The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologist's Search for the God Experience

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Penguin, Dec 30, 2010 - Science - 336 pages
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The world's leading neurologist on out-of-body and near-death experiences shows that spirituality is as much a part of our basic biological makeup as our sex drive or survival instinct.

If Buddha had been in an MRI machine and not under the Bodhi tree when he attained enlightenment, what would we have seen on the monitor?

Dr. Kevin Nelson offers an answer to that question that is beyond what any scientist has previously encountered on the borderlands of consciousness. In his cutting-edge research, Nelson has discovered that spiritual experiences take place in one of the most primitive areas of the brain. In this eloquent, inspired, and reverent book, he relates the moving stories of patients and research subjects, brain scan analysis, evolutionary biology, and beautiful examples of transcendence from literature to reveal the machinery in our heads that enables us to perceive miracles-whether you are an atheist, Buddhist, or the most devout Catholic. The patients and people Nelson discuss have had an extremely diverse set of spiritual experiences, from arguing with the devil sitting at the foot of their hospital bed to seeing the universe synchronize around the bouncing of the ball in a pinball machine. However, the bizarre experiences don't make the people seem like freaks; they seem strangely very much like us, in surprising ways. Ultimately Nelson makes clear that spiritual experiences are not the exception in human life, but rather an inescapable and precious part of every one of us.
 

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Contents

WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE? FROM FEAR TO PINBALL
THE THREE STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND WHERE SPIRITUAL
THE FRAGMENTED SELF HOW WE BECOME OUR OWN FALSE
THE VARIETIES OF NEARDEATH EXPERIENCE TELLING STORIES
THE BRAIN AT DEATHS PORTAL LIGHT AND BLOOD
THE ANCIENT METRONOME THE TEMPO FROM FEAR TO SPIRITUAL
THE BORDERLAND OF DREAMS AND DEATH WHAT MAY COME?
THE BEAUTY AND TERROR OF ONENESS DEEP WITHIN
Epilogue
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES

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About the author (2010)

Kevin Nelson is the author of fifteen books, including The Golden Game, The Greatest Stories Ever Told (About Baseball), and Baseball's Greatest Quotes. He has also written articles for a variety of local and national publications such as Men's Fitness, Ski, Sport, Women's Sports and Fitness, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News.

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