Friday, December 27, 2013

Neuroscience and the Spiritual

As someone who considers herself to be spiritual, to say that I have no interest in neuroscience would not be accurate. I take a very keen interest in neuroscience and have long thought that much of what is taken for spiritual experiences, if not caused by, are definitely related to the brain and nervous system.

Having been born with uncorrected right eye amblyopia (lazy eye) and having struggled academically at school whilst being sensitive and intuitive, it was not until I began having spiritual experiences that I looked for a rational explanation, sure that there was one, since, otherwise, these types of experiences are commonly attributed to mystics or saints.

My investigations into amblyopia and its possible effects on the brain led me to form the hypothesis that the lack of stimulation to the left side of my brain through my lazy right eye caused the right side of my brain, which has historically been associated with spirituality, to work harder. This hypothesis has been borne out by Jill Bolte Taylor’s account of her left brain stroke and her observing hyperactivity in her right brain which resulted in what we would recognize as spiritual/mystical experiences.

I studied and practiced Buddhism for almost 10 years, not because of karma, but because of a natural attraction. I was drawn to it, the theory came easy; the practice, well, that’s another story, I struggled with that, but an intuitive understanding of the Buddhist sutras came easy. Then in 1998, and again in 1999, I experienced the rising of energy that we call Kundalini on this Consortium.

Thinking about my experiences, there were two possible origins: I could attribute them either to benevolent karma left over from a previous lifetime or to a neuroscientific explanation. I can remember the day I was walking through my local park asking myself the question "why me" and "why did these experiences happen to me" and getting a straight three word answer "right brain dominant" and then feeling a little deflated that it wasn’t caused by more loftier, more spiritual activity, but this is what came through and I wasn’t going to go against it.

walking through my local park

Thus began a period of writing to both psychologists and opthamologists to learn more. Most never replied to me; those who did dismissed my hypothesis. I was amazed by their reluctance to accept a rational scientific explanation. Things were said to me like, "If you don’t stop looking for a reason, you will lose the gift of the peace and calm that you have been given." In the end, I gave in and shelved my neuroscientific explanation. Even as I was doing so, I felt it was not the right thing to do. I am keenly aware of what goes on in the laboratory of own body: my thoughts, feelings and actions are very much guided by this awareness. However, on this occasion, I ignored an inner feeling of uneasiness and started reading all the books I could find on mysticism and spirituality.

In the days following this decision, I noticed that life was not flowing as well as it had been. I felt lost and ungrounded in a way I never had while attributing my spiritual experiences to being caused by my brain and nervous system. I got ego inflated. I started to believe I was in some way "chosen." And the longer it went on the more superior and ego inflated I became whilst giving the impression of being the opposite. Then I crashed. (I write more about this in my book so I don’t want to elaborate here.) Let’s say that my spiritual balloon was well and truly burst, and I came back down to earth with a bang.

central nervous system
I decided to return to my neuroscientific explanation and trust that if this was wrong, it wouldn’t be other people who would turn me away from this path again, but the Divine. Immediately, life began to flow and harmonize once again. I am much stronger than I had been previously, able to defend the possibility of a link between neuroscience and spirituality. For me, it’s now a very simple equation. I have a neuroscientific explanation for my experiences, and life works and flows.

As I said earlier in this post, I believe there is a correlation between spiritual experiences and "something" going on in the brain and nervous system. I am not saying that it is causative. To say that it is causative is to display a breath-taking arrogance. I am not a neuroscientist, so I cannot speak cause and effect. However, I do speak of correlation because I often ask myself, "If I had two proper functioning eyes, would I have had the kind of experiences I have had?" Not just the experiences, but their transformative physical, mental, spiritual effects, as well.

Spiritual experiences are common. That they happen is no longer in dispute as they are now reported so frequently. What is less understood is how effective they are in bringing about permanent transformation, i.e., a permanent abiding peace and harmony, not only for those who undergo these experiences, but in the lives of those around them.

A famous spiritual teacher once said that he evaluated the effects of his transmission on his devotees not only by the changes in their minds and bodies, but also by the changes in their lives and the lives of those around them. Something about this resonated. Authentic spiritual experiences are those that result in such an outflow of peace and compassion that those around them cannot but be touched. The true purpose of spiritual experience is transformative, both individual and global. And while many people are now reporting energy rising episodes, the world has not yet manifested evidence of transformation. Something is awry.

Why is it that with so many people reporting spiritual experiences the world is not transforming? Again, to give a definitive answer would be arrogant. Nevertheless, I suggest it's due in part to the temptation to inflate one's ego that accompanies many spiritual experiences — unless the subject is vigilant.

I say this based on my own experience. The spiritual ego distorts the nature and quality of such experiences. It does this by taking ownership and making it "my experience" and then following it with an "I am special" and a "I must teach/be a guru." I don’t believe this is the way of authentic spiritual experience. The Tao behind these experiences is to become even more ordinary (which the ego hates). False spirituality wants us to be SOMEBODY; the real is happy being NOBODY. The irony of the process is that you have to desire to become SOMEBODY before you realize that you are NOBODY and NOTHING. With that realization, you become — not by looking for it — a SOMEBODY who can transform, not only yourself, but more importantly the world.


  1. "Having been born with uncorrected right eye amblyopia (lazy eye)!"
    I was born with an uncorrected left eye amblyopia which cannot be corrected with lenses. So we have struggled with a common ailment. I am a long term Christian meditator, and as a result of this, in 2005 experienced a full blown Kundalini rising. I've never attributed any of this with my lazy left eye. I assumed it resulted from my history as a meditation. I've always looked upon it as a spiritual experience, a graced moment.

    However, since my lazy eye is the opposite to yours, I am wondering if this would affect your conclusions that spiritual experiences have something to do with with right brain activity, or at lease right brain activity that may be connected with amblyopia.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. I have to be honest and say that your disclosure of your own opposite eye amblyopia together with having experienced 'fulll blown Kundalini rising' rocked my world. I am lucky to live by the sea so I memorized your comment and went for a walk along the seafront pondering your words. I care more about truth than about being right and defending a point of view even if it is my own. And yet my question back to you is that amblyopia is a physical anomaly that has an impact on the brain. This link was strengthened for me when I learned that Gordon Brown who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK a few years ago has a glass eye in his left eye and went on to do what you could argue is the most left brain job i.e economics. So did you never wonder whether there was something more mundane and physical happening? Or did you see it as a reward for the many years you have spent being a Christian meditator? You say you 'assumed' have you ever re-visited that assumption?

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    3. The left eye is connected to the right brain hemisphere and the right is connected to the left brain hemisphere. My left eye is my lazy eye too.

      Thank you for otherwise great blog post.

  2. I've read recently that during meditation, the left and right brain lobes draw closer together, thereby creating greater unison in left and right brain functioning. Also, I believe the yoga practice of alternate breathing is tied in with balancing the rational thinking brain on the left with the more global and intuitive side on the right. It seems to be if there were some divine plan for creation, it would involve a more balanced approach. Our Western culture seems to have focused more on rational thinking with an incessant need to know more at the expense of time for meditation, reflection, prayer, and just smelling the roses, all of which is to create a greater harmony and balance for living. Maybe this is why Buddhist emphasize the middle way.

    Your article is excellent. Thanks.

    1. Thank you. Before Kundalini rose I had experiences but not the words to speak about them (right brain -experience, no words). Since Kundalini I can now voice and put structure on those experiences so it seems like the rising of Kundalini has given more of a balance between my right and left brain- a balance of the rational with the intuitive but I still stand by my hypothesis that it is the activity in the right side of the brain which is correlated (not caused!) in a dance with, in relationship with Kundalini. Kundalini shifts consciousness from the left to the right brain. This is why for many who experience Kundalini there is confusion and fear because it is quite literally a shift from one world to another - the world of the left brain to the world of the right and they are very different worlds.

  3. "And while many people are now reporting energy rising episodes, the world has not yet manifested evidence of transformation. Something is awry. Why is it that with so many people reporting spiritual experiences the world is not transforming?"

    Yes, there seems to be many more "metaphysical" experiences these days than even 20 years ago. Obviously, the rise of "strip mall" yoga boutiques has something to do with this. More people are thinking along spiritual lines and are practicing a system/method.

    Years ago, persons undergoing these experiences were not as forthright about spirituality as they are today; they kept these experiences to themselves. Nowadays, spiritual discussions are conducted in a worldwide open forum.

    That being said, I'm not sure we should expect a rapid worldwide transformation. Transformation is not something transmitted through the air like a virus. It's passed along through DNA. First, a genetic mutation has to occur. Gopi Krishna postulated that Kundalini was capable of effecting such genetic modifications in a given subject — enhancing the subject's consciousness and even conferring metanormal abilities on the subject during a single lifetime. Once a benevolent genetic mutation occurred in the subject, it must be passed along to the next generation through DNA.

    That process, he said, would effect an acceleration of consciousness over time, but it would be "evolutionary time," not Greenwich Mean Time.

  4. "So did you never wonder whether there was something more mundane and physical happening? Or did you see it as a reward for the many years you have spent being a Christian meditator? You say you 'assumed' have you ever re-visited that assumption?

    I must admit, you surprised me with your article making the connection between Kundalini and lazy eye. But there was certainly a lot physically happening, and is still happening to a lessor degree. My Kundalini came about during a 40 day meditation retreat, so the assumption was that it resulted ass a result of this intense meditation time. With it I experienced what would be referred to as a "world collapse". The major change that I noticed would not be described so much as a shift from left to right brain thinking, but a renovation of the subtle body system that seemed to eradicate much of my past conditioning. By that I mean, all those engrained ways of thinking that defined my exterior world. It was confusing in that the ways I defined myself before were gone, but liberating in that I was freed from many of my compulsive ways of thinking and behaving. Concepts that defined me before and motivated me to act in a certain way were suddenly gone. I saw the world differently, like the sky without the clouds. Being a strong practicing Christian, many of my previous concepts and constructs of God and religion disappeared with the rest. This was quite confusing in that the things that motivated and drove me before, we not longer there. My perception of God became much more spacious, boundless. This could be considered a move from left brain conceptual thinking, to the spaciousness of right brain activity. I've often felt that my concepts existed like electrical charges that were corrected with this powerful energy force.

    It's funny, but your article brings to mind an episode during the height of this experience when (during the night when I was trying to sleep) I went through this fairly lengthy telepathic image where my left brain and right brain began slowly to be joined through a process whereby all the light gaps between them slowly closed up.
    Many of these early psychotic experiences I've dismissed as effects resulting from the tremendous flow of energy to my brain causing some very unusual phenomena. Fortunately, they were the first to go. Despite this, I always felt very receptive to what was happening, believing it was all leading to a greater wholeness.
    I've described a lot of this on the blog under mehrudanda.

    But to be truthful, I've never made a connection before between this transformation process and my lazy eye.
    Thanks for your additional responses above. Great speaking with you.

  5. I actually experienced an integration of left and right in my heart one week before my nirvikalpa. I had a "dark night of the soul", and after relaxing my heart and letting my ego "die" by allowing what was in my unconscious to rise to the surface and integrating that, I felt as if a plate glass mirror that had been the barrier between my conscious and unconscious minds crack and then shatter. Then I saw the left and right halves of my heart reintegrate, as small voices from either side greet each other with love.

    A week later I went through the ultimate arousal, ascension, and ecstasy of nirvikalpa. The following year I read about Da Vinci and his mirror writing and began that process. I'll post about it on this site later today. Bottom line is I definitely feel that overcoming this artificial separation of the different sides of the brain is part of the healthy and complete flow of prana/chi around the body/mind of the awake individual.

    1. Thanks for your comment Neil. I look forward to reading your post on mirror writing as this is something that I am not familiar with. I like in your comment that you explain HOW you let your ego refreshing as most just write 'I let my ego die' which leaves the reader with the question 'how', so it's great that you wrote the method you used. I agree so much with allowing the unconscious to become conscious as the ego is the guardian of the unconscious....integrated consciousness results in no ego or as you say death to the ego.

  6. I was born cross eyed and lazy right eye...very very strong empath and intuitive. Had kundalini awakening about 3 years ago after meeting my twin flame. Was guided by higher self to research spirituality and my eye issues. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  7. My right eye is also lazy, oddly enough I have also gone thru the same experience both ups and downs. Your theory is very insteresting and I see it as true as well. If I could add on, metaphorically speaking what if people who do have balance and correction in the brain and eyes and whatnot simply just can't "tip" their mental scale to one side or the other so they deny the possibility? I don't think you're ignorant or arrogant because you might be asking people who couldn't understand no matter how hard they tried because they weren't born like this, they just can't grasp the thought of it

    1. "After a Kundalini awakening, one begins to experience beyond-the-physical, meta effects for the first time. This provides the subject with kind of 'grokking' insight into the beyond-the-physical realm. All of a sudden he/she knows there is no death, no duality. This is both a revelation and a realization, metaphysical and empirical at the same time, a product of Kundalini awakening. Over time, one moves gradually from the physical to a greater understanding of the metaphysical, but it takes time, lots of time.

      "It’s like climbing a mountain. Can you describe the mountaintop before you’ve seen it? The climb takes time. You can waste a lot of energy wondering about what the top of the mountain is like. Better to spend the energy on getting there.

      "Once you are there — at the figurative mountaintop — you can apply the same observational, scientific principles to your metaphysical experiences as a scientist applies to a laboratory experiment. You can even add a dash of poetic expression, elaborate on its mystical aspects. You are transformed."

  8. Please read this

  9. Hi! I wanted to add another person to the list of those with lazy eyes and spirituality. I am left handed and and my right eye is lazy. Also the right side of my face and body is under-devoloped. I also struggled in school....until recently (somehow able to work on getting my BA in dietetics). I've been going through a massive awakening these past couple years, that started with number synchronicity 11:11. I am now at a point where I see auras, sparkles of light and energy. Especially when I open my eyes at night. I was googling information about my pineal gland, because I am going cross eyed and seeing things in public situations that I don't have control over. I have began meditating these past couple weeks everyday trying to find some answers, and to expand this knowledge and abilities, in a way that can help myself and others, and happened came across this thread and found it interesting. Anyways I realize this is old and you probably have expanded quite a bit, but the connection is interesting, and there does seem to be a correlation.

    1. If you read my book "Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time," you'll understand that kundalini triggers far-reaching corrective powers — anatomical, somatic, and metabolic,

  10. I believe you are on the right track, my research led me to you article. I was also born with uncorrected right eye amblyopia.

    My theory is that the loss of vision in either eye heightens the "vision" in the 3rd eye, which would account for those who have a loss of the left OR the right eye.

    The 3rd eye is known as the gateway to higher consciousness. It symbolizes a state of enlightenment and the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance.

    Medical dissection has revealed that the front section of the pineal gland (the 3rd eye) is equipped with the complete structure of a human eye including retinal tissue composed of rods and cones (photoreceptors) inside its interior lining just like the eye, and is even wired into the visual cortex in the brain. Since it grows/exists inside the human skull, it has been called a vestigal eye.

    The brain adapts to the loss (of one eye) by giving itself a makeover. If one sense is lost, the areas of the brain normally devoted to handling that sensory information do not go unused — they get rewired and put to work processing other senses.

    When certain signals are not reaching the brain, the other senses will expand out of their usual locations in the brain and into the area of the missing sense. Thus, these senses are overrepresented proportionally in people who lack a certain sense.

    Individuals with only one functioning eye have an inability to see in 3D.

    The esoteric community believes that the 3rd dimensional (3D) world is the veil that obscures our perception of reality and that you ascend this reality when you can see beyond the 3rd dimension (such as the 4th, & 5th dimension and beyond) therefore our inability to see in 3D is a great spiritual gift.

    Interesting side note, another gift of only one functioning eye is that I am an incredible marksman. When aiming most people close one eye to line up a site, I see this way at all times therefore my aim is significantly above the norm.

    1. Thank you so much for this explanation!! I have recently gone through and an enlightenment or Awakening of sorts this last year, after going through a dark night of the soul. I have always been more spiritually inclined and seeing things that exist that other people do not, and I have also felt and known things that other people didn't. I have always looked for next explanation as to why I am different, and after a deep meditation yesterday this morning I woke up with a feeling that I needed to to research into my lazy right eye.

      I've always felt that it affected the way that I think and do things compared to other people, and your explanation has verified that for me! for my 32 years of life, I have hated not being able to see in 3d. My little brother would pick on me for it and intentionally chose things in 3D so that I could not participate. However, based on your explanation, I see the gift that it is period I do not see him 3d, I am ascending to the fourth and fifth dimensions! Lol! Thank you!! 💖

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  12. Lazy right eye, left handed ..... Probably not a coincidence reading here now :) how lucky we are that not hanving that 'noal 2 eye' vision to the outside world forced us to look more within! Happy sharing the same! ;)
    Thank you!
    Love and light!

  13. Amblyopia diagnosed approx. age 3 through 5, wore right patch to help correct poor left eye vision. Kundalini awakening in mid 20's. My assumption searching for metaphysical meaning of Amblyopia is/was the same as Newbie. Presently I still cannot control, unsolicit, nor solicit spiritual phenomena (interruptions, interventions or unexplained happenings whether mental, visual, clairvoyant, clairaudient, clairsentient, ect).

  14. I just had surgery for strabismus 6 days ago. I have had a lazy (left) eye since early childhood. I had a NDE 3 1/2 years ago, the strabismus increased dramatically after that event. That event changed me. Catapulting me into a series of “mystical” experiences that I cannot even describe here. Biblical in nature. I have been a searcher ever since & my studies have lead me into learning about the psychological, spiritual connection. Last night I had a revelation as to the fact that I had never developed my left brain & that I needed to do that to become more balanced as s person. I was right brain dominant to my detriment in most of my endeavors.
    Anyway I just started looking more into the metaphysical reasons for this condition because I see a direct connection to the psychological, mystical nature of all of this.
    I wanted to leave my comments here because I think it’s very important that there is research done on this. Many blessing for following your spirit!
    This has not an easy journey. I have to keep a strong connection & relEYEance with God & trust this is a natural unfolding to the highest good.

  15. Spiritual advancement is not a belief in non-Native American worlds. In a Native American world spirituality is life. Life is not viewed in a physical sense as much as a White, Black, and Asian existence views love tarot reading

  16. I had a very similar experience a few months ago and before I had a spiritual experience I have pictures of myself with a lazy right eye which I typically don’t have. I had a very positive/negative experience because while undergoing this I felt I had a better understanding of life and the universe, I really stopped trusting a lot of people because it started getting spooky.

  17. What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. spiritual mormon

  18. We have a lot in common. I'm truly appreciative of your view, and your time. Thank you.

  19. Found it interesting to come across others with a similar thought process and situation. Lazy right eye and interestingly enough, I used to be ambidextrous but became dominantly right handed over time. Quite the strange mix. Needless to say it's heartening to see that as old as this post is, it still receives comments. Finding answers isn't easy, but I truly hope that with sharing knowledge and experiences over time we'll be able to gain some form of clarity.

  20. I am not sure if I would attribute having a lazy eye with being connected to the spiritual or kundalini. I have spent many years in spiritual communities, many with stories of psychic ability and high intuition and lots of those people had no problems with their eyes. I have contemplated that perhaps having one eye that is lazy is potentially equated with trauma, perhaps some part of you is being blocked into being truly present in the world, and if so, what part of you is hiding from the world?
    A question to ponder: why is the way we look at this spiritual VS physical? What happens if they both worked together? The thought: here is the physical aspect, therefore it is only that, or here is the spiritual aspect it is only this game. What happens if the spiritual is what causes the physical? And the reason we have the physical is so we can still be connected to the spiritual? Our brains were created or evolved to be spiritual, hence why spiritual beliefs can be traced to every human culture past, present and future.
    We look to the physical hoping it has answers, yet forget there are multiple layers to reality.
    Every being on this planet sees the world through a different lense, some see things we can not. Does this mean what they can see is not real or not there? No, it means their perception is enhanced to see what it needs to, and perhaps the reason why some humans are able to see things others can't is because on some level, that human needs it to enhance their view of reality.
    Correlation does not always imply causation, sometimes something bigger is at play.

    Hopefully this makes sense and I haven't gone off topic and am just babbling. Haha


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