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THE INTERIOR "I": TRANSDISCIPLINARY

REFLECTIONS ON THE EXPERIENCE OF THE NUMINOUS

OSCAR CASTRO
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Abstract

Nowadays, science restricts the contents of all scientific explanations with very specific and technical
definitions. This is specially the case in its attempt to define borderline issues. At the present moment,
there is a growing interdisciplinary link between the so-called “sciences of the mind” and the “sciences of
the spirit”. This growing connection is specially an issue with mystical phenomena (for instance, when
one regards a key issue, such as the existence of God). Neurobiology usually considers explanations on
the basis of the relation “stimulus-response”, but they are not knowledgeable about what happens for
instance, in self-induction. When explaining a mystical experience, it is difficult to define the exact
differences of an individual manifesting itself and one needs to use terms such as “ego”, “I”, “self”,
“selfness”, “ipseity”, etc. They are not the same thing. These concepts must therefore be analysed in a
comparative way.

My intention is to render a transdisciplinary programme for the study of the first person (I) as a
foundation for the study of the “numinous” (the term invented by Rudolf Otto) or the base of all mystical
experiences of the homo religious.

Two of the basic aspects of the transdisciplinary programme will be expounded:

a) A study of comparative semantics of all the historical conceptions of the “I”, present in all
traditions from an ontological and a phenomenological point of view
b) A brief review of the recent history of “neurotheology”. We will analyse the explanatory models
present in the neurobiological studies of the mystical phenomena.

My intention is to render a new epistemological and hermeneutical view of the question about the “I”
experience of the numinous as a transdisciplinary scientific model.

Introduction

We live at a time in which there is an overload of information intoxicating out brain,


making it vulnerable to computer contamination. The more information we accumulate
in our brains, the less space we have to fill it up with facts from real life. So much
intellectual activity is unhealthy unless we can find a balance with some form of
physical activity. Our thoughts have become increasingly alienated, that is if we are to
considere our thoughts entirely our own. Do we think or are we thought by our own
thoughts? Is our very existence Cartesian? Are we a consequence of our thinking? Are
we sovereign of our very existence?

I suscribe the Chilean philosopher Dario Salas Sommer’s view in his Moral for the 21st
Century1 when he says that that human beings are subject to thoughts which are outside
one’s own intellectual reasoning. We are obeying the consumption of memes inoculated
by others without reaching the deep processing of the messages we receive. Our present
scientific establishment debates whether we are the result of our brains’ wiring. In the
same way as Berger and Luckmann in their book The social construction of reality
speak about a self-sustained society, I ask myself if my individual identity is a social
construction and even more so, of my immediate medium (education, family, etc.), thus
becoming autonomely a meer spirit in the “machine”.

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The problem becomes a more complex issue when trying to elicit what is meant by
terms such as “ego”, “self”, “selfness”, “ipseity”, and “I”. They are different terms and
they may appear in each individual with no clear distinction. I would therefore like to
focus on the neurobiological aspect of the “I/ego” and what happens to it when it melts
or dissolves itself into processes such as prayer, contemplation and meditation. This is
the way to attain what Rudolf Otto defines as “the numinous”, “the holy” or “that which
is sacred”.

In order to expound on the transdisciplinary version of the numinous experience, I need


to explain what the transdisciplinary approach means. In this manner I will be able to
explain different work systems and their structures which gives us the topological vision
of our complex study.

My arguments are therefore, focused in two very different realms: a) the pluralist
visions of the “I” given by the traditional religions; b) A comparative study of the
history of neurophilosophy with the latests studies on neurotheology. There is an
epistemological problem between neurosciences and first person individual experiences.
Both will be considered in order to view the multidisciplinary approach and the
difficulties in its study2.

Transdisciplinary activity allows for both explicit and implicit “surprises”. We propose
a new concept of mystical experience which may be considered a falsationist stepping
stone in the neuroscientific study of the human spiritual faculties. Thus, a mystical way
will be presented that has been present in most perennial religious traditions and that
has not been mentioned in quite some time.

The transdisciplinary aspect of the numinous phenomena

The multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to the


numinous approaches will be viewed from the epistemological point of view of Edgar
Morin’s method for the study of Complex Systems3. My intention is to work from the
standpoint of a complexity philosophy which is meta-scientifical, meta-physical and
meta-human, This does not undermine in any shape or manner, the required scientific or
epistemic rigour. Methodology thus becomes, a “cognitive architecture”.

The human spiritual experience will be considered under 3 noological axis, according to
several criteria: “anthropo-bio-physical-chemical-eco-social-cultural” inseparable and
interactive.

Meta-human Axis

In the meta-human axis, research is related to several multidisciplinary approaches:

- Anthropology: It is used for the study of the origins of the I. This approach is
also applicable to the comparative study of rites and religions, when looking for
common links as far as the departure from the “ego” and aspects such as
ecstasy/rapture experiences and the so-called “entasis” (entering oneself/so to
speak). The study of enteogens and its relation to several consciousness states.

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Philosophy: This is the realm of anything related to the mind. It is related to
interdisciplinary approaches (such as cognitive sciences). It is quite interesting
to relate Dilthey’s Geisteswissenschaften with the hermeneutical work of Paul
Ricoueur, the neurological studies of Jean-Pierre Changueux, the biological
natural of the “self” and the sense of alterity. It is what Francisco Mora defines
as neurophilosophy.

On the other hand, the Romantic Naturphilosophie confers a heuristic and and a
holistic approach. There is still a great deal to find out in the writings of Goethe,
Hemsteruis, Baader, Novalis, Holderlin, Ritter, Tieck and Hegel, Fichte and
Schelling and a transcendental Idealism that takes the “I” to the Ungrund for the
noetic experience of the numinous.

- Philosophical thought and literature should be considered in those cases where


numinous experiences are related. This is the case with Fiedrich and August
Wilhelm Schlegel, Novalis and his first transdisciplinary studies in his
Encyclopaedia, the phenomena of galvanism, Paracelsus’ alchemy and the first
phases of Romanticism with a new transdisciplinary worldview. Another
approach might be to consider the relationship between literature and
psychoanalysis, in order to view the “I” experiences in its description of the
categories of reason and its cognitive influence. This would also be the case in
authors such as Proust, Blake, Shelley, Schiller and many others.

- Cognitive psychology: This branch of psychology, evolutionary and


transpersonal, is quite important for the studies on the phenomena astonishment.
Astonishment psychology is one of the most important aspects for the study of
the numinous phenomena. Astonishment is considered as a factor in the latter
development of a greater degree of consciousness in that individual.
Philosophical and psychological studies (such as those of Jung) might be
required to develop a transdisciplinary hermeneutics when uniting consciousness
and unconsciousness, with the present methods of neuropsychology.

Meta-physical Axis

In this axis, one encounters disciplines that go beyond the physical realm (according to
René Guenón). One must also include those disciplines that go further tan physics (that
is to say, the ontological appreciation of the transdisciplinary study of the natural
sciences) (fusij). These are to be considered in the meta-scientific axis.

- The metaphysics of traditional spiritual experiences clearly differentiates


between the exoteric aspect of all religions (rituals, dogma) and goes towards the
its esoteric manifestation (gnosis/sacred knowledge) that cannel those initiated
into the spiritual way/experience of the numinous. The word “esoteric” is in its
strict sense, the appreciation of the the Greek word esoterikoj: “from the inner
to the outer”. This means that it represent a corpus of teachings that is directed
to the inner world of the novice that takes him to a greater knowledge of
himself.

- History, phenomenology, sociology and philosophy of religions can collaborate


with neurosciences in order to investigate the integration of emotional and

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intellectual aspects of such spiritual experiences and the sense of conviction that
a private experience has.

Meta-scientifical Axis

The Meta-scientifical Axis is extremely complex. In the scientific method, any


experience must be grounded on a scientific explanation, that should describe and
ground precisely anything that has happened. This poses a twofold difficulty:

1. The intimate experience of the numinous is an individual, first person


experience. It is outside the realm of a scientific explanation. Can there be
science for the individual?

2. Can the experience of the numinous be classed, according to Kantian criteria, as


that of a phenomenon or a noumen?

As the noumen aspect cannot be dealt with scientifically, we have to consider it in the
real of the “metaphysical” axis of traditions. From there, we would be able to establish a
network that can be directed towards the meta-physical axis.

The scientific aspect of the “first person” was established by Francisco Varela. He was
the first to pose a method for the study of the consciousness, in such a way that the
subject could be “his/her” own collaborator and thus be able to inform adequately on
his/her own experience. This new approach was designated Neurophenomenology4. It
contributed to the first methods of consideration of consciousness. It is widely accepted
nowadays that there is a greater acceptance of first person methodology.

When hard problem of consciousness or the neural correlates of consciousness,


accompanying another paradigm drive: the self-awareness issue. Cognitive neurology
studies need interdisciplinary programmes to develop quantum-physical-biochemical
studies in order to explain how the brain processes data with coherence (taking into
account input and output). This is not only the case for the 1014 synapses which
pumping with synchronicity orchestrated lobes or in certain areas of the cortex with
their “top down” to the thalamus and cortical “bottom up”.

If they are right Penrose-Hameroff-Tuszinsky-Wolf-Nanopoulos5 and others of the


guesswork who are studying the importance of microtubule activity of the neurons to
gap junctions, we would be talking about 109 units per neuron tubulin (which there are
1010 neurons in an adult brain of a human being) The activity of this quantum computer
is then the order of 1090 units tubulins for human brain. It is an incomprehensible
number for a human mind. But the most important thing is that the effect of quantum
coherence in tubulins permit with a frequency of 40 Hz all tubulins of microtubules in
the cortical neurons from several areas and talámicas are pumping in unison, creating a
unified orchestration of activity pulse transduction intraneuronal neurotransmitters.

My study wishes to observe the effects of quantum coherence level offered by tubulins
which are the basis of several coherent multiple effects on a macroscopis level6. This is
done in a hierarchical level, attaining thalamus-cortical gamma synchronicity degrees.
In this states meditators experts have come to the intimate experience of numinous (in
the Tibetan Buddhism’s philosophy is called “the ultimate nature of the mind”)

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Impersonality of the “I” in traditional religious traditions (Meta-physical Axis)

This text begins with the question about the “I”. Is this question to be posed to myself?
It is a tricky question. It is a question that may be established in several spiritual
traditions in which the “I” is considered from an impersonal point of view. The question
is not “who am I?” but “What am I?”.

Hinduism

In the earliest periods of the Hindu tradition (2,000 years before Christ) , the Rig Veda
says:

“What thing I am I do not know,


I wander secluded, burndened by my mind.
When the Firstborn of the Order (Truth) [rta] has come to me
I receive a share in that selfsame word "
RV I, 164, 377

The self-consciousness of ignorance is its main theme. Living out this self-
consciousness is the personal enigma. The text does not ask, as Raimon Panikkar states
what we are in order to say what we don’t know8. The text states clearly what we are.
We all know that we are the ones who do not know who we are. The only
homeomorphic equivalents present in Christianity might be the Trinity (which includes
Creation and Incarnation). It is preferable for us to view the definitions and terminology
used in Hinduism for the question about the “I”.

• Aham: The “I”, the “Absolute I” ; Aham brahman: “I am Brahman”, one of the
mahavakyas (one of the four senses of the Great Totality). It is the ontological
principle. It must be differentiated from “ahamkara”, as a psychological principle.

• Ahamkara: Sense of “Ego”, selfishness, the “ego” enclosed in its individuality.

• Atman: The individual spiritual principle, the principle of life, the breath of the Self.
It is the centre of the centre in human beings. It is the state of immediate union with
the Brahman.

• Brahman: The Absolute, the neuro-impersonal principle, First Cause of the


Universe. It is associated to the myth of the Golden Egg, the ”divine word”, prayer,
and sacrifice as “sacred-hole” (that is to say, the maximum sacred effort). Ishavara
would be the “relational” activity of Brama in the Illuminated One’s Atman. It also
reflects God’s revelations that go beyond language.

• Buddhi: Superior Intelligence Faculty, Archetypal Intellect, Spiritual Intuition,


Meditation, Superior Thought.

• Cit: Superior Consciousness, State of Significant Comprensión, Spirit. It is a noetic


state. It is one of three characteristics of Brahma (as well as Sat –Being, Reality- and
Anada –Uninterrupted Spiritual Bliss).

• Citta: The organ of the Mind (Manas) and of Thought. The Brain.

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• Dvaita: Duality, mental dualism and philosophical System. It is different from
Advaita (…). It was included in Buddhism in Nagarjuna.

• Jiva: Individual Soul, Living Being (as an “ens Commune”), intrinsic natural soul-
like reality that takes into itself the Ahamkara or Ego. It is the usual state of the
Jungian soul in human beings. Jiva containts “Klesha”, that is to say miseries/trials,
Egoic states, impurities of the Soul,

• Jnana: Knowledge (gnosis), Supreme Wisdom, State of Mystical Atman-Brahman


Union, in which the Buddhi is self-understood in a Citt.

• Karuna: Compassionate state of consciousness, which is very important in


Buddhism.

• Manas: Mind, the “body-mind” state and the see of all thoughts, senses, feelings and
will.

• Moksa: Maya liberation or the Illusion of the World; Samsara or the death-birth
cycles.

• Neti Neti: Neither this nor that. The negative view of the reality of Being. Mystical
Union of the Atman-Brahman. Apophantic Pure.

• Nirguna Brahman: Brahman without attributes or qualities. Transcendence


Absolute.

• Nirvana: Literally “extinguishing of the flame”, wasting all the limitations of what is
thinkable, including space, time and being. The last goal without goal, both in
Jainism and Buddhism.

• Nityanita-Vatsuviveka: Discrimination between reality timeless and temporary or


changing.

• Paramatman: Atman supreme. God. It is the term to distinguish the atman universal
individually.

• Purusha: The Human Being Archetypical, The Spirit in all its manifestations
dimensional cosmic. The Spiritual Person (purusha vidha), the Person Impersonal
(apurusha vidha). Top Spiritual Reality.

• Purushottama: The best of human beings, the Supreme Person; epithet related to
Vishnu and Krishna.

• Rishi: Sage, visionary, the medium of the Vedas.

• Samadhi: State of deep concentration or absorption. The latest statements yoguics.

• Samsara: The phenomenal world. The cycle of temporary stocks.

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In the Hindu sacred texts, we find mention of the "I", for example in the Brihadarankaya
Upanishad as Purusha9:

1. In the beginning this was the Self alone, in the form of a Man [purusha]. Looking around he saw
nothing whatever except himself. He said in the begining: "I am", and thence arose the name “I”. So, even
today, when a Man is adressed, he says in the beginning, "Ii is I," and then adds any other name he may
have. Furthermore, since before the world [ "purva"] came to be he had [ush] burned up all evils, he is a
Man [ "pur-usha"]. Indeed, he who knows this also burns up whoever wants to be before him.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1th Adhaya, 4th Brahmana

Or as "the puller":

20. “He who dwells in the mind, and within the mind, whom the mind does not know, whose body the
mind is, and who pulls (rules) the mind within, he is the Self [the Atman within you], the puller (ruler)
within [the Inner Controller], the immortal”.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 3th Adhaya, 7th Brahmana

In Hinduism the Atman and Brahman are joined in a unique reality of oneself as God
Himself. But the Atman, can not be identified with the individual soul as understood in
the Western tradition:

2. He who consist of mind, whose body is the breath of life [prana], whose form is light, whose thoughts
are truth, whose Atman is space, who contains all works, all desires, all perfumes and all tastes, who
encompasses this whole universe, beyond speech and beyond desires. 3. He is my Atman within the heart,
smaller than a grain of rice of a grain of barley, smaller than a grain of mustard or a grain of millet. He is
my Atman within the heart, greater than the eart, greater then the sky, greater than heaven itself, greater
than all these worlds. [...] Is Brahman.
Chandoya Upanishad, 3th Prapathaka, 14th Khanda

Christianism

The Judeo-Christian10 soul is seen as part of the human being that is made of the four
elements (water, earth – to form the mud of genesis –, fire – for cooking – and air – to
drying) and the fifth element, that belongs to Yahveh-Elohim: Ruah or Breath of God,
the spirit. Therefore, the seat of the Spirit is the Kingdom of Heaven performed here on
Earth, but does not belong to this world (John 18, 36) But we see that have an identity
recognized in the UC 3.14 when he says: “He is my Atman within the heart (…) smaller
than a grain of mustard (…) greater than the earth (…) greater than heaven itself,
greater than all these worlds”.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed inhis field, which indeed is
the least of all the seeds, but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the
birds of the air come and nest in its branches”
Mt 13, 31-32

This parable is also listed on Mk 4, 30-32, in Luke 13, 18-19. But in Thomas Gospel 20.
This is the parable of the reality of the mystical body. The mustard seed is the power
(dynamis) of the spiritual transformation of the human being which defines the soul
converted (metanoia) in the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God.

20‚ · “But on being asked when the kingdom of God is coming, he answered them and said: The kingdom
of God is not coming visibly.»‚ ·21‚ ·«Nor will one say:» Look, here! or: «There! For, look, the kingdom
of God is within you!”
Q 17, 20-21

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But in the Gospel according to Thomas, it says:

“Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then
you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you
will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty”
Thomas 3, Nag Hammadi II 32, 22- 33, 2

The sense of faith in God is the “tri-unity” of love and hope in the activity of the soul.
Exceeds the meaning of faith, to become aware of a reality that can only see the man in
connection with what they live. Have relation to the parable of the mustard seed:

“If you have faith like a mustard seed, you might say to this mulberry tree: Be uprooted and planted in the
sea! And it would obey you.”
Q 17, 6

As also shown in Mt 17, 20b, in Luke 17, 6, Mk 11, 22 b-23, and Thomas Gospel 48.

This faith, otherwise known as Pistis Sofía, is the interior work (which is the mystical
experience of the “metanoia”):

“When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the
inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so
that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a
hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you
enter the kingdom.”.
Thomas 22, Nag Hammadi 37, 27- 33

The Christian mystical experience is founded on the experience of Christ in oneself as


St. Paul said:

“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no
longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”
Gal 2, 19-20

And the words of Jesus in St. Matthew:

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will
lose it, and he who lose his life for My sake will find it.
He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent Me.”
Mt. 10, 38-40

Where were also reflected in Mt 16, 24-25; Lk 9, 23-24; Lk, 14, 27; Lk 17, 33; Mk 8, 4-
37, in Jn 12, 25-26 and Jn 13, 20. These passages are taken as “apostolic speeches”,
since its demand is a reward or a purpose:

“Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of
Man [Christ] coming in His kingdom [of God]”
Mt 16, 28
Reflected in Mk 9, 1; Lk 9, 27 and Jn 8, 51-52 as those who did not lose his soul to
death in the old man to be a man apostle, that is "sent" and "chosen", a new man .

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (…) “The Spirit Himself bears
witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Rn 8, 14,16

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This is the "new man", "ecce homo" forgetting oneself morally, psychologically and
mentally, having emptied itself (kenosij), with as a child (Mt 18, 1-5; Mk 9, 37 ; Mk
10, 15, Lk 18, 17, Lk 18, 48) and having been born again (Jn. 3, 3) can enter and view
the Kingdom of God.

The elevation of man to the process of deification or divinization (qeosij) has been
treated with great caution and suspicion in Christianity. Or is following Christ by faith,
or is Christ in oneself by Love. The gnosis and gnosticism tested the spiritual
transformation or pneumátical men to be in grace by the divine wisdom lived in
transformation. But has not yet understood in depth that is the proposal of the Christian
gnosis if not lived anagogical experience (Origen) of the union with God. Living in the
transformation of man by God's grace has been the ecumenical foundation in patristic.
And, whether or not influenced in mysteries initiations, the value is the same as entering
the grounds of the Carmelite mystic. The mystical union way is the love of God:
“And that exalted wisdom
Is of such a high degree,
It can be undertaken
By no art or faculty;
Who knows the way to mastery
By a knowledge that unknows
Transcending ever goes”
St John of the Cross
Nine verses made upon an ecstasy of high contemplation11

Judaism

The Kabbalah, or the mystical tradition of Judaism, displays three stages of absence that
occur between what Darkness Deep Genesis, and the appearance of the Light: 1) “ayin”,
“nothing”, which does not exist, a vacuum it beyond any concept; 2) “ein sof”,
“unlimited, endless”, endless and limitless extension, and 3) “ein sof 'or”, “light without
limits”, the unlimited light.

When “ein sof”, driven by the thought and the will of the deity, by the mysterious
power of contraction and expansion, wanted to express a part of herself, essentially
concentrated in a single point. This is “Kether” called by kabbalists, “Centre”, the first
emanation of light, and from this point primary brotaron “nine splendid lights.”

In an attempt to clarify what always will remain an “impenetrable mystery”, kabbalists


conceived the wonderful process of becoming One in many ways, most often as a Tree
of Life consisting of ten Sefirot, ten “parties” or “ein sof” emanations, the unlimited
extension, forming a universe ten times greater. “In the midst of unbearable brightness”
of “ein sof 'or” unlimited light, they saw the head of “Adam Kadmon”, “Perfect Man”
or the “Model of Perfect Man”, the first of four Adams reveal at the four Worlds (or
Olamot system, ie multivers) of decline spiritual stature. The fourth Adam on the fourth
World, our land, marks the beginning of our humanity, and then become the current
mankind. In other words, in each of the four worlds, a tenfold Tree of Life is revealed
along with the Model of Perfect Man, it is itself in many materials forms. The fourth
world, at last, is capable of sustaining kingdoms mineral, plant and animal, and on this
world, to humanity, originally from asexual existence, then as androgynous, and now as
man and wife12.

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As explained Rabbi Najmán De Breslov13, all multivers that God created “are only
screens that filter the powerful radiation of its Infinite Light. We call these filters in
different ways – Names Divine Sefirot, Worlds, Universes, Dimensions, or as a whole,
the Spiritual Dimension.”

But why do we need a system of canals, a spiritual dimension, between us and the
infinite? Why can we not engage directly with God? Najmán De Breslov compares the
human being with a lamp that wants to connect to an atomic reactor. At least you do not
want to disintegrate need of a station reducing the electrical potential that can be used
and not damaged.

This is something exposed in all traditions, even in Greek mythology with the
disintegration of Sémele before the full manifestation of Zeus in his petition, and that
the fruits of their sexual union-mystical-sacrify born Dionysos.

Within the Jewish mysticism, there are several points of view on human experiences
related to the divine. “Devekut” means “sticking to God.” The communion with God, is
a principle and the overall experience, but scholars are different views on how it is
possible to the intimate communion. Gershom Scholem14 writes that even in a frame of
mind the ecstatic mystical Jewish almost invariably retains a sense of the distance
between the Creator and creature, so it has only in extremely rare cases, that means
union real ecstasy with God. But Idel, Jacobs and Halevi among others, propose an
alternative view in the descriptions of mystical union in the kabbalah, which achieves
complete union with God.

According to Daniel Matt15 states of emptiness or “ayin” can not be known by the
thought, but can be experienced directly, in this experience the thought can be
annihilated. Other authors as Idel, Jacobs and Winther describes the experiences of
spiritual ascension and catching up or joining with God or “ayin” as a partner with the
qualities of bliss, joy and light and annihilation or dissolution of thought.

The first step in the emanation of the world nothing of God (the highest of the ten
sefirot, the “keter”) designates often as “ayin” or “annihilation of thought”. Dion
Fortune16 reports on his ascension to the keter "... where I once played its extreme limit,
appeared to me as a dazzling white light into thinking that everything was completely
annihilated."

The Hasidic school of Jewish mysticism (founded around 1750) spoke of the
psychological material Kabbalah. “Ayin” no longer belongs to theology but it has
become a psychological reality, the only appropriate state of mind for yourself, who
seeks to become a divine glass. In the annihilation of the distinctions of the intellect, all
are equal. The mystical is empty and makes room for an “infusion” of divine wisdom,
beyond the normal boundaries of consciousness17. Immersion in nothing induces a pale
gaze, he has been described as the highest experience for the Jewish mystic, and may be
associated with the extreme delight and enthusiasm: “hitlahavut”. It is said that the state
of ayin begets new life through a mental pace of annihilation and thinking, a hasídico,
Lev Yitzhak of Berditchev said: “When one achieves the level of ... staring at the
“ayin”, one of the intellects destroy .... then, when one returns to the intellect, is filled
with the emanation18”.

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Buddhism

It is important to consider that Buddhism commenced practice as a philosophy of


freedom from illusion (Maya) and ignorance of reality, became a non-theistic religion
mystique of nature “dharmica" (doctrine) and activity “nastika” (unorthodox thinking
emerged from Vedanta). Nutr in its principle of cosmology Brahmins, introduced
concepts that came from the Upanishads.

In fact neither is non-theistic nor theistic. There pantheon in Tibetan Buddhism, for
example the so-called “Yidam”. But it is a hierarchical nature spiritually different from
the nature of Bodhisattvas19, or one that in itself embodies the buddhic nature. The
clearest example is His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Gyatso) currently Tenzin Gyatso. He
is the emanation of the Buddha of Compassion (Avalokitesvara), and for it teachers'
teacher in the occult Buddhism Vajrayana (Tantra) or Diamond Way. Such doctrine is
intended to release the subject of the trap phenomenon of “me” until you get to
experience the “ultimate nature of the mind”. This is identical to the “ultimate nature of
reality”. It is inherently complete and perfect as real. Being the Being is not to Be, is
Everything and Nothing. Immanent and transcendent, ineffable and oceanic (Gyatso).
The Buddha's silence is the silence of God. Live through the mystical body of
knowledge called in Sanskrit "boddhi" and differential of the human mind reasonable
“manas”.

The "ultimate nature of the mind" is the impersonality live and directly by the individual
and for the individual.

Understanding the nature alive in all its dimensions is evident that the state of
consciousness awakens compassion. This is the experience of the law of
interdependence around with everything. Nobody atom is isolated from everything and
not having a vibration inherent. You could say so oxymoronical that “the stillness
vibrates” living thus one of those “a-logical” or “koan” so familiar in Buddhism shan
(in China) or Zen (Japan).

On the middle way (Madhyamaka), the highest exponent of education was Nagarjuna.
Through its doctrine of the two truths offshoot Mahayana, Nagarjuna offers an
epistemology of meditation in “sunyata” or “empty”, or rather “zero vacuum”, unlike
“non-full”. The “sunyata” is the release of the contradictions in a very deep spiritual
level, where the non-vacuum and vacuum forming a unique experience and ineffable. In
fact already in the Pali Canon relates that the monk Ananda, the wizard of Gautama
Buddha asked: “In what sense is said that the world is empty?”. Buddha replied: “What
is the sense that it lacks a soul (anatman) or something that belongs to a soul. That is
why it is said that the world is empty”.

That is why the experience of “sunyata” is intimately linked to the experience of


interdependence. There are empty at independence. But that experience carries a more
profound: “avidya” or ignorance of the true essential nature of reality. So when this “a
knowledge that unknows” will join enlivened understanding of “sunyata” in his
experience of the absence of “sunyata” experimentation, is in that state where you live
awakening or enlightenment in Buddhism. Hence, it is the path of the middle way.

The Sūtra Heart, for example, declares that "skandhas" (or factors of existence: the

11
sensation, perception, volition, consciousness, and form), which constitute our mental
and physical existence, are empty in their nature and in essence for anyone. But it also
states that this emptiness is equal to the form (which denotes fullness), in other words,
an emptiness at the same time is no different type of reality that normally attach to the
events. This is not a vacuum that nihilistic undermines our world, but a positive vacuum
that defines it.
When Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara practised deep Perfection Knowledge (Prajñaparamita), clearly
perceived that the five skandhas are all empty and overcame all suffering.
Shariputra Oh, how is no different from the vacuity (Shunyata), vacuity is no different from the way, how
is the vacuity, vacuity is the way. The same (has been said with reference to) the feeling, perception,
volition, consciousness.

Oh Shariputra, all Dharma is the essential characteristic the vacuity. Do not arise, not disappear, they are
neither pure or impure; neither increase nor decrease. That is why in the vacuity there is no form, or the
feeling or the perception or the volition or consciousness, nor eye, or ear or nose, nor language, nor body
nor mind, nor how, or sound or smell, nor taste, nor the tangible or mental conceptions; neither dhatu-eye
or dhatu-consciousness of the mind, nor ignorance, or extinction of ignorance, or until old age and death,
or the extinction of old age and death ; nor suffering, nor its origin or its termination, or the Way; neither
the knowledge nor the acquisition. As there is nothing that can be obtained, Bodhisattva, by relying on the
Perfection of Knowledge (Prajñaparamita), has his mind free of barriers for lack of obstacles, do not feel
fear, has overcome the mistake and the illusion: is the Parinirvana!

All Buddhas of the three times (past, present and future), by relying on the Perfection of Knowledge
(Prajñaparamita), reached the Supreme Perfect Lighting.

For this reason has known this Great Mantra of the Perfection of Knowledge (Prajñaparamita), this
Mantra of Great Wisdom, the Supreme Mantra, this Mantra equal to the unequalled, which can eliminate
all suffering, which is the truth because they are not false For this reason has to recite the Mantra of the
Perfection of Knowledge - the Mantra which reads:

GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA

The Heart Sutra (Essence) of the Perfection of Knowledge (Prajñaparamita)

Sufism

The Islamic mysticism is the way esoteric (bâtin) towards union with Allah. There are
esoteric brotherhoods Shiite, Sunni, but are integrated into the so-called Sufi
brotherhoods or “Tasauuf” as a way unitive wherever it comes from observing the law
(Sharî'ah). The Sufi brotherhoods, whether Melewi order, Naqsbandi, Sanusiyyah,
Tîjâniyyah, Qâdiriyyah, Qwal, etc.. Live as poor (suf, faqr, or derwish – in turkish)
within the meaning of knowledge from ignorance. To next Sufism is gradually dying
himself, born again and become aware of what you've always been since eternity (azal)
without being aware of this, until being fulfilled the necessary transformation. It means
slipping out of the mold itself, as a snake changes its skin. Such a transformation
involves a profound transmutation of the same substance of the soul through a
miraculous effect of the Divine Presence (hudur) to be implanted in the heart through
the initiation by the spiritual master (Shaykh), and that is effective because of the grace
(Barakah) flowing from the same source of revelation.

It is essential for this transformation of the soul may happen that there is a link with the
traditional source of spiritual chain (silsilah), a discipline or means to exercise the soul.

A synthetic definition of Sufism is the way I heard some rather than a teacher. It alludes

12
to Tasauuf explaining the meaning of the letters forming his name (t-s-u-f therefore not
write in Arabic vowels short). The "T" is Taubah, repentance. The applicant must begin
by turning to God arrepintiéndose their faults. The "S" represents Safa 'purification;
must be removed so that enturbia soul with the spiritual exercises and the remembrance
of God. The "U" is uilaiah, intimacy and friendship with God, that He gives His
servants sincere and purified. The "F" is fanâ’, annihilation in Beloved, there are no
two, only one.

Although - as said Hossein Nasr20 - this process of transforming the psyche of man
appears in principle as gradual, "dhikr" or quintessence of the invocation, ends up
becoming real nature of man and the reality with which he is identified. With the help of
dikhr combining appropriate forms of meditation (fikr), the man gets a soul integrated,
pure and whole as gold, and then the dhikr offers this soul to God as supreme sacrifice.
Finally in the annihilation (fanâ ') and subsistence (baqâ') gives an account that was
never separated from God, even in principle.

Such integration has been produced through dikhr is reflected even in the physical body.
Thus is symbolic reflection of the inner man. It remains centered in the heart of the
heart, the center of the temple (Haykal) of the spirit. The mind, which always goes
wandering a thought to another without ceasing, is stopped. Thus the mind settles into
the present, here and now, at the instant that the temporary connects with the eternal. He
says Nars “When Rûmi writes in his Mathnawi that the spiritual retreat (khalwah) adept
must invoke until the toes begin to say “Allâh” refers precisely to this end integration
that includes the body, as well as mind and soul”21.

These features are discernible by those who are able to vibrate in that tune. But even
include effects on external features. Thus a person is well taken care of all diseases of
the soul, not because psychoanalysis, but by doing all the impulses that emerge from
instinct and are necessary condition of man towards transcendence. It has been cured of
hypocrisy, egotism of having made the Islamic ideal of unification of the tracks
contemplative and active. Thus is the "Theosis" there, namely the total theophany
(tajallî) Names and divine qualities. It is the realization of “al-insân al-kâmil”
Universal Man or perfect. Thus the Sufi lives secrecy of the secrets: “The Transcendent
Unity of Being” (Wahdat al wujûd). Through the universal man, God sees himself and
all the things he has to be done22.
“... He has commanded his Ipseity with Himself, for Himself and to Himself, without any intermediary or
causation outside Himself. No difference in time, space or nature between Anyone who sends the
message, the message and the recipient of the message”.

Ibn’Arabi, The Treaty of Unity.

Neurophilosophy

In order for us to consider the epistemological parametres of the studies of the


numinous in neurobiology, we must consider the philosophical aspects of the study of
brain functions in the 20th century. William James in 1890 studied the “I” in his book
Principles of Psychology. In it, he established that even though the “I” could be
considered as a single entity, it has multiple facets/sides that go from our body
consciousness and our own memories to the perception of our place in society. The way
these thoughts are produced in in our brain, how they are related to one another and how
they are combined in the “I”.

13
The “I” was also considered in Freudian psychoanalysis and considered to be the see of
individual activity. It was divided into 3 levels: the conscious, the unconscious and the
subconscious. In 1920, Freud took

But the “I” also went through the hands of Freudian psychoanalysis, as the seat of the
activity individuals, in a first decomposition of some topics: the conscious,
subconscious and unconscious. In 1920 Freud led to “I” to be part of some instances
psychic who, along with “Id” and “super-ego”, would form the adaptive system of the
individual, called “ego”.

With Jung the "I" is the focal point of consciousness. It is the bearer of our awareness,
conscious to exist, and the permanent sense of personal identity. It is the organizer of
our conscious thoughts and intuitions, our feelings and sensations. It is the bearer of
personality, but not the personality. The “I” emerge by “self”, and played crucial roles.
Meanings receives and evaluates values, activities that promote survival and make life
worth lived and find meaning. Thus will reach the principle of individuation.

But with Sir John Eccles and Karl Popper is the first time that the "I" is facing the
"brain" in the dual sense of grief and thoughtful in the sense of being "opposite". It is
the "me" and his "headquarters" as "platonic / semi-Cartesian" references taking sense
of their existence in the dualist "Popper’s worlds." Both23 adopted a stance "interaction"
in which the "I" is identified with the mind, and it is situated above the material
conditions, interacting with the brain. Popper says the existence of the "downward
causation" (top down) defended by R. W. Sperry in 1969 and D. T. Campbell in 1974.
Thus also wants to differentiate itself from the Cartesian causality, it is wrong because
they are parallel, opposite the interactive vision, which is hierarchical.

Popper used in its argument his theory of three worlds: World 1 of the physical entities,
the World 2 of mental phenomena, and the World 3 of the products of the human mind.
Affirms the reality of the objects of the World 3, which have some independent
existence (scientific theories come into this area). It also affirms the reality of the
phenomena of the World 2 (states of consciousness, subjective experiences), and said
that can not be reduced to physical objects of World 1. He adds that these three worlds
interact with each other, which would confirm the reality of the objects of World 2 and
World 3.

However, Popper determines that the main function of the mind and the World 3 (the
world of popperian ideas) is to enable the implementation of the method of trial -
mistake, without the violent elimination of ourselves. Thus the emergence of the mind
and the World 3 (noologically interesting) natural selection surpasses herself and her
violent. He thinks that the human mind, the "I" or the mind, the peculiarity of man that
sets it apart from other animals, is a product of purely natural evolution that has
emerged in the course of evolution, as a result of natural processes Without any cause
beyond nature. The existence - as Popper - does not allow check a theory; only try, and
best see their mistakes. This asymmetry logic shows that it is not possible to prove the
truth of a general statement through the empirical method, while only a single case is
enough to show the fallibility of that sentence. Metaphysics speaking Popper is a
substantial evolutionary, where the noologic evolution of World 3 does not lead to the
affirmation of the existence of a transcendent being, as it avoided by all means the
question "ontic - ontological" (what is the mind? what is the "I", what is the matter?)

14
In addressing about the “I”, Popper said: "Although I am opposed to “essentialism”...
with everything I believe in something that could be termed the nature of my quasi-
essential (or quasi-substantial) ... But I think that we are psychophysical processes
rather than substance "(p. 119).

John Eccles agrees with Popper's theory on the three worlds, and uses it. We also both
agree on interaction issue and support him, assuming that the "I" acts on the brain,
specifically on “open modules”. These are groupings of neurons located in the dominant
hemisphere but related to other brain structures, each of which would operate as a unit
radio transmitter and receiver: Mind collect, interpret, select and integrate the signals
emitted by the brain, and turn the mind would act directly on these modules and,
through them, on the other. Those modules would be the bridge to communicate in both
directions, the World 1 (brain) and the World 2 (awareness).

Eccles supports the hypothesis interactionist, comparable data for scientists who brings
analyzing clinical cases. He affirmed the unity of the experiences of “self conscious”, or
training to integrate into a coherent image the scattered neural events. In fact not left in
due course of the current arguments of the neural correlates of consciousness produced
by Susan Greenfield, in which neurons distributed throughout the brain working on a
synchronous and prevailing until one second stimulus that raises a second coalition.
And among assemblies are combined and dissolve continuously. Only differ in which
Greenfield says that awareness is generated by a quantitative increase in the activity of
the brain holistic, namely, the key is in the process. Eccles was the model for his
interactionist popperiano strong argument in the time lag between developments
nervous and conscious experience that caused its rejection of the Physicalism.

Since Wolf Singer24 demonstrate that a huge population of neurons housed in the
thalamus and the cerebral cortex flashing in unison, on a transitional basis, at a
frequency of 40 times per second, the business processes take conscious gift ways: the
downward or “top down” and regarded by Eccles, and upward “thalamic-cortical” or
“bottom up”. But these processes are achieved in trials with cuts tomographic very
fabric of staying alive in the laboratory. Therefore, the process of conscience must
provide an additional requirement that neither Eccles nor Singer could get their in vitro
tests. And unless we can still offer some affirmation about the possibility of states of
consciousness that enables one to experience the “Qualia” of “I”.

Rodolfo Llinás25, of the Hospital of New York University, has proposed recently that
the bursts coordinated and transient (studied by Singer, and now by Greenfield), two
loops complemetari between the thalamus and the cerebral cortex that operate together
to maintain consciousness: a “specific” associated with the content of consciousness and
a "nonspecific" associated with awakening and warning of consciousness. That
description explains why the arrivals of strong signals an alarm clock, for example,
trigger full consciousness. So what distinguishes the dreamlike consciousness in dreams
where there is no sensory input to power the loop of awakening, so it works only in the
loop contents.

The problem is that with Llinás failed to describe how the brain achieves accommodate
the ebb and flow of a continuously variable state of consciousness. The problem of
"me", both in the lucidity of awakening as a lucid dream where one is identified

15
consciously in their own dream, there is no reference identification. What we call "I" or
self-consciousness is one of many dances neural states or functional brain says Llinás.
There is only one world, unlike Popper and Eccles, and that man is not having a brain,
but that is the brain itself. We are, as he says "dream machines".

Instead, the dialogue posed by Jean-Pierre Changueux and Paul Ricoeur, in “The nature
and norm. What makes us think”26 about the body and mind is the following question:
how a man neuronal (agreeing with the idea that we are Llinás brain) can be a spiritual
subject - or mystical? According Ricoeur, the ethics of life leads us to live a full life.
The values infer vital in the subject as rules of life, and therefore creates relations
between the standard and nature.

I think this will generate two conditions: one, creating a moral or ethics, which I like to
remember as the Novalis called: "a moral organ" (gimut) The other condition is that of a
psychology of a possible evolution of man, which speak later.

Both Ricoeur as Changueux, are agreed that there are two types of speeches: A speech
anatomical - morphological brain, his organization microscopic, neuronal and synaptic
(Ricoeur what he calls the “body – object”) And a speech behaviour, thoughts and
actions on the environment (what he calls Ricoeur “body – object” or “body – itself”)
These speeches coincide with what I said Llinás between the system “non-specific” the
neural correlates of the experience of “here and now” and the system "specific" of the
contents of consciousness.

Changueux therefore says that no neurobiologist confuses the anatomical -


physiological description with the experience of the individual style “language is the
frontal region back of the cerebral cortex”. Rather, it will say that “contributing” or
“mobilizes” or “active”. And those inferences are involved a set of processes that do not
fall under any of the speeches: They are dynamic and transient activity electrochemical
circulating in the neural network and which are the “internal connection” between the
anatomical - functional organization. And it is possible that the neural correlates of a
need as a semantic ontology that converge in an epistemical experience describable.

In a moment of the speech, Ricoeur says in a concrete way that "does not think my
brain, but while I think, something happens in my brain. So when I think of God!27

Ricoeur criticizes the approval of scientists from abuses of tolerance semantics, when
talking about the brain is “busy” or “involved” in it, or who is “responsible” and appeals
to a semantics criticism to avoid, that so “eliminativism” thesis as those of Patricia and
Paul Churchland, even for those who profess a monist materialist ontology28.

Ricoeur also noted that a interdisciplinary relationship between science that have
references different is where you can make correspondence with the neurobiological
approach rather than inside one of the disciplines, and that Changueux puts into practice
in their efforts to model cognitive tasks. And what is that, together with Stanislas
Dehaene has been conducting around the hierarchical neural architecture and its
spontaneous activity.

Ricoeur was intended to attract Changueux a transdisciplinary exchange within the


meaning of the critical problem of both the complexity of modelling as a hierarchy of

16
neurobiology. For its part Changueux defines the concept of “mental subject” as the
physical state of brain neurons that mobilizes recruited among multiple parallel areas or
domains, belonging to one or more levels of hierarchical organization interconnected on
a reciprocal basis or as seems G. Edelman “re-entrant”29. The activity of a population or
“assembly of neurons” topology is defined as “mental purpose” and it - as Changueux -
holds the meaning. As Wittgenstein would say, the meaning lies in the understanding.
And understand the word comes from the Latin “cum prehendere” “take”30. And that's
what's going on in this hybrid concept of "mental object", a whole of constellation of
brain areas are “taken” when there are understand simultaneously. And here lies both
the capacity of apprehending reality lived in the first person, as in the exchange of
understanding or “intercomprehension”. For Changueux is one of the fundamental
operations of regulatory and ethical progress, and that Ricoeur, not only basa in a clear
“mental subject” but also in a semantic development to clarify and provide a better
understanding of experience, going beyond the “limits of the brain”.

It was also worth noting that both Ricoeur as Changueux they are agree on the nature of
projective in his brain activity, as it not only thrives on the stimulation of the sensory
organs, but also from internal activities.

My question is in what happens in the brain when there is suspension of the senses. Not
only in cases of injury, but on experiences in isolation chambers, or in deep states of
meditation, prayer, or in states of higher consciousness. What are the “mental objects”
that can be registered in certain extraordinary conditions and what is obtained in brain
activity in subjects such statements?

Neurobiology of spiritual experiences in humans.

On spiritual phenomenology studies, we want to get clear on what happens in the heart
of the person who live a mystical experience. And we talk about spiritual
phenomenology opposed to the phenomenology of religious’ belief has been the
foundation of the permanence of religion in society at any of the cultures. Let's see why.

A new study directed by Sam Harris31, of the University of California Los Angeles,
detected that the areas associated with belief, skepticism, disbelief and uncertainty
active different regions of the brain that are also associated with pleasure or displeasure
at the sense of taste and smell.

The 14 participants in the experiment offered a written reply on the credible (true), not
credible (false) and undecidable (uncertainty) independent of the condition of its
emotional content significant, are ethical questions such as mathematics,
autobiographical, geographic or religious.

Harris and colleagues handled images through functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) while they judged the written statements. The results were that the statements of
belief, skepticism, and uncertainty activated different regions of the ventromedial
prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) parietal differentially, as well as the basal ganglia.

The VMPFC receives reciprocal connections strengths of the limbic system, basal
ganglia and cortex of the association with the parietal lobe. This region of the border
lobes appears to be instrumental joining the real emotional associations with relevant

17
knowledge modulating behavior in response to the contingencies of the prize, and in the
selection of action based on the result. The VMPFC also active reasoning tasks that
incorporate a high emotional salience.

I add a personal level - and it is a guess to discuss - that there also an activity with the
nucleus accumbens, and that is related to positive emotions, reward and dependence,
and that is activated in times of humour and fun (Vinod Goel and Raymond J. Dolan)32.

The interpretation of Harris on the experiment is that the belief and skepticism differ
from the uncertainty in that both provide information that as a result can offer a
behaviour (of stimulus and rejection) and an emotion. The mechanism behind this
difference seems to engage positively to anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the
caudate. Although many areas of higher cognition are probably involved assessing the
value of truth for linguistic propositions, the most recent acceptance of a statement as
“real” or its rejection as “false” appears to rely more on the most “primitive”, associated
with the sense of taste, smell, pain, even disgust. The pleasure processing is detect in the
medial prefrontal cortex and the island anterior. The truth may be beauty, beauty is
truth, in more than a metaphorical sense, and false propositions can disgust literally.
This would have obvious implications for the detection of deception, and to control the
placebo effect during the design drugs process. But, above all, to understand that a
belief is a value judgement that is no different from a trial of logical reasoning. But does
not process a conversion, a change in the "I", though is useful for us to get closer on the
epistemology of cognitive epistemology: a meta-epistemology, who makes cognitive
method for a science trial, for example. It doesn’t offer a description of numinous
experience, while experience. Although we may be useful to detect whether a
“apodictical” trial. That is something we find out soon. But, above all helps us to detect
intolerance behavioral level. It shows the great diversion who have suffered religions
not to support an opportunity to numinous experience, while it is an experience of Faith
(stricto sensum) While Harris describes in his book “The End of Faith”33 that religious
institutions have preferred to go further down the way from a clumping of devout and
faithful believers of dogmas that experimenters of numinous spiritual experiences. The
thesis is that basically does not respect the beliefs of others, what really convinces us or
are not the reasons that contribute to beliefs, arguments and evidence. It is a posture of
“doxa” and “episteme” that does not lead to the “fronesis”. The only thing I don’t share
with Harris is the hodgepodge between “faith” and “belief” words, and that he doesn’t
include a significant differences. Although if I share that one can be atheist and spiritual
being noética and ethically.

The study of neurobiological spiritual processes of human beings in the late twentieth
century marked a turning point in interest numinous experiences of human beings.

To do with the realization neurobiological studies of the mystical experiences we will


be guided first by a classification of mystical experiences offered by Professor Robert
M Gimello at the University of Harvard.

1. The sense of Unity and consequent dissolution or loss of “ego”.

2. The loss of a sense of time and space.

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3. The sensation of contact with the sacred or numinous, while a priori element of the
entire world religious and what is the nucleus which would connect the mystical

4. The sense of objectivity and profound reality. The mystic is not reliable psychotic
who has lost contact with reality. On the contrary, has a strong sense of the ordinary that
allows you to be witness to the deeper reality of reality as both more concrete and
apparent. Not because the experiment Geschwind-Gastaut syndrome or "personality of
the temporal lobe" is more spiritual. Being prone to hyperactivity of the feelings of
religious fervor leads both a psychological bipolarity as epilepsy, and vice versa. There
isn’t a breeding ground of objectivity.

5. The noetical quality or intuition feeling about profound truths outside the discursive
intellect. There is a sense of immediacy with the most radical aspects of reality using the
intuitive path that wakes up with the ecstatic experience. So lived as Ignatius of Loyola,
Bernard of Clairvaux, Al-Gazzali, Ovid, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, and so on.

6. Overcoming the dualism and contradictions. It goes beyond the principle of


contradiction and a third exclusively, reaching the logic transcendental Hegel, or
understanding of the Third Force of Gurdjieff or “coincidentia oppositorum” of
Nicholas of Cusa.

7. The loss of a sense of chance.

8. Ineffable.

9. The deep sense of peace and joy. Inmensa happiness, harmony and internal
consistency imperturbable. What accompanies a “peak experience”. But what matters
above all is the durability of a state of consciousness higher than commonly
experienced. And it is common to all “perennial religions”.

10. The perception of light or fire. It is the literal experience of enlightenment. Is


described by Hildergard von Bingen, Teresa de Jesus, Jacob Böhme, Jacopone da Todi,
etc.

11. Transience.

12. Change positive behavior. It is a fundamental criterion. All large footprints lead to
deep religious life subjects who are experienced an inner world more mature and better
quality in the emotional world.

This classification will allow us to understand the difference between the descriptions of
mysticism and belief in neurobiology from the experiences numinosa.

The “Gene of God” of Dean Hamer

Professor Dean Hamer is director of the Regulatory Unit of the genetic structure at the
National Cancer Institute of Bethseda. According to Hamer34, spirituality responds to a
biological mechanism, similar to the mechanism that governs the birds singing, but
more complex. There is a genetic predisposition to self-trascendence, through a protein

19
called VMAT2, which is involved in the break, through the MAO (monoamino oxidase:
enzyme that breaks the monoaminas after his release synaptic) and the transport of
vesicular monoaminas. These are neurotransmitters that contribute to emotional
sensitivity. In this way affects the cognitive abilities with various types of consciousness
that form the basis for spiritual experiences. According to Hamer, VMAT2 is related
first, with oblivion of himself and therefore the importance of space-time; second, with
the transpersonal identification and third with mysticism or the sense of the sacred and
attracting inefables realities.

Some theologians like John Polkinghome, reject the thesis Hamer alluding Darwin a
genetic reductionism that goes “against my personal theological convictions” according
to testimony in public. Something that I think Polkinghome falls into the trap that Harris
speak. Since the scientific method has to be offers interpretive response to brain activity
that allows the mystical experiences.

Hamer alludes to personal experience and the cultural influence for the mystical
experience also. This is corroborated by a study of the McGovern Institute for Brain
Research Technological Institute of Massachusetts (MIT) who have a team of
researchers at the Stony Brook University in New York, MIT and the Standford
University in California35. Briefly, the level of identification with the culture that we
have lived not only affects our thoughts, but also govern neural activity patterns.
Experiments conducted with people from cultural fields opposite (american western
versus easternmost) have determined that the social construction of reality with which
we share so memetics (grafted and alienates to the intrinsic reality of ourselves) over
our lives gives our brain activity. Westerners, for example we are not accustomed to
such interdependent activities as eastern and eastern not have developed as its ability to
act independently or individually. The exploration conducted across fRMI in the
subjects tested on tasks visual-spatial36 recorded activity in the frontal and parietal
regions of the brain, areas directly associated with control of attention. Such activity
was higher during the trials non-preferred culturally that during the issuance of
preferred culturally trials. I arrive the conclusion that the more one is identified with
their psychological cut of the collective unconscious the greater the difficulty of leaving
the cut.It is a phenomenon that is associated with survival, as the culture of one's
immediate environment that surrounds him, identifies it as one person and lets you
referenced on to survive in an hostile environment.

But if as stated Francisco J. Rubia, at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, that


culture is a byproduct of the brain, and that we agree that the brain is done for survival,
if the brain generates a “social self” to survive, then how can we survive the individual
if offal such as “I”?.

Cognitive Operators by Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili37

In his book “Why God won’t go away. Brain Science and Biology of Belief”38 Newberg
and D'Aquili (University of Pennsylvania) identified a zone brain (posterior parietal
lobe section) which named “orientation association area” (OAA), essential for direction
of physical space, in consideration of angles and distances. It is very important in their
development for the pilots of aircraft and airplanes.

What happens if the OAA does not receive information to work? If no information that

20
flow through the senses, the targeted area and association is not able to find borders. So
where is the physical limit of self and the outside world? There is. In this case the brain
has no choice but to perceive that the self is endless and intimately linked to everything
in a unquestionable way.

It is true that there may be injuries in the OAA causing experience. But what happens
when an self-induced experience by oneself through a serious work of long years of
meditation? Or from many hours of prayer, as they did the study Newberg and
D'Aquili? These experiences are what might be called transpersonal identification,
according to the scale of Hamer.

Newberg and D'Aquilia consider that there are four areas of partnership that have a
special role in the profound religious experiences:

- Visual Association Area


- Orientation Association Area
- Attention Association Area
- Verbal-Conceptual Associations Area, or "TPO junction" because it is situated at
the point of contact between temporal lobe, occipital and Parietal.

In fact, the temporal lobe deserves much attention in studies of mental states associated
with the unique mystique and altered states of consciousness (ASC) As posed by
Michael Persinger39, the amygdala and the hippocampus are associated with the
meaning of “I” in conjunction with space-time and its limits depending on their
memory, and its primary affections. Persinger also posits the existence in the temporal
lobe unloading transient pattern of nerve cells that cause the phenomenon of “kindling”
and that the instability of that excitement can cause hallucinatory experiences, as the
feeling of being outside the body or sensations vestibular, or auditory (listen to God, or
the assumption of evil genius of Descartes) whether the patient is believer or agnostic.
Their interpretations will be shaped by the cultural context in which the individual is
involved or patient.

Also Newberg and D'Aquili come to say that the mind is "mystical default" in the sense
that religious experiences are obtained by combining the natural system, the limbic and
analytical functions of the brain. The vegetative system combines the vegetative -
sinpatical action - essentially unveils -with the parasympathetic - relaxing or quiescent.
That gives states “hyperquiescent” or stillness, “hyperawake”, or large activation
“hyperquiescent” with irruption of awakening, or “hyperawake” with irruption of
quiescence. And all this is complemented by emotional states dependent on the limbic
system (specifically the amygdala and hippocampus) closely related to memory.

They have also made reference to mental structures that exist, acting simultaneously
come as algorithms to order the perception of reality and which are especially active in
the generation of mystical experiences. The call “cognitive operators” and are as
follows:

1. Holistic Operator: Lets see the world as a whole. It is possible that this mental
capacity born of the right hemisphere of parietal activity. An example would see the
clock needles.

21
2. Reductionist Operator: It responds primarily to the activity of the left hemisphere. It
represents the antithesis of holistic function. Allows divide the whole into parts. It
represents the analytical capacity. An example would see clockwise.

3. Abstractor Operator: It's the mental taxonomist. Probably activated from the parietal
lobe of the left hemisphere. It allows the formation of concepts from observation of the
parties identified. The abstract concepts to form the basis for generating the culture of
ideas.

4. Quantitative Operator: Mind calculator. Quantifies the real world and also calculates
the elements of survival (distances, number of elements, etc.).

5. Binary Operator: This against that. Ability to organize the physical world and their
relationships. Faculty of drafting opinions and similarities between pieces of reality. It
includes bottom of the parietal lobe, because the injuries in that zone inhibit those
functions mentioned.

6. Existential Operator: Role of mind that offers the feeling of living, to exist or reality
through the information processed by the brain. We received reports that what is real.
Probably related to the limbic system, which enables us to assume emotionally reality.

7. Emotional Value Operator: The feeling that becomes. It assigns values to each
element of emotional perception and knowledge. Also this intentional operator chairs
our world.

The performance of all these operators generate what they call “cognitive imperatives”.
These are the meanings of the myths and metaphysics symbolically so important to all
cultures. They are basic for the interpretation of reality and the problems metaphysical
sense of reality that this raises. In this way minimize the anxiety generated by our
existence and coexistence in a unknowledge world.

The myths that are translated into doctrines and practices architectures mental rituals are
essential, without which it is not possible to live for most humans. And this is the
foundation that allows the creation of the myth or myth-culture is a product of the
human mind for the purpose of the survival of the individual and collective.

The attempt between myth and the survival of “myself” is based on the structure of
brain activity. They are in this case causal and binary operators those involved in the
origin of the interpretation of the origins of the phenomena and responsibilities and the
delimitation of the opponents, which allows us to put order into the ambiguity of many
reality data. To survive the cognitive experience that has created the myth will survive
transmission through cultural way or myth itself as a narrative way, representational
(symbolic generator) and experiential (the rite and orders).

The frontal lobes which would then train humans to create a symbolic reality sustain the
mental balance.

Newberg and D'Aquili40, discovered that when it reaches a high state of deep
meditation, all regions of the brain that regulate the construction of one's own identity

22
are disabled. In this way the practitioner of meditation loses the sense of one's own self,
producing a state of “paradoxical”: There is no boundary between himself and
everything else; exceeds the dualities and integrates into a single transcendent whole.

That translates into a weak of the activity of orientation area of parietal lobe (which
processes all the information on space and location of the physical body in it) and an
increase in activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal region so unusual. The images were
obtained through emission computed tomography a single photon (SPECT)

Will be then the lobes who enable concept of “I”? Are there differences in the
neurophisiological evidence respect to the “ego”? Is it possible to register the emptiness
of “I” and “ego” cleary and distinctly?

The mystics memories by Mario Beauregard and Vincent Paquette

The main objective of the study conducted by Mario Beauregard and Vincent Paquette
of the University of Montreal is to identify the neural correlates of mystical experiences
through the technique of fMRI. This study was conducted with a total of 15 nuns of
between 23 and 64 years of age with an average of just over 19 years of Carmelite
vocation (between 2 and 37 years)41.

The result of blood oxygen level in the person (BOLD) said this when measuring
changes over a condition Mystic, a condition Control, and a basic condition. In the
Mystic condition, they were asked to recall and re-live (with eyes closed) the most
intense mystical experience who have lived at least once in their lives as a member of
the Carmelite Order. We adopted this strategy because the nuns told us before the start
of the study that “God can not be summoned at will”. In this condition, the nuns were
instructed to remember and re-live (also with eyes closed) the most intense state of
union with another human life that have meaning in their lives as members of the
Carmelite Order.

During the experiment, were collected magnetic resonance imaging of the brain cross
every three seconds, and brain full every two minutes. Once recorded brain activity,
Mario Beauregard and Vincent Paquette comparing the patterns of activation in
different situations (remember the social and mystical), discovering areas of the brain
that are activated more strongly during the mystical experience that in other cases. .

Thus discovered that the memory of the Unio Mystica cooperating with the central
orbitofrontal cortex, the right side of the temporary media cortex, the parietal lobes
lower and upper right, the left prefrontal cortex middle or the left anterior cingulate
cortex, among others.

It is spiritual as well as memory (which in this case is long-term memory of a “peak


experience”) invigorates several brain regions in those moments, such as the caudate
nucleus, which is the central region of the brain associated with learning , Memory or
falling in love. Other areas are activated the island or insular cortex, associated with
emotions and feelings (can connect with the unconditional love), and the right parietal
lobe (related to the OAA and the sense of unlimited self, explained above with Newberg
and D ' Aquilli) for the experience of the annihilation of the ego in combination lower

23
left parietal lobe for the alteration body and the right to indistinción of “self” with the
“world” (entering the “sameness” undifferentiated).

Beauregard ensures that mystical states are produced through a complex neural network
distributed throughout the brain. However, both scientists have always made it clear that
was not the same memories of a mystical experience that “in this place” experience. In
fact, of all trials with the nuns of the Carmelite order have been collected only 15 of the
32 items or levels of mystical experiences as the valuation or classification provided by
Ralph W. Hood42. This has been deliberate because the strategy of the exercise was to
see the difference between obtaining a state of mystical self-induced reminded of a
state. Of course some of the participants have obtained a state regained through the
memories. But as saying at the start of testing: The experience of God is not happen our
control.

It was true then that the role of associative memory is linked to emotional memories.
Both fear and happiness are essential factors for emotional arousal and memory factors
crucial to the survival of the individual. The basolateral amygdala is the part of the brain
that is belive responsible for memories of emotional excitement, as have given Mark
Mayford, Leon G. Reijmers and colleagues43 at The Scripps Research Institute in La
Jolla, California. It is interesting to know not only the location of the neural correlates
of associative memory, but also without fear that it is not possible to survive, but suffer
from happiness. But it is also very interesting to realize that the recurrence of memory
leads to happiness levels experienced this recreation of that happiness. And it is a
volitive factor for learning the regulation of emotional memory.

Do the same neurons that are activated during learning was reactivated during
recollection of the report? Using fear conditioning in mice, a model of behavior of post-
traumatic stress disorder, the same neurons that are activated during learning was
reactivated when an animal fearful recalled the event. It was also used this approach to
study extinction, a process used in the treatment of phobias by which memories are
weakened by repeated exposure to a stimulus relevant. We found neurons initially
triggered by a stimulus fear is no longer activated after the extinction. This finding
suggests that extinction training actually erases or interferes with any component of the
original memory trace.

But who is the one that reminds the brain or the “I”? Is it possible that there is an “I” in
the mouse to remember, associate, or forget to learn? Is the process of biological
individualization of mouse a reflection of the hierarchical processes of individualization
phenotypic until the processes of human “individuation”44?

To reach this numinous experience of “self”, called “oikeiosis” by stoics before doing so
we face our fears.

It is important to the study by David Dunning and Emily Balcetis of Cornell University
of Ithaca, N.Y. where they have given the clue that not everything that we as real is
real45. Participants of an examination of self-prediction overestimated the likelihood that
they would compromise the desirable behaviors (prejudices) with considerations
impartial in their predictions. In general we take a self-knowledge as amended /
modified by distorted self-perceptions, where the bias is still seeing reality as it is this.
There is an “attention blindness” that does not allow us to have complete information on

24
ourselves. It is a result of a biased information suppression of information that does not
interest us from ourselves.

The repressed fears are factors that can not disclose the nature of the reality of oneself.
Philippe Goldin and James Gross, of Standford University published an article in the
journal Biological Psychiatry, where the strategy review cognitive (thinking about what
is happening) would have an impact early in the process of generating emotional46,
while the repression expressive (avoid it being noticed what we are feeling) would be a
strategy of behavior whose impact is late in the process of generating emotional. The
emotional repression does not lead to the understanding or the processing of emotion.

Therefore, since 1992 Richard J. Davidson has been studying the mental imagery
offered by emotions. He has conducted several tests on the E. M. Keck Laboratory for
Functional Brain Imaging and Behaviour, located on the campus of the University of
Madison, Wisconsin, on affective neuroscience and the relationship between the brain
and emotions. His works have been considered of high importance in the development
of images taken by RMNf positive experiences in the brain through expert meditators of
the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist tradition.

Over the past four years, Richard Davidson has offered some very comprehensive
studies on the influence of meditation in affective disorders and brain mapping47. In a
summary, Davidson has examined hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks of two types: a
group of monks carrying a long training in meditation (between 10,000 to 50,000 hours)
between 15 and 40 years of experience and another group formed by students with few
hours of meditation. The meditation has made in various stages: visualization, kyerim
yidam lha yi mig pa; concentration on one point, tse chik ting nge dzin; in a state of
openness, rigpai chok shag; emptiness, gang la yang jig pa med pa'i mig pa and
compassion, migme nyngye.

It has studied different aspects of the ability of brain activity: For example, the
immutability of facial records from "micro-emotions", common in the rest of mortals, in
a state of meditation concentration on one point48. Such alterations or shocks (however
fleeting and that are masked) took activity arising from the amygdala and eye and facial
records, sometimes imperceptible, but registrable. In lamas very shower meditation that
sounds to us all to alter, or scares, not disrupt or micro-expressions.

Another example is the ability of synchronous coherence recorded in the brains of great
meditators. Such synchronicity, registered with helmets of 256 electrodes to the head of
the monks, have been contrasted with that of novice in meditation. The data recorded by
sensors in the network of Buddhist monks were impressive. “The breadth of gamma
waves reflected in some of the monks are the highest in recorded history in a non-
pathological”, between 25 and 42 Hz. Very over the novel that recorded a low
synchrony with a slow oscillatory activity (between 4 and 13 Hz). This high-frequency
gamma amplitude, is associated with the ability to provide atention and learning. There
were bilaterally on the parietotemporal and mediofrontal regions. When meditators
dispersed the point of care towards their concentration without a meditation object
(leading to compassion) was generated in their perceptions an experience of
unconditional love not only expanded the gamma synchrony in banda as a phenomenon
in neural network assemblies, but reflected an increase in the accuracy temporary
thalamic-cortical and cortic-cortical interactions. The state of transition is not immediate

25
and requires between 5 and 15 s. In this way reflected a change in quality of instant
moment, a high state of consciousness.

These data suggest that mental training involves integration mechanisms temporary, and
may lead to short-term and long-term neural changes49. This is what has come to
observe noting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fRMI) to indicate that the
cultivation of compassion and kindness is learned in the same way as you learn to play a
musical instrument or mastering a sport.

We have chosen to 16 Tibetan monks and lay practitioners with a curriculum of more
than 10,000 hours of practice of meditation and 16 others who, without prior training,
are taught the fundamentals of meditation of compassion two weeks before scanning
their brains. Each of the 32 subjects were placed in the fMRI scanner at UW-Madison
Waisman Center for Brain Imaging, who heads Davidson, and was asked to begin
meditation of compassion or abstain from it. In each state, subjects were exposed to
sounds and human vocalizations negative and positive responses designed to evoke
empathy and vocalizations neutral: sounds of a woman bereaved woman, a baby
laughing or background noise of a restaurant.

Our main hypothesis is that concern for others cultivated during this form of meditation
improves emotional processing, particularly in response to the sounds of anguish, and
that emotional response to sounds is modulated by the degree of meditation training.
The presentation of the sounds emotional was associated with the diameter of the pupil
and increased activation of the limbic region (insular and cingular cortex) during
meditation. During meditation, the activation of insula was higher during the
presentation of sounds positive or negative sounds neutral expert in the novice
meditators. The strength of activation in the insula was also associated with a perception
of the intensity of meditation for both groups. These results support the role of the
limbic circuit in the emotion shared. The comparison between meditation opposite
states of rest between experts and novices also showed increased activation in the
amygdala, at the crossroads right temporo-parietal (TPJ), and the right posterior
superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), in response all the sounds, suggesting an increased
detection of emotional sounds, mental and greater activity in response to vocalizations
emotional for human experts as novices during meditation. Taken together, these data
indicate that the mental experience of cultivating positive emotions alter the activation
of neural circuit previously linked to the empathy and theory of mind in response to
emotional stimuli. For what is possible an increase in Neuroplasticity allowing
regeneration of neural circuit and generating new and different synaptic connections.

It is interesting to recognize that a mental ability don’t need to involve spiritual


development. However, insurance at the time that a monk develops a sense of
compassion - not with reason, but with meditation -, uniting the ability meditative joins
the spiritual message where the message, the messenger and recipient of the message
unites as in the passage quoted above by Ibn'Arabi. There is no mental noise that
distracted from the direct experience of “unio mystica”.

Conclusions: In search of “intimate”.


The immateriality of consciousness and the spirit is no longer a scandal biological or physical, on the one
hand because the conscience and spirit can not be conceived regardless of physical processes and
transformations, and secondly, because the organization already is immaterial herself at the same time it

26
is linked to the physical materiality (...) We can conceive of a recursive loop-productive in that spirit,
latest developments of emergency brain is continuously generated-regenerated by brain activity, it
generated-regenerated by the activity of all beings, and that the spirit has its active role and key organizer
for knowledge and action.

Edgar Morin. The method III. Knowledge of knowledge50.

Morin argues that there can be no direct link between the brain and neurological aspects
of mental and spiritual, if not put into operation along the principle of emergence, the
principle of computing, the principle of translation. I submit that it is true. That requires
a state of correlation is not only the transducer waterfalls flow synaptic in a coherence
state, has also been a principle of supervenience between neuronal dynamics, and
activity through a spiritual principle "chiral" between the activity consistent and
constructive bio-psycho-physical-chemical the human performance and its correlation
with the laws of nature evolutionary astrobiology. In other words, morality is physical
(within the meaning of Physis or Nature) and allows the possibility of developing the
intimate level of oneself.

Trying to explain the mystical experiences will be a problem always. Because part of a
fact in the first person who lives a human being. The mystic try to be understanding as a
first step, for the correct balance between the intimate life given in a state with the
ineffable unitive and the ordinary life of the world who does not live in grace and warns
little or nothing of this experience at first person.

Trying to understand what happens in the brain of mystical experience is going into the
first person. What carries the epistemological complexity of the scientific veracity of
subjective experience.

Save this pitfall is complex and requires a revision of what Francisco Varela began after
the publication of his book “The embodied mind. Cognitive Science and Human
Experience” which asserts that cognition is not the representation of a world pre-given
by a pre-given mind, but rather putting in a world of work and a mind from a history of
the variety of actions being done in the world. This is the meaning of “enaction” based
on the Buddhist concept of “interdependence” while the phenomenal world does not
exist independently of the subject that it perceives.

It is therefore urgent that the study of neuroscience understand the meaning “enactive”
from the experience in first person, while it can provide a description of reality as it is
without this having an emotional tinge to pursue a judgement (or value or reason). That
is the sense that the neuroscience of mystical states can work. Not to describe if God is
in the brain, precipitation in interpretations nothing profound or dye without judgement.
Until now, scientific understanding of the mystical experiences are not scientific (stricto
sensu). This is what Anne L. C. Runehov51 emphasize in their comparative studies. She
thanked the broad spectrum of neurophisiological and neuroanatomical explanations of
mystical experiences. The neuroscientists describe as a mapping of neurocognitive brain
activity from the experience of the ineffable. But when he tried to explain the
experience in first person, have been unable to distort science for interpretation of the
phenomenon. As there is an interdependence of experience with noumenon culture. It is
intimately linked and that culture offers the mystical archetypes that allow attempt
between the social construct of reality that resides in the brain of the subject as cut
individual of collective unconscious and the noumenon nature of reality.

27
I would like to highlight a study Francisco Varela52 described on the deconstruction of
an instant mental. Varela and his colleagues asked volunteers from the laboratory of
Paris being controlled EEG that pressing a button at the precise moment to recognize an
image. It was evident that the mind is put into operation during the first 180
milliseconds after the presentation of the pattern in black and white. The recognition
occurs between 180 and 360 milliseconds before the presentation. The following sixth
in second, the brain of the subject turns to rest this act of recognition. The push button is
created during the next sixth of a second. And the whole sequence ends before three-
fourths of a second.

A period of strong desynchronization mark the transition between the time of perception
and motor response. Varela desynchronization suggested that this reflected a process of
disassociation active neuronal assemblies that is necessary for a cognitive state to
another. In other words, the first visual impact, as well as sound is “non-conceptual”
while from the first 180 milliseconds there is instant recognition (“Aha!”) All of this
means that the brain first perceives unidentified, without interpretation. And then comes
the recognition and interpretation of perceived.

For Buddhists understanding that the first time is conceptual cognition, perception
without recurrence to the memory (namba) and which are beyond the conceptual stage
is the gateway to the release53. Liberation of the illusion (Maya) and the inertia of
mental habits. We therefore perceive the first objects in themselves as we presented in
our brains, and then what we perceive through the intermediation of a mental
representation. Extending this organization in memory, expectation, posture, movement
and intent.

Varela was not in favour of the emotions that distort perceptions, as this would suggest
the existence of an emotion that was later superimposed. Rather Varela states that there
is no perception without emotional component - the interdependent “enaction”. But if
there is perception without recognition, how you live the excitement in those first 180
milliseconds? It is something that Varela was unable to solve because his decease.

The experience of unidentificated perception of own action of perceive is the factor that
remains to be studying in neuroscience. In fact something similar has been described by
Richard J. Davidson54 to work with a special monk: Öser. Not only remained virtually
imperturbable physiologically (neuronal registered) when exposed to strong sound
above the threshold of human tolerance. He also declined significantly to the invalidity
thoughts autonomous revolotean through the mind of any human being (memes). This is
a very important aspect to differentiate cognitive first-person narratives where the
threshold dispersal of atention does not allow reliable descriptions of high-quality
interpretation.

However we must not forget that the noumenic experience is so important itself as the
phenomenological description of the noumenon.

So we can only rely on the descriptions phenomenological first-person accounts of


individuals who may experience certain conditions internal disidentification emotional,
or suppression of thought insubordination, which breathe consciously, or that could
double the care of itself-in observer noted. These are not ordinary states of

28
consciousness that not only are part of a mental training, also indicated a higher ethical
quality.

This is a way that has to go to the neurophenomenologic study of “the intimate”. It is


the difference between a subjective perception of an average level of consciousness,
where attention fluctuates in a state of “sleep-vigil”, common in all of us who live with
that egotism and inertial limiter (Ahamkara), and an unusual level of Carmelite nuns,
initiated in the agni yoga (or yoga of knowledge), or Zen or Tibetan Buddhist monks,
who have been registered synchronous rhythms of the neurons of their brains in the
history of the neurology mystical experiences. In them, the numinous experience
promotes a non-inertial aspect of cognitive exercise: Increase the level of consciousness
vigil until the abolition of the ego limiter. But, also overcoming the destructive
emotions.

As the professor Francisco Mora says: “It is in emotional brain where all information
we receive from the outside world through the senses is impregnated of emotional
nuances of pleasure or pain, what really prevents us from being happy," and is that the
brain is designed for the struggle for survival. Perhaps that is why the ego, like brain
program is designed to survive. Because if there is no ego, what am I?

Appealing to the conclusion of Professor Mora, I take leave paraphrasing a passage


from the Mahabharata he used in his lecture in the cycle "No man's land" conducted by
La Fundación Ciencias de la Salud.

“Who in the midst of pleasure feels no desire ... Anyone who has abandoned all
momentum, fear or anger ... Anyone who hates nor nor saddened ... That is in full
possession of happiness or wisdom”

This is the process of stoical Oikeiosis, where man becomes "Human Being" with
appreciation in its perception of itself that is "Himself" which empowers its existence.
And this Oikeiosis process is accomplished by a principle of individuation sustained.
Thus inside the individual-individuated reaches “the intimate” in an experience of
raising their awareness (hypso-consciousness) for a process of “anagogical” experience
which raise their perception towards the most intimate Himself.

But that's another story ...

29
Notes

1
Salas, Dario. Moral para el Siglo XXI. Ed. Xistral. Madrid, 1998.
2
Andresen, Jensine & Forman, Robert K.C., “Methodological Pluralism in the Study of Religion: How
the Study of Consciousness and Mapping Spiritual Experiences can Reshape Religious Methodology” in
Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 7, No. 11-12, November-December 2000, pag. 7 – 17. Imprint
Academic.
3
Morin, E., Introducción al pensamiento complejo. Editorial Gedisa. México 2004. Original:
Introduction à la pensée complexe. ESPF Éditeur. Paris 1990.
Morin, E., El Método III. El conocimiento del conocimiento. Ediciones Cátedra. Madrid 1999. Original:
La Méthode III. La conaissance de la connaissance. Éditions du Seuil. Paris 1986.
4
Varela, F.J., Neurophenomenology : A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem. Journal of
Consciousness Studies, "Special Issues on the Hard Problems", J.Shear (Ed.) June 1996.
5
Hameroff, S., Penrose, R., Orchestrated Reduction Of Quantum Coherence In Brain Microtubules: A
Model For Consciousness? In: Toward a Science of Consciousness - The First Tucson Discussions and
Debates, eds. Hameroff, S.R., Kaszniak, A.W. and Scott, A.C., Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 507-540
(1996)
Hagan, S., Hameroff, S., Tuszynski, J., Quantum Computation in Brain Microtubules? Decoherence and
Biological Feasibility, Physical reviews E, 2002. 65:061901
Wolf, N. J., Hameroff, S., A Quantum Approach To Visual Consciousnes, Trends in Cognitive Science,
vol. 5. No. 11. November 2001.
6
Castro, Oscar. Aspectos biosemióticos de la conciencia: en búsqueda de los signos de la vida y su
referencia a la conciencia como principio teleonómico. Revista Pensamiento. Vol. 62. No. 234. 2006. pp.
471-504.
7
Pannikkar, Raimon, “The Vedic Experience”. All India Books, Pondicherry (India), 1977.
8
Pannikar, Raimon, L’Hinduisme, in: Les intuïcions fonamentals de les grans religions V.V.A.A. Ed.
Cruilla, Col. Cristianisme i Cultura. Barcelona, 1991.
9
Pannikkar, Raimon, “El Cristo desconocido del Hinduismo, para una Cristofanía Ecuménica. Un
encuentro entre Oriente y Occidente”. Grupo Libro. Colección Paraísos Perdidos. Madrid (Spain), 1994.
10
The Holy Scriptures:
• Bible. Hebrew and English. The Bible Society in Israel. Jerusalem 1997.
• The Greek New Testament. Bible Society United. 1975.
• Robinson, J. M., Hoffmann, P., Kloppenborg, J. S., El Documento Q. Edition in greek and spanish
with parallels from the Gospels of Mark and Thomas. Ediciones Sigueme. Salamanca 2002.
• Piñero, A. Montserrat Torrents, J., Garcia Bazán, F., Textos Gnósticos. Biblioteca de Nag Hammadi
II. Evangelios, hechos, cartas. Editorial Trotta. Madrid 1999.
11
Translator by Gerald Brenan.
As original text:
“...Y es de tan alta excelencia
aqueste sumo saber,
que no hay facultad ni sciencia
que le puedan emprender;
quien se supiere vencer
con un no saber sabiendo,
irá siempre trascendiendo..”
San Juan de la Cruz.
Coplas del mismo hechas sobre un éxtasis de alta contemplación
12
Scholem, Gershom Gerhard, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, Schoken Books, New York 1995 p.
202
13
Najmán De Breslov, Anatomy of Soul, p. 17, Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem
14
Scholem, G. (1955). Jewish mysticism.London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 122-123.
15
Matt, D. (1990). Ayin: The concept of nothingness in Jewish mysticism. In Robert Forman (Ed.), The
problem of pure consciousnes (pp. 121-159).New York: Oxford University Press.
16
Fortune, D. (1995). Kabbalaen (in Danish).Copenhagen: Sankt Ansgars Forlag.
17
Matt, D. Op.Cit. pp. 139-140
18
Matt, D. Op.Cit. pp. 139-140
19
Yidam is a word that has no translation in West, but is often translated as meditation deity, but more is
needed to translate it as “buddhic aspect”. The Yidam is used as a method of transformation towards
complete enlightenment. The Yidams are both a specific form of a Buddha, as well as the basic nature or

30
the student's potential to become a Buddha. The student meditates on the outstanding characteristics of
Yidam until it conducts a full union with him. The Yidam, which can be both male and female, can match
the appearance buddhic staff, what this means is that the nature of Yidam corresponds to temperamental
and psychological qualities of each adept. Wikipedia.
20
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Sufismo vivo, Editorial Herder, Barcelona, 1984. p. 59
21
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Op.Cit. p. 60
22
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Op.Cit. p. 41
23
Popper, K., Eccles, J., The Self and Its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism. Berlin: Springer Verlag,
1977.
24
Singer, W. Synchronization of cortical activity and its putative role in information processing and
learning. Annual Review of Psychology 55, 1993, pp. 349-375.
25
Llinás, R. El cerebro y el mito del yo. Belacqua de Ediciones, Barcelona 2003.
26
Changeux, J. P., Ricoeur, P., La naturaleza y la norma. Lo que nos hace pensar. Fondo de Cultura
Económica, México 2001. Original: La nature et l règle. Ce qui nous fait penser. Editions Odile Jacob.
Paris 1998.
27
Changeux, J. P., Ricoeur, P. Op. Cit. p. 46.
28
Changeux, J. P., Ricoeur, P. Op. Cit. p. 52.
29
Edelman, G., Biologie de la conscience. Editions Odile Jacob, Paris 1992.
30
Changeux, J. P., Ricoeur, P. Op. Cit. p. 112.
31
Harris, Sam., Sheth, Sameer A., and Cohen, Mark S., Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief,
and Uncertainty. American Neurological Association, 2007 Dec; pp. 141-147.
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Goel, Vinod., Dolan, Raymond J. Social regulation of affective experience of humor. J Cogn Neurosci.
2007 Sep ;19 (9):1574-80.
To review other papers associated with beliefs, see the same authors:
Goel, Vinod., Dolan, Raymond J. Explaining modulation of reasoning by belief. Cognition. 2003 Feb ;87
Goel, Vinod., Dolan, Raymond J. Reciprocal neural response within lateral and ventral medial prefrontal
cortex during hot and cold reasoning. Neuroimage. 2003 Dec ;20 (4)
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Harris, S., The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. W.W. Norton. New York
2004
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Hamer, D. The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes. Doubleday. New York 2004.
35
Hedden, Trey., Ketay, Sarah., Aron, Arthur., Markus, Hazel Rose., Gabrieli, John D.E., Cultural
Influences on Neural Substrates of Attentional Control. Psychological Science 19 (1) , 2008 Jan; pp. 12–
17
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The images were presented diagrams in a row that had a vertical line within a box. The participants
were shown a series of drawings for those who cast his view of perception according to two rules: one
requiring them to ignore the context and define the length of the line without taking into account the size
of the squares (trial Absolute). The other rule was to take into account the context, and compare the
proportions of the lines with the squares in which they were (on trial) (See: www.tendencias21.net/La-
cultura-rige-tambien-la-actividad-del-cerebro_a2035.html )
37
I must thank the book Ramón Maria Nogués, Deus creences i neurones. Un acostament científic a la
religió. Fragmenta Editorial, Barcelona 2007; for clarifying what their notes on both authors cited.
38
Newberg, Andrew M., D’Aquilli Eugene G., Why God won’t go away. Brain Sciene and Biology of
Belief. Ballantine books, Nova York 2001.
39
Persinger, M .A., Religious and mystical experiences as artifacts of temporal lobe function: A general
hypothesis. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 57, pp 1.255-1.262, 1983.
40
Newberg, Andrew M., D’Aquilli Eugene G., The Mystical Mind, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1999.
41
Beauregard, Mario & Paquette, Vicent. Neural Correlates of a Mystical Experience in Carmelite Nuns.
Neuroscience Letters 405: 186–190, 2006.
42
Hood, Ralph W., Jr., The Construction and Preliminary Validation of a Measure of Reported Mystical
Experience. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 14: 29-41, 1975.
43
Reijmers, L.G., Perkins, B.L., Matsuo, N., Mayford, M. Localization of a stable neural correlate of
associative memory. Science 317:1230, 2007.
44
The process of individuation is defined from Jungian psychology as a process of transformation of the
ego in the “Self”, the intimate nature of the individual. It is the “oikeiosis”. This makes the living being is
experienced or are perceived as belonging to himself and he tend to the development of its peculiar
nature.
45
Epley, N., & Dunning, D. The mixed blessings of self-knowledge in behavioral prediction: Enhanced
discrimination but exacerbated bias. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, pp.641-655. 2006.

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Goldin, Philippe R., McRaea, K., Ramela, W.,Gross, James J., The Neural Bases of Emotion
Regulation: Reappraisal and Suppression of Negative Emotion. Biological Psychiatry. Volume 63, Issue
6, 15 March 2008, pp. 577-586.
47
Lutz A, Greischar LL, Rawlings NB, Ricard M, Davidson RJ. Long-term meditators self-induce high-
amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
101:16369-73. 2004.
48
For know more in depth view to neurologist Paul Whalen:
Whalen PJ, Shin LM, McInerney SC, Fischer H, Wright CI, Rauch SL. A functional MRI study of
human amygdala responses to facial expressions of fear vs. anger. Emotion, 2001; 1:70-83.
Somerville LH, Kim H, Johnstone T, Alexander A, Whalen PJ. Human amygdala response during
presentation of happy and neutral faces: Correlations with state anxiety. Biological Psychiatry, 2004;
55:897-903.
Whalen PJ, Kagan J, Cook RG, Davis FC, Kim H, Polis S, McLaren DG, Somerville LH, McLean AA,
Maxwell JS, Johnstone T. Human amygdala responsivity to masked fearful eye whites. Science, 2004;
306:2061.
And Paul Eckman:
Bartlett, M.S., Hager, J.C., Ekman, P., and Sejnowski, T.J. Measuring facial expressions by computer
image analysis. Psychophysiology, 36, 253-263. 1999.
Ruch. W. & Ekman, P. The expressive pattern of laughter. In A.W. Kaszniak (Ed.) Emotion qualia, and
consciousness. Word Scientific Publisher. Tokyo. 426-443. 2001.
Levenson, R.W., & Ekman, P. Difficulty does not account for emotion-specific heart rate changes in the
directed facial action task. Psychophysiology, 39 397-405. 2002.
Tsiamyrtzis, P., Dowdall, J., Shastri, D., Pavlidis, I.T., Frank, M.G., Ekman, P. Imaging Facial
Physiology for the Detection of Deceit. International Journal of Computer Vision, 71 (2), 197-214. 2005.
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Lutz, A., Brefczynski-Lewis, J., Johnstone, T., Davidson, R. J. Regulation of the neural circuitry of
emotion by compassion meditation: Effects of meditative expertise. PLoS ONE. 2008 Mar 26;3(3):e1897.
50
Morin, Edgar. El método III. El conocimiento del conocimiento. Ediciones Cátedra, Madrid 1999. Pag.
89-90.
51
Runehov, A.L.C. Neuroscientific Explanations of Religious Experience are Not free from Cultural
Aspects. Journal for Interdisciplinary Research on Religion and Science, No. 2, January 2008. pp 141-156
Runehov, A.L.C., Sacred or Neural?The Potential of Neuroscience to Explain Religious Experience.
Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht: Göttingen, Germany. 2007.
Runehov, A.L.C., A Neuro-psychological Explanation of Religious Experience?, Studies in Science and
Theology, Görman, U./Drees, W.B./Meisinger, H. (ed.), vol. 9, 59—68. 2004.
Runehov, A.L.C. A Being or To Be? Philosophical Thoughts about Future Research on Neuroscience and
Religions and the Need for Interdisciplinarity, European Journal of Science and Theology, vol. 2, No. 1
(March), 55-66. 2006.
52
Rodriguez, E., George, N., Lachaux, J. P.,Martinerie, J., Renault, B.,Varela, F. J., Perception's shadow:
long-distance synchronization of human brain activity. Nature 397, 430-433 (4 February 1999).
53
This topic has been cause for more than a thousand years of debate among Buddhist schools
(Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, and Yogashara Madhyamaka) Vaibhashika is the only one that admits the
perception is a case of representation reflects. The other schools have the idea that this is a more active
process in which the Namba (“appearance”) plays an organizer subjective role.
54
Goleman, D. Emociones Destructivas. Como entenderlas y superarlas. Ed. Kairós. Barcelona, 2003.
Original: Destructive Emotions: How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai
Lama – Bantam Dell Publishing Group, New York 2003.

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