5 Steps to Prime Your Brain — and Other Beings! — for Enlightenment »

By Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D.  |

Sharing your personal, intimate, and spiritual experiences can trigger similar experiences in other people. Based on our newest research, documented in “How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain,” we believe the search for Enlightenment — your quest to discover personal or spiritual truth — is hardwired in the brain. Perhaps because everyone is born with so little understanding of anything, we must learn and grow. As we change, our notions of reality continue to evolve.

When you hear and read about other people’s spiritual experiences, your brain begins to mirror the activity in their brain. You’ll feel what they felt when they entered higher states of consciousness. Then your brain will begin to search its own memory for similar experiences as you reflect on earlier transformations — those “Aha!” moments that improved the quality of your life. You prime your brain to seek more
of them.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that any one exercise or meditation will bring you to enlightenment, but our research has uncovered a few basic steps that can speed up the neurological processes.

First, you must genuinely desire enlightenment, knowing that it could shake up some of your most cherished beliefs. Beliefs are principles that you formed in the past, and enlightenment — going by the dictionary definition — means “to bring new light to ignorance.”

Second, you need to prepare yourself by engaging in gentle relaxation and awareness exercises. This will help prevent you from being overwhelmed by the next step.

Third, you’ll need to engage in an intense ritual (chanting, rapid movements of head, body, arms, etc.) that will interrupt old habits and everyday consciousness. Fourth, you must completely surrender and immerse yourself in the ritual experience for 10 to 50 minutes. Keep going until you feel a distinct change in your ordinary consciousness. After you’ve completed your ritual, set aside 10 to 20 minutes to sit quietly, inviting insights to flow into your heightened state of awareness.

Desire, prepare, engage, surrender and reflect: These are the five basic steps that will prime your brain for enlightenment. Then share your experience with others. Let’s work together to bring enlightenment into everyone’s life!

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