Prayer and Meditation – the futility?
Posted by robertpriddy on December 9, 2011
That prayer is not effective is the experience of virtually every child, and no scientific studies of any rigour have produced evidence that prayer has the slightest effect. Needless to write, no reliable scientific studies have been produced to show that prayers have anything other than – at best – beneficial subjective perceptions.
On meditation, however, there are scientifically measurable effects, some few of which are quite startling… this is the province of the new neurology in investigating the relationships of the two sides of the brain. Though Singh has a point about ‘peace of mind’, which can easily be a flight from reality and the influential or necessary conditions of the world when they are problematic. Nonetheless, to calm the emotions in difficult situations is valuable. Yet meditation varies enormously and individually in both methods and effects. Though the dividing line between prayer and meditation is vague, there are measurable effects such as on metabolic functions like blood pressure, neural agitation and even such results as drastically slowing metabolic functions like breathing, heart beat – the notable first case scientifically studied at the Menninger Foundation was with Swami Rama in the 1960s). The complex relationships between the two hemispheres of the brain are reportedly much affected in some few cases of meditation, which are also most widely reported (in ‘spiritual literature’) as producing (temporary) states of consciousness (though with far more time and effort) also well-known to investigators of psychedelics or psychotropic drugs – ranging from cannabis, psylocybin, mescaline, LSD-25, DMT, Ecstasy, to ketamine, morphine, heroin, fly agaric and even extreme posioning etc.). Most extraordinary experiences of ecstasy and perceived paranormal experience have sometimes also arisen from physical accidents, not least brain seizures (neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor’s own major stroke being one of the clearest cases of this activation).