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Copyright © Peter Fenwick The slides and videos in this presentation are limited by copyright. Please do not copy them. Remember the videos were given.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright © Peter Fenwick The slides and videos in this presentation are limited by copyright. Please do not copy them. Remember the videos were given."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright © Peter Fenwick The slides and videos in this presentation are limited by copyright. Please do not copy them. Remember the videos were given to me for teaching so please do not give them to others.

2 Science, Spirituality and Unity Peter Fenwick Kings College Institute of Psychiatry Southampton University



5 Many people in Colet have reflected the wonderful spiritual gifts it gives Colet is unique in being a free school where the students find their own ways to creativity within the rich culture it supports

6 . He was the youngest ever professor at the Royal College of Art on appointment in 1948. He worked for the College for 34 years, and also acted as consultant designer to Wedgwood, and other British companies. Guyatt created coins for the Royal Mint and designed postage stamps for the Royal Mail. He was made a CBE in 1969. His obituary described him as An Edwardian gentleman, to whom the qualities of duty, fidelity, truthfulness and manners were paramount. Prof. Richard Guyatt (1914 – 2007)

7 Sean Crampton Sculptor

8 1918 - 1999 His obituary in the Guardian called him an Artist forged by war and whose art reflected interest in the spiritual, his distinctive style owes much to his belief that art is a talent that life is a gift…{Artists} must discover the old heroic role of mankind, and seek diligently after truth and after beauty and after goodness.


10 Art and Books Juliette and Peter Kindersley

11 Juliette Kindersley Peter Kindersley Painter Book Empire Builder

12 Paul Robertson A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts he is also now Visiting Professor in Music and Medicine to the Peninsula Medical School and Visiting Fellow of Green, Templeton, College, Oxford. He is also a member of the European Cultural Parliament and Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine

13 Paul Robertson Medici Quartet

14 Rupert Spira - Potter

15 The two phases of The Study Society When did it start?


17 Phase 1 Society for the Study of Normal Psychology Gurdjieff The 4 th Way Enneagram Ouspensky Rigour and Logic - Knowledge

18 Gurdjieffs Last Announcement All the religious revelations failed to create the New Type of Man needed to fill the enlarging gap. "Humanity is at a standstill and from a standstill there is a straight path to downfall and degeneration.... There is nothing that points to evolution proceeding. On the contrary when we compare humanity with a man we quite clearly see a growth of personality at the cost of essence, that is, a growth of the artificial, the unreal, and what is foreign, at the cost of the natural, the real, and what is one's own.... Contemporary culture requires automatons. And people are undoubtedly losing their acquired habits of independence and turning into automatons, into parts of machines.... Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man."

19 Phase 2 – The Study Society Dr Roles H Advaita - Unity and Love Meditation Rumi

20 To develop the feeling of Atman is very important for the Society. As much as the leaders develop, they make the progress of the members possible. Atman expresses itself as love, and with love arises the welfare of others. All spiritual organisations can only be built upon love. Dr. Roles had love in abundance, and organisations flourish when love prevails between and through the leaders to all the members, just as one sees the sap flowing through every part of a plant………In every organisation there will be some differences, but with love and generosity they can be washed away. This approach will provide opportunity for development of both leaders and the members. Final Message from His Holiness 25 SEPT 1989

21 Colet had at that time three major paths 4 th way Advaita Rumi

22 Advaita Ouspensky

23 But one important area in Colet teaching in the 21 st century has lacked emphasis It is Science although our founders were prescient about its importance

24 In the 1951 constitution and the 1953 revision The main object (of Colet) is stated to be: for the purpose of promoting the scientific study of normal man on the basis of current advances in the physiology of the nervous system and its functions by means of lectures, research and observations by people from their experience and interests in various walks of life.

25 Science There is a need to integrate our current scientific understanding in to the rich teaching of our Colet heritage. There is also a need in Colet to integrate modern scientific understanding of the brain its functions and how these may reflect the process of enlightenment.

26 All paths require The training of attention

27 Training of Attention in Colet MovementsMeditationTurning

28 Now lets look a little at scientific discoveries

29 Empathy and compassion meditation

30 McClelland 1998 Harvard Compared the effects on the immune system of two groups of students, one watching film of Mother Teresa healing, the other watching a film of the Axis powers in WW2. He found that experiencing feelings of compassion and having compassionate thoughts up-regulated the immune system.

31 Looking now directly at compassionate meditation. Do experiences of the divine correlate with brain function? Is there a Spiritual Brain? Note again These are correlations

32 Special Group Carmelite Nuns Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. Beauregard & Paquette 2006 Neuroscience Letters 405: 186– 190

33 Carmelite Nuns Fifteen Carmelite nuns. mean 49.93 yrs In the Carmelite order mean 19.27 yrs Aim to image Mystical union with God –the sense of having touched the ultimate ground of reality – the experience of timelessness and spacelessness – the sense of union with humankind and the universe –feelings of positive affect, peace, joy and unconditional love Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. M Beauregard V Paquette 2006 Neuroscience Letters 405: 186–190


35 the left brainstem was linked to the visceral feelings of joy and unconditional love. the left dorsal ACC (BA 32) reflected that aspect of emotional awareness during the Mystical condition. the MOFC, ….this prefrontal cortical region codes for subjective pleasantness

36 the left insular activation the somatovisceral reactions associated with the feelings of joy and unconditional love. the right middle temporal activation related to the subjective impression of contacting a spiritual reality. the MOC and LG are implicated in visual mental imagery

37 The right SPL is involved in the spatial perception of self. During the Mystical condition they feel that something greater than the subjects seemed to absorb them.

38 The caudate activations during the Mystical condition were correlated with the feelings of joy and unconditional love. The left IPL activation in the Mystical condition related to an alteration of the body schema. The right IPL is crucial to the process of self/other distinction

39 Function of areas and Spirituality R Temporal - contacting spiritual reality Caudate nucleus – positive emotions, joy and unconditional love Left brainstem and insular - somatovisceral changes feelings of joy and unconditional love MPFC conscious awareness of above feelings OFC, left dorsal ACC interoceptive emotional signals during the Mystical condition. MOFC, codes for subjective pleasantness A net work of areas

40 MEDITATION - SUMMARY Attentional techniques alter DLPC activity This leads to changes in the self, world view, attentional processing There is a modification of parietal sensory systems and self image VMFC and AC systems are modified leading to control and change in autonomic systems Frontal changes relate to the genesis of positive mood

41 What effects on the brain does meditation have? Is brain size different with meditation? Does number of years meditating affect brain size?

42 Investigation of mindfulness meditation practitioners with voxel-based morphometry Britta K. Hölzel, 1 Ulrich Ott et al. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2008 March; 3(1): 55–61 20 meditators, 20 non-meditators

43 Greater gray matter concentration for meditators compared to non-meditators (P <.001; )in the left inferior temporal gyrus, right anterior insula and right hippocampus (upper right panel). colour bar indicates t-values Increase In Brain Size

44 The temporal lobe has been implicated in religious activity and mystical experiences (Saver and Rabin, 1997), which are characterized by the feeling of deep pleasure and the experience of insight into the unity of all reality. ……similar experiences are reported by meditators during deep stages of meditation (Piron, 2001) and might be related to the structural differences. However, this explanation remains tentative ……..19972001 Increased Brain Size

45 What about correlations of brain size with total hours of meditation?

46 Click on image to enlarge Gray matter concentration at the medial orbitofrontal cortex correlates with total hours of meditation training; color bar indicates t-values. The OFC

47 The exploratory whole-brain regression analysis revealed that gray matter concentration in the medial OFC was positively correlated with the cumulated hours of meditation training. The OFC plays a crucial role in emotion regulation during which it is thought to down-regulate activity of the amygdala. Thickness of the medial OFC is directly correlated with extinction retention after fear conditioning, suggesting that its size might explain individual differences in the ability to modulate fear. It is thus critical for the modification of learned emotional responses. Greater gray matter concentration in the medial OFC dependent on meditation training might reflect the improved ability to modify emotional responses

48 There is the beginning of a neuroscience of spirituality

49 There are clear structures in the brain which underlie spiritual experience. But where is mind?

50 Penfield 1970s (The Mystery of the Mind.) For myself, after a professional lifetime spent in trying to discover how the brain accounts for the mind, it comes as a surprise now to discover, during this final examination of the evidence, that the dualist hypothesis [separation of mind and brain] seems the more reasonable of the two possible explanations.... Mind comes into action and goes out of action with the highest brain-mechanism, it is true. But the mind has energy. The form of that energy is different from that of neuronal potentials that travel the axone pathways. There I must leave it."

51 Penfield suggests that mind may be outside the brain. But Science has found there is NO free will Proximal causes are in the brain and arise before we know about it. The brain constructs our reality!


53 Now in the 21 st century do we have a better understanding of how to travel the path to enlightenment? Does it? Require a long gradual time for spiritual development and cleansing (many lives). or Only a period of training. or Is Precise understanding enough. or You go nowhere, do nothing – its given!

54 Esoteric Schools follow natural law Salmon Returning

55 Health Warning HALT Do NOT believe what I say – TEST it out for yourself

56 Now lets start with Advaita

57 He has to Dissolve the FIVE sheaths for enlightenment 5 th Sheath Calmness Peace Love BLISS 4 th Sheath Buddhi 3 rd Sheath Thinking & Collecting Information Manas 2 nd Sheath Vital Force Animates and Survives 1 st Sheath Body is not YOU


59 The Buddha and Meditation Siddhartha joined another teacher who had reached the meditative plane of neither perception or non-perception. Siddhartha achieved this. He left once again... (as he) found that they led to no clear conclusions…… This did not lead to dispassion or the ending of desire, or to an awakening. They were merely temporarily abiding in the present moment. The practitioner returns to his normal mental condition, little altered. John Crook

60 5 th Sheath Calmness Peace Love BLISS Siddhartha found a new form of Meditation which lead by the use of attention and observation to the purification of the mind. This later became Zen Meditation

61 Eastern concepts are difficult for a Western mind eg. Diamond Sutra Heart Sutra

62 OPEN SECRET The Positive Way

63 He describes the path from everyday consciousness to that of enlightenment and what is called Bare Awareness It might be worth just looking briefly at these new ideas.

64 Levels of consciousness Proto – consciousness (non-reflective) Subject object consciousness Cosmic consciousness

65 Subject Object Phenomenal World Subject object consciousness

66 Subject Phenomenal World Subject object consciousness My Thoughts. My Actions Time Past/Future My Memories Kant The Thing in itself The THING for us

67 Subject Object Phenomenal World Subject object consciousness My Thoughts. My Actions Time Past/Future My Memories Kant The Thing in itself Towards Unity consciousness Present Moment Only Thoughts Actions Memories Change occurs

68 Object Phenomenal World Towards Unity consciousness Present Moment Only Noumenal World Bare Awareness Love Thoughts Actions Change occurs

69 Can we change our neurophysiology so that we can see the Divine and experience Bare Awareness Zen says you can by training attention. But how?

70 Training Attention in Colet MovementsMeditationTurning

71 Ego Centred (Subserves voluntary top-down attentional Selection) Receptive attention (Alocentric) Attention Zen Dorsal Stream Ventral stream

72 Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention AMISHI P. JHA, JASON KROMPINGER, AND MICHAEL J. BAIME Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 2007, 7 (2), 109-119

73 Ego centred Receptive attention Attention Dorsal Stream Ventral stream Participation in the mind based stress reduction course improved the ability to control ego centred attention Retreats - development and emergence of receptive attentional skills. which improved exogenous alerting-related process. KENSHO

74 Selfless Insight - Kensho What does the phrase, selfless insight, mean in terms of functional anatomy? Selfless implies that the dorsal parietofrontal pathways of the action-orientated Self are deactivated. This contributes to the dissolution of the personal sense of the I-Me- Mine. Insight implies that the ventral, tempero- frontal, other-referential pathways are liberated into seeing all things as THEY really are. Both phenomena occur simultaneously. (James Austin)

75 Zen Master Huang-po (850 AD) A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one, will lead to a deeply mysterious wordless understanding; and by this understanding will you awaken to the truth of Zen

76 What does it feel like to experience this state of consciousness

77 Rupert Spira © Peter Fenwick

78 Meet John Crook A Zen Master

79 John Crook © Peter Fenwick

80 In Summary Those on the path show compassion and love

81 The Paths all lead to unity, compassion and love

82 What should a school manifest True to its history, but open to change Must be a Unity Freedom from belief Compassion and love – care for each other Dont express negative emotions Classes You come to school to work - good courses Manifestation of school values in life Good social interaction – good company

83 The Study Society A School of the fourth way A School for self development A School for Living A School for Life A School for Self understanding Leads you forward Competition – Suggestions emailed to the office A strap line 10 words Maximum

84 HH – When there is change energy is released. Do NOT let this run negatively but use it creatively

85 "What is important for us now? HH Replies Physically, you devote yourself to universal service, considering yourself everyones servant. Devotionally, be magnanimous and give importance to the Supreme Power, keeping in mind its unlimited benevolence. Intellectually, you identify your Self as One with Param-Atman, who witnesses every thing and is in all the forms you see.

86 In essentials, unity; In doubtful things, liberty; In all things, charity. St. Augustine In all things, Love

87 THE END Or the growing of the green shoots and the return of the salmon


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