Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neuroanatomy, Samadhi and Universal Consciousness

Sometimes I write too much because I don’t want folks to miss anything. I don’t want to be accused of telling parts of the story. Then there are times when I know I can’t begin to convey the inspiration and knowledge that has been graciously given from one person to another.  One of my purposes on the planet is being a conduit for information so I have to make the effort even if I fall a little short of the goal.

Neuroanatomy is the study of the anatomy of nervous tissue and the nervous system.  Many of you have heard about Jill Bolte Taylor. If you never heard of her it is ok. Jill studies the functions of the brain in regard to the nervous system and its functions. I found out about her remarkable presentation at TED a few months ago. 

This is a 20 minute presentation where Jill first talks about the brain and the left and right hemispheres.  She then talks about having a stroke and, well I’ll let her tell you about her travels.

In her presentation Jill talks about the energy source that she was able to tap into with the right side of her brain.

“And at first I was shocked to find myself inside of a silent mind. But then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of energy around me. And because I could no longer identify the boundaries of my body, I felt enormous and expansive. I felt at one with all the energy that was, and it was beautiful there.”

The energy led her to “an alternate plane” where everything and everyone is connected, total love, acceptance and all understanding embrace your being. Her left side of her brain was analyzing her condition:

“Then all of a sudden my left hemisphere comes back online and it says to me “Hey, we got a problem, we gotta get some help.”

Talk about the duality of the mind/spirit.

Now for those that do not believe in Spirit or alternative realms of consciousness, not to worry.  Perhaps this was a function of brain chemistry that is invoked when a serious trauma occurs to the body and the mind. The word dopamines did come up in her presentation. If you checked out the video you can stop reading now because I may bring in elements of the woo-woo factor.

This is not an unknown experience. For the record, you don’t have to have a stroke to get to that level of universal consciousness.  There is a concept in Buddhism called Samahdi. Spiritual teach Sri Chinmoy offers this explanation of

“There is no mind; there is only infinite peace and bliss. There nature's dance stops, and the knower and the known become one. There you enjoy a supremely divine, all-pervading, self-amorous ecstasy. You become the object of enjoyment, you become the enjoyer and you become the enjoyment itself.”

Some folks access this state by prayer. Some by intense meditation. Other may find themselves in the middle of a forests or an ocean enveloped by a peace unknown to them in their city life.  You can’t force it to come to you, it just does. Barefoot Bhaki has a good explanation:

“I’m laughing, thinking that Samadhi is something that we can work our way into, like a 10 step plan or big formulaic equation. I have no control over those moments, they just happen to me.  When I am in that little moment of bliss and understanding, I don’t experience any clinging to it. It passes away and as consciousness returns, it seem natural to just smile and move on.”

Krishna at Deciphering Spirituality uses poetry to try to convey the experience of Samadhi

I can see both the scientific and the universal connections to the energy plane. I don’t have to chose but the questions and the possibilities are overwhelming. I resonated very much with the video.

It made it hard to go to the Salt mine and pretend to be a drone.  I know there is something more.

More Science Less Samadhi

Lizzie at Madam Fathom has reams of stuff on understanding the biological basis of the mind.

Shelly at Retrospectacle, A Neuroscience blog takes a look at a bit of history on how the ancestors looks at brains.

Want a little philosophy mixed in with your brain studies?  How about neuroanotomical gender differences in the brain?

Want to know if you are a left brain or right brain person. Just for fun over at Blogthings you can take a quiz to find out which side has dominance.

For those studying anatomy, particularly brain anatomy, here is a little help from our friends Pinky and the Brain.

More Samadhi Less Science

Magda at Journey of My Mind writes about taking a Philosophy of India class that somehow joins the words Samadhi and Yogi Bear.

As I mentioned there are many paths to try to reach Samadhi. Aligning with Grace has a listing of Yoga Sutras from the Alberto Villoldo's Yoga, Power, and Spirit: Patanjali the Shaman.

This was originally posted on BlogHer.

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