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    1. The God Module and the Role of Spirituality in Recovery Cardwell C. Nuckols, MA, PhD cnuckols@elitecorp.org

    2. The God Module The God Module refers to an area of the brain that is hard wired for spiritual experiences. It does not prove the existence of God.

    3. GOD IS DEAD --Nietzche NIETZCHE IS DEAD --God

    5. John Lennon Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I neednt argue about that. Im right and will be proven right. Were more popular than Jesus Christ right now!

    6. Jay North This God-is-Dead premise seems to me merely a fad; religion will live through it.

    7. One must say truly, I think, that personal religious experience has its roots and center in mythical states of consciousness. William James

    8. Spirituality is one of our basic human inheritances. It is, in fact, an instinct. (Dean Hamer,2004)

    9. Consciousness is personal. It is yours and yours alone. You can describe it to others but the sights and feelings themselves are not transferable. William James

    10. Overview Spirituality and Healing Brain and Spirituality Central Arguments for the God Gene

    11. Spirituality and Healing Beliefs of Our Clients Beliefs of Medical Professionals Spirituality and Recovery

    12. Beliefs Of Our Clients Over 90% of Americans believe in God 57% engage in daily prayer 42% attended church in the last week 80% believed that religious faith can aid in recovery from illness

    13. Beliefs Of Our Clients 63% agreed that doctors should talk to them about spiritual issues (McNichol, 1996)

    14. Beliefs of Medical Professionals According to Alcohol Medical Scholars Program, Spirituality in Substance abuse/Dependence Treatment, Marianne Guschwan, MD Most psychiatrists do not believe in God Nurses and medical students in one survey ranked spirituality as a low consideration of patients treated on a dual-disorder unit

    15. Beliefs of Medical Professionals Guschwan continued However, the patients ranked spirituality and belief in God as most important to their recovery-Interesting incongruence!

    16. Spirituality And Recovery 2 major reviews of the literature National Institute for Healthcare Review (1996) Good evidence that involvement in AA is associated with enhanced outcomes in both inpatient and outpatient care NIAAA and Fetzer Institute (1999) Strong support for the protective nature of spirituality and religion (110 studies): of AA involvement (51 studies) and spiritual/religious intervention (26 studies)

    17. Spirituality and Recovery Spirituality refers to the unique and intense experience of a reality greater than oneself or an experience of connection with the totality of things. Religion is an organized social structure in which spiritual experiences are shared, ritualized and passed on to future generations

    18. Spirituality and Recovery An individual does not have to be religious in order to have a spiritual experience. The benefits of spirituality include humility, inner strength, sense of meaning and purpose in life, acceptance of self and others, sense of harmony and serenity, gratitude and forgiveness.

    19. Humility, Harmony, & Serenity Humility Not driven by foolish pride but able to admit our weaknesses and ask for help when needed Harmony Not being all alone but being a part of a greater whole Serenity Not living a life of self-imposed stress but living in a fair and tranquil fashion

    20. A Meaningful, Spiritual Life An Engaged Life Find people and things that turn you on A Meaningful Life Establish a relationship with a Higher Power An Exercise Think about someone who gave you good advice and helped you get through a tough time Write a 300 word testimonial Read it to the individual

    21. Brain and Spirituality Daniel Amen, MD Is the brain hardwired for spiritual experiences? Vilayanur Ramachandran, MD Seizure-like experiences Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

    22. Daniel Amen MD, 2002 .. when the brain is healthy we are compassionate, thoughtful, loving, relaxed , and goal directed, and when the brain is sick or damaged we are unfeeling, impulsive, angry, tense, and unfocused, and it is very hard for our souls and our relationship with God to be at peace.

    23. Is the Brain Hard-Wired For Spiritual Experiences? God Module (Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran, 1997) Innate instinct to believe in God or Higher Power. Circuit of nerves in the temporal lobe became active when patients with history of temporal lobe epilepsy and profound spiritual experiences thought about God

    24. Is the Brain Hard-Wired For Spiritual Experiences? When testing deeply religious persons without a history of temporal lobe epilepsy, the same area of the brain became activated.

    25. Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Persons with a history of temporal lobe epilepsy often report spiritual experiences Dostoevsky Muhammad Apostle Paul Joan of Arc

    26. Muhammad Seizure-like experiences Flashing lights Heard voices of the angels Gabriel and Allah Fits of trembling, profuse sweating and bodily pain Lifelong pattern of out-ofthe body experiences

    27. Apostle Paul Luke reported Paul had bodily weaknesses Saw flashes of light, fell down, saw Christ and was blind for several days Paul reported a pattern of visions and revelations

    28. Joan of Arc I heard this Voice to my right; rarely do I hear it without its being accompanied by a light.

    29. Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Auditory hallucinations Visual hallucinations Loss of balance Strong emotional content Occasional blindness

    30. Central Arguments Regarding A God Gene Sense of Self Self-transcendence Consciousness Sense of self and the world around us Monoamines and VMAT2 Polymorphism of gene VMAT2 Spiritual allele

    31. Sense of Self Abraham Maslow Self-actualizers Roger Cloninger Self-transcendence scale Andrew Newberg SPECT scans Todd Murphy Visitor Experience

    32. Abraham Maslow Avowed atheist One of first modern psychologists to tackle the problem of separating spirituality from religion Self-actualizers shared a common feature of periodic spiritual experiences

    33. Roger Cloninger Tried to quantify spirituality Self-transcendence Scale Self-Forgetfulness Transpersonal Identification Mysticism

    34. Self-Forgetfulness Do you ever get so involved in your work that you forget where you are or what time it is? Do you sometimes feel like you are in the zone? ..a flow state? Spiritual people tend to have these experiences more frequently

    35. Transpersonal Identification Do you feel a sense of unity with things around you? Would you risk your life to make the world a better place? Spiritual people become deeply and emotionally attached

    36. Mysticism Are you fascinated with things that cannot be explained by science? Are you intuitive? Do you feel connections with people for no apparent reason?

    37. Andrew Newberg-SPECT Using a SPECT camera during meditation there is a decrease in activity in parts of the brain involved in generating a 3-D orientation in space (spatial orientation). (Andrew Newberg, University of Pennsylvania) Meditation is a spiritual state. Meditation and a spiritual sense involve feelings of release into a place beyond space and time.

    38. Andrew Newberg-SPECT Meditation caused Increased blood flow to frontal cortex and thalamus Frontal cortex Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex Inferior frontal cortex Orbital frontal cortex Responsible for thinking and planning Thalamus and cingulate gyrus Part of limbic system Emotion Aggregate-neurological seat of the will Goal-oriented Concentration and planning

    39. Andrew Newberg-SPECT Meditation caused. Decreased blood flow Posterior superior parietal lobes Orientation association area 3-D picture of body Distinguishes between self and non-self

    40. Todd Murphy The 40 Hertz Component Component of EEG readout Appears from temporal lobes (also involves amygdala and hippocampus) 2 sides of the brain, 2 sets of structures, 2 sense of self Left side is usually dominant Where language happens including inner monologues Right side Non-linguistic sense of self

    41. Todd Murphy When right side takes over Visitor Experience Experience determined by what other parts of brain are involved Visual area Vision of an entity of some kind Olfactory area Experience a unique smell Language area Hear voices, music or noise Experience of God may be an extreme example of the Visitor Experience Views God as a part of self

    42. The Visitor Experience

    43. Consciousness Sense of self and world around us Gerald Edelman 2 different types of nervous system organization Michael Persinger Biological basis of spiritual and mystical experiences is due to firing of the temporoparietal region We do not know God, we feel him

    44. Gerald Edelman 2 different types of nervous system organization Thalamocortical System (Core or Primary Consciousness) Thalamus Cerebral Cortex Thalamus serves as a relay station from outside to thinking part of brain

    45. Gerald Edelman 2 different types of nervous system organization Limbic-Brain Stem System Brain stem-Area between the spinal cord and thalamus Connects body and the brain Life processes Limbic system Amygdala, hypothalamus and hippocampus Emotional response and memory

    46. Gerald Edelman Consciousness arise through the process of communication between these 2 systems Consciousness links the physical senses to the emotions via brain networks Emotions (feeling good, bad, happy, sad) are produced by the monoamines and influenced by the VMAT2 gene

    47. Michael Persinger Non-believer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to his temporal and parietal lobes Experienced God The God Spot Biological basis of all spiritual and mystical experiences Spontaneous firing of the temporoparietal region

    48. Michael Persinger Main effect of the firing is to increase communication between the right and left temporoparietal areas causing confusion between the sense of self and the sense of others Creates Sense of a Presence Interpreted as God, spirits or other mystical being

    49. Monoamines (Norepinephrine, Serotonin and Dopamine) Biochemical mediators of emotions and values Not freely available Must be wrapped and protected from degradation

    50. Serotonin5HT and NorepinephrineNE in the brain Serotonin and Norepinephrine in Depression1 Serotonin and norepinephrine are believed to be key neurotransmitters in the etiology of depression From the raphe nuclei and locus ceruleus, 5-HT and NE, respectively, send projections up to the prefrontal cortex and limbic system where emotional depressive symptoms are thought to be mediated. Additionally, there are also 5-HT and NE-rich tracts into the spinal cord, which are thought to modulate pain perception. 1. Adapted from Stahl SM. J Clin Psych. 2002; 63: 382-383.Serotonin and Norepinephrine in Depression1 Serotonin and norepinephrine are believed to be key neurotransmitters in the etiology of depression From the raphe nuclei and locus ceruleus, 5-HT and NE, respectively, send projections up to the prefrontal cortex and limbic system where emotional depressive symptoms are thought to be mediated. Additionally, there are also 5-HT and NE-rich tracts into the spinal cord, which are thought to modulate pain perception. 1. Adapted from Stahl SM. J Clin Psych. 2002; 63: 382-383.

    51. Serotonin Increased sociability and intimacy Increased mood elevation Effects consciousness in ways connected to self-transcendence and spirituality Alters perception an aspect of mystical experience Ecstasy and Prozac Prozac more subtle and less neurotoxic

    52. Dopamine James Olds (1954) Medial forebrain bundle (MFB) Pleasure What makes spirituality attractive most likely involves dopamine

    53. Vesicular Monoamine Transporter (VMAT2) Genetic Houses monoamines Protects from degradation

    54. Importance of VMAT2 Knock-out mice Without VMAT2 Gene Runts Died young 100 fold decrease in monoamines Produced monoamines but did not protect them from degradation

    55. Something Happens! Vesicle reaches membrane at terminal button Tiny channels open letting in Calcium Monoamines leak out into synapse Attach to receptor Receptor diversity Diverse effects

    57. Monoamine Attached To Receptor Activates G Protein G Protein activates cyclic AMP (Second Messenger) Signaling molecule Cyclic AMP carries the information that started with the monoamine

    60. Monoamines Determine the overall tone of the brain How you feel Emotions are the language of the brain

    61. Summary of Central Arguments For The God Gene Self is central The ability to lose ones sense of self, to become one with our surroundings The sense of self and the world we live in revolve around the brain process called consciousness Higher consciousness involves structures in the back part of the brain related to orientation

    62. Summary of Central Arguments For The God Gene Monoamines play critical role in consciousness Add value to perceptions-feelings