Neurotheology and Quantum Physics
Prove Unity Philosophy Works.
This is a short book. I purposely designed it that way. I wanted you to be able to read it quickly, and be able to start applying what I’ve shown you.
I have tried not to over burden you with a lot of technical material, but presented just enough so you could understand the basic concepts.
Neurotheology and Quantum Physics are difficult subjects to understand. I’ve been studying the workings of the brain for nearly 40 years, and have only barely scratched the enormous impact that thinking of, and meditating on God has, and continues to do so. It’s difficult to keep up with the advances.
As for Quantum Physics, I am still learning. Thanks to the number of on-line courses, I’ve gotten the basics, and understand how quantum act when the human consciousness acts on them. It is difficult to reduce it to something you can understand, but I think I have accomplished that.
Taken together, these two sciences validate Unity thought about our Oneness with God, and our ability to create health, happiness, healthy relationships. Our form of positive prayers our connection to the mind of God.
I have presented two forms of meditation for you to choose. Personally I prefer the first one, because it exemplifies our positive prayer model. It incorporates the focus on God and our oneness with the God-mind, along with the growing ability to stay focused on Truth as well as a growing perception of our oneness with the Christ within.
I hope you enjoy this book.
The Development of the Metaphysical Mind
At least 100,000 years ago we see evidence of the belief by the Neanderthal that some part of them carried on after death as their burial practices suggest. We don’t think they had developed speech as we know it, but there exists some evidence that they had spiritual concerns as evidenced by the grave-sites. They carefully buried their dead, often in the sleeping position. They included in the graves weapons and tools. This suggests a belief in some sort of afterlife in which these tools would be needed.
It is believed that about 30,000 years ago the growing ability of the brain and the Cro-Magnon, with their improved brain they show the conscious spiritual concern. This led to the first cosmologies or simply put, thoughts about how the universe works.
Evidence strongly suggests that the Cro-Magnon engaged in complex ritualistic behaviors. We can see ths by the way they decorated their caves with symbolic representations of the world, spirits and the universe.
Corpses were buried in a sleeping position and often with a stone pillow. This suggests that the dead were not seen as truly dead but in some sort of sleep.
Sleep and dreams, even today, are often associated with the spirit world. Dreams are seen as a way the gods communicate the individual. Dreams were the primary medium of communication in which gods and humans interact. It is probably through dreams that the very early man came to believe in the transmigration of the soul into an afterlife of some kind. But since all we have to go on are their burial practices and cave paintings we can only infer this theory.
Even today, it is often through dreams that we are able to come in contact with the spirit world. Many people report dreams of dead relatives. If we do that today, by extension, we can infer that early man had the same kind of dreams.
Dreams can present a stark difference from the wakening world and their magical content and symbolism have always been linked to the existence of a spiritual world. In the Old Testament and the Koran, we see stories of God communicating with man through dreams. High stature was given to those who could interpret dreams.
All vertebrates experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is an indication of dreaming. We can thus assume that both Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon dreamed.
Even though we cannot find any evidence of a belief in God, the early people and their burial practices clearly suggest spiritual and mystic beliefs.
Throughout time, we’ve always feared the unknown. Even the churches of the past engaged in violence and murder. Violence and murder is under the control of the limbic system in the brain along with the amygdala. The limbic system also mediates religious and spiritual experiences, as well as much of the imagery in our dreams.
Since the Neanderthal and the Cro-Magnon both possessed limbic systems, we can infer these dreams led to a belief in an afterlife (the limbic system also subserves feelings of love and affection and long-term attachments), we can also infer that both Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon were motivated by love in their careful burial and provisioning the loved one for an afterlife and that they might have need for those tools there, and they might go to see the loved one on the other side, since they probably appeared in their dreams.
An examination of Neanderthal skulls indicate that the temporal lobes were well-developed. They were not very intelligent, but seemed to have possessed strong emotions and love through the limbic system, which also allowed them to experience spiritual awe. This is likely the extent of the capabilities, but was enough for them to develop their burial ritual and beliefs in an afterlife.
These attendant beliefs are also linked to the temporal lobes and the limbic system which could be seen as the seat of the soul.
While the Neanderthal had a well-developed temporal lobe, the Cro-Magnon brain had evolved frontal lobes. It is this evolution of the thoughtful lobe and Cro-Magnon that we gain cognitive abilities and more complex spiritual rituals. We also see a technological revolution. In hunting points were developed. Societal life changed, a belief in shamans who communicated with the spirits arose, as well as a belief in goddesses.
It is interesting to note that female gods were the first deities. It is likely the woman was seen as the life-giver since she gave birth, so it was natural to believe in a female God as the source of life. It was not until later that male gods appeared, as the males felt threatened by the power of the female.
The frontal lobes in the Cro-Magnon are the executive center and responsible for initiative, goal formation, long-term planning, the generation of multiple alternatives, and the consideration of multiple consequences.
It is with the appearance of the frontal lobes that man became capable of thinking metaphysically. The formal lobes access every stage of information analysis, and are able to coordinate and regulate attention, memory, personality, and information processing throughout the brain so as to direct intellectual, cognitive, artistic, symbolic and cognitive processing, all of which are necessary for the development of metaphysical thinking.
It is a well-established concept that the frontal lobes enable humans to think symbolically, creatively, imaginatively, to plan for the future, to consider the consequences of certain acts, to formulate secondary goals, to keep one goal in mind even while engaging in other tasks, so they may remember and act on those at a later time.
The frontal lobes are also associated with the evolution of free will that broke the bonds of environmental and genetic determinism. Mankind was now free to determine his own course.
The Cro-Magnon were also ardent observers of their world. Through this observation and attention to the world, along with their creativity, they were able to create rituals in an attempt to control the world around them. The development of a complex spirituality suggests the Cro-Magnon was where metaphysical thinking began and rich mythologies began to develop.
If we observe every society and culture throughout time, the one constant that appears is a need and an ability to explore their world. (Newberg, 2014). This hunger to understand the world led to changes within the brain such as in the limbic system. Their ideas moved from a merely physical understanding to an emotional and spiritual understanding of their world. This ultimately led to the development of ideas pertaining to existence, mortality, truth, and aesthetics.
Such concepts as those tend to fall into the realm of metaphysics. The question arises about the mind and how it helps us to explore these metaphysical beliefs. (Ibid.) Newberg further posits the question of what are the underpinnings of metaphysical thoughts “Does a metaphysical realm exist beyond the brain’s interpretive ability, and can we create a new approach to metaphysical questions of philosophy and science?” (Ibid.)
If the brain’s working have a significant impact on metaphysics, we need to ask how dose it relates to metaphysics. How does the brain relate to metaphysics and quantum theory? (See chapter 4) If this interaction with the brain may be fully responsible for metaphysical thought, it raises metaphysical ideas and the executive directs them to specific realms of thought, it restricts our ability to think in certain ways. This is a useless idea.
If the brain is associated with all metaphysical thought, then it would seem that there are several possible conclusions that could be drawn that might have a direct connection to questions about any philosophical debate or hermeneutic, metaphysical and reality. (Ibid.) There exists an overlapping relationship between metaphysics, and the brain. The brain enables us to have metaphysical thoughts which can come to us from outside the human brain.
A better possible relationship is that there is an ultimate universal realm of mind or consciousness in which true metaphysics can occur. Within this view, the brain processes still possess some basic conceptualization of metaphysics, but metaphysics requires some kind of higher universal mind. This provides for an opening for religion since arguably God is the repository for metaphysics and we as humans can only hope to get some glimpse of that higher mind.
What we know is that the brain is limited in its ability to make sense of reality both philosophically and scientifically. Any metaphysical concepts related to the brain are limited. Our brain can never fully comprehend metaphysical concepts. We might need one or more significant jump in evolution until we have a mind or brain that is capable of comprehending the true nature of metaphysics.
Perhaps more important than developing a neuroscientific hermeneutic (hermeneutics is in the field of philosophy to focus on the theory of textual interpretation, especially the interpretation of sacred texts. In other words hermeneutics strive to help us better understand various theological and philosophical, cultural, psychological, and personal influences on those concepts, and will be establishing a continuum of metaphysical ideas).
Brain process specifically refers to the physiological activity in the brain that shows on fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) that indicates by different colors on the computer generated image of activity in the brain. This can be observed in the Morgan Freeman series on the National Geographic Channel program “In Search of God” which aired on Sunday, April 17, 2016. Freeman met with Andrew Newberg (from whom much of the information in chapter 3 is based). Freeman first he did a control fMRI then after 12 minutes of meditation on God, another scan showed activity where the prior scan showed none.
The mind, as opposed to the tangible indices of activity in the brain during thought, is intangible and consists of subjective experiences that may or may not correspond to the real world.
Consciousness is equally difficult to define. It can be thought of as those things of which we are aware of in our mind. That awareness too is subjective.
All these things were necessary for us to develop a metaphysical mind, because in addition to the biological and philosophical perspectives, there is also a more spiritual component to consciousness. It is in the consciousness that we think of things spiritual and metaphysical.
Our consciousness is where we are aware of self. Some mystics have therefore argued that the universe in some way has its own self-reflective consciousness. And in theistic traditions this universal self-reflective consciousness may be attributed to God
New Thought Background
I became a psychologist because I was fascinated about the mind and how it worked. I was attracted to a local magazine called “Science of Mind” while in high school.
During my undergraduate years, I discovered the human potential movement. As we live only about 60 miles north of Unity Village outside of Kansas City, Missouri, I learned of their workshops in that area. As it happened, I was the chair of the Missouri Western State University’s Psychology Club, so I arranged for the club to attend a couple of those workshops.
I also learned of research being done at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas in the area of the control of the human body by Dr. Elmer Green. So I also arranged a field trip to visit Dr. Green.
Those two events led me into Unity. It wasn’t until several years later that I began attending a Unity church. However, I read everything I could about Unity thought. Along the way my wife and I started attending a Unity church and later a Science of Mind (New Thought) church. We delved deeply into the New Thought thinking and the Unity philosophy.
More recently, I became interested in quantum physics. It was the findings of quantum theory that led to the birth of this book.
I am going to begin by describing the history and development of New Thought and Unity, then move into a discussion of the brain from a newly-emerging neurological science of neurotheology. That is, the impact of a belief in God and how that can change our brain. Finally, I will discuss how quantum physics has suggested that the ideas of New Thought and Unity are true. And finally I’ll discuss how these ideas can be applied to change your life by healing you, creating abundance, and even world peace.
A Brief History of New Thought
What is New Thought: New Thought (NT) And Unity are a religious movement emerging in the second half of the 19th century. It represents a meeting of three spiritual traditions looking at humans and God in a unique manner.
• A modernization of the philosopher Plato, known as metaphysics, which evolved into the idea of Mind-Idea expression and is head-centered.
• Christian Mysticism, which is based in the Judeo-Christian traditions as perfected by Jesus and looks through the subconscious part of the soul, which is heart – centered
• Mind Cure which originated with the discovery of Mesmerism and later hypnosis, as implemented by Anton Mesmer and Quimby. It is mind-body centered.
Definition: a spirituality with a belief system of oneness (flow), and manifestation as articulated by the construct of Mind-idea expression that addresses the needs of the head, heart and body, and is based on the rich traditions of Western philosophy, the teachings of Jesus, and our understanding of the Mind -Body connections.
As a movement, New Thought is a little over 120 years old. It encompasses (tangentially) Spiritualism, Christian Science, Theosophy, and a variety of new movements such as New Age.
Three distinct characteristics of metaphysical religion exist.
1). An emphasis on the human mind and its connection to God (Oneness) instead of a sense of separation from God; 2). a recognition of the field of energy, i.e. and the way in which mind serves as a conduit between the spiritual and physical world (Flow); and 3) a pragmatic centering on healing through dialogue between our consciousness and external phenomena (Manifestation) instead of a focus on the abstraction of salvation and an afterlife.
These constructs separate New Thought from Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritualism, New Age and other metaphysical positions.
In the late 19th century a number of spiritual thinkers and philosophers emerged from a variety of denominations of New Thought. Of interest here is Religious Science and Unity. There is a small difference between the two based on their Principles.
Science of Mind Principles (¹).
1. We affirm God as mind, infinite Being. Spirit, Ultimate Reality.
2. We affirm the unity of God and humanity in that the divine Nature dwells with in and expresses through our acceptance of it as health, supply, wisdom, love, life, truth, power, beauty and peace.
3. We affirm that God the good is supreme, universal and everlasting.
4. We affirm the power of prayer and the capacity of each person to have mystical experiences with God to enjoy the grace of God.
5. We affirm the freedom of all persons as to beliefs, and we honor the diversity of humanity by being open and affirming of all human beings as founded on the presence of God within them, and therefore, the principle of democracy.
6. We affirm that we are all spiritual beings, dwelling in a spiritual universe that is governed by spiritual law and in an alignment spiritual law we can manifest, heal, prosper, and harmonize.
7. We affirm that our mental states are carried forward into manifestation, and become our experience in daily living
8. We affirm The Manifestation of the Kingdom here and now.
9. We affirm expressions of the highest spiritual principle and loving one another unconditionally, promoting the highest good for all, teaching and healing one another in accordance with the teachings of Jesus and of other enlightened teachers.
10. We affirm our evolving awareness of the nature of reality and our willingness to refine our beliefs accordingly. (Hicks, 2013)
There are five basic principles that are set forth on the Unity website (WWW.unity.org):
1. God is absolute good, everywhere present.
2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ Spirit. Their very essence is of God, and therefore, they are also inherently good.
3. Human beings create their experience by the activity of their thinking.
4. Prayer is creating thinking that heightens the connection with God – Mind and therefore bringing forth wisdom, healing, prosperity, and everything good.
5. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called True, are not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows. (Unity.org, 2016)
Major personalities of New Thought And Unity
I mentioned above that metaphysical thinking and religions had the root in Greek philosophy.
Plato, a Greek philosopher (428-348 BCE) came up with the concept he called Form. He split existence into the material realm and the transcendent realm. We have access to our mind. Material mind changes as we see it. It’s always in flux. The realm of Forms is immutable. These Forms are the model or archetypes of perfection. Everything material is a copy. These are the cause of all that exists in the universe. However, we can access Forms by the use of our mind and thus cause a manifestation of that Form in the world. This metaphysical view would go on to influence the thinking of philosophers and consumers of philosophy, such as the New Thought personalities.
Franz Anton Mesmer
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734 -1815 CE), started out thinking about gravity and its effects on the body plants and health. He thought there was a fluid that reacted to this gravity. However, later he shifted his fluid theory to the idea of magnetism and what effects the fluid, and term the process “Animal magnetism”. He finally developed his system of mesmorization, which was slightly removed from hypnotism. He felt that disease was a blockage of that fluid, and by putting his patients in a trance he could unblock the flow of this fluid. In this way he created the “mind – cure” which he eventually called a “spiritual treatment.”
Around 1890, he decided that the “here” did not depend on the doctor or healer and we could do it ourselves.
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) was a student of Mesmer and Quimby. She had periods of bad health that were characterized by falling to the floor and screaming. She would then be unconscious for hours. She also suffered from chronic indigestion, and would only eat water, bread and vegetables. She was always hungry and in pain. She became a patient of Quimby. The two had long conversations about healing as he practiced it.
She finally broke from Quimby over the use of hypnosis. In 1866, she suffered a back injury from a fall and withdrew from society for three years. During this time, she studied the Bible and became convinced illness could be healed through an awakening thought of God, and explicitly rejected drugs and other medical treatment, based on her observation that Jesus did not use these methods to heal.
I have placed her here, as her founding of Christian Science was a marked demarcation from New Thought she studied under Quimby.
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866) is considered by many to be the Father of New
Thought. He started out as a watchmaker and when introduced to a traveling healer in Belfast Maine, he became a student because he was so enthralled by this concept that he quit his job and joined with this man to learn and perfect mesmerism. He traveled with this healer for two years.
Along the way Quimby met Lucius Burkmar, who while in the trance Quimby put him in, he could function as a medical intuitive. Burkmar, would identify the erroneous beliefs of the patient; the elimination of which effected a cure. Later Quimby came to believe that the cure for error thought was Truth. He found the mind wasn’t tied to time or space. This became the basis for the absent treatment concept later developed by Silent Unity. It was Quimby’s insistence on Scientific Law not religious teachings that resulted in the split from him by Mary Baker Eddy. (Hicks, 2013)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I want to divert for a short time to introduce Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882 CE) Emerson was a Unitarian minister until his wife died early in their marriage. He became despondent and disillusioned by the strict beliefs of Unitarianism.
Emerson went to Scotland to tour the art institutions there. It was there that he met Thomas Carlisle, who introduced him to the German Transcendentalists. As a result, he began to rely on his own intuition (a precept of German Transcendentalism). He came to see intuition as the Source of Truth, a form of Neoplatonism.
In his 1836 book of essays called Nature he introduced the transcendental view that the world is a good paradise.
Later in a speech to the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Society, (1837) he called for the higher use of the mind and our thinking capacity. He said freedom was the will to reject all concepts and to explore one’s self. He challenged the supernatural character of Jesus and his miracles in a commencement speech at Harvard the next year. He also challenged the dead, dry, practice most preaching, proffering instead the divinity status of humans.
Emma Curtis Hopkins
Emma Curtis Hopkins (1849-1925 CE) began as a student and follower of Mary Baker Eddy and later set out on her own. Part of the rub between Eddy and Curtis was Emma’s reading of other metaphysical books other than those of Eddy.
After leaving Eddy, Hopkins moved to Chicago in 1887. She later founded the Emma Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science. Among her students were H. Emile Cady, Ernest Holmes (the founder of Science of Mind), as well as Myrtle and Charles Fillmore (The Founders of Unity). Her seminary had none of the usual departments: Church History, Ethics, Homiletics or the dogmatic theology of the traditional seminary. She had a unique teaching style that spurred others to establish movements and churches.
Thomas Troward (1847-1916 CE) is included here because of his contributions to the theoretical basis of Science of Mind, which was developed by Ernest Holmes, along with the ideas of Emerson. Troward was born in India while his father was in the British military. He went into law and served as a judge in India for 25 years. After his retirement he return to England to study Scripture, metaphysics, and painting.
Troward is best known for his Edinburg Lectures On Mental Science, as he termed it. The eminent psychologist William James was highly impressed by Troward’s philosophy.
He believed that things had a quality of “livingness.” That is, they had intelligence which moved evolution forward. He maintained that we must consciously cooperate with the intelligence that is expressed as Law.
He saw this cooperation taking place at both an objective (consciousness) and subjective (unconscious) level. The subjective accepts without question or compunction and asks to make the message from the conscious or objective real. His idea was that we need to understand these Laws.
Myrtle and Charles Fillmore
Myrtle Fillmore (1845-1933 CE), Charles Fillmore (1854-1948 CE) studied under Emma Curtis Hopkins after Myrtle attended a talk on metaphysics. Myrtle was infected with tuberculosis and sought for and was cured through the teachings of Hopkins as Myrtle and Charles interpreted them.
Myrtle wrote “Healing Letters” which described her healing. Charles came to be known for his metaphysical work of writings.
Together they founded Unity in Kansas City, Missouri, which later moved to its new campus east of Kansas City in Lee’s Summit, known as Unity Village. This is the seat for the Unity School of Practical Christianity, Silent Unity, and their publishing headquarters for the Daily Word, Unity Magazine, there are many books as well as their podcast messages.
Eric Butterworth (1916 – 2003) was a prominent lecturer on practical mysticism. He is strongly tied to unity, where he trained for the ministry. However, his studies were interrupted by World War II in which he served in the medical corps and as a chaplain. After the war he resumed his studies and was ordained as a Unity minister.
He is credited with three Unity ministries. Starting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he then moved to Detroit, Michigan, where Unity Temple became the largest Unity church with over 2000 attended each Sunday services.
His third ministry was in New York City at Carnegie Hall. Again attendance was several thousand on Sundays. Attendees came from all walks of life. He was the first Unity minister to appear on the Oprah Winfrey program.
He also began speaking, and is known for small essays, Emerson style. He taught “God isn’t up there, He exists inside all of us, and it’s up to us to seek the divine within.” His writings and lectures and recordings are highly recommended by Unity
James Dillett Freeman
James Dillett Freeman (1912-2013 CE) was a prolific poet and unity church minister. He worked for Silent Unity and wrote for the Unity magazine. His poem” Prayer for Protection” was taken aboard Apollo 11 by Buzz Aldrin, and a microfilm of his open “I am there” was left on the moon by James Lewin on Apollo 15.
(Much of the information in this chapter came from “Background of New Thought,” third edition by Mark Hicks (2013). Austin: Texas: Truth Unity.}
In the next chapter I will briefly discuss a bit about the brain and mind including the functions of those areas.
The Anatomy and Working of the Brain
The human brain is the result of millions of years of evolution. What is amazing is what an organ as small is the human brain, is able to function better in the computer yet built. We still know very little about all it does. People that study how the brain works are called neurologists, psychologists, and now a new field of studying the brain is the neurotheologist. More about them later in this chapter.
Physical Description of the Brain
Physically the brain weighs about 3 pounds and is 15 cm long and sits within the top portion of our skull. It is the command center for nervous system. It acts by sending out and receiving input from the nerves that are scattered throughout the body.
Newburgh and Waldman, give us a great example of the structure of the brain:
First, put two imaginary almonds (without shells) in the palm of your hand. These are the two halves of your amygdala that governs the “fight or flight response” to any real or perceived danger. Next, place halves of an imaginary walnut (again, no shell) into the palm of your hand. This is your thalamus, which sends sensory information to all other parts of the brain. It also gives you a sense of meaning, and what reality may actually be.
Now make a fist and bend the forearm so your knuckles are pointing to the ceiling. Your forearm is your spinal cord, and your fist (along with the almond halves and the walnut halves) is the limbic system, the oldest part of the brain that every reptile, fish, amphibian, bird and mammal has. Your limbic system is involved memory encoding, emotional response and many other bodily functions.
Now take four sheets of 8 x 10” paper and place them on top of your fist. Crumple the paper up so it fits snugly around your fist, and voila – you have a human brain. The four sheets of paper are the approximate size and thickness of your neocortex, and all the memories, beliefs and behaviors you have learned over a lifetime stored on them, along with all your visual, auditory, motor, language and cognitive processing centers of the brain. 13% of that paper is your frontal lobe, which sits directly behind and above your eyes. It contains nearly everything you are conscious of: your logic, reason, attention, language skills and voluntary motivation.
Notice where the crumpled paper such as your thumb that area approximates the location of the anterior cingulate, which processes social awareness, intuition and empathy. It also contains a unique type of neuron that only humans and a few primates have. These neurons have only been around for about 15 million years. Spiritual practices specifically strengthen the anterior cingulate, and when this happens activity in the amygdala slows down.
There is one more area that I want you to keep in mind. Your parietal lobes, located above and slightly behind your ears. They take up less than a quarter of those sheets of paper, but provides you with a sense of yourself in relation to other objects in the world. When activity in this area decreases, when we meditate on God, the universe or any other concept you’re consciously focusing on. (Newberg and Waldman, 2007)
The brain is made up of the cerebrum, which is divided into two hemispheres. It is full of wrinkles or folds. These folds increase the total capacity of the cerebrum. The cerebrum has four lobes: the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe and the occipital lobe.
The next part of the brain is a cerebellum. It lies underneath the cerebrum.
Then there is the brainstem that sits underneath the cerebrum at about its junction with the cerebellum.
Three Sections of the Early Brain
The Triune Brain Theory
A neurologist named Paul MacLean developed a theory called the triune brain theory. The most primitive part of the brain is called the Reptilian Brain. It consists of the basal ganglia (structures that developed from the floor of the forebrain). It is thought that the Reptilian Brain functions as the species – typical instincts and dominated the brain of reptiles and birds.
The Paleomammalian Brain consists of structures known as the septum, amygdala, or campus complex and the cingulate complex. It is here that MacLean maintained that the limbic system developed. It’s held that it is responsible for motivation and emotion, involved in feeding, reproduction and parenting behavior.
The third part of this triune system is called the Neomammalian Complex which is made up of the cerebral neocortex, which is only found in the higher mammals, especially the human being. It is postulated to give rise to language, abstract thinking, planning and perception.
The triune brain concepts are obviously an oversimplified action of how our brains developed during the evolution of the human brain. (Newberg and Waldman, 2010)
The Three Brains
The Functions of the Brain Sections
Cerebrum: the cerebrum is the largest part of our brain. It is associated with thought and action. It is divided for lobes: the frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal lobes.
The frontal lobe is the seat of reasoning, planning, emotion, parts of speech, movement, and problem solving.
The parietal lobe controls movement, recognition, orientation, and the perception of stimuli.
The occipital lobe is associated with visual processing.
The temporal lobe is associated with perception, recognition of auditory stimuli, memory, and speech.
Cerebellum is also divided into two hemispheres and is heavily folded like the cerebrum. It is associated with regulation, coordination of movement, posture and balance.
Brain Stem lies underneath the limbic system. It is responsible for the vital functions of breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure. It is made up of the midbrain, which is involved in hearing, vision, eye movement, bodily movement and motor function.
The pons is involved in motor control and sensory analysis.
The medulla is the bodily control center for such functions as breathing and heartbeat.
The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system. It is also responsible for some metabolic processing, and the activities of the autonomic nervous system (the system which controls automatic functions such as breathing and heartbeat, as well as others). It controls the bodily temperature, hunger, parenting, thirst, sleep, fatigue, circadian rhythms, and attachment behaviors.
The corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres of the brain. It is the largest collection of white matter. It allows the different parts of the brain to communicate with each other.
The thalamus is located just above the brainstem and acts as a relay of motor and sensory signals to the cerebral cortex.
The pituitary gland is often called the “master gland” because it controls several of the hormone glands such as the growth hormone and others.
The corpus-striatumis part of the reward system and coordinates multiple aspects of cognition including motor and action planning, decision-making, motivation, reinforcement, and reward perception. (Newberg andWaldman, 2007)
Neurons make the the inside of the brain. These neurons have multiple extensions: axons and dendrites. I’ll come back to these in a few minutes. The neuron is basically like any other cell in the body. It has a nucleus, which holds the DNA that instructs the cell what to do. The body of the cell is called the soma. In the soma are various structures for taking in food and expelling waste. This process gives the neuron the energy it needs to live and operate. In addition to those two structures are various other bodies which serve a variety of functions that the cell.
Now back to the axons and dendrites.
Axons and Dendrites
The axons can be extremely short or extremely long. At their ends are many branches, similar to a tree. They called axon terminals. Axons carry messages in the form of various kinds of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These axons carry messages through the body of the neuron. The axon from one neuron grows extremely close to the dendrite of the next neuron. The dendrites carry messages from the neuron across a small gap that is called a synapse. It is in the synapse that chemical messengers are sent from the dendrite of one neuron to the axon of another neuron.
There are several types of neurons based on the task they perform.
Multipolar neurons have one axon and many dendrites. They pass messages or signals to other parts of the body such as the glands or muscles.
Bipolar neurons also have one axon and dendrite. Their job is to pass messages from one neuron to another neuron in the brain.
Pyramidal neurons are named for their shape, i.e. a pyramid or triangle. They have one axon in two main dendrite branches. These pass messages inside the brain and signal the muscles to flex or extend.
Purkinje neurons are found in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance, coordination and timing of actions. They too have only one axon and the complex dense array of many dendrites.
Axons are covered by what is called a myelin sheath. This protects the axon and facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses.
Neurotheology is a unique field of study that tries to understand the relationship between the brain, theology, and religion.
Neurotheology observes the variety of metaphysical and theological concepts about the universe and God that interact or affect brain process. This approach looks at specific areas of the brain that contribute to our sense of self from a neurological viewpoint.
How does a belief in God reflect in the brain processes? Does that belief in itself change the brain? Or does prayer change anything? Does the length of prayer make any difference?
In the brain there are specific structures that support our sense of change and permanence. These structures can change through a process called neuroplasticity, the rewiring of the brain.
If you contemplate God long enough, something surprising happens in the brain. Neural functioning begins to change. Different circuits become activated, while others become deactivated. New dendrites are formed, new synaptic connections are made and the brain becomes more sensitive to subtle realms of experience. Perceptions alter, beliefs begin to change and if God has meaning for you then God becomes neurologically real. For some, God may remain a primitive concept limited to the way a young child interprets the world. But for most people, God transforms into a symbol or metaphor representing a wide range of personal, ethical, social and universal values. (Newberg and Waldman, 2013)
Neural Mechanics of Spirituality
At the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and onward Newberg and Waldman have been studying the neural mechanics of spirituality. They have repeatedly demonstrated that God is part of our consciousness and as I said above, the more you think about God the more the brain changes in specific areas, regardless of your religion or even with atheists.
We are wired to perceive and generate spiritual realities. But our brain must use logic, reason, emotion and imagination to bring God and the universe through our values, beliefs and behaviors. Now here is something very important. If you believe that God gives you comfort and security, then your life will be enhanced. But, if you see God as a vindictive deity who gives you reason for hurting others, then such a belief will harm your brain.
Conclusions of Studies
Newburgh and Waldman list five conclusions to their study of nuns, Buddhists, Pentecostals and atheists.
1) Each part of the brain constructs a different perception of God.
2) Every human brain assembles perceptions of God in uniquely different ways, thus giving God different qualities of meaning and value.
3) Spiritual practices, even when stripped of religious beliefs, enhance the neural functioning of the brain in ways that improve physical and emotional health and life.
4) Intense, long – term contemplation of God or other spiritual values appears to permanently change the structure of those parts of the brain that control our moods, give rise to or conscious notions of self, and shape our sensory perceptions of the world.
5) Contemplative practices strengthen a specific neurological circuit that generates peacefulness, social awareness and compassion for others. (ibid)
Health benefits from meditation and religious ritual can’t be denied.
The Darth Vader Mask of God
Before I go further, I need to comment that some people put what I call a Darth Vader mask on God. As humans we have a propensity toward aggression. In the last fifteen or so years tens of millions have been killed by non—religious and anti-religious groups. “Even when it comes to suicide bombings, half of the people involved have been found to be nonreligious” (ibib)
Darth Vader God has inspired fear-based religions. Many find the fundamentalists that are based in the threat of eternal damnation, that there is only one and only one absolute and undeniable truth, and you must follow it or you feel their wrath. They seem to want to force their beliefs on everyone. A perfect example is the Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas that demonstrates at the funerals of our fallen military.
Our brain is wired so that when we see an angry face the limbic system kicks in and our body cues go in to the “flight or fight” mode.
However, if we have been meditating for at least 15 minutes a day, this reaction can be reduced.
The brain is not static. The brain’s thousands of dendrites grow rapidly and then pull back in a couple of weeks or even a matter of hours. Neurons never stop growing or changing the connections. If you change your environment, your brain changes its connections to adjust to the new environment. This is an example of neuroplasticity. (ibid)
After only three months of meditation, the neural activity in the prefrontal cortex increases. This area helps to maintain a clear focus attention on a task. The anterior cingulate is also active. This area is involved in emotional regulation, learning, and memory. (ibid) However, it hasn’t been shown to be effective. In addition, there is a decrease in activity in the parietal lobe, the part of the cortex involved with constructing our sense of self.
While there are changes in individual neurons after a few days, it takes a couple of months to see lasting changes. We don’t know how long these changes last if we stop our practice, perhaps it’s like regular exercise. If we stop we lose our gains.
Our frontal lobe holds the secret to making our dreams come true. Daily meditation of fifteen minutes, shapes our ability to choose and achieve any goal we wish to achieve.
Quantum Physics and Unity Principles
In my first chapter, I set out the principles of Unity. In this chapter I want to present a brief look at quantum physics and how it applies to Unity. Then in the final chapter I will tie things up and present suggestions of ways to apply the Ideas.
Issues related to consciousness in general and human mental processes in particular remain the most difficult problem in science. (Nickolaus, 2012) In quantum physics the consciousness of the observer is crucial, for it is in our consciousness we determine the outcome of an event. So it is in Unity our thoughts determine our outcome.
I have never accepted anything without an explanation and understanding of that thing. So it was when I first encountered quantum physics. My high school and college physics classes were the standard classical physics. So it was when I first encountered quantum physics — it seemed weird. And in some ways it is. So too is the cosmology that quantum physics explains.
The deeper I delved into quantum physics the more it seems to support new thought and Unity! This then is the purpose of this chapter i.e. applying quantum physics as a proof of Unity thought. In fact, we can now define the universe in terms totally consistent with what Plato, Christ, and Buddha taught. (Nickolaus, PP. 38 – 39, 2012)
I want to begin this section some definitions of the terms I will be using in this chapter.
Big Bang: the moment the universe began. It is described as a singularity exploding forming space – time. We can explain things up to 10 -43 after the Big Bang.
Collapse: a probability wave goes from a spread out shape to a spiked shape.
Constant now: the point in time equal to the Planck length (10-32 CM) which is the shortest length possible in space – time where probability wave comes in contact with our space – time at the collapse probability wave.
Entanglement: the phenomenon in which spatially distant particles have correlated properties. If you spin one particle, then the other particle will change instantaneously.
Graviton: a conjectured subatomic particle that is the quantum of gravity.
Light year: the distance light travels in one year which is about 5.88 trillion miles.
Matrix: the foundation of quantum physics. In quantum physics the universe is described as a foam, segments combine like soap bubbles dividing all space into unique units.
M – theory: the incomplete theory which unifies all five versions of string theory.
Multiverse: considered essential for understanding the early universe i.e. there must be an infinite number of parallel universes.
Photon: a quantum of light.
Planck length: 10-32 cm. The shorter length possible in space – time.
Quantum foam: if we could see down to the quantum level we would see tiny bubbles and wormholes with a foam like appearance.
Singularity: a state of infinite gravity. There can only be one singularity even in a multi-verse vision of reality because it contains all space – time, and all potentiality.
String: from the time the potentiality comes in contact with our space – time, it forms a string vibrates at the speed of light thus enabling it to remain constant while also existing in our space-time.
Space – time the time line that began at the formation of the universe and will cease at its demise.
Quanta/quantum: point or points for the singularity comes in contact with this space – time. (Nickolaus, 2013)
Cosmology and quantum physics begins with what has been termed the “Big Bang” that states the universe began with a sudden expansion of “singularity”. It suddenly expanded into an expanse of space and time.
Of course the standard religious teaching is that God created the universe. This would, on the surface, seem contradictory. But I think as I go on, you will see that both are the same.
A singularity has been explained as a single point of implementing gravity. A timeless, spaceless infinite point. There is only one explanation. God exists outside of space and time and at the same time within space and time. In Unity we say that God is everywhere present, therefore God is that singularity. (A concept I will return to shortly) this would require God not only as the prime cause, but also the guiding hand in the formation of the universe and evolution (Ibid. PP 43 – 44). As Nickolaus says, “The singularity did not explode because it is God” (ibid. P 49) a describes the creation of the universe as not a bang, but an illumination.
Quantum physics is built around the idea of a quantum as the smallest thing possible common even smaller than those particles being studied at the Large Haldron Collider in Switzerland. In fact, trillions or more of them would be needed to create the so-called “God particle” or Higs Boson.
These are the building blocks of the universe. They have a unique property of being both a particle and a wave simultaneously (a wave in quantum physics is described as being everywhere at once). Experiments demonstrate this dual nature (ibid. P 52). In addition, they are capable of what is called entanglement. More about entanglement later. That is what happens to one quantum, will do exactly the same thing to its mate, regardless of space or time (6). Additionally, they will exhibit whatever state or condition the observer expects (Subhas Kak, Chopra, and Kafatos, 2015).
Aristotle conceived of the idea of individual potentiality. In everything was a potentiality, or a natural evolution that leads to becoming a perfect form (see the discussion of Plato in chapter 1 for an explanation of forms). Aristotle identified four causes in the process of actualization of potential: 1) the material cause – an external force creating a new thing; 2) the efficient cause – the process of creation; 3) the formal cause – the thing in its normal state; 4) the final cause – what a thing becomes when it achieves its potential (Nickolaus, 2012, PP 59 – 60). We can think of these as being the way we actualize our own potential.
We have ability to reach our own potential or as Nickolaus says, “create our own Mona Lisa. (Nickolaus, 2012, PP 61 – 62). He goes on to say we may not create her, but we can all reach our potential of some kind. “All will fade from space – time but the refinement of our consciousness will never fade from the singularity “(ibid. P 62). That is because we have always resided and always will because we are part of that singularity we call God. We always were a creation of the God – mind, and sense God is eternal we too will always be eternal.
A fascinating quality of quanta is that it comes in 32 of what physicists call flavors. These 32 flavors combine in 1024 configurations (32 ²) (ibid. P 69). Nickolaus goes on to state these quantum combinations are the language of God.
Quantum entanglement is the phenomenon in which spatially distant particles have correlated properties. Physics has determined that quanta are capable of communication across space and time instantly. There’s a problem here. Einstein tells us that nothing can travel faster than light. Yet quantum can coordinate instantaneously, then quantum cannot possibly communicate faster than light yet they do.
Only by gaining an understanding of the nature and purpose of our existence to survive the coming trials and tribulations, that understanding is yet fuzzy just as quantum particles are fuzzy because they’re vibrating at the speed of light. They all exist at the singularity, which is why quanta can communicate instantaneously.
The universe is far more than the mechanical model we have created while chained to the wall in Plato’s allegory of the cave. In that allegory we are chained to a wall and can only see the wall in front of us. We can see figures and objects passing by through the shadows they cast on the wall. In effect they are our only perception of the world are the shadows.” Science now describes a universe in which our previous concepts about eternity and concepts like God found a place to reside and coexist with our science” (ibid. P 79).
Consciousness and the Mind
Let me stop here for a bit and say a little about consciousness and the mind. I have talked about both of these concepts a bit above, but the idea of consciousness and mind is important in quantum physics.
Consciousness is difficult to grasp. The newborn is obviously self-aware as demonstrated by the fact that they are always examining their hands and feet. In this it demonstrates consciousness starting at birth. To begin with consciousness is subjectively experienced, and as such is intangible. While we can see in brain studies activation of certain areas when we pay attention to something that does not define consciousness, therefore, must reside beyond the body. Ultimately consciousness is a mystery. It should be described at least in comparison to “awareness”. Awareness is that subjective perspective of things in the environment which are registered with in our sphere of knowledge which we comprehend in some way.
That brings us to another nebulous concept – that is our mind. Again we have no notion how it works. We all know we have a mind. It has been described to be our thinking and reasoning. Yet like consciousness these activate areas within the brain, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Psychology, religion, philosophy, and cognitive sciences all have a different definition of the mind and consciousness. However, generally we can think of the mind as a set of facilities that enable consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment, and memory. The mind enables us to have a subjective awareness and enables us to have intentionality toward the environment, to perceive and respond to stimuli with some kind of agency and to have consciousness, including thinking and feeling (dictionary.com).
It is with both our mind and consciousness that we are an extension of the God – mind. That connection is in the singularity. With that connection we can affect the quantum and cause it to unite with trillions of other quanta into matter. In addition, that matter takes the form of whatever we are thinking. In that way we create our own individual subjective universe and all that is and it. Nickolaus believes that when we do that we move into a parallel universe. Parallel universes are a part of string theory.
String theory has evolved to account for the idea that quantum at the singularity expand into numerous universes simultaneously. A singularity is a state of gravity. From the time the potentiality comes in contact with our space – time, warms a string which vibrates at the speed of light, thus enabling it to remain constant while also existing in our space-time.
When we speak of an infinite number of universes that means that universes are constantly
If we assume that there was an illumination rather than the Big Bang and using the theory of relativity, we can explain the continuation of the singularity and the expansion of the universe by allowing quanta to be in two places at the same time, maintains the speed of light, that it exists in a timeless state and therefore can exist at all points at the same time. That quantum can create the universe and remain in the singularity at the same time. The singularity maintains its changeless state while at the same time the universe is born. As we noted above that singularity is God.
The Dual Nature of Quantum
Quantum has a dual nature, existing in the singularity and space – time simultaneously. It is both a wave and a particle. It is the blank building block that creates the universe. It can store and transfer data at a level far beyond an existing computer. It is the smallest particle, and capable of evolving. It has always existed. It also has the ability to take on forms, become energy or matter. It is our observation of that quantum at a deep level of our mind that determines what it will become.
Singularity exists in a spaceless, timeless state and therefore it must be constant because there is no room for evolution and a zero dimension. It must be eternal, incapable of changing. It always existed as is comprising all that was, all that is, and all that will be. The purpose of space – time can be described as allowing for the changes that cannot be made in the singularity. Space – time is the expression of the God mind. We are also an expression of God mind, and capable of making changes in the universe by our thoughts because we are intrinsically linked by the Christ within.
Purpose of the Universe.
Mankind is a conscious being and as such plays a significant role in the purpose of the universe. The purpose of the universe is the actualization of the singularity (God thought). All consciousness plays a role in how the universe actualizes. We are capable of changing the universe in small but significant ways to enable the love of God in our universe, because we are made up of quanta expressing as matter which becomes our body. As we evolve we will become more and more in line the singularity (God) and if we survive we will eventually live in a state of awareness of God.
The purpose of all consciousness is to define and refine the singularity, to fight the constant battle between good and evil that cannot be fought in the singularity, and by doing so create the perfect form that is God expressing as the universe.
The singularity contains all the potentiality of this universe and an infinite number of universes. The singularity is the total sum of all existence. Again the purpose consciousness is to define and refine the singularity and by doing so to refine our God consciousness. We conscious beings are the agent of God. God is not a separate being, he/she is existence. He/she is a number of universes. He/she is the singularity. As all that was, all that is, and all that will be. He/she is us and we are he/she.
The Application of Material Above
As we saw in chapter 4, we can create our universe. (Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi, 2013, in their book, Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize, Health, Happiness, Healthiness, and Spiritual Well-Being)
It is important we understand we are not our brain. Once you decide that just awareness and unwavering intent, you can connect with and control your emotions and reactions to the outside world. You can then re-program your mind and your neurochemistry and even our genetic activity, as well as our awareness of the God – mind within us.
My heart serves a variety of functions. On a physical level, my heart pumps blood throughout my body. For this vital organ to do its job effectively, all passageways must remain open and clear. So I blessed my heart by following a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.
From an emotional aspect, my heart is the center of goodness, love, and passion that radiates throughout my entire being. Like the physical, my emotions must remain free of blockages to function well. So I resist clinging to the past harboring negative attitudes.
My heart beats in perfect rhythm with the life of God within me. If the eye is a window to the soul, then surely the heart is the living receptacle of God’s love. (Daily word, Saturday, April 9, 2016)
We are better to begin to make changes in both our inner world and the outer world. We do that by rejecting all of our negative thoughts and feelings.
Negative feelings color our perception of the world and ourselves. We counter those negative thoughts positive thoughts, healthy thoughts, and gratefulness for what we have and who we are. That does not mean we must ask those feelings as in concrete. When we do this we are not accepting an idea that we cannot change the perceptions we have. We are simply acknowledging their existence. As we saw in the last chapter we are able to create our own universe through our connection to the Christ within.
We are also better to learn new responses that are life – enhancing. If, like Myrtle Fillmore we affirm that we are divine children of God, and they part of that God – Mind and through positive prayer and listening to that still voice within, being aware of what appears in our environment, or is a demonstration for manifestation of that prayer in the now we can know and understand what new responses are necessary.
It is God’s plan for us to be healthy, happy, and an ample supply to provide for our needs. If we adopt a higher vision of our life and live by it, we will actualize our potential.
Adjusting our Outer Life
Next, we can adjust our outer life by finding healthy, mature, and emotionally healthy people who love and do not judge.
We can find work that is rewarding and in line with what we love to do. We can live in an area that reflects the beauty of God’s creation as we see it. We are better to do life exercise daily and eat healthy food. But the greater wonder is that the mind can create matter and the things that meet the creation of our outer life. (Deepak Chopra & Rudolph E. Tanzi, 2012)
The inner work of changing your thoughts and feelings as I said, begins with stopping those negative thoughts. To do this, I suggest a trick borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy. Here is how you do it: 1) find a rubber band that will fit around your wrist without cutting off your circulation and put it on your wrist, 2) whenever you become aware of a negative thought or statement, snap your wrist with that rubber band, 3) yell (if you are in a place where that won’t annoy anyone) or say to yourself in your mind STOP! 4) admittedly say the corollary of that thought to yourself in a positive active voice starting with “I am”.
What is going on here is a mode of behavior modification. The act of snapping your wrist with the rubber band is what is called negative reinforcement. A negative reinforcer is a noxious event which tends to reduce the frequency of the antecedent behavior. In this case that behavior is your negative thought. The immediate positive thought, over time, will replace the negative. It took a long time to acquire those negative thoughts, so don’t expect immediate success. However, do not get discouraged the change well happen.
The Reason for Stating Positive Thoughts in the Active Voice
The reason for stating that new positive thought in the active voice with the words “I am” is that our subconscious mind is a slave to your conscious thoughts. You will learn the content of that positive thought and it will become what you think about the most. As I said above, don’t be discouraged this doesn’t occur immediately. If you are constantly saying to yourself your positive thoughts, you revoke the action of the quantum and that in turn will create a new world for you consisting of health or supply.
You will do better to adopt a higher view of life, and live by it. Everyone you experience in your environment as an expression of God, the Christ consciousness within them. Now those people may not act the way you would like them to, but you are better to know that you are not the cause of their behavior which stems from their own error thought.
You will find that just by substituting new positive thoughts for those old error thoughts your outer behavior will change and your perception of those in your environment will also change. To expedite that outer change, you can begin to willfully behave in accordance with those new positive thoughts. As the saying goes, “fake till you make it”. However, do this focusing on God and his/her intended good for you.
New Brain Growth
Recent studies suggest that new neurons are grown in the hippocampus that are able to inhibit the negative reactions stemming from the amygdala. Stress alleviating activities such as during physical exercise or learning new things promote the birth of new neurons, which as I pointed out in above in chapter 3 this is possible because of neural plasticity. As the brain shifts reality follows! Every quality in you and the outside world exists because you are creating all of reality within your mind.
Engaging in positive prayer helps you connect to the connection with the God within. Charles Fillmore tells us the process of prayer send this right to the top of our brain. You pray to the Father and you make a certain union through your higher aspirations through your ideal form that gives you a great power. But your consciousness must give way to that new life in Christ. In other words, your meditative prayer opens your mind to the Christ presence within that gives us the power to affect change in our health or supply.
In Luke 12:7 we are told that God values us more than many sparrows. Through the connection we make with God’s consciousness that was and always will be within us, receive all that he/she wants for us. In chapter 3 it was explained how meditation makes changes in the structure of our brain. Those new connections heighten our experience of the Christ within as well as resulting in a change toward the positive. We are told that God’s designation was “I am that I am.” By stating the I am in your positive prayer, you take on the power Jesus said in several ways that we can heal or change things in our environment. He told us we can do greater things than him.
How did those negative error thoughts get locked away and on mind in the first place?
From almost immediately after your birth the most host emotion-laden statement you hear is “NO”. As you get older that “no” it’s paired follow-up phrases such as “don’t do that”, whatever, that, was connected to.
We Internalize Negative Statements Given to Us by Others About Ourselves
We internalize those negative statements about ourselves and our actions. They become a script in the unconscious mind that governs your life. That script is then reinforced by more negative statements of the negative outcomes we create for ourselves and our environment. That is why it is important to open up to the God-Consciousness flowing through us when we substitute TRUTH for those error thoughts and both are meditating positive prayer and the way we live our lives.
How to Meditate (Method 1)
I have mentioned “meditative prayer” several times already. So I want to explain to you just how to go about meditation including meditative prayer.
Meditation is a quieting of all those thoughts that run through our head all the time. This is accomplished by first focusing on our breathing. Become aware of the air flowing through our nose as we breathe in and out. We can control our breathing to the point where it is deep and regular. As a warning those programs thoughts as well is the other things we’ve been thinking about will tend to pop into our heads as we meditate. This is normal. Just gently dismissed those thoughts and return to the focus on your breathing
You will slowly become aware that your body has relaxed. That is the signal to shift your focus onto the God consciousness within you. Start by being grateful for what you have and who you are. You, with practice, will be able to feel that connection to God. Your mind will begin to notice that power of the connection that comes with our awareness of the Christ consciousness. It is through that prayer and meditation that we heal our body and change the environment. Your meditation should last more than 15 minutes at a time for those changes made in our brain to take effect and the changes become permanent. During and following your positive prayer, you should listen for that still, small voice, or synchronistic events.
Famous psychiatrist Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity in the 1920s. Synchronicity begins outside our space time in the flow where all knowledge exists in on material reality takes shape. It then unfolds into our consciousness, creating and gathering more information before returning back into the flow. This led Jung to develop what he referred to as “universal psychic structures.” He would later change this name to the term archetypes. They are simply nonmaterial universal patterns or structures that we tend to adopt as our modus operandi.
Building on these ideas, he developed what he called the “psychoid” – this is simply a mixture of the psyche dimensions and the pre-existing material which collude to create our own unique life.
Jung believed that synchronicity occurs when we tap into the “collective unconsciousness” and we get a message or sign that will later resurface when the time is right to show us what path to take. Collective unconsciousness is what we know in Unity as the God – consciousness. It is the source of all knowledge that we can use to solve a problem, see the right action to take in a situation, create healing or supply.
In that God – consciousness lies everything, for God is all knowing. Since we are part of that consciousness, it is possible for us to know or do anything. But we must pay attention to those synchronistic events. (Torres, 2016)
Let me talk a bit about beliefs. Above I gave a short explanation of how we acquire, but now I want to tell you a little more about beliefs before I go on because so much of Unity thinking is based on our beliefs which in turn give rise to faith.
Instead of passively accepting anything in the world, you need to claim your role as the creator of that world through your beliefs. The brain is designed to allow us to make new things.
The belief is like a map based on experience or learning that seems true (based on our experiences or other beliefs) real or true. Beliefs are our most important mental activity. “With them we can build civilizations, make revolutions, create music, art, and determine our relationship to the cosmos, fall in love, hate. That is why it is so crucial to understand how they work” (Chopra & Tanzi,2012).
Beliefs sink down to the deepest level of our psychosomatic system, and even our blood and sinew. We act speak and think according to the strongly held beliefs. As I stated earlier emotions play a distinct role in forming our beliefs. They are influenced by the intensity of the input we receive from others. That emotion can come from our self or from the source of the input. For instance, our parents used every tactic they could muster to convince us of certain things. They told us horrid things will happen if we don’t believe. God will punish us if we sin or do not pray. Our parents also enlisted others to reiterate those beliefs.
As we began to move in to The Unity thought, we see that those old error thoughts and beliefs are at odds with what Unity teaches. So a state of cognitive dissonance arises. To reduce that dissonance, we must either give up our ever thought, and continue with our own thought and belief system which keeps us sick, or poor or else adopt the Unity thought.
The Value of Meaning
That leads us to another element of our beliefs and thoughts. That element is the value or meaning we have placed on those thoughts and beliefs. The greater the value or meaning of a belief or thought the more difficult it will be to give it up or unlearn. Psychologists tell us the value or meaning we gave a thought or belief may not be what we think it is, but the thought or belief serves as a secondary reinforcement of that belief.
Belief in anything implies that we have faith. They will always play an important part in our life. Faith allows us to trust our beliefs so we can survive and extract meaning and value the world. In Unity all our prayers are prayers of faith. When we pray, we have faith that God is already in you, and every part of your mind, heart, and body according to Myrtle Fillmore (1936). We must have faith that our prayer is already answered. One of the lessons of quantum physics is that the outcome of our observation is in the past is already happened is exactly What we believe in Unity.
Having faith in Unity thought means when we declare certain things of truth, we do not go back almost immediately after our prayer to the things we have been doing. If we do regress it doesn’t allow any answers. Remember, you are what you think, and receive what you think about. So holding Truth in our minds, provides for us.
Anyone who needs to realize and draw on God’s light and life and power and substance for help and sustenance, cannot make the grade so long as he is so situated that it is is a way of least resistance to let others do for him that which they feel impelled, from love or any other motive to do. (Ibid.).
Again the reason for keeping in that consciousness of God is the same as for changing error thought because the two are identical. We must hold our thoughts on God and his/her love and bounty for our prayers to manifest. I can’t say it too often, you are what you think. That is where faith comes in. Remember, Jesus told us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. He also told us we can do greater things than he did. But we must have faith!
In addition to faith, we need to be grateful. Give thanks for what you have as well as for the manifestation of your prayer. By holding that “attitude of gratitude” you tend to stay in the present of God and avoid error thought.
Another Method of Meditation
There are several methods to meditate. Those styles are available on the Internet. But I’d like to describe the one that Newberg and Waldman (2007) described. I do this because by their research this method produced positive change in the brain and was not religious.
It involves as I suggested above, first controlling your breathing. Once your breathing is slow and regular, continuously sing the mantra (a repeated word or phrase during meditation) sa, ta,na, ma as you do this, touch the four fingers of your hand to your thumb each time you repeat the mantra one finger to the thumb for each syllable spoken. For example, as you vocalize sa, you touch your little finger to your thumb. Then the rest of your fingers one for each vocalization. The reason for touching fingers as it is has been found seems to hasten the growth of new synapses as you meditate.
This mantra meditation should be done daily for a minimum of 12 minutes and for three months for changes to start. Buddhists and nuns who meditate or spent long periods each day for years in meditation or contemplative prayers, have found profound changes in their neural wiring, and report feelings of oneness with the universe and God. So this should give you hope for your meditation, would you choose this one or the one I described earlier.
As an aside, Newberg and Waldman (2007) as part of their research into how people saw God, they included religious science churches in their study. This group tended to draw God with symbols such as the sun, the infinity signs, spirals, and some even drew mirrors. Their findings are in line with our beliefs of God within and is the all of the universe. James Fowler’s research found that when we deeply become aware of the meaning of life, and then toward mythical beliefs, then toward more universal values of social responsibility.
What is even more exciting news for those of us who ascribe to Unity is the observation that as the brain evolves it moves toward thinking about God in a way that God is within us, and us having greater ability to heal the body with the mind is also a result they found. Now in my opinion that evolution of the brain toward God within is proof of what Unity teaches.
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About the Author
Dr. Hestand is a 100% disabled Navy veteran. He served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and was briefly in the Fleet Marine Force (Combat Medic with the U.S. Marines.
After the Navy, he finished his BS in Psychology and moved his family to San Diego, CA, where he opened up the VAMC’s addictions unit as a counselor. He earned his first MS in Counseling Psychology from Northwest MO St. University and went to work as a Psychologist for the Department of Corrections at the Tipton Pre-release Center. For six months he commuted to the Death Row at the Missouri State Pen twice a week.
He has led weekend retreats for the recovering community once a month for four years. In addition, he taught continuing education for psychologists, social workers, and addiction counselors in the Saint Louis, MO, area.
He earned his second MS in Family Therapy from the United States International University in San Diego, CA, and returned to Forensic/Prison Psychology at the Okeechobee Correctional Institution in Okeechobee, FL, and served as the psychologist for the men in disciplinary solitary confinement as well as treating the sex offenders using a cognitive restructuring program he designed. That program was adopted by several other correctional facilities in Florida.
While in Florida, he earned his EdD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Sarasota in Sarasota, FL.
When he retired from the Florida prison system, he and his wife moved to San Diego, CA, where he became the Director of Rehabilitation Services for the San Diego Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center, where he was forced to go on 100% VA disability for a service connected condition.
In addition to his work as a Forensic / Psychologist in Florida, he taught psychology, sociology, child devilment, human development, and Master Student classes in the evening at the South Florida Community College in Avon Park, Florida. He also made many presentations at Unity Churches in Florida.
He now lives in Buffalo, NY, with his wife. He moved there to be near his son and his family.
He attends the Unity Center for Unlimited Possibilities there in Buffalo.