in the Foodchain-Tonio K



OTA’s 2013 Easter Special: The Reality Of The Resurrection (Debunking Old Urban Legends)????

This ABC News feature explains the near certainty  of the images on the Shroud being created by an intense flash of UV light (ie: lasers)…..the book review  concerns observations and interviews with a large group of English people who identified as Essenes in past life regression studies published by psychologists of a large English University, they tell us where the lasers came from and how they worked. The third article is a wassup on the Shroud , figuratively today , done almost a year ago.

The Shroud of Turin Wasn’t Faked, Italian Experts Say

By Suzan Clarke

Dec 21, 2011 6:56pm
ap holy turin shroud nt 111221 wblog The Shroud of Turin Wasnt Faked, Italian Experts SayAntonio Calanni/AP Photo

Has the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin finally been proven?

A new study by Italian scientists may not be definitive on its origins, but it does refute the popular notion that it was faked during the Middle Ages.

Experts at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development have concluded in a report that the famed purported burial cloth of Jesus Christ could not have been faked.

According to the Vatican Insider, a project by La Stampa newspaper that closely follows the Catholic church, the experts’ report says, “The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory … This inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.”

The centuries-old shroud contains a faint impression of the front and back of a human body, along with blood, dirt and water stains from age.

Many have long questioned the shroud’s authenticity, and others have suggested that it was faked during medieval times.

The Italian researchers, who conducted dozens of hours of tests with X-rays and ultraviolet lights, said that no laser existed to date that could replicate the singular nature of markings on the shroud. They also said that the kind of markings on the cloth could not have come from direct contact of the body with the linen.

Previous investigation has determined the markings could not have come from pigments or dyes.

The Italian scientists said the  marks could only have been made by “a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation.”

Such technology did not exist in the time the skeptics claim the shroud could have been forged.

The scientists haven’t offered an explanation for how they believe the marks were made, but believers have long thought the shroud was miraculously marked when Jesus rose from the dead following his crucifixion.

The mystery of the shroud has long been a subject of debate and serious research.

Just last year, the History Channel  aired a special in which it revealed a 3D image of the face of Jesus, constructed from the markings left in the cloth.  Artists and scientists studied the Shroud of Turin, and used cutting-edge technology to create a  computer-generated image of the face surrounded by the shroud.

The revelation caused mixed reactions around the globe.  While some people said the image was “realistic” and what they imagined Christ looked like, others were not as certain.

The shroud is owned by the Vatican, although the Catholic church has never taken an official position on the cloth’s authenticity.



The Essenes: Children of the Light and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

The Essenes: Children of the Light [Paperback]

Stuart Wilson (Author)

Book Description

Publication Date: March 2005
Take a trip through time to uncover the mysterious Essene knowledge and secrets that Jesus was taught. * Did Jesus really die on the cross? * Who was Mary Magdalene and what was her real connection with Jesus?* Extensive new information about the secretive Essene mystery schools. It is one of the great tragedies of Western culture that Christianity forgot and eventually denied its Essene roots. Those roots are herein explored from the perspective of past life regression. Fascinating new information emerged, including Essene links with the Druids, the existence of a secret Core Group around Jesus, and contacts with the Order of Melchizedek. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that the Essene Jesus is restored to us, bringing to life the wise and loving Being who has been obscured by so much doctrine and dogma. His words speak to us across the centuries and open a clearer understanding of the Way, which he established, and the ultimate goal of that Way. This book makes clear that Jesus did not stand-alone. He had the backing of a powerful and dedicated team of Essenes, including Joseph of Arimathea. Thanks to the technique of past life regression, this story can now be told for the first time, opening up a fascinating window onto a unique and vital time in history.

About the Author
Stuart Wilson was born in Exmouth in the West of England. He came from a conventional background and went to a Scottish public school (Fettes in Edin-burgh). However his mother was fascinated by theosophy and the writings of Alice Bailey, and this led to Stuart’s lifelong interest in esoteric teachings and the Eastern and Western wisdom traditions. After service in the RAF on Christmas Island in the Pacific, he entered advertising as an agency copywriter, rising over some years to become an advertising manager for an industrial company. He then retrained as a counselor and set up a small publishing business, which he later sold to concentrate on writing. He wrote two best-selling name dictionaries, including Simply the Best Baby Name Book, and moved in 1990 to help his friend Joanna Prentis with the development of the Starlight Centre in mid-Devon. He writes of this period: “It was inspiring and fascinating but also exhausting! A stream of visitors came in to the Centre, mainly from the United States and Australia, but some also from Europe. We had an amazing and mind-expanding time sitting at the feet of internationally respected spiritual teachers and workshop leaders. What I remember most about this time was the big gatherings when our friends came in to share a meal and talk about our experiences and all the changes that were happening in our lives. It was a wonderful time, full of joy and laughter, and the special events, like Anna Mitchell Hedges sharing her crystal skull, and the two fire-walks led by Esassani, were simply magical!” Joanna Prentis: I was born in Bangalore in southern India. When I was two my family returned to Scotland where I spent my childhood and teenage years. After leaving school I traveled exten-sively, married and lived in Hong Kong for two years and then ten years in the Australian bush in Western Australia, where my three daughters were born. It was there that my interest began in alternative medicine and education, organ

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Jesus and His real teachings of The Way March 18, 2007
This book is so astounding and outstanding that I am moved to write my first Amazon review. We are treated to an insider’s experience of not only the Essene community at Qumran, but the travels of Joseph of Arimathea and the true inner teachings of Jesus Christ. I have come to truly understand the Way of the Nazarene as taught by Jesus while He was on Earth in a human body. The teachings are profound and yet so simple–practice love and forgiveness with all. The story of the Essene priests bringing Jesus back to life is a stretch for me, but may very well be entirely true. We see how involved the family of Jesus was in His ministerial training and support. I came to truly feel that Daniel was a good friend and a sense of loss overtook me as the book ended, like losing an old and dear friend to old age. The wisdom in this book is on a par with Conversations With God, and it is just as insightful. The parallels to the work of Dolores Cannon are more than remarkable. They either copied her work or –clearly–their methods of regressive hypnosis reveal the same hidden truths. Unlike Cannon’s work, Daniel is an Essene master of the Mysteries and is trained in clairvoyance, and is therefore able to see that he is talking to beings in the future and obtains permission to reveal the secrets he was sworn to preserve even under torture by the Romans or the Sanhedrin. Having studied with Cannon years ago and taken classes at the Berkeley Psychic Institute, I was well prepared to accept the information at face value. Even if you discount the method, the information and teachings revealed by Daniel and Joseph are true, deeply profound, and as moving as anything I have read in Buddhist literature or from my favorite spiritual teacher and writer, Ram Dass. We come away with a clear understanding of the history and lifestyle of the Essenes. Whether your interest is in the real Jesus, the Essenes, Joseph, the Druids, the Kaloo, Atlantis, crystals, the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the metaphysical truths and secret teachings of the spiritual masters of the world, this book will move you and captivate you. I put it at the top of my list with the work of Ram Dass and Neal Donald Walsch. Don’t miss this one. It is all here, except the truth that energy equals matter and thoughts create reactions on the physical plane. I have been to Qumran and can totally relate to the perspective given here. The history is unique and the teachings profound. I have researched much of this subject matter on my own, and had other psychics look at the same material, and reached many of the same conclusions prior to hearing them from Daniel. I only wish they had asked Joseph if it is true that Jesus and Mary had two children. There is profound truth contained within the pages of this book, and it leaves Cannon’s work far behind. Six stars!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essene experience and secrets April 20, 2005
If you have interest in the Essenes, and in the experience of being in Jesus’ presence, this is the book for you. Thanks to the author using past life regression, the reader hears about the Core Group that supported Jesus, the Kaloo (Ancient Ones)who gave their wisdom to the Essenes, the Order of Melchizedek, the meeting before Jesus’ death and events after his death. This book is a joy to read and to aid us in growing to the Light. I have bought extra copies to share with friends. Thank you, Joanna and Stuart, for writing it. I await your next book.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely beautiful August 14, 2006
A strange title for a review of a book which is full of historical background? It’s based around some extensive past life regression sessions of those who were once Essenes and one of these was a well-known Biblical figure. So the book is historical in nature and gives us a lot of information, with many fascinating details of Essene life. In essence, they were nothing less than the support group for Jesus. However, it is the beautifully poetic spiritual words which come through from Daniel that, for me, make this one of the most wonderful New Age books that I have ever come across.
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April 8, 2012 9:24 AM

Controversial new theories on the Shroud of Turin

(CBS News) The Shroud of Turin has intrigued believers and non-believers alike for centuries. On this Easter Sunday morning our Cover Story is reported by Martha Teichner:

It’s possibly the greatest “What if …” in the world. What if the Shroud of Turin really is the burial cloth Jesus was wrapped in . . . and the faint imprint on it, the image of a man who has been tortured and crucified, really is Christ himself?

The last time the Shroud was on view, for six weeks in 2010, more than two million people saw it, even though in 1988, after a carbon dating test, it was declared a medieval fake – dating from between 1260 and 1390.

The story was supposed to be over. But tell that to the throngs who waited hours for the chance to spend seconds before it in reverent silence.

And tell that to scholars who think the carbon dating results were just plain wrong, among them art historian Thomas de Wesselow.

De Wesselow – an agnostic, originally a skeptic about the Shroud – has just published a provocative new book about in which he concludes it’s genuine.

He compared it to artwork depicting the Crucifixion created since the Middle Ages, referring to the Station of the Cross at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City: “If you look at the hands on the cross, the nails go through the center of the palms,” he showed Teichner. “That part of the hand is not strong enough to bear the weight of the body.”

Meanwhile, the image on the Shroud shows the nail wounds going through the wrists. “That’s how they would have done it in Roman times,” said De Wesselow, supporting the idea that the Shroud is much older than the middle ages.

He said the Shroud illustrates signs of the events of Good Friday through Easter Sunday. “You start off with the flagellation, and that’s very clearly presented on the Shroud, with these very, very distinct marks of the flagrum,” he said. “You can then see the crown of thorns. He then is beaten and you can see on his face underneath his eyes there’s a swelling. His nose looks as if it’s been broken.” There is also the mark of a puncture of a spear, with “dribbles of blood coming down.”

Just coincidence?

19 Photos

The Shroud of Turin

View the Full Gallery »

But now here’s the provocative part: De Wesselow’s take on the resurrection – what he says happened on Easter Day when Mary Magdalene and two other women went to Jesus’ tomb:

“They go to the body, they lift off the cloth, and they notice this strange shadowy form on the cloth itself,” he said. “Immediately, they would have had this perception of it as a living presence in the tomb with Jesus.”

“They didn’t see Jesus come alive again?”

“No, I think what they saw was the Shroud,” De Wesselow said. “Once they saw the Shroud they understood that he’d not been resurrected in the flesh, he’d been resurrected in the spirit.”

A positive and negative image of the Shroud of Turin./ Durron Books/CBS

According to de Wesselow, each supposed sighting of the risen Christ was actually a sighting of the Shroud. He’s convinced it was what sparked the rapid spread of Christianity, as it was taken from Jerusalem to Galilee, then to Damascus, where he believes Paul saw it and became a Christian.

Next, to a town called Edessa, in Turkey, and in the year 944, to Constantinople. There’s a drawing from the 1190s of what some scholars believe was the Shroud. A French knight wrote about seeing such a cloth in Constantinople before the city was sacked by crusaders in 1204.

“We can show perfectly rationally where the Shroud was all the way back to the first century,” de Wesselow said.

More than a thousand years before it turned up in Lirey, France, where Geoffrey de Charny – descended from one of the crusaders who led the sacking of Constantinople – put it on display in 1355, right about when the carbon dating results said it was faked.

It’s been in Turin, Italy since 1578.

“It could well be the burial cloth of Jesus – I wouldn’t discount that possibility,” said Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School and an eminent New Testament scholar, said of de Wesselow’s book: “That’s part of the case that he makes; the other part is trying to see how the discovery of this cloth might have functioned in generating belief about the resurrection, and that’s much more, in my mind, conjectural.

“However this image was formed, it was formed in a way that’s compatible with the ancient practice of Crucifixion,” said Attridge.

“So that is at least plausible?” asked Teichner.

“That’s at least plausible, yeah, yeah, and the blood stains, for instance, are clearly not paint,” he said.

That much has been proven. But, is it Jesus or someone else? Or is it an expert fake?

In 1898, Secondo Pia was allowed to photograph the Shroud. The image he saw in his darkroom startled the world. The Shroud, it turns out, is like a photo negative.

“There were plenty of other images of Christ which are meant to be imprints of his face, dating from the middle ages,” said de Wesselow. “And none of them look remotely like the Shroud.”

Thomas de Wesselow’s specialty is medieval art. “People did not know about negative images in those days. No one could have seen the realistic image that’s hidden behind the negative image on the cloth.”

In 1978, a group of respected American scientists and scholars calling themselves the Shroud of Turin Research Project (or STURP) were given 120 hours to subject the Shroud to a “CS”-like forensic study. Working 24 hours a day, they set out to discover how the image was made, and if it was a fake. They couldn’t.

© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


 What seems to have happened is that there was a chemical reaction between the decomposition products on the body and the carbohydrate deposits on the cloth,” said de Wesselow. The conclusion of one of the STURP scientists was that a chemical process known as a Maillard reaction had occurred. (It’s the same reaction that causes the crust of bread to go brown in the oven.)High definition photography has brought new detail to the case made by the cloth itself. Its size, roughly 3 1/2 feet by 14 feet; its distinct herringbone weave; even the way a seam was sewn is consistent with ancient burial cloths found near Jerusalem. Pollen samples taken from it show that, at some time, it was near Jerusalem and in Turkey.For just a moment, suppose Thomas de Wesselow’s theory is right. The implication that the image on the Shroud is authentic, but can be explained by scientific evidence – and what it means to a cornerstone of Christianity – is stunning.”I’m obviously not the first person to deny that the Resurrection happened,” said de Wesselow. “Some people will dismiss [the book]. Some people will be intrigued by it. And some people may change their attitudes on one thing or another by it.”Yale Divinity School Dean Attridge said, “For many, many mainstream Protestants and Catholics, certainly evangelical Protestants, you have a notion that you need the resurrected body in the way that it’s described in Luke and John. That was not Paul’s belief. Paul did not have a belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus. And I tend to agree with Paul. But it remains something of a mystery.”. . . as does the history and meaning of the Shroud of Turin. There is, after all, the carbon dating evidence, confirmed by three different labs. The Catholic Church, owner of the Shroud, accepted those findings. But when it was on display in 2010, Pope Benedict called it “a burial cloth, which wrapped the body of a man crucified in total conformity with what the evangelists tell us of Jesus…”So, what is the truth?


Mercy For The Merciless



H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

It is very good to recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, OM is composed of three letters, A, U, M. These symbolise the practitioner’s impure body, speech and mind; they also symbolise the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha.

Can impure body, speech and mind be transformed into pure body, speech and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure.

How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolises the factors of method, the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfils the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfils the wishes of sentient beings.

The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolise wisdom. Just as a lotus grows from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non-contradiction whereas there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realising impermanence, wisdom realising that persons are empty of being self-sufficient or substantially existent, wisdom that realises the emptiness of duality – that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object – and wisdom that realises the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realising emptiness.

Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolised by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or vajrayana vehicle, it refers to one consciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllable of Akshobhya – the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.

Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path that is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within. As Maitreya says in his Sublime Continuum of the Great Vehicle (Uttaratantra), all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone thus (Tathagatabarbha) that is to be transformed and fully developed into Buddhahood.             New Morning Song (Oh Mani Padme Hum) -Richard Dobson

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