Oneness, boundaries and anger

From Andrew Newberg

Video Interview Transcript

There's an area of our brain called the parietal lobe. It's located in the back of our head and it normally takes our sensory information and helps us to establish our sense of self and how that self relates to other people and the rest of the world. In our everyday life it's very clear. I'm me, you're you. You know everybody sort of has their own way of thinking about themselves and their relation with the world. But when people enter into these very spiritual states, meditative states, mystical states, what happens is and we've seen a lot of evidence for this is that there's a change of activity in this parietal lobe. The parietal lobe actually starts to shut down and as it quiets down, it starts to lose its ability to define ourselves and the boundaries of our self as clearly as possible. And so we see a breakdown between ourself and the rest of the world and we begin to feel a sense of connection or even a sense of oneness with other things with other people. And so when you get into a variety of practices like meditation and prayer, specific rituals. An important question is always what's incorporated within that. If what's incorporated within that is all of humanity then everyone feels, we feel that everyone is included in that experience. And so we feel compassion, love, and positive feelings for other people because they're all part of that oneness. Whereas when we start to focus more on that anger and hatred which defines the boundary of ourselves and expresses these outwardly negative thoughts and negative emotions then that is something that can become very destructive because it becomes very much of an us versus them kind of mentality. In fact, arguably speaking, you might actually view the person almost as not part of reality. And if the person is not real then removing them, killing them or whatever is is easy to do. There's no reason not to do it because they're not part of reality.

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