I am reading a fascinating book by Andrew Newberg, M.D and Mark Waldman called How God Changes your Brain.
God is a loaded topic. Just saying the word conjures different types of images and stories for people. But how we view God is based upon the culture we grew up in. When I was volunteering for Hospice in Fort Myers, I was assigned to visit a man who was devotedly religious. He loved his family, friends and church. He knew he was dying, and said his biggest fear was that God was going to wack him on the head for not living a more perfect life.
One of the challenges of talking about God are our perceptions. Dr Newberg writes that “having an accurate perception of reality is not one of the brain’s strong points.” meaning the human brain cannot separate fantasies from facts. It sees things that are not there and it also cannot see things that are there. In fact it doesn’t even try. It selects a handful of cues and then fills in the rest with conjecture, fantasy and belief.
We need our brain to experience God yet it also hinders us from having a direct experience with Life.
When I was hospitalized back in 1984 from a car accident and had a closed head injury, the doctors told us that my brain would heal through creating new dendrites and synapses. So what does this have to do with the Science of God? Everything. When we are knocked out from our left hemisphere of the brain, which puts things into structure and form, where all the thoughts, opinions, beliefs swirl around us constantly, a new picture emerges. The right hemisphere of the brain shows the interconnectedness of all life. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor describes this in detail in her book My Stroke of Insight.
The Science of God is the study of the neural mechanisms of spirituality. As we contemplate God, what is good; focus on cultivating kindness; engage in sacred practices such as prayer, meditation, Reiki, Yoga, these practices strengthen the neurological circuits that generates peacefulness, social awareness and compassion for others.
There is no religion that has all the answers. There is no spiritual practice that can give us the full view; however the quieter our interior Being becomes, the more you alter the neural circuitry in specific parts of your brain and the clearer we can see our interconnection.
That is why, says Dr. Newberg, can unequivocally says that God can change your brain.