Spiritual Enlightenment – Is it a Myth or Real?

What the hell is this spiritual enlightenment or spiritual awakening? Can you come up with one definition that everyone in the world will agree with? Many words have been associated with it: Moksha, Mukthi, Brahmajnana, Atmajnana, Nirvana, Bodhi, Kensho, Satori, Samadhi, Kevali, Kaivalya, Salvation, union with God etc. Many of them have different definitions, paths (practices) and theories.

But, one thing this enlightenment implies is that it is the purpose of the human life…For example, Indian tradition lists four main pursuits of life; virtue (dharma), wealth (artha), pleasure (kama) and enlightenment (moksha)… Modern psychology has another word for whatever the human life is progressing towards; it is called self-actualization, which is similar to the concept of enlightenment in many ways.

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When I went through a spiritual transformation myself, I found that whatever that happened to me agrees with one aspect which is almost present in all these traditions. It is the liberation from the identification with your self-concept. It literally destroyed the psychological boundaries between me and the world. It resulted in a drastic reduction of self-referential thought and emotional reactivity and made me peaceful forever. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing I can do to add more to who I am…. It is, with no doubt, a complete irreversible transformation which left me complete and fulfilled in the present moment. I had blissful epiphanies for a couple of months when I was going through this transformation.  I felt like I was out of a prison. After that, I didn’t think about enlightenment for at least three years.. The life went on like a comfortable and joyful train journey.

Read my story of spiritual seeking, prior to this transformation: The Journey of a Seeker

But there are other concepts which are associated with enlightenment and mentioned by many of the enlightenment gurus we have seen so far…  Here is a list of some of those concepts:

  • Being enlightened is like being in ecstatic bliss 24/7.
  • Once you are enlightened, you will remember your past lives.
  • You radiate some kind of energy which can be felt by people near you.
  • You can recognize another enlightened person by sight.
  • You don’t have any cravings or ego anymore… You are just pure consciousness with no thoughts, no cravings, and no ego!
  • If you want to die, you can do it by your own will and by causing no pain or damage to the body.
  • You can see auras of other people.

Nothing like that ever happened to me after the transformation and it has been three years now. But some people used to say that I was the happiest person in the world. I had a smile in my face whenever I met any of my friends and I looked happy and full of energy all the time. But I did face challenges and even went through some suffering time to time. They were not at all felt personal and left no trace in my psyche but they did give me a hard time.

Another thing that is noteworthy is that I felt like I was born again. This is consistent with the concept of ‘dvija’ in Indian tradition. In a couple of months after transformation, I was left with no motivation. I felt like there is nothing more to do with this life. So, I had to create a motivation that would give me a direction for life.  For the time being, I decided to perform as well as I can at work.

But I noticed that when it came to social behaviour, I made no attempt to impress others, influence the behaviour of others or even gossip with others, which affected a few things in my life. I was running a family. So, it was very important for my dependants that I influence other people to get things to happen the way I wanted them to happen.  For example, I needed to get promoted soon so that I could take care of my family in a better way. Because of these demands, certain things began to change. I had to consciously create a subtle ego and personality. I also had to choose a mission for my life, (not a goal that I want to reach but a direction I want to go towards) which will keep me motivated to do things in life. These changes happened very gradually and soon I realized that I had been relearning certain things in life as a total new born. My brain was creating fresh associations with each stimuli and experience.  I started to get classically conditioned all over again. But all of this happened very consciously and I could see those changes for what they were. I also noticed that my genetic factors were intact and they still influenced the way I thought and behaved.

Around May 2016, I bought a book called ‘Psychology’ 5th edition written by Robert A. Baron and Girishwar Mishra. Learning psychology changed a lot of things. It was very interesting to learn about why people behaved the way they did and it offered a lot of new insights to my own transformation. (I was also using cannabis everyday during this time). At the same time, I also suffered from Insomnia because I always felt energetic and I could never get myself to sleep so easily. Sleep deprivation, vigorous study of psychology and hard work at office caused me to be active all the time. My highest record was set when I was awake continuously for 45 hours with maximum activity.

I started seeing many connections in totally disconnected happenings of my life in the past .Things were happening so fast that I was not able to keep myself balanced. It was like riding in a roller coaster most of the time.  Every bit of my body and mind was throbbing with energy. The valence of my emotions kept changing every hour. It would be miserable for an hour; then I would feel peaceful as if nothing had happened, for the next hour.

I started behaving like a lunatic and things got worse. Soon I left my job and went to my parent’s home. The roller coaster continued and I was admitted in a psychiatric hospital for 10 days. The doctor prescribed haloperidol and chlorpromazine. (They are usually prescribed for schizophrenia. But I know the symptoms and I was not schizophrenic. ) The doctors didn’t even bother to talk to me or counsel me. And, there was a serious side effect with these tablets; they cause Akathesia, the worst disorder one could ever get. If you have akathesia you cannot sit still or stand in one place for more than 3-4 minutes. You will always have an urge to keep moving your body. I suffered from akathesia for more than a month. It was cured by taking trihexphenydil  and clonazepam (The doctors were not helpful. I had to search in Wikipedia to find out which antipsychotic drugs were causing the problem and just skip them).

These symptoms that I underwent is actually known as spiritual crisis which was listed first in DSM-IV ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). They are supposed to be diagnosed and treated differently. But usually, a lot of psychiatrists who are not aware of this treat these symptoms as indications of a regular mental disorder.

Now, I feel like I have become a grown up boy in this new second birth. (I am talking about ‘dvija’; not about a previous incarnation). I have a better clarity of what exactly happened in me in the last three years. U.G Krishnamurti went through a similar transformation in his life and he used to call it a ‘calamity’. Also, he has said in his interviews that he had to learn certain things from scratch as well. I haven’t read his books much, but the word ‘calamity’ actually suits what I went through.

After I was cured from Akathesia, I settled down in my new job and everything became fine. Life is beautiful now. As far as my subjective well-being is concerned, there is no way it can be any better than this. I am not seeking anything anymore (as I already feel complete and liberated) but I am still interested in this concept of enlightenment and find out the neural correlates of it in the brain. I cannot do this alone. But my mission is to contribute towards a scientific research on human transformation. I spend my time reading psychology journals, science papers and articles, writing blog posts, reading about the awakening experiences of others etc.

My life is now full of awe and curiosity, and this awakening seems to be deepening; I see no limits for the depth. Whether this is enlightenment or not doesn’t matter to me. If someone says that this is enlightenment, I would probably say ‘oh, I see’… If they say I still have to work towards another shift called ‘enlightenment’, I wouldn’t bother about it. Because, anything beyond this will be an unnecessary luxury.

Even though I personally don’t have to worry about it, I still have to study about enlightenment and compare my experience with other authentic awakened people so that I can contribute something to the scientific research. I began to search in forums and Quora for personal testimonies of awakening. I found out that most of the testimonies are similar to my own awakening and it is very common as well. I also found that there is no scientific evidence for paranormal powers in spite of thousands and thousands of studies conducted on alleged psychics so far. A guy called James Randi even challenged people that he would offer millions of dollars to any person who proves he has such powers. Many people volunteered but nothing was proved.

I am not saying that nothing paranormal exists; I am just saying that I don’t know.. There is no evidence, I have no first hand experience and I don’t believe in ‘believing’ anymore!

At the same time, there are always cult movements showing up which cause a lot of controversies. Some of them do offer useful guidance towards self-realization, but they are often mixed with the authority’s own opinions. In some cases, there have been even abusive behavior towards the followers. If a public science of spiritual awakening is created and a way to recognize awakened people with brain imaging technology has been established, then all these problems will be solved.

At this point, all I can say based on my own experience is that freedom from self-concept does exist and it does liberate you and make you peaceful and free human being. Most of the people call this enlightenment. But a few people claim the ever-bliss, paranormal spiritual awakening as enlightenment. Whether such a thing exists or not, I don’t know yet.

As a young scientist, I want to take this very carefully and step by step. Even If I don’t manage to get the public attention in my lifetime, my findings and theories will remain in my blog forever, so that people can read it even after I am gone.

 

 

 

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Author: Shanmugam

I am a blogger and a self-published author. My book "The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment: Bridging Science, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta" is a guide to the ultimate freedom, bliss and oneness. The book is based on my own experience.

24 thoughts on “Spiritual Enlightenment – Is it a Myth or Real?”

  1. What a beautiful post. The possibility of a science of enlightenment also intrigues me. I was watching a video this morning where someone compared spiritual transformation with adolescence. It is like a further developmental stage. Whether large numbers of people will ever go through this stage, I do not know. After all, genuine evolutionary change can take hundreds of thousands of years.

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      1. The video is an interview with Philip St. Romain on his experience of Christian kundalini. It is a long video, and the sound quality is not very good. (Turn down the bass and turn up the treble on your sound if you can.) At 56:43 Phil discovers Bernadette Roberts’ books on no-self. At 1:06:32 he talks about how his prayers began to change. The crown chakra began to hurt, as the energy went into the tightness there. His attention was drawn to sensations of intense heat at the top of his head. Finally it began to open. It felt like a cool breeze pouring into him from his crown. By the end of the summer, it was open. At 1:12:08 he says he had now learned about chakras from other people and from books. At 1:15:38 he compares this learning with an adolescent learning about adolescence. At 1:16:13 he says: “Adolescence is a good analogy to the kundalini process.” Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMgOHodxKSU

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    1. Do you mean a review about Sri Bhagwad Purana? No bro.. I am not much attracted to Puranas.. I studied a lot of puranic stories when I was a boy but I moved on to more deeper topics after that. From what I have seen, the focus of Puranas is in glorifying a particular personal deity..

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  2. I just read 4 of your posts in one sitting. There is a lot in common that i share with you when it comes to subjective experiences, especially the part related to suffering. I had experienced akathisia too, which lasted for 2 weeks. The doctor diagnosed me as having bipolar disorder when i never had any manic or hypomanic episodes. prior to that i was taking thyroid medications, a bunch of antidepressants, sleeping pills etc for over a year under a different doctor to treat my depression and insomnia but it was not working. The new doctor stopped all my prior medications and started the bipolar ones, and i spent 2 weeks in agony and torment like you have described. eventually i stopped those medications and later on had treatment from CMC vellore. This was almost a decade ago, i was studying electrical engineering in iit madras back then. lost several precious years due to wrong diagnosis and treatment. I have been better since then, got addicted to alcohol twice though for several months due to highly stressful events.

    I am greatly interested in spirituality but have not made much progress in it. My family is deeply religious and i underwent the same religious training that most children have to go through in such an environment. But i never believed in everything that was told to me. I went to a catholic school where a different concept of god was taught and the aesthetics were very different compared to hinduism. I read an abridged version of the bible when i was 10. Since i am a bengali, i had already been exposed to core ideas of ramakrishna and vivekananda by then. I was learning simple magic tricks from books as well during that time. Couple of years later i started to read books written by prabir ghosh. He is the james randi of india and had been busting godmen for several decades. He was a big influence for me, and i learned about skepticism. During teenage years i read works written by vivekanada, the bhagavad gita and “kathamrita” and found interesting ideas, some cheesy stuff and some things which was beyond my comprehension then(even now). After that college happened, and i never did any serious study of indian philosophy. I gradually became disgruntled with religion and became a nihilist during college years. Of late now i have started reading western philosophy. but progress is quite slow due to work and personal commitments.

    Sir, you seem to have significant amount of knowledge as well as understanding on the topic of spirituality. I would like to stay in touch. The notion of having scientific studies to verify spiritual claims is needed, and it’s being done across the world, though i believe it to be quite infrequent. however there are problems in the ways many of the studies are carried out, plus the devices and equipment costs a lot of money. In the end all these scientific experiments might not be able to solve the puzzle. very little is still known about our brain. That these scientific experiments might ever be useful is based on a reductionist model of the brain where each part carries out specific function(s). this might or might not be the case.

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    1. Thanks for sharing all this, It is very interesting to know.If you are looking for spiritual progress, then I would suggest trying Osho’s witnessing.. It is a very powerful technique.

      You can stay in touch with me through Quora. Here is the link to my profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Shanmugam-P-12

      Yeah, I agree with you regarding the complications in doing scientific research on spiritual claims, but that is the only direction to go for to add authority and appeal to spiritual teachings. Things will happen very slowly and it may take another 100 years to see a substantial progress in this. But it is very important to raise the awareness on this now and keep the process going.

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  3. Enlightenment is not a rocket science but we talk a lot about it as we are here to pass the time, just timepass ha ha.
    We are all born here as enlightened being but mostly we loose the will power and started getting lost during the journey of passing time.
    Shan, if you really want to know what is enlightenment then stop looking any spiritual business either you or someone else is making, start looking all the babies who are newborn lesser than a year old, who needs nothing more just milk as offering from his/her mother. They know their needs for survival and doesn’t care where they are right NOW. Look into their eyes so innocent but totally aware of the happenings. They look at you not to harm you but to know you, not by your name but they have ability to read your mind. We all born with these powers no matter which language you speak they will simply learn because they get totally dissolved in you.
    And You are on the path of enlightenment because you have developed a seeking like that baby for no personal benefit. Continue Continue and Continue your seeking, your only desire to know Almighty within you, THE DAY WILL COME WHEN YOUR SEEKING WILL DISAPPEAR BY ITS OWN ACCORD. Your eyes will be wide opened with same innocence and all desires, all seeking will be lost in vein just in no time. You are in No Mind, mind is just a servant nothing else. You will look at the needs not the wants. You will better eat curd rice instead having painful Pizza. Mind can never generate any cravings for anything good or bad. All decisions will be purely yours. Even your love will be so aware that it wont be pleased to tempt a baby with ice-cream. Because you would know there is no point offering ice-cream to baby’s mind and then denying on the other day if baby insist, stating it is not a healthy food to eat. Baby will question is what the hell you shown me the taste of it earlier then. All business runs on the craving and desires of more and more comforts, joy, happiness in the life and surely if Enlightenment says it is a joyful state then definitely the business to sell Bliss is being established. But just buying it will make you too much bored within you. I would say do anything in which you can totally dissolve yourself for no reason just doing freely, enjoying then that is enough to TIMEPASS till your death. I sometime read Comics with concentration and laugh sometime he he.
    And yes do not forget to go office or shop as you need money for fulfilling just the basic needs everyday. That’s ALL.

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  4. Thank you for a great article. This and your site is an encouragement to many am sure; plus this is one of the few ones attempting sincerely to bring out authentic experiences and identfying a scientific basis for different forms of awareness. Cheers

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  5. Hello from Ukraine.

    Thank you for these 2 amazing posts with your story. And I have a whole bunch of questions mostly about creativity and disadvantages of being in a present moment all of the time.

    Things like meditation and enlightenment are not that popular in our country, and I want to narrate some of the pre-story of my own.

    I used to work as a background music composer for 4 months (1,5 years ago). I’m also interested in poetry and creative writing. I’ve noticed that sometimes under the alcohol I seem to produce some cool creative ideas for both of the above activities. As Hemingway pointed out: “Write drunk, edit sober”, which seemed to be efficient in some way.

    Since there I’ve started looking for a non-destructing way to achieve the same state of mind without alcohol. That’s how I’ve discovered meditation. I’m explaining this to show why the further going is important for people like me.
    So I’ve read somewhere that meditation can be used to achieve those creative state of mind.

    At the same time, I’ve took the course called “Learning how to learn” by Barbara Oakley. They unveil the idea that there are two modes of thinking: focused mode and the diffused mode.

    It is likely that you already know about those things. There’s an example of how people tend to produce some creative ideas or breakthroughs while being in a relaxed state of mind (showering, running, washing dishes etc.). And here’s where the first contradiction arises: “Learning how to learn” team also connects a diffused mode aka creativity state with a state of mind with wandering monkey thoughts; so it is recommended to let your mind wander according to them. So I took those as true and had the idea that diffused mode = wandering thoughts = creativity.

    That’s why I was very confused after reading “The power of now” by Tolle, where he treated the monkey thoughts as toxic and claimed that the creativity is not related to them.

    I decided to look for some scientific explanations and read this article:
    http://ndnr.com/mindbody/meditation-classifications-mechanisms-and-clinical-applications/
    The author classify Samatha as a focused meditation and Vipassana as a diffused meditation. This added more disorder into my earlier findings, according to which Vipassana meditation was all about awareness and thus it could not be done in the “diffused mode” (which as I thought was the same as DMN). But later I’ve realized that probably the terms were misleading.

    So at that point I was really confused and could not understand how to put things back together. I was wondering like does the DMN equals to the “diffused mode” and how is it all correlated with the creativity.
    I was thinking this way: the DMN gets shut down while the Executive network is working, in this case the diffused mode should be blocked during meditation (either during Samatha or Vipassana).

    So this question arose: does the Samatha or Vipassana meditation turn off the creativity?

    Later I’ve discovered a post from somebody who was asking the same question:
    https://psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/18292/does-mindful-meditation-inhibit-diffuse-thinking-aka-default-mode-network-cre
    It turns that Barbara Oakley from “Learning how to learn” encountered the same problem and provided explanations according to which DMN and diffused mode thinking might not be the same. Here’s the quote:

    “Astute readers will notice my mention that the diffuse mode seems to sometimes work in the background while the focused mode is active. However, research findings show that the default-mode network for example (which is just one of the many resting state networks), seems to go quiet when the focused mode is active. So which is it? My sense as an educator and a learner myself is that some nonfocused activities can continue in the background when focused work is taking place, as long as the focused attention is shifted away from the area of interest.”

    And more about classification from Barbara Oakley:

    “Researchers can sometimes classify meditation techniques into two different types that seem to be fundamentally different. Focused attention and open monitoring.

    Focus attention types of meditations such as mantra, sound or chakra meditation appear to help enhance focus mode type thinking, this kind of meditation sometimes seems to make people feel better.
    In contrast, open monitoring types of meditation such as, Vipassana and mindfulness, appear to improve diffuse imaginative thinking. With open monitoring, we don’t just focus on one thing. Instead we keep our attention open to all aspects of experience without judging or becoming attached to our thoughts.

    Part of the reason that building your focusing abilities may help make you feel happier. Is that it appears to suppress the diffuse mode, while it builds the focusing mode. So what does all this mean? It means that meditation can have surprisingly different effects, depending on the type. It’s all very complex, and researchers are far from sorting everything out yet. In the end, practices that encourage focusing can be a great benefit for learning. But having some daily time where your mind relaxes and wanders freely is also very important, particularly if you want to encourage creativity. From a particular stand point then if you are a meditator you might try to avoid feeling you should always be stirring your thoughts back into focus, If you catch your mind wondering outside meditation sessions.”

    So from this we can conclude that the diffused mode could be something different from the DMN, and more related to the mindful state. But how about the executive network (which is something that turns on when the DMN is off)? Does it actually involve both mindful thinking and focused analytical thinking or just some of it?

    Is it correct that both Samatha meditation (or yogi focused meditation) and Vipassana meditation turn off the DMN? So to say, does both of them lead to enlightenment? Is it correct that Samatha or yogi meditation block the creativity? Is it correct that Vipassana meditation or mindful state of mind enhance the creativity? Those are questions which I want to ask you. Besides, you can see from the given quote that “Learning how to learn” guys encourage the thoughts wandering without distinguishing the DMN thoughts and other thoughts.

    It comes from my personal experience of creative writing that while writing in a creative mode (in contrast to writing in the focused mode) – the thoughts are coming from somewhere else, not from me thinking them consciously. Maybe they are coming from unconsciousness, in that state I’m more like the observer or the perceiver. That’s why it is so important for me to understand where those creative thoughts are coming from, as they appear to be really cool from time to time (not toxic or repetative). I don’t want to lose them in case if I start practicing mindfulness which turns off the DMN. You’ve mentioned that you were a poet, so how did the mindfulness influence your ability to write poems? Did you experience something that I call “the creative mode” – did you experience it before and after the “change”?

    How did your “change” influence the learning abilities?

    You’ve mentioned that you were learning PHP some time ago. I’m currently working as a web developer, so it’s also a good chance to ask: did you notice anything about your ability to work with something logical like coding after the “change”?

    What other useful aspects of mind get erased with DMN being turn off? Other than planning or the luck of involvement into social life, which you’ve already mentioned.

    Did you notice anything about the musical perception? Another very important sphere for me.

    You wrote that you were using cannabis. So do you use it all of the time or was it just a certain period of time?

    Hope you can find those questions interesting and answer some of them. This would give a great piece of advice for me and perhaps for somebody like me.

    Thanks again!

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    1. Hi Andrian, thank you for your detailed comments. From my experience, my spiritual practice has actually enhanced the ability to focus on something as well as to be creative. So, I don’t see any reason why Vipassana would block the ability to be creative.

      It has been long since I have worked on PHP but I can say that I can be focused on a task for a very long time. The creative ideas indeed seem to be coming from some space beyond the thoughts but I am not sure about the DMN’s role regarding these things.

      DMN could be playing a lot of roles that we don’t know of. The main thing that got shut down after my transformation is self-referential thinking. And as far as I have understood, some parts of DMN show a lot of activity when there is a lot of self-referential thinking. The DMN could be still active but the activity is probably a lot less than before because of the lack of a separate personal self which drives more action in DMN.

      The idea of being in a diffused state while doing a creative task makes sense. But many things change in our psyche after awakening and many of the rules that are meant for the majority of people may not apply.

      And from my experience, all I have seen is a lot of improvement in creative tasks. It also has helped me to engage in tasks longer than usual. But everything that you have shared is very interesting and I will look them up later.

      Even though there were challenges in the beginning, I got used to them and my awakening seems to have completely integrated now. So, I can’t really think of an issue which has been caused by awakening.

      I use cannabis occasionally. It helps me in creativity.

      I would not have had the patience to write a book before awakening. Here is a poem that I wrote just a few months before: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/you-are-the-truth-a-poem-about-non-duality/ . I didn’t find any challenge in particular when I wrote it. 🙂 By the way, I am looking for someone to compose music for that poem and sing it, just as a helpful contribution. If you think you won’t mind doing that, please let me now. 🙂

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  6. Thanks for the answer! This is very interesting indeed.

    Talking about my music engagement, I haven’t done anything since the late 2016: things didn’t go well enough and I had some sort of a psychological burnout because of it. Hope this is not permanent though.

    I was thinking about your words and also about that other enlightened guy (you mentioned him somewhere in your articles), who told that he only lost the useless chattering thoughts, but not all of the thoughts. It also appears that being present leads to the longer periods of no thoughts according to your story.

    So let me describe some situations, where the wandering thoughts seem to be not toxic but useful or at least fun:

    1) I tend to replay in my mind things which I’ve just learned (or earlier learned) for some study task, this helps to actually repeat those things and as a result to store them better in the memory, or to understand better.

    2) After reading some English book, the useless chattering thoughts often are happening in English, which is not useless from some perspective, because in fact I’m having some form of the foreign language practicing in such a way, which improves the language abilities when it comes to the real talk.

    3) When I’m thinking about some new concepts and ideas – it looks like this process is happening in a form of a wandering thoughts, for instance these ideas which I’m listing here, came to my mind while I was walking on the street and my wandering thoughts led me to replay your answer and this provoked some of the new ideas.

    4) Sometimes I sort of rehearse some of the important dialogues (like before some meeting) and this is not happening consciously but rather arise as a form of a wandering thoughts.

    5) I tend to replay some interesting imaginary situations from fiction books which I read, and I simply enjoy the process.

    6) Sometimes a song is playing on the background of my consciousness like a sticky thought, which becomes annoying after several times, but at some moments this sort of a background music has a tendency to set a fun mood.

    And so on… So most of the listed thoughts don’t seem to be self-referential but they do seem to be like “wandering thoughts”. What do you think and do you have this kind of thoughts? If yes then how often? Because I find myself lost in those thoughts several time during the day (can’t say for sure but at least like 5-20 times).

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    1. The kind of thoughts that you have mentioned are certainly helpful for your creative work and that is not at all bad.. I myself actively engage in such thought process in which I rehearse certain things in my mind: I think about better ways of articulating certain things in my blog posts, for example..

      But I absolutely have no self-referential thoughts.. Thoughts about future or past are very rare and it would be correct to say that I never think about past or future unless the situation demands it..

      Thoughts are not bad by themselves… But the psychological processes of a typical human being is usually destructive and it results in a lot more mental activity than what is necessary..

      Also, there was a certain period of time in my journey where I experienced a tremendous reduction of thoughts. There were times when I could not even think much about anything.. There was absolutely no need to think about anything. But as time progressed, I started to voluntarily engage in thinking.. But about 95% of my thinking is only regarding the topics that I write about in my blog.. It is all about using the mind and not letting the mind to use you…

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      1. I become really excited about reading the book by Jill Taylor (“My Stroke of Insight”).

        And I’ve just read this out of the context phrase: “Neurons either thrive when connected in circuit with other neurons, or they die when they sit in isolation without stimulation.”

        So just a theory here, what if the ego death happens like this: you force the brain to be present all of the time, so the DMN is permanently off with no stimulation, which gradually kills the respective neurons until a significant part of the DMN is dead.

        Just another idea. Shanmugam, what do you think?

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        1. First of all, I have to admit that I have very limited knowledge in neuroscience.. I know just the basics.. So I will reply based on my understanding so far..

          I think Jill Taylor is talking about how neurons which fire together wire together.. But DMN is a combination of structures in the brain.. The structure itself is not going to disappear. 🙂 ..

          So far, I haven’t heard any study that reveals about anybody who has zero activity in DMN but I have heard people having very less activity in DMN.. I remember reading an article about Gary Weber in which he states that his DMN activity was very less.

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