New Color Movies of Brain Activity During Transcendence 11-02
Dr. Alarik Arenander, Director of the Institute’s Brain Research Institute (BRI), has spent the last two weeks analyzing brain imaging data to create the first-ever 3-D, color movies of changing electromagnetic fields in the brains of subjects experiencing “transcendental consciousness”—an experience leading to what many ancient traditions call “enlightenment.”
Dr. Arenander worked with scientists at the Henry Ford Hospital Neuromagnetism Lab in Detroit, using scientific equipment available in only seven other advanced brain research centers in the United States. Dr. Arenander acquired this remarkable data during a visit to the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, under the sponsorship of the company that manufactures these neuroimaging machines.
The 3-D brain movies being created at the BRI from Dr. Arenander’s data will display the moment-by-moment reconfiguration in the brain of billions of electromagnetic signals during the shift from normal perceptual activity to the experience of transcendental consciousness, the unified field of consciousness. The movies will provide an invaluable research tool to study in detail this transformation in the brain and its effects on human potential.
Dr. Arenander analyzed data from magnetoencephalography (MEG) brain scans of subjects who were experiencing periods of spontaneous breath quiescence during their practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Breath quiescence, or breath suspension, is an objective physiological measure that has been scientifically correlated with subjective experiences of “transcendental consciousness” or “unbounded awareness.”
“Transcendental experience has been considered mystical by modern science, something beyond rational comprehension,” says Dr. Arenander. “But now we have the technology to help us begin to systematically access and understand this level of human experience—an experience that could be vital in creating a strategy to develop the full potential of the human brain physiology.”
The first landmark research on the nature of transcendental consciousness was published in Science 30 years ago by Dr. Robert Keith Wallace, who identified physiological correlates of the experience and called it “a wakeful hypometabolic state.” Since these first studies, Dr. Fred Travis at Maharishi University of Management and other researchers have been examining autonomic and cerebral changes during meditation. The BRI’s new color movies represent yet another breakthrough in understanding the nature of brain functioning during the experience of transcendental consciousness.
“This is exciting research,” says Dr. Arenander. “It clearly reveals a unique style of holistic, global functioning in the brain. These findings will ignite interest among neuroscientists around the world, boost participation in such studies, and help facilitate an understanding of the link between science, consciousness, and spirituality.
“This research is especially important given the current, fragmented context of brain research associated with the study of consciousness and spirituality,” he added. “Most research on spirituality has not located any holistic basis for such experiences; instead, the research has contributed to an increasingly fragmented viewpoint. A thorough scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness will transform and enlighten the field of neuroscience itself—and will provide dramatic evidence about the fundamental nature of human awareness at the basis of all our thinking, feeling, and behavior.”