Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Neurotheology: The Experience of Getting Outside of Your Brain

Neurotheology is a way of trying to understand the subjective nature of the mind. 

Neurotheology: The Experience of Getting Outside of Your Brain

To me one of the most interesting aspects of the spiritual experiences that we've studied is that if people get deep enough into the practice they feel as if they have kind of gotten outside of their brain. 


They feel as if their consciousness or their mind or their soul, depending on how you define it, is somewhere beyond simply the mechanistic functions of the human brain.  Now the brain scan can show the areas of the brain that seem to be active when they have the experience, but that seems to be a limit as to what science can tell us about human consciousness. 

That's why to me the idea of neurotheology is a way of not just looking at the science, but also trying to understand the subjective nature of the mind, of consciousness. Those experiences are extremely important for us to look at and to look at systematically in terms of how they're perceived and also what and how they may be related to biology.

It certainly may be the case that our brain doesn't create consciousness, but somehow receives it.  From the Buddhist and Hindu perspective that falls very much in line with the belief system that there is really a universal consciousness that we're a part of, that we tap into.  On the other hand the more western tradition is that there isn't this ethereal area out there, that there isn't consciousness around.  It's all just what's inside of our brain and I hope that this research may lead us to a better conclusion to better understand that.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Take your career to the next level by raising your EQ

Emotional intelligence is a skill sought by many employers. Here's how to raise yours.

Gear
  • Daniel Goleman's 1995 book Emotional Intelligence catapulted the term into widespread use in the business world.
  • One study found that EQ (emotional intelligence) is the top predictor of performance and accounts for 58% of success across all job types.
  • EQ has been found to increase annual pay by around $29,000 and be present in 90% of top performers.
Keep reading Show less

Yale scientists restore cellular function in 32 dead pig brains

Researchers hope the technology will further our understanding of the brain, but lawmakers may not be ready for the ethical challenges.

Still from John Stephenson's 1999 rendition of Animal Farm.
Surprising Science
  • Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine successfully restored some functions to pig brains that had been dead for hours.
  • They hope the technology will advance our understanding of the brain, potentially developing new treatments for debilitating diseases and disorders.
  • The research raises many ethical questions and puts to the test our current understanding of death.
Keep reading Show less

Here’s a map of Mars with as much water as Earth

A 71% wet Mars would have two major land masses and one giant 'Medimartian Sea.'

Just imagine: a Mars that's as wet as Earth.

Image: A.R. Bhattarai, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • Sci-fi visions of Mars have changed over time, in step with humanity's own obsessions.
  • Once the source of alien invaders, the Red Planet is now deemed ripe for terraforming.
  • Here's an extreme example: Mars with exactly as much surface water as Earth.
Keep reading Show less

The entrepreneur's guide to success: Follow these tips

Starting and running a business takes more than a good idea and the desire to not have a boss.

Videos
  • Anyone can start a business and be an entrepreneur, but the reality is that most businesses will fail. Building something successful from the ground up takes hard work, passion, intelligence, and a network of people who are equally as smart and passionate as you are. It also requires the ability to accept and learn from your failures.
  • In this video, entrepreneurs in various industries including 3D printing, fashion, hygiene, capital investments, aerospace, and biotechnology share what they've learned over the years about relationships, setting and attaining goals, growth, and what happens when things don't go according to plan.
  • "People who start businesses for the exit, most of them will fail because there's just no true passion behind it," says Miki Agrawal, co-founder of THINX and TUSHY. A key point of Agrawal's advice is that if you can't see yourself in something for 10 years, you shouldn't do it.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast