From the Rig Veda to Plato the act of imagining is the secret technology of the mystics. While most people use fantasy to achieve the results they fantasize for the sake of the subject, and theologians use concepts to claim knowledge and revelation, imagining has been always the technology of a few souls, from East and West, in their effort to repeat the divine act of creation uncontaminated by human faculties. For this reason and to describe what this technology is based on I have chosen to write this paper following the clear descriptions of this act as found in the writings of Ignatius de Loyola and as he used them in the making of his Spiritual Exercises. The reason for this choice is the radical need of presenting how images are made, rather than borrowed in meditation. It is my contention that this tradition of making images in meditation is present wherever meditation is practiced. It is common in Hinduism, from the Rig Veda down, in Buddhism, and in Christianity, as well as in other religions. The aim of such presentation is to show that in religious practice no image may be borrowed.
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An article in Newsweek states that scientists have long known that epileptics often feel spiritual ecstasy during seizures.(November l7,l997) It further identifies the region of this ecstasy as the limbic region of the brain, home of emotions , religious feelings and some seizures. We also know that those under the influence of drugs claim similar ecstasy, not to mention the flora and fauna of pathological events that also claim such ecstasy. How can we separate the two, the true religious ecstasy from the induced one; the true mystical experience from the pathological? And more to the point, is there any true description of mystical ecstasy we can understand as a human event, namely, capable of being captured by our own experience?
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New discoveries in perceptual psychology, brain-chemistry, brain evolution, brain development, ethology, cultural anthropology, the more recent work of MacLean on the structure of the brains and the discovery by Gazzaniga of the role of the, so-called, "interpreter module", are the foundations of a new paradigm on human cortical information processing, called by its discoverer, Dr. M. Colavito, the "biocultural paradigm."
View More Neurobiology and Yoga: From the gods of the amygdala to the God of the Heart
It was a brutal exercise
training my young will
to taste the intimacy of the gods
by degrees and not all at once,
to go beyond the immediate sensation
of the fever burning my skin
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