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Bosman, Saskia - The Role of the Pineal Gland in Mystical Experiences

Bosman, Saskia - The Role of the Pineal Gland in Mystical Experiences

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Published by: sonden_2 on Feb 12, 2010
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Research proposal by Saskia Bosman, Ph.D., biologist.
 Our pineal gland, a tiny organ in the center of the brain, is known inneuroscience as an endocrine gland which produces a set of hormones whichare regulated, among other things, by the light-dark (day-night) cycle. Thehormones are serotonin, melatonin, DMT (dimethyltryptamin), 5meo-DMT(5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamin) and pinolin.1-5 Ancient spiritual traditionslike yoga and tantra consider the pineal a “cosmic antenna” through which wecan contact the deeper mystical reality.6 Science has indications that our  pineal does play a role in mystical (or transcendental), psychic andhallucinatory experiences, as some of the hormones it produces are psychoactive.7-10These hormones bind to serotonin receptors in many areas of the brain. Thisleads to complex patterns of electrical activity. Subjectively the person willhave inner experiences ranging from hallucinations and dreams to mysticalexperiences.7-10 During hallucinations and mystical experiences it has beenfound that especially the temporal lobes show complex electrical activity patterns.11The question this project will attempt to answer is: which brain structures become active before the pineal gland produces the hormones involved inmystical experience? What is the activity of the pineal gland itself?The mechanisms and neural pathways involved in the stimulation or inhibitionof hormone production and electrical activity of the pineal gland by thecircadian light-dark cycle are already known.1-5 The mechanisms inducingthe production of certain pineal hormones involved in mystical experiencesare unknown. Also the electrical activity of the pineal during mysticalexperiences has not been measured yet.In this project 3 groups of human subjects will be formed:1. People who (also in the laboratory) can induce mystical experiences inthemselves by silent prayer and/or meditation.2. People who can silently pray and/or meditate in the laboratory but whohave never been able to induce mystical experiences in themselves.3. People who can silently pray and/or meditate in the laboratory, but whodon’t believe mystical experiences are possible today (mystical experiencesdescribed in the Bible for them are something of the past, or metaphorical).Group No. 3 serves to find out if their specific belief system has a negativeeffect on the results. From an earlier pilot project on the relationships betweenstates of consciousness reached by various meditation methods and EEGfrequency distribution patterns, we know that all three groups exist.12
 Measurements of the activity of the pineal gland and of the rest of the brainwill be taken during rest and during silent prayer/meditation. After eachsession the participants will be interviewed about their subjective experiencesand blood samples will be taken for measuring pineal hormone levels. Theactivity of the pineal gland and of the rest of the brain will be measured by:A. A multichannel SQUID neuromagnetometer13, 14, which measures themagnetic component of the neural electrical activity. (The first fewmeasurements on the pineal have been done and are promising). In order torelate the measurements to the pineal gland and other brain structures, theywill need to be localized one time in each subject by MRI scanning.15B. A PET scanner, which is able to localize and measure blood flow andvarious kinds of metabolic activity in the brain.16-18Both devices can measure the activity of deep brain structures. Measurementtime with these devices will be booked in various hospitals and universities inand around The Netherlands.Subsequently, statistical analysis will take place of the differences inmeasurement results between the groups, between the rest and prayer/meditation situations and between the subjective reports of having andnot having a mystical experience.This project will provide more insight in what happens in the braintopographically before, during and after a mystical experience. It is meant as a beginning of increasingly deeper research, involving various disciplines.19 New measuring methods for the activity of the pineal gland are indevelopment as well: - Capacitive, using the Heart Tuner, which has beendeveloped by Dan Winter, Jan Souren et al.20- Measurement of the natural microwave-emission by the pineal, with HanVriezen et al. and based on the work of the late German engineer RobertEndroes.21Saskia Bosman, Ph.D., biologistM. Nijhoffpad 154103 WP CulemborgThe NetherlandsTel. 0031-345-523953e-mail:
 In this early stage it is still difficult to calculate a budget, but financialcontributions to the project are always welcome, to the Sacred EarthFoundation, Culemborg, Postbank Giro 8454380, The Netherlands.mentioning “Pineal Project”. At this moment about 5000 Euro per month isused for the project. You will be kept posted about the progress of this project.
 1. W.B. Quay, “Pineal Chemistry (in cellular and physiologicalmechanisms)”, Charles Thomas Publishers, Springfield, IL, USA, 1974, ISBN0-398-02802-8.2. R.J. Wurtman, J. Axelrod, D.E. Kelly, “The Pineal”, Academic Press, NewYork, London, 1968, LCCCN 68-266323. Russel J. Reiter, “The Pineal - 1977”, Eden Press, 1977 (from series:“Annual Research Reviews, distr. Churchill Livingstone: The Pineal, Vol. 2,1977), ISBN 0-443-01706-94. “Pineal Gland”,
 5. Lukas Buehler Ph.D.: “ Drugs and Their Receptors”,
 6. Genevieve Lewis Paulson, “Kundalini and the Chakras”, LlewellynPublications, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, 1996, ISBN 0-87542-592-57. J.C. Callaway, “A Proposed Mechanism for the Visions of Dream Sleep”,Medical Hypotheses Vol. 36 (1988) p. 119-124,
 8. R. McClay, “The Pineal Gland, LSD and Serotonin”, 19 March 1976 (froma pharmacology paper),
 9. R. Strassman, M.D., “Update on the University of New Mexico Studies:DMT and Psilocybin”,
 10. T. McKenna, D. McKenna, “The Invisible Landscape”, Harper SanFrancisco, 1993, ISBN 0-06-250635-811. M.A. Persinger: “Neuropsychological Bases of God Beliefs”, Praeger, New York, 1987.12. S. Bosman, T. Kuiper: “Innerlijke beelden en het brein”/”Inner Imagesand the Brain” (Dutch), Bres147, p. 94-102.13. J. Karhu & C. Tesche, “Characterization of Hippocampal and Cerebellar Activity”,

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