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The Neurophysiology of Enlightenment by Gerald Swanson
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's review
May 10, 2011

it was amazing

An example of an incoherent system is an orchestra when it is tuning up. A coherent system is an orchestra when it is playing, for instance, a Mozart concerto. Most of the time our brain waves exhibit incoherence: they are all firing at different frequencies. This makes it difficult to do things, because only one part of the brain is engaged in the task. During breastfeeding and meditation, our EEG waves wash over our brains as do waves through a wheat field, in vast harmonies. This book is about such EEG coherence.
At 7pm on February 4th, 2008 NASA's Deep Space Network, for the first time, beamed a song (Across the Universe) into outer space, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA's founding and the group's beginnings. Two other anniversaries also were being honored: The 50th anniversary of the launch of Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite, and the founding 45 years ago of the Deep Space Network, an international network of antennas that supports missions to explore the universe.

The transmission was aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is located 431 light years away from Earth. The song is traveling across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney expressed excitement that the tune, which was principally written by fellow Beatle John Lennon, was being beamed into the cosmos.

"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" McCartney said in a message to the space agency. "Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul."

At 7pm the following evening, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who had inspired the song, passed away. He had devoted his life to awakening others to the fact that deep within lies a field of unbounded consciousness. If that were all that he did, he would have lived and died like countless teachers before him. Maharishi was unique, however, in juxtaposing ancient yogic techniques and contemporary science, especially his insistence that the scientific community carry your experiments on meditators to document the effects of meditation in all spheres of life.

Maharishi met his teacher, known as Guru Dev, when he was a physics student in India. It was during monsoon season, and at night. Guru Dev, who usually resided deep in the jungles, was staying at a house in town and sitting on the front porch. Maharishi was out for an evening walk. In the darkness, nothing could be seen, but when a car came up the streets and turned the corner, for an instant its headlights swept across the porch where Guru Dev was sitting. In that moment the young Maharishi glimpsed Guru Dev's face, felt an immense wave of divine presence, and decided to devote his life to his teacher. Guru Dev, however, insisted he finish up his physics degree, which he felt would prove useful.

The Neurophysiology of Enlightenment documents research on the massive EEG coherence that appears in the minds of meditators, said coherence being correlated with increased creativity and intelligence.

Existentially, Maharishi Mahesh will be remembered by many for the influence meditation had on their lives. Academically, he will always be remembered for being a pioneer in the neuroscience of consciousness.



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