“The resurgence of shamanism in the modern world is an anomaly and contradiction,” continues Winkelman. “These kinds of practices were suppose to disappear with the development of modern rationality, yet they persist and grow in popularity, especially among the more educated segments of the population.” – The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healingby Michael Winkelman.
The question is – WHY?
The greatest intellectual freedom of my life to date started about 2 years ago.I found myself on a course where I could discuss and ponder religion and science without the assumption that the two were mortal enemies out to disprove the other. Actually our western religions and science come from the same place and share many of the same problems, in my opinion : the big one being -if it’s not literal truth it’s lies, falsity, illusion – and thereby a waste of time.
This is what makes me smile the most : the smug neuroscientist or geneticist who claims to have found “the god gene”, or the “part of the brain that generates religion”, as though somehow they have solved the mystery, proved the religious nuts wrong, and rationality reigns supreme. “It’s just your brain sparking, man creates god, we proved your wrong, la la la”
But hang on a moment. What has this science really demonstrated? Spiritual practice is reflected in changes in your brain..changes that generate feelings of joy, peace, insight, connection to “the infinite possibilities of life”, hope and general well-being..psychological integration, ectasy, heightened awareness, reduction in stress… All this without the use of drugs or expensive psychotherapy! Excuse me, but I want some of that! 🙂
People have sneered when I try and get them thinking about spirituality or religion. “It’s a coping mechanism for primitive man to deal with an uncertain universe. We don’t need that kind of shit anymore. We have progressed”
Oh really? How many people do you know who are really coping with the world around them? Not just coping but really -living-? Seems to me sometimes that our science has been a bit too hasty to “disprove” all religion without really replacing it with an equivalent practice. Instead we seem left with one insidious myth – money will solve your problems (and for goddsakes don’t stop spending it!)…
I’m not trying to “push a religion” here but merely point out that whether it’s “literally true” or not, there can be real value in “spiritual experience”. I’m sick of people scorning or dismissing something just because they “don’t get it”
When it comes to self liberation, if that’s your aim, whatever works for you my friend 😉
Just some food for thought….if this kind of area interests you, follow the link below for a set of much more coherant essays