Spirituality and the Brain

Many agnostics are very spiritual and some pray. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 42-43. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

There are about 6 billion belief systems in the world (since each human brain is unique). (Newberg, Andrew, MD., and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. p 25. NY: Free Press, 2006.)

Beliefs control biology (e.g., placebo effect involves positive belief, nocebo effect involves negative belief). In more than half of clinical trials for six leading antidepressant, drugs did not outperform placebo sugar pills. People around you can remove hope by programming you to believe you are powerless. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 135-144. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

Faith comes from the heart or the center of will in one’s being (e.g., kath, chi), while belief is an intellectual process. (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. p. 12-14. VT: Park Street Press, 2002.)

When your conscious mind has a belief that is in conflict with “truth” previously stored in the subconscious mind, the intellectual conflict expresses itself as a weakening of the body’s muscles. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 158-160. CA: Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

People need to pray, believe, and affirm that they have received what they prayed for. (Fox, Arnold, MD, and Barry Fox, PhD. Wake Up! You’re Alive! p 61-63. FL: Health Communications, 1988.)

There is no correlation between a person’s religious beliefs and the effectiveness of his/her prayer in a laboratory setting. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 90. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Studies at the U of Pennsylvania: The human mind may be naturally calibrated to have and embrace spiritual perceptions. (Newberg, Andrew, MD., and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. p 7-9. NY:Free Press, 2006.)

It appears that the human brain has a natural inclination for religious belief, especially during hard times. That is, some of the foundations for one’s religious beliefs may be hard-wired into the brain. Anthropologists at Oxford University in England: experiments carried out on children reveal a "default state" of the mind that persists, albeit in modified form, into adulthood. (Brooks, Michael. Born believers: How your brain creates God, NewScientist, 2009.)

Studies of spiritual people (e.g., those who have an inner core of faith and hope): these individuals showed positive brain-power effects similar to those of people who meditate. Brain efficiency can be strengthened by spirituality. (Giuffre, Kenneth, MD, with Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. p 45. NJ:Career Press, 1999.)

Doctrinal theology and beliefs are processed in the left cerebral hemisphere. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette).CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Your brain creates your world. Everything begins and ends in the brain. How it functions determines the very quality of your life (e.g., your happiness level, relationship success, and career success). It even impacts how close or how distant you feel from God. (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. p 34-36. NY:Times Books, 1998.)

The unconscious mind is able to cooperate with prayer, initiate it, and even mediate its effects. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 80-84. NY: Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

Prayer can be viewed as one of the ultimate activities of the frontal lobes of the cerebrum. (Nedley, Neil, MD. Proof Positive. p 280. OK: Nedley, 1998, 1999.)

The charismatic movement (so called) is affective and more aligned with the right hemisphere of the brain. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Carl Jung postulated that human beings possess a religious function that influences them as powerful as do the instincts of sexuality and aggression. This keeps the brain occupied with the expression of religious function, the forming of symbols, and the building up of religion—as with other basic needs. (Fordham, Freida. An Introduction to Jung’s Psychology, p. 70. NY:Penguin Books, 1953.)

The brain’s neural pathways are the only way for God to “get into your head.” (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p 37. NY: Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Findings couple temporal-lobe activity with mystical religious experience. This God module, so called, is common in a specific type of epilepsy (e.g., typically accompanied by visions of God and a sense of being at one with the universe). (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 741. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Intellectual and spiritual stimuli are important. Both a person’s health and the biological structure of the brain are altered. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 78-80. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Alteration of consciousness may be triggered by intense physical or mental activity, ceremonial rituals or meditation. This may involve sympathetic and parasympathetic systems that are functioning at the same time. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p 38-40. NY: Ballantine Books, 2001.)

The bulk of people’s lives is lived in a state of unawareness or unconsciousness. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. 80-84. NY: Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

Altered states of consciousness can be achieved using the Relaxation Response. It includes four elements (quiet place, passive attitude, comfortable position, thought to ponder) and can reduce stress when initiated consciously. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Miriam Z. Klipper. The Relaxation Response. p 104-156. NY:Avon Books, 1975.)

One way to describe the differences between East cultures and West cultures is as a combination of a religion along with a specific brand of civics. For example:

  • Western cultures emerged from the combination of Judeo-Christiana theology (e.g., posits a single god who hold individuals responsible for their own eternal salvation) and Greek civics (e.g., emphasizes personal agency and free will). It spread from the Middle East Westward toward Europe and North America, with more lasting effects the farther west it traveled.
  • Eastern cultures emerged from a combination of Buddhist beliefs (e.g., that all are connected and that selfish attachments are unhealthy) with Confucian civics (e.g., characterizes society in terms of the relational obligations among its members). It spread from India toward East Asian countries, with more lasting effects the farther east it traveled.

(Max Brockman, Editor. What’s Next? Dispatches on the Future of Science. p 90-102. NY: Vintage Books, 2009.)

Prayer is a form of meditation. The frontal cortex lights up during meditation. (Pert, Candace, PhD Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind. CO: Sounds True, 2000.)

A complete definition of prayer may never be able to be provided. Scientific evidence strongly suggests it is outside the present moment, and is nonlocal, operates at a distance. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p xxiv, 23-24. NY: Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

Quotes Larry Dossey MD: Prayer is an attitude of the heart, a matter of being and not doing. It is the desire to connect with the Absolute, however it may be conceived. When you experience the need to enact this connection, you are praying. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p. 159-160. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Prayer is a universal being-and-not-doing phenomenon; an attitude of the heart. A person’s own belief can strengthen the effect of his/her prayers. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 18-19, 129. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Deliberate rituals such as chanting or group prayer can induce a state of hyperquiescence (extraordinary relaxation) as opposed to hyperarousal that can result from any type of continuous rhythmic motor activity (e.g., rapid ritual dancing, marathon runners). (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p 40-42. NY: Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Religion connotes a person’s adherence to a set of beliefs endorsed by an organization. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 17-20, 182-186. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.)

Spirituality, although difficult to describe, relates to functions of the right hemisphere, as compared with “proclamation” that involves left-hemisphere functions. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with William Proctor. Your Maximum Mind. p 195-198. NY: Avon Books, 1987.)

Spirituality involves a person’s belief about life, health, illness, death, and one’s relationship to the universe. It differs from religion, which is an organized system of beliefs about one or more all-powerful, all-knowing forces that govern the universe, and that offers guidelines for living in harmony with the universe and others. (Andrews & Boyle. Therapeutic Communication – Building the Nurse-Client Relationship. 2003.)

Spirituality relates to a person’s own search for meaning and connection, especially in relation to a Higher Power. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark.The Faith Factor. p. 17-20, 182-186. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.)

Studies at Princeton University in New Jersey, PEAR program: More than one million trials have been done assessing the impact of “L” energy (sometimes called the fifth force). Strongest energy connections have been between male-female pairs who reported being connected heart to heart in a love bond. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p 43-46. NY:Broadway Books, 1998.)

Family members who join hands to say a prayer or blessing prior to eating create a “L” energy loop. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 154-165. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

When people hold hands they exchange “L” energy and create cellular memories. This is stronger when two people are walking and holding right hand to left than when holding right-to-right as in shaking hands. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 163-164. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

If who human beings are is at least in part a representation of a “soul,” then all types of energy are “vital” forms of the life force. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p 41. NY:Broadway Books, 1998.)

Study: 25% of those questioned about using Benson’s Relaxation Response reported that they felt “more spiritual” as a result and experienced the presence of an energy, a force/power beyond themselves. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 216-217. CA: Harper SF, 1999.)

Modern scientists postulate the existence of form-generating, non-physical fields. This may explain why many methods of alternative medicine, including prayer, can work—although science does not yet have instruments that are sensitive enough to measure them. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 259-260. CA: Harper SF, 1999.)

Refer to Energy and the Brain for additional information..

Miracles result from the person’s faith rather than the other way around. Faith can calm the mind more effectively than many other strategies. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 160-162, 203-204. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Studies: Number one characteristic was the ability of the family members to communicate effectively (also a set of moral values, system of beliefs, and a religious core that promoted faith). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 346-350. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Studies of spiritual people (e.g., those who have an inner core of faith and hope): these individuals showed positive brain-power effects similar to those of people who meditate. Brain efficiency can be strengthened by spirituality. (Giuffre, Kenneth, MD, with Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. p 45. NJ: Career Press, 1999.)

"When a psychic, faith healer, medium, or charlatan appears to defy the laws of nature, there is always an illusion involved." (Macknik, Stephen L. PhD and Susana Martinez-Conde PhD. Sleights of Mind. p 40-41. NY:Henry Holt and Company, 2010.)

Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings has shown distinct changes in brain wave patterns of people entering into what the participants called an “anointed” state of consciousness. Their brain wave patterns suddenly shifted from alpha brainwaves to beta brainwaves. Experiences of glossolalia appear to have a direct correlation to neurological activity and may be associated with increased activation of the right brain hemisphere. (Alper, Matthew. The God Part of the Brain, p. 192-193. IL:Sourcebooks, Inc, 2008.)

Findings couple temporal-lobe activity with mystical religious experience. This God module, so called, is common in a specific type of epilepsy (e.g., typically accompanied by visions of God and a sense of being at one with the universe). (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 741. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Studies: 67% of people imagine God more as a father than a mother; only 7% imagine God more as a mother than a father. (Weiss, Daniel Evan. Great Divide: How Females and Males Really Differ. p 147-149. NY: Poseidon Press, 1991.)

Discusses the impossibility of disproving that God exists because a “god meter” does not exist. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 21-25. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

If people have difficulty with the concept of or label of “god,” suggests that they “conceive of greatness beyond which there can be nothing greater.” (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p. 299-300. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Children who fail to perceive the Deity as encompassing both sexes (e.g., God as male and God as female) are almost always altered in an ability to respond to God. (Joy, Donald M., PhD. Bonding. p 15-16. TN:Word Books, 1985.)

Different personalities will envision "god" differently. The author postulates seven different responses to God and contents that the brain only registers a deity iunside one or more of those responses (e.g., fight-or-flight, rule-giving, restful tranquility, intuitive, creative, visionary, and sacred source). (Chopra, Deepak, PhD. How to Know God. NY:Three Rivers Press, 2001.)

Studies: regular prayer is 80% beneficial in preventing mental and physical illness. A person can request immune system strengthening. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p. 3-4, 39, 137-138. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Quotes Seligman: people who are religious are usually happier than those who are not. Mind/Body Section. Corliss, Richard. Is There a Formula for Joy? Time Magazine, special issue. NY: Time Inc, January 2003.

Dr. Dean Ornish’s Lifestyle Heart Trial 2001: the degree of personal spiritual wellbeing may be an important factor in the development of artery disease. The lowest spirituality scores predicted greater coronary artery obstruction and progression of heart disease over a four-year period. p. 126-128. O’Brien, Mary, MD. Successful Aging. CA:Biomed General. 2007.

The human brain is designed for “faith” and embracing it can generate healing. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 299-300. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Begin with the body and good nutrition; explore visualizations, meditation, and affirmations for the mind; practice forgiveness, unconditional love, prayer/meditation, and connection with your Higher Power for the spirit. (Hay, Louise L. You Can Heal Your Life. p 88-89. CA: Hay House, Inc., 1984.)

The relationship between healing and spirituality is a great mystery—perhaps it is something unknowable, beyond human understanding. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 23-24. NY:Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

Emotions may influence healing, positively as well as negatively. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Be Careful What You Pray For. p 176-181. CA: Harper San Francisco, 1998.)

The faith factor is composed of several entities (e.g., finding a purpose in life, gaining strength through shared beliefs, finding ultimate hope). (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 40-50. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.)

Meditation can enhance one’s ability to communicate with the self. This can be helpful in working through negative feelings and in healing of illnesses. (Sylvia, Claire, with William Novak. A Change of Heart. p xi-xiii. NY:Little, Brown and Company, 1997.)

Some hospitalized patients may recover faster with regular visits from supportive clergy who can help patients reframe the diagnosis or hospitalization and perceive it in a new way. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p. 160-162. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Refer to appendix for citations of controlled trials of healing using human subjects. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 262-271. NY:Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

Discusses the power of patriotic and religious ritual and remembered wellness (e.g., reinforcement of neural pathways related to faith that were laid down in childhood/youth). This may be one reason that people are resistant to changes in liturgy. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 177-180. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Intellectual and spiritual stimuli are important. Both a person’s health and the biological structure of the brain are altered. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 78-80. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Religious participation can lead to more problems when leaders coerce adherents to give up all personal autonomy. This can be dangerous to one’s health. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 40-50. NY:Penguin Books, 1998.)

Studies: 22 of 27 studies correlated improved health in those who attended religious services. Worship services contain elements (e.g., music, rituals, contemplation, prayer, socializing, education) that are potentially therapeutic. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 177-180. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Ten-Month Study: 400 patients hospitalized in a San Francisco coronary care unit. As compared to the control group, patients who received intercessory prayer had significantly enhanced outcomes (e.g., fewer complications, cardiac arrests, pneumonia). (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 182-184. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

The book’s Appendix contains citations of controlled experimental trials of healing. Studies have been done on fungi, yeast, bacteria, cells, plants, and animals in relation to prayer and healing. p. 262-271. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 262-271. NY:Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

Since the heart thinks and feels, it is reasonable to assume it can pray without words. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 162. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

Hypnosis bypasses the frontal lobes. As the person enters into a trance-like state beta waves are lost from the brain and an alpha brain pattern is operative. (Nedley, Neil, MD. Proof Positive. p 278-280. OK: Nedley, 1998, 1999.)

The hypothalamus is impacted during spiritual experiences and religious practices. Meditation can alter the release of hormones such as vasopressin. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p 43-45. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Imagination is the ability to consciously create a picture in your mind, repeat it, and have things turn out as imagined. It is important for positive thinking and for prayer. (Siebert, Al, PhD. The Survivor Personality. 68-70. NY:A Perigee Book, 1996.)

Human beings are innately spiritual innately. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 208-210. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Introverts may approach prayer differently from extroverts. There may be a genetic basis for E-I differences (e.g., Introverts have a low threshold for stimulation in the amygdala). (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 129-133 NY: HarperPaperbacks, 1993.)

Girls are more influenced by attendance at Sunday School/Sabbath School than are boys. Boys are more influenced by congruity in the family (e.g., exhibited behaviors match stated spiritual or religious beliefs). (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Survey: females are more likely to experience spiritual encounters of one type or another, as compared to males. p. 156-157. Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 156-157. NY:Scribner, 1996.

Study: Females - 75% are members of a church or synagogue; 46% attended in the previous week. Males - 63% are members of a church or synagogue; 38% attended in the previous week. (Weiss, Daniel Evan. Great Divide: How Females and Males Really Differ. p 147-149. NY Poseidon Press, 1991.)

Hypothesizes that males and females exist as parallel and complementary packages. Some aspects of God’s character are best illustrated by the female brain and some by the male brain. (Joy, Donald M., PhD. Bonding. p 18-19. TN: Word Books, 1985.)

Males are called to discipleship through stories that capture their attention and that are processed in the right hemisphere. Preachers and teachers should take note that the four Gospels are filled with stories. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Females appear to be more religious, more idealistic, and more interested in the relation of human being to God than males (e.g., by church affiliation records and church attendance records). (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 120-121. NY:Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.)

Prayer is a form of meditation. The frontal cortex lights up during meditation. (Pert, Candace, PhD Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind. CO: Sounds True, 2000.)

PET Scan studies showed that while monks were engaged in the act of meditation, there was a sudden decrease in blood flow to: the amygdala (where fear and anxiety is generated), the parietal lobe (providing a sense of timelessness and spacelessness), and the frontal lobes (dissolution of one’s usual ego). (Alper, Matthew. The God Part of the Brain, p. 135-137. IL:Sourcebooks, Inc, 2008.)

There is a difference between active (focus on a thought) versus passive (try to clear the mind of thought) meditation. Active (focused contemplation or prayer) triggers slightly different brain patterns as compared to passive meditation. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away, p. 117-127. NY: Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Meditation can enhance one’s ability to communicate with the self. This can be helpful in working through negative feelings and in healing of illnesses. (Sylvia, Claire, with William Novak. A Change of Heart. p xi-xiii. . NY:Little, Brown and Company, 1997.)

Multiple benefits can be derived from meditation / prayer (e.g., enhanced immune system function, lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduction in release of harmful stress hormones). Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away.p. 129-131. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Studies of heart rate during prayer/meditation: there was significant variation in heart rate during meditation or prayer. The alterations in the autonomic nervous system were beyond just a relaxing response. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p. 193. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Sensations of great bliss can occur during meditation or contemplative prayer. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p 40-42. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Meditation can alter the release of hormones such as vasopressin. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p 43-45. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Meditation can boost the immune system and serve as a stress reducer. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 218. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

Benefits of the Relaxation Response had been elicited through prayer and meditation long before Dr. Benson identified and labeled it. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 40-50. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.)

Transcendental Meditation, prayer, biofeedback, and other techniques can elicit the Relaxation Response, named by Dr. Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical School. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 91-92. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

St. Francis’ EffectDr. Benson created this label to describe the phenomenon whereby birds and other wild creatures have been attracted to individuals during meditative experiences. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing.p 185-187. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Rock music has moved out of music festivals and into religious services. The resulted was the creation of a contemporary Christian-music industry that purported to help churches go from one cultural style to the next. Youth ministries in large church often use theotainment to attract youth and encourage them to attend services. Many youth simply attend the church that has the greatest concentration of entertaining events. (Mattingly, Terry. Religion: That’s ‘theotainment’ Scripps News, 2009.

NDEs likely result from a neurophysiological mechanism rather than any “spiritual” source. As reported in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry (Clinical Neuroscience; 1997, Summer; 9(3):498): Hallucinogen ingestion and temporoloimbic epilepsy produce a near identical experience as is described by persons having a near-death experience. These brain disturbances produce depersonalization, derealization, ecstasy, a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, and other experiences that foster religious-numinous interpretation. (Alper, Matthew. The God Part of the Brain, p. 188-189. IL: Sourcebooks, Inc, 2008. And Jansen, Karl, MD. Ketamine: Dreams and Realities. MAPS, 2004.)

Near-death experiences result from a lack of oxygen to the brain (e.g., triggers vision cells to perceive tunnels of light) and the release of endorphins that result in pleasant sensations. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing.p 152-154. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Most churches actively discourage women regarding the ministry by refusing them ordination. (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 172-173. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.)

Electrodes placed in the angular gyrus (structure in the deep brain region), have been found able to spark out-of-body experiences. (Lynch, Zack, PhD., with Byron Laursen. The Neuro Revolution, p. 17. NY:St. Martin’s Press, 2009.)

The recollection of past lives relates to the nocebo effect (negative placebo). The incidents seem very real to the individuals but are top-down generated beliefs. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief. p. 268-269. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

The placebo effect may increase positive results of prayer. But prayer success cannot be due to placebo effects alone. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 26-27. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Nocebo is the opposite side of the coin to positive placebo effects or remembered wellness. Provides examples such as psychogenic illness, false memories, voodoo death, alien abductions, belief-engendered death, etc. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p. 294-296. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

The recollection of past lives relates to the nocebo effect (negative placebo). The incidents seem very real to the individuals but are top-down generated beliefs. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief. p. 268-269. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

Studies have shown many physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of prayer (e.g., to plants, to the self, to others). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 387-389. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Prayer is a form of meditation. The frontal cortex lights up during meditation. (Pert, Candace, PhD Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind. CO: Sounds True, 2000.)

Four types of prayer include: meditative, colloquial, petitional, and ritual. The most benefits appear to derive from meditative prayer. p. 388. Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Several styles of prayer include: colloquial, meditative, petitional, intercessory, and confessional. p. 200-230. Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.

There are many types of payer including petition, intercession, confession, lamentation, adoration, invocation, and thanksgiving. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 23-24. NY:Harper Paperbacks, 1993.)

There may be many different purposes for prayer/meditation including: praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition, and intercession. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 214-222. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.)

Since the heart thinks and feels, it is reasonable to assume it can pray without words. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 162. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

Cardio-contemplation is a form of receptive prayer; listening to the power within your heart for its profound awareness of your connection with the creator. It is being and not doing. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD. The Heart’s Code. p 159-160. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Intercessory prayer appears not to be limited by distance. It is a nonlocal event using quantum physics. p. 32-33. Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine.NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.

Prayer positively affects high blood pressure, heart attacks, wounds, headaches, and anxiety. Nothing seemed capable (e.g., lead-lined room) of blocking prayer. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p xviii-xxiv. NY:HarperPaperbacks, 1993.)

All prayers do not always work. Statistically speaking, however, studies have shown that prayer can be effective, directed and non-directed. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p. 49-59. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Studies have shown many physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of prayer (e.g., to plants, to the self, to others). (Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 387-389. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Prayer can be used for good or harm. Negative prayer is already prevalent in our culture and can cause harm. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Be Careful What You Pray For. p 6-8. CA: HarperSan Francisco, 1998.)

Multiple benefits can be derived from prayer/meditation (e.g., enhanced immune system function, lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduction in release of harmful stress hormones). Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away.p. 129-131. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Providing caring service to others is a form of prayer. (Tomatis, Alfred A, M.D. Editor Timothy M. Gilmore, PhD, et al. About the Tomatis Method. p. 206-207. Canada:Listening Centre Press, 1989.)

Studies of heart rate during prayer/meditation: there was significant variation in heart rate during meditation or prayer. The alterations in the autonomic nervous system were beyond just a relaxing response. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away. p. 193. NY:Ballantine Books, 2001.)

Survey of Americans: Even when well, over 90% of females and over 80% of males pray regularly. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. 3-4, 39, 137-138. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

The Relaxation Response provides many positive benefits (e.g., metabolism slow, lowers blood pressure, slows breathing, lowers heart rate, decreases brain wave activity). It can be elicited through prayer. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 387-339. MA:Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Benefits of the Relaxation Response had been elicited through prayer and meditation long before Dr. Benson identified and labeled it. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 40-50. NY: Penguin Books, 1998.)

Prayer, Transcendental Meditation, biofeedback, and other techniques can elicit the Relaxation Response, named by Dr. Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical School. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 91-92. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Prayerfulness is an attitude or feeling of unity with another. It differs from prayer, an act that follows instructions laid down by religious traditions. Both directed and non-directed prayer work. (Dossey, Larry. MD. Healing Words. p 31-34, 133. NY: HarperPaperbacks, 1993.)

Study: Individuals from a variety of religions do equally well on tests related to prayer. A prayer/religion confusion exists (e.g., a person can be religious and not pray, a person can pray and not be religious). (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 18, 89. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Modern scientists postulate the existence of form-generating, non-physical fields. This may explain why many methods of alternative medicine, including prayer, can work—although science does not yet have instruments that are sensitive enough to measure them. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 259-260. CA: Harper SF, 1999.)

Prayer (and other healing modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage) are based on the belief that energy fields are influential in controlling the physiology of the human body and its health. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 99. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

Study: even when the recipient didn’t know he/she was being prayed for, intercessory prayer was effective. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 129. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

People can be religious with little feeling for their own spirituality, or spiritual but not religious. (Childre, Doc and Howard Martin. The HeartMath Solution. p 216-217. CA:Harper SF, 1999.)

Study: Individuals from a variety of religions do equally well on tests related to prayer. A prayer/religion confusion exists (e.g., a person can be religious and not pray, a person can pray and not be religious). (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 18, 89. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

It appears that the human brain has a natural inclination for religious belief, especially during hard times. That is, some of the foundations for one’s religious beliefs may be hard-wired into the brain. Anthropologists at Oxford University in England: experiments carried out on children reveal a "default state" of the mind that persists, albeit in modified form, into adulthood. (Brooks, Michael. Born believers: How your brain creates God, NewScientist, 2009.)

Religious participation can lead to more problems when leaders coerce adherents to give up all personal autonomy. This can be dangerous to one’s health. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 40-50. NY:Penguin Books, 1998.)

Study of African-American men and women: Males who low levels of religiosity scored twice as high on the depression score compared to their counterparts who were more religious. (Matthews, Dale, MD, with Connie Clark. The Faith Factor. p 24-26. NY:Penguin Books, 1998.)

Females appear to be more religious, more idealistic, and more interested in the relation of human being to God than males (e.g., by church affiliation records and church attendance records). (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 120-121. NY:Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.)

New study by University of Miami professor of Psychology Michael McCullough finds that religious people have more self-control than do their less religious counterparts. These findings imply that religious people may be better at pursuing and achieving long-term goals that are important to them and their religious groups. This, in turn, might help explain why religious people tend to have lower rates of substance abuse, better school achievement, less delinquency, better health behaviors, less depression, and longer lives.(Religion may have evolved because of its ability to help people exercise self-controlMedicine and Health / Psychology, 2008.)

Studies: 22 of 27 studies correlated improved health in those who attended religious services. Worship services contain elements (e.g., music, rituals, contemplation, prayer, socializing, education) that are potentially therapeutic. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 177-180. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Study: Individuals from a variety of religions do equally well on tests related to prayer. A prayer/religion confusion exists (e.g., a person can be religious and not pray, a person can pray and not be religious). (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 18, 89. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Regarding questions about Biblical passages that mention a death penalty for homosexual behaviors, a death penalty may occur in terms of the end of a individual’s genealogical line. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio Cassette). CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Refer to Sexuality and the Brain for additional information.

Young children lack the cognitive skills to articulate abstract concepts of God, but they can use their visual imagination to comprehend spiritual realms.  (Newberg, Andrew, MD. How God Changes Your Brain. p 87-88. NY:Ballantine Books, 2009)

More than 130 controlled laboratory studies have shown that prayer is beneficial to plants, bacteria, and yeast, and not just for humans. (Dossey, Larry, MD.Prayer is Good Medicine. p 103-104, 112-113. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Study by Dr. Randolph Byrd in SF: heart-surgery patients who were prayed for by groups around the world did significantly better in their recovery than those who were not prayed for by these groups. Some form of healing info-energy seemed to be involved and it was not impacted by distance or time. (Pearsall, Paul, PhD.The Heart’s Code. p 43-46. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Study by National Institute for Healthcare Research: 43% of American physicians pray for their patients. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 71.NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Study by Dr. Randolf Byrd, San Francisco General Hospital: 400 intensive care heart patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups (e.g., not prayed for specifically, specifically prayed for). Prayed-for patients had fewer complications. Nedley, Neil, MD. Proof Positive. p 280. OK: Nedley, 1998, 1999.)

Study: of 393 coronary-care-unit patients performed by Dr. Randolph Byrd in San Francisco. (Pert, Candace B., PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p. xi-xii. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Prayer Study: Dr. Randolph Byrd conducted two double-blind studies of patients in the CCU of SF General Hospital. Patients who were prayed for specifically had better specific outcomes. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 29. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Author Larry Dossey spent 5 years reviewing more than 130 scientific studies (e.g., reported in his book Healing Words). His conclusion: praying for someone’s health can positively impact that person’s recovery. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p p. 741-742. GA:Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Study of specific forms of hands-on healing and prayer: these modalities were effective in speeding recovery rates for surgery patients. (Pert, Candace B., PhD.Molecules of Emotion. p 268. NY: Scribner, 1997.)

Prayer (and other healing modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage) are based on the belief that energy fields are influential in controlling the physiology of the human body and its health. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 99. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

Study: even when the recipient didn’t know he/she was being prayed for, intercessory prayer was effective. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Prayer is Good Medicine. p 129. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.)

Every culture has: created religious works of art; expounded upon its spiritual beliefs through scriptures and mythologies; and maintained a belief that humans possess an internal spiritual component. (Alper, Matthew. The God Part of the Brain, p. 186-87. IL:Sourcebooks, Inc, 2008.)

The recognition of and faith in some type of deity is universal. There is a commonality among all cultures: some type of worship of a supreme being or Higher Power (by whatever name). 158-172. Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 158-172.NY:Scribner, 1996.

Athletes, monks, and meditators have described a peak experience known as being “in the zone.” This experience involves specific and typical characteristics. (Benson, Herbert, MD, with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p. 166-170. NY:Scribner, 1996.)

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