Andrew Newberg has been studying the effects of prayer on the brain. Here are some of the findings that he published in his book, “How God Changes Your Brain”.
- He found that just 12 minutes of daily focused prayer over an 8 week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan. This type of prayer seems to increase activity in brain areas associated with social interaction compassion and sensitivity to others.
- Prayer reduces stress and anxiety, and just 12 minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process.
- Contemplating a loving God rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress, and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.
- Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain—altering your values and the way you perceive reality.
Another question becomes does a person’s thoughts (essentially that is what prayer is) impact matter elsewhere?
Institute of Noetic Sciences conducted a study that has become known as the “Love-Study”. They put 36 loving couples through an experiment. They locked one of the partners in an electro-magnetic shielded room away from the second partner who was in a room with a closed-circuit TV. Both partners were connected to electrodes measuring skin conductance and blood flow. Randomly, the second person was shown the image of their partner for 10 seconds. During that time, the second person was encouraged to think loving thoughts about their partner, who was completely unaware of what was taking place. Each time the image was shown, within 2 seconds, the first partner’s blood flow increased and perspiration dramatically changed. The odds of this happening by chance were 1 in 11,000. Three dozen double blind, randomized studies by such institutions as the University of Washington and the University of Edinburgh have reported similar results.
So, if this article is about prayer, what does this have to do with the Art of Ascension?
While we often say the Art of Ascension is a simple tool, for many of us that came from a tradition of prayer before we learned this practice, we consider the technique to be “the perfect prayer”.