Volume 5 Issue 2 FALL 2019

3 6 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 5 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 1 9 Cognitive Science and Spirituality Received August 26, 2019 Revised September 8, 2019 Accepted September 10, 2019 The study provides description and discussion on research in cognitive sciences in regard to spirituality. Meditation research shows that long-term meditators can sustain high amplitude brain oscillations and phase-synchrony during meditation. Differences acquired during meditation can persist in the brain after formal practice and thus change everyday life. Intensive long-term meditation can result in increased cortical thickness, which can slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex. Influenced brain areas are connected with attention, interoception, and sensory processing. Hypnotic suggestion can diminish unpleasantness of pain while its other qualities, including intensity, remain unaltered. Mind-wandering was found to decrease happiness during all activities. This uniquely human trait, which typically constitutes half of the human mind activity, correlates with the activity of the so-called Default Mode Network . This network can be quieted with the help of spiritual practices, which can result in the state which in many respects resembles awakening, enlightenment, and union with God. One case of such transformation is described using his own account of his path and current state of consciousness. Key words Cognitive science, Default Mode Network, spirituality, meditation, self-reference Michal Kutáš

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