Seizures and the Sight of God

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Biology 202
2001 Second Web Report
On Serendip

Seizures and the Sight of God

Isabella Eguae-Obazee

Researchers interested in the connection of the brain and religion have examined the experiences of people suffering from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Apparently the increased electrical activity in the brain resulting from seizure activity (abnormal electrical activity within localized portions of the brain), makes sufferers more susceptible to having religious experiences including visions of supernatural beings and near death experiences (NDEs) (9). Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) sufferers also may become increasingly obsessed with religion, the study and practice of it (1). Why is it that this form of epilepsy results in religious experiences among the other supernatural experiences possible? Can people who have never studied or practiced religion be susceptible to these same religious experiences? Why do some interested researchers claim that such notable figures as Paul on the road to Damascus, Joan of Arc, Ellen White of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and other persons suffered from TLE because of their range of reported experiences with God, angels, and demons (1,3)? In my first paper, I highlighted the connection scientists have made between religious experience and the brain. In this paper, I intend to focus on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, as one of those connections, specifically the symptom of hyperreligiousity.

In 1997 Vilayanur Ramachandran and his colleagues from the University of California at San Diego headed a research study. The team studied patients of temporal lobe epilepsy measuring galvanic skin response on the left hands of the patients (11). This measurement allowed the research team to monitor arousal (specific autonomic nervous system response) and indirectly surmise the communication between the inferior temporal lobe and the amygdala, both important in response related to fear and arousal (9). In addition to two control groups a religious control group and a non-religious control group, each group was shown forty words, including violent words, sexual words, and simple words (like "wheel"), and finally, religious-related words. The results of the study showed a greater arousal in the temporal lobe epilepsy sufferers to religious words in comparison to the non-religious, whom were aroused by sexual words, and religious control groups, whom were aroused by religious and sexual words (10).

Ramachandran and his team concluded that although the patients were not experiencing seizures or experiencing supernatural occurrences at the time of testing, they were highly sensitive to religious words. Thus, the experiences of temporal lobe seizures strengthened the patients interest in religion (11). Such a conclusion seems fairly reasonable considering that these patients also reported religious experiences during their seizures. Is it possible that the increased arousal to religious words is not a direct result of their temporal lobe epilepsy, but rather a result of the supernatural experiences induced by their epilepsy? Possibly these patients began to research and study religion more to finds ways to explain the experiences that they had during their seizures. Subsequent research on very religious, non-epileptic subjects supports this idea. In a different experiment, the of very religious, non-epileptics' temporal lobes where noted to be more active (11). However, in epileptic patients, Ramachandran concludes that the seizure's damage to temporal lobe pathways makes these patients more sensitive to certain ideas that to others do not have great meaning; specifically, pathways that connect the part of the brain that gives recognizes to sensory information and the part that gives emotional meaning to the sensory information (4). Ramachandran believes that because of these specific damage, everything that these patients experience has great meaning (10).

Some people, interested in proving God's inexistence, speculate that some of the notable religious figures suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. For example, they claim that Paul, a notable figure in Christianity had a temporal lobe seizure as he was walking toward Damascus (1). In the New Testament of the Bible, Paul claims to see God and hear Jesus Christ speaking to him. Other notable figures like Ellen Smith, of the Seventh-day Adventist Church also claims to have had profound visions directly from God. Contrary to these researchers belief, there are other components of temporal epilepsy beyond hyperreligiousity that would negate these ideas. Associated with temporal lobe epilepsy is also a change in personality. The person may become irritable and obsessive-compulsive; they focus on extremely abstract aspects of their daily life, and attach a great deal of importance to daily situations. In addition they experience emotions with more intensity. With respect to these religious figures, the only one noted have any possible experience with epilepsy is Ellen White, an influential member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She suffered from a head injury during her childhood however the head injury was suffered near the nasal-area of her face (3). I found very little evidence to support the claims that her among other religious figures suffered from TLE.

From the studies completed on Temporal Epilepsy patients, it appears that hyperreligiousity may simply be a result of increased interest in the details and experiences of everyday life. However, the visions and other supernatural experiences reported by these patients gives cause for researchers to examine the temporal area of the brain. This portion of the brain may be what researchers are calling the "God Spot," a part of the brain where religion arises from (11). It is not clear why this would be an ideal place for the so-called "God Spot." It is possible that the known functioning of the Temporal Lobe, recognizing sensory information and attributing meaning to sensory information is akin to the philosophies of religion. Maybe, the "God Spot" acquires its spot over time rather than having its presence in the brain early on in a human's life. If this were true, the next step would be to examine the Temporal Epilepsy cases of younger children. Do they also experience religion as older patients do?

Furthermore, if possible researchers should examine the prior religious experiences and lives of temporal lobe epilepsy patients. Did they have any interest in religion prior to their experiences with epilepsy? This may provide insight intensity and contents of the persons reported religious experiences. Hyperreligiousity is an interesting symptom of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The action of the temporal lobe after experiencing epileptic seizures supports the idea that religion might begin in the mind (10). I hope that within the coming years more scientists will research this aspect of temporal lobe epilepsy. Thus, giving us more insight into whether the soul is within the brain.

WWW Sources

1)Epilepsy: Sacred Disease by Paul Newman

2)Yours, Mine, and Ours: Whose God is it, anyway?

3)Ellen G. White, by Don Hawley, Part 8

4)BrainPlace.Com, Temporal Lobe

5)"The God Spot"

6)Brainstorms, A book review by Robert Finn

7)Personal Experience

8)WebMD: Temporal Lobe Seizure

9)Touched by the Word of God

10)Beliefnet

11)Genesis of Eden

 

 

Comments made prior to 2007

I would like to know more also. I've had TLE SINCE I was 5 and I don't recall thinking so strongly about religion then.I went to church on sundays and then to some kind of camp with church in the summer and I loved it but I wasn't as obssessed with it as I am now.Although some people think that the thoughts I have and ideas I come up with are crazy I feel like I am getting closer to the truth.When I first started reading and looking for answers it was because I was and still am depressed most of the time.looked into astrology hoping to find confidence boosters.didn't help but that told me that I was GODs child the same as JESUS and that I had the same abilities and that there were lots of hidden secrets.then I moved on to the god spot,the celestine prophecy,etc.The god spot told me a little of what I wanted to know but I want to know more.The initial reason was to feel confident around others (I never have) so that I could enjoy my life instead of hiding my true self.I continue to learn more and get closer to the truth of "what" GOD is but I don't feel confident in myself yet.My thoughts got more intense after I had my first daughter,I was singing rock a bye baby to her repeatedly because of her colic and I had an epiphany.rock a bye baby on the tree top had a hidden meaning it is a metaphor. the tree top is the uterus base of tree would be birth canal(vagina)-rock a bye would be contractions when your stomach gets "rock" hard-the bough breaks is when your water breaks-the cradle is the placenta-down will come baby cradle and all-the placenta comes out after the baby does.there is more I'm not sure of but just that got me thinking.when I told someone that they said ew that that was like talking about sex to a child. I started thinking about hidden meanings.there are usually 3 of certain things that has some meaning.the father the son the holy ghost-me myself I-ego jesus god,I believe in the ego instead of the devil now which I am assuming would be the earthly thoughts and desires-jesus is the connection to god-god is our loving,caring,creative,spiritual thoughts and feelings.after reading that the god spot is in the temporal lobe it got me thinking.god would be the right (I think)side of the brain,ego the left side, and the corpus collasum-the bridge-jesus is what connects the two.but all in all god is everyone,part of the big picture,god is all there is,everything.and part of the truth I am relearning (because I already know everything I just dont recall all of it)is that we have never been seperated from god because you are born with the corpus collasum in your brain.the bridge is there to transfer info back and forth.we are supposed to function on a balanced level with both sides of the brain working on an equal level together evenly to create perfect harmony and serenity.I havent allowed myself to accept these truths but I will soon I hope.there are other hidden meanings like being born again in the bible-it does not mean just accepting jesus as your savior it means reincarnation where you are truly born ... Wendy, 14 January 2007

Comments

MagickTouch's picture

It is most likely, after a

It is most likely, after a pretty extensive study of the Hebrew scriptures, that the soul does reside in the brain.

Paul's picture

Comment

There is no direct evidence God exists. However it does not take much intelligence we are living in a universe setup by someone.
No one can explain how Big Bang happened. Year2012 Nobel price in physics tells us the universe is acceleratingly expanding. There is a beginning and there is an end. No more no matter how human civilization prospers today it will be ended. Life is like a show. We are actors. It is a setup.

I think evolution and Bible had no conflict. The only conflict part is human creation. 3 times "bara" was used in gen. 1:27. It tells us human is uniquely created. Gen ch 2 explained more clearly, the breath is the new creation part. That gave human a spirit. Human body was made by dust and homo sapien's DNA. The breath was integrated into brain function. So, there is only spiritual function in the brain - not any further dowelling location. It is like software in a computing system. When hardware run into troubles, you won't see the software can then run by itself. This is why the Word is the Spirit. This is why in Bible the spirit and soul (brain function) are mixed. The spiritual function primary is giving human an ability to know God (Ecc. 3:11) - the "forever" or "eternity" or "world" (depending on your translation) God put in us.

The following is my guess and have not been fully proved. After human exited the garden, they created the New Stone Age. Tool making was very different from before. Quickly they created agriculture and then bronze and iron tools. They created cities not living in pack like other homo erects or animals. So we call Neolithic Revolution - not evolution. They also inter marriage with Homo sapiens (Cain's wife). The spiritual function is not like physical staff, which follows conservation law. Maxwell equation, Newton laws, schrodinger equation, every physcical chemistry law equation can be simply a derivation of conservation of mass, charge, energy, momentum, spin, angular momentum, ... Spiritual function doesn't follow conservation law. So, it was passed generation by generation never diluted just like a software copy ..

In a digital computer the key component is the CPU. In a CPU the key component is the accumulator. Accumulator is arrays of adders. Subtraction. Is simply adding complementary numbers and multiplication is simply adding multiple times. Division is simply substating multiple times . .. All other functions can be derived from the operation of accumulator. In an analog system the equivalent parts is arrays of comparators. The comparator is comparing input from memory and recognition takes place, as a simple example. There are a few comparators in the brain. For example, angular gyrus in the temporal lobe and dosal lateral prefrontal area are comparator locatios. If you use trams cranial magnetic stimulator (tms) to block either of these two areas, you will lose the ability to understand meaning of words, calculation, executive function, .. If instead blocking, you can have tighter focused excitation, the selfawareness sense ( rely on differential detection ) will get into a funny stage and the transformed feeling, other visions can be produced.

hilary's picture

I'm so glad that this page

I'm so glad that this page exists! My experiences are similar yet my religious views are quite different, yet relevant. Sorry this is going to be quite long I swear I'm not usually this obsessed with myself.

I've had tle my whole life but I didn't know until just last year, I am 21 now. My whole life I've had sudden overwhelming moments where I've felt extremely peaceful, detached from reality, body-less, and all knowing. Those moments would be accompanied by hallucinations, deja vu, blacking out, feeling frozen, bright light, problems with depth perception and having everything look 2D, and afterwards a feeling of adrenaline. When I'm about to have one of these episodes my vision often becomes filled with static, which from there will separate into something else (light, hallucinations, etc.) A few times I've had the static turn into intricate geometric patterns and grid-like networks that seemed mathematical, I've always had a very hard time with math. During my seizures, like most other people who have posted here, feel that I gain a great deal of knowledge but cannot always grasp it afterwards. As a child I must have taken more away from them because I started to come up with my own set ideas of what reality was at a very early age and I still feel the same. To go along with that, I have very early memories as well, I have memories of being in cribs and being weighed in the the weird baby scale at the doctors, so this goes pretty far back.
So as a child my first memories related to this subject are from the age of about three, maybe two. I remember being in my parents bed because I was afraid (I also had terrible nightmares my whole childhood) and I could see the static and I remember thinking something like "oh thats what air is made of" but then it formed into what looked like a crowd of people standing before me, not life size, but small.
Around the age of six I recall standing at the bottom of my stairwell and it occurred to me that whether or not I went upstairs at that moment would change the rest of my life, and I started to think about free will and all of the sudden I saw the static coming on and I got frozen there in front of the stairs. I don't know how long it lasted but that was when I became very interested in the idea of time and space. At this point I still was assuming that everybody saw static and that it was just the air, as I usually see it all the time just very faintly.
Around age 8 I watched a documentary on PBS about time and space and it covered the strings theory. The fabric of time and space was obviously what the static was, and I thought that was cool and told my mom that the static (assuming she also saw it) was in fact the fabric of time and space. She was taken aback by this, and told me that it was invisible and that there was no static. The only thing that stemmed from this was getting my eyes checked.
After realizing that other people could not see static, I realized that I was simply blessed and that I could see things that others could not. This was reinforced by premonitions I'd have fairly often. Mostly just little things, the phone about to ring and who was calling, when we'd have fire drills at school, something a kid would say on the bus, etc. But there were a few that were just too weird. For example, I had gotten my ears pierced when I was 10 or 11 and one of my earrings fell out and I was really worried that the hole would close up. I looked everywhere for the earring with no luck. That night I had a dream that it was stuck between the padding of my cats paw. I checked in the morning and it was there.
My mother and sister also have ESP and have had detailed premonitions as well.
As I grew up I continued to be interested in science and also art (I am in art school currently) and generally believed the same things, however the seizures were getting worse in that I was hallucinating ridiculous things and was having trouble telling reality from dreams or just my imagination. I started seeing a therapist because I was also depressed and thought I was maybe a little crazy. I went through a couple before I found somebody who I felt comfortable with and she thought it must be something psychological but couldn't quite figure out what.
When I moved out at 19 the hallucinations got even worse. I couldn't tell what day it was, I had trouble recognizing people and would say hello to strangers, I was always just confused in some way or another, and I started getting olfactory hallucinations that made me insane. I also was blacking out more often and finding myself doing tasks that didn't make sense, like I came-to in the bathroom putting all the dishes from the kitchen on the counter in there. So my therapist was really concerned because she said I had all the symptoms of psychosis or something except for that I didn't believe these things were actually happening, and being rational is a total contradiction of psychosis. So she sent me to see a specialist.
The specialist suggested I get tested for TLE, although she didn't think it was likely.
So.... it was TLE!

Going on medication has helped with the confusion and I don't feel that I've lost out on my extra-sensory benefits. If I were to confidently say what I believe in, I wouldn't do a good job because I'm still in wonder. I believe that I can tap into four dimensional knowledge at times, I have felt that essence of god but I don't believe there is one solid god, more that there is a presence of something planned. I'm still searching for answers but I'm trying to find them all for myself and not look to any other religion so I do not bias myself. Sorry for this long post but I just wanted to get it all out there!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Nice to meet.

I'm actually a composer/ fashion designer but art is my true love. our stories are near identical, but I think being "freaks" we can offer good support, if you'd like you can get me on Facebook "jimimased"... anyways nice to meet and know I'm not alone. x

Kristina Allison's picture

TLE and Krishna

I woke up after a day in ITU a few years ago and since I have never felt so sure in my belief of Krishna and my holistic approach to the world :) I suppose the better way to say that is that I have strengthened my consciousness of Krishna - aka Krishna Conscious

Nemo Kaze's picture

My G-d Aura

A feeling of intense deja vu descends upon my mind as the Infinite Song begins to play, announcing the coming experience. As the warm light begins to glow my mind and body are filled with such profound joy that no words exist in the human tongue to describe it. The Infinite Song sounds a lot like the Grateful Dead's song, 'Turn on Your Love Light'. [It is important to note that when these began I had never heard that song, know of the Grateful Dead, much less understand what a love light is.] The Infinite Song gets louder and the ball of warm light becomes all encompassing. At that moment every nanosecond becomes an eternity. In that eternity I am at complete oneness with the Universe. In that eternity I see all of Creation and understand it. Then it fades away leaving me with ultimate satisfaction and a lingering happiness that is difficult to express. My body is drenched in sweat and I've feel like I've run a marathon. Only a few seconds have gone by in real time.

Sue G's picture

seizures

Read Julian Jayne's book about the birth of conscience....it is amazing and it has a good theory of why we believe in gods and other supernatural beings. It is the primate brain and it's awakening. It also could explain schizophrenia-and why some people hear things and see things that aren't there.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Justin Paul O'Brien's picture

<3

thank you for sharing

Serendip Visitor's picture

while I don't suffer from

while I don't suffer from tle, I find this topic quite interesting and wanted to thank all of you for sharing your experiences. I was wondering if what you guys see and feel during the seizures are actually communications coming from higher powers or simply what us non-suffers experience in dream- experiences our mind creates while we are asleep. Thank you all for sharing.

PS

My obsession with God has resulted in a formula which I think proves it's existence. Check it out at my website:

Justin Paul O&#039;Brien's picture

website?

website?

james wilson 2's picture

seeing things before they happen

hello my name is James Wilson I have had Right Temperlobe seizures since I was a infant. I believe there is a god for the simple fact he sends me messages through my dreams. He is not the only entity that talks to me I have seen people who have died like family members in my dreams. I have also had one of the most creepiest premenissions that I can think of. This dream that I have had was about my fater that I have not seen in over 10 years. What this dream was about was one day I had went to go somewhere in oregon where he is currently living now and in this dream I had asked him if he still loved me and he told me yes then I asked him what happened to his current wife in the dream and he told me that he got divorced due to a gambling problem so then I asked him in the dream who do you take care of and he told me in his exact words he takes care of two hounds and I woke up it felt so real it was unbelievable until a year later on the weirdest day of all christmas day I found my father after 15 years of no contact and everything that we talked about was exactly what happened in my dream I was awwed by my experience that I still remeber it till this day and this is not the. Only incident that has happened to for example I know when someone is getting ready to kick the bucket. I have a feeling that nothing is going to be happy ever again and then I hear on the news that someone is dead or someone was found dead. Now this has not just happened with random people this has happened with also with my family members. For example there was one perminission that will still haunt me till this day and that is when my grandfather died. It was maybe two months before he died I was about 13 years of age and he had left the room to get something to eat and I saw a black scorpion crawl under his couch and just ignoring it I put it in the back of my mind and let it go. Two months later the couch that I saw the scorpion crawl scorpion crawl under is where he died. Now mind you we do not get Scopions in Colorado Springs so this is highly impossible that it was real. Then that was not the only vision that I had but instead of seeing somthing I actually heard something that was unusal. Now this period was when I was about 18 years of age and this had to involve my grandmother which godbless her soul. I was standing in the kitchen of our mobile home one day and I heard a sound of alot of people crying and as I turned back I saw nothing. I did the same thing as I did with my grandfathers vision I ignored it. It came back and bit me like the last vision. The only difference is instead of this vision being two months ahead it again years in the future because later in that same area in that house my grandmother passed away on August 31 2005. The weirest thing that happened was when my grandmother was passing away I saw my grandfather coming in an angelic form or vision come to take her away that is when I started to believe that there was a god. Now I also find this weird but I am fasinated with death and the Grim Reaper. It fasinates me about the afterlife and what comes after this world. I also been having weird dreams about me becoming a father and my grandfather who is dead asking me if my mom knows that my current fiance is pregnant I have also been seeing signs like the number nine keeps popping up everywhere and somthing wrote on my calender ealier this month PAY ATTENTION on the calender and circled the number nine and circled it in red. I dont know this has to do with the god spot but I think god is talking to me telling me things that are going to happen before they do to protect me from any harm. The crazy thing about this I am the only one who is attracted to this weird phemonon. So in a way yes I think people with seizures are very special in ways that people cannot imagine. We can see things that other people cant and I just dont think it is becasue of disability because if that was the case why does every seizure patient describe the same visions.

Abbey's picture

Wow

You're right, there is a God. I promise you, you're not crazy. If you don't know already, I'll tell you right now, you are very, very blessed. People pray for years to get this kind of gift and sometimes it's just not His plan for them to receive the gift of visions. You were picked out special if you've had them since you were an infant. That means that you have huge potential to do amazing stuff for God. My cousins have visions sometimes too, and they also have other weird stuff happen to them. The more they study God, the stronger and cooler stuff becomes. One of my cousins can actually hear the voice of God. Sometimes it sounds totally crazy what he heard. Like one time he was sitting in church, and he opened up his Bible to read a passage they were studying, and in his Bible he had used a leaf as a bookmark. Then he heard a voice, and he knew it was God. The voice told him to pick up the leaf, and eat it. This sounded so weird to him he thought maybe he had imagined it, but he decided to trust God and do it anyway. He said it tasted really gross....like a leaf. But after he ate it, ever since, he's been a lot more sensative to God's voice, and he can sense things that are not normal for humans to be able to sense, and it's just really really cool. So, as for you, God can use you in huge ways. my advice is to really study up on the Bible, have group discussions about God, stuff like that, so that you can really reach your potential. You've been chosen out special from other people, and that's a huge blessing. Use your amazing gift for good, to bring others to God, and God will bless you even more! He can do amazing things through you if you let Him. :)

BlindBlannche's picture

hmm

bless your heart. hopefully you will do more research next time.

niki10210's picture

one comment requests finding

one comment requests finding kids who see visions of "god" i don't believe in a christian god. in all honestly i'm actually pagan. I had seizures as a kid and always saw my "goddess" and had her talk to me, or calm me down, comfort me. actually numerous times before a seizure i'd be so worked up i'd call for her to help me. i can vividly remember my sister making fun of me for this. growing up, i actually starting controlling my seizures. I used them to "slip over into another world" so i could visit the gods myself. i'm twenty, i've been playing with this since i was 8, and this is the first time i've ever heard of religion in tle.
when i first heard it on a video i was watching, i got an extreme headache and started to cry.
like someone was telling me scientifically i was wrong. then my brain immediately compensated and explained why i was right. is this just more defect?

C.'s picture

am I the only one?

I've been tracking my seizures, and been logging my thoughts immediately afterward. Reading what I wrote I can actually remember the feelings of what was going on during the episode.
It has helped me immensely. All of them make me terribly sad, mostly because each seizure tries to prove to me that I am completely alone.

For example, when they happen I'm not really 'talked to' by GOD per say... I am simply 'made aware of' certain things; as if I'm having memories implanted in my mind.

1- one time, as soon as it began I tried to think normally, and that's when I "realized": I had lived slightly different versions of this life, hundreds maybe thousands of times. Each life I made little changes, (like trying to pass a level on a video game)

2- another time, I saw my spirit, it was a wrinkled old man, thousands of years old. This 30+ year-old body is only one of many body's that I've lived in. I had lived in numerous bodies, each life with different loved-ones whom I still miss.

3- By far the worst feeling is the immediate, forced 'knowledge', that this life has little meaning to the spiritual world. Every human is nothing, with no power or significance. I'm one of the the only ones with spiritual power, and the only reason I'm alive on earth is to waste some time, experiencing what its like to be an ant in a giant ant-farm.

I've had so many of them, and each of them have a new angle on the same old topic: NOW is the only moment that is real, and everything in the Universe can be condensed into the current moment, the one happening RIGHT NOW. Life is everlasting. All of my 'earthly' goals have no bearing on the end result.

I believe in GOD because:
-either there is a GOD, or there isn't.(and infinity is too long without something else)
-either we exist, or we don't. (and we do exist)
-existence can never end. ("nothing" is still something)
-Since I know about existence never ending, I probably exist eternally too.
-If I exist eternally, then I would have planned my existence on earth a little before hand.
-If I planned my existence, I would have wanted to have a good manual regarding my questions about existence, written in my native language.
-I was born to english speaking parents, and Christianity was throughout society at my birth.

I have to say, I love GOD. Seizures aside, those voices are fake. they only cause me to see the un-truth. I "feel" god in everything. Life is so much better trusting his higher power's control.

Kir's picture

I really like your

I really like your description, very similar to my experiences and how I feel about our reality.

neil's picture

even the time posted strikes a chord with me

some of the things you are saying are so similar it is scary other things i could probably elaborate on but not in a public forum. i would like to exchange some more experiences, contact me.

Jut's picture

Help

Two days ago I had a seizure. I dont have seizures. I would say up intill two days ago I did not believe in God but was unsure. definately didnt believe in the churchs meaning of god. I was shown a visoion that was some unexplainable but in this vision god was proven to me and I felt such regret dying. Im scared and confused and dont know who might uderstand but I can not deny what I saw or was show may I say.

E.L.O's picture

Hi,

I think we should talk

Serendip Visitor's picture

Documentary

Hi all.

I'm trying to find a documentary that must be around 10 years old. I think its was by Dr Sarah Greene. It covered religosity and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.

Does anyone know the documentary I'm talking about?

Thanks.

Anthony.

Chandana's picture

Oneness with God

I stumbled upon this page because I have had six severe attacks of deja-vu followed by intense nausea and dizziness since this morning, and therefore decided to do some research to find what could be wrong. I have had these symptoms for more than a year now, but did not take them very seriously until today. I always intended to do the research, but kept forgetting to do so, because the episodes were so few and far between.
I am completely dumbfounded by all that I have learnt since morning. I have fixed up an appointment with a neurologist, and hope to get a proper diagnosis.

I am not obsessed with God. In fact, God has been a rather recent phenomenon in my life. I am a Hindu raised in a family with fairly moderate views on religion. I have never taken God very seriously all my life. After learning Darwinism in detail during my Masters' in Zoology from an Indian university, I even became a non-believer. Until recently, I have never prayed to God even during the worst crises in my life.
However, in 2004, I went to a meeting called satsang organized by the Oneness people in the UAE. I was given a small portrait of a couple whom we all regard as Amma and Bhagwan, and asked to pray to them in times of trouble or even otherwise.
I put the picture along with other deities in the small shelf maintained by my husband. But I did start praying on an experimental basis. Lots of miracles started happening to me after that - far too many to even enumerate. I also started seeing intense light - bright golden, brilliant green, dazzling blue or red lights throughout the day.
This was in 2004 - I have come a long way since then. I have turned into a believer from a non-believer. However, my life is still very normal. I cook, clean, watch movies, write, travel, and do everything that normal people do. I pray in the evening for about 10 minutes. Every Friday, my husband and I go for the local satsang - where we sing devotional songs, and participate in a process called deeksha, where people put their hands on your head, and transfer divine energy. Deeksha is supposed to bring neurobiological changes in the functioning of the brain, whereby you experience the world in a different light. It is called Oneness, because the sense of separation goes away and you are able to experience everything fully.
For more than 6 years now, I have turned spiritual, without becoming obsessed with religion.
The TLC is a relatively new phenomenon in my life. I am not overtly thrilled about it, because it leaves me extremely dizzy and in turn worried. I am just writing this to help those reasearching this topic to get a new insight into the subject. Even as I keep my fingers crossed with my tomorrow's appointment with a neuro-surgeon, I am still hoping that the seizures I am experiencing currently are because of the altered state of consciousness rather than any malfunctioning of my brain.

Sara's picture

It`s interesting because in

It`s interesting because in Islam,
Allah says that ''I`m closer to my worshiper that the ''great vein'' or sthg like that

so if this really is the God spot,it `s closer that the jugular you know

and he also said '' The closest A worshiper can be to me is during Sojood so do it longer''

Sojood is when you see muslims on Tv with their heads,hands. and knees on the floor and backs up.
which you know is a positions that induces blood flow into the brain!

jimi jimenez's picture

Every time Ive met "god" I

Every time Ive met "god" I wind up in that position although im not muslim

Sara Maklad's picture

Oh my GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!! are

Oh my GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
are you serious this is really interesting

do u have other seizures where u do not meet god??

jimi jimenez's picture

yeah hallucinations,

yeah hallucinations, vomiting, erections, i take drugs for it though so now just dejavu .

sara's picture

Prostration,God,and temporal lobe

but in all these other seizures u don't meet God?! and u dont wake up in that position?

coz i've read that hyperactivit in the temporal lobe is associated with ''GOd'' and with thing with sexual origin,that might explain the erection may be!

Sara's picture

I just have 2 Questions i`d

I just have 2 Questions i`d be glad if any one answered me
so, the hyperreligious have increased activity in the temporal lobe like in the normal situations or only when they see a religious word or sthg?

and unreligious ppl have low(er) activity in that area?

and does the interest in religion increase the activity or the other way around?

jimi jimenez's picture

TLE vs GOD

Im a TLE who has these experiences, Ive met god in seizures but am otherwise an atheist.
A few points to make
1) a neurology of religious experience doesn't negate God, all our experience of the worlds stimuli has a distinct neurological correlate. Studying the pathology of these correlates doesn't mean the stimulus (e.g an apple) doesn't exist, does it? Merely, in this case God is the stimulus.
2) There is not a "god module" a specific part of the brain for experiencing "god", there is however a correlated particular activity and interaction involving the temporal lobes and amygdala. There is not a distinct part marked "god".
3) Entropy reduction of the perceptual system is the likely cause, This results in less distinction of the senses and in turn a higher amplitude of activity (thus seizures are associated).
When trying to find a meaning for the environmental stimulus
Here I would argue just the room the epileptic was in (i.e no god stimuli)
Sum of all color frequencies = white (the white light of god)
Sum of all memories = de javu (i know this)
Sum of past present and the future = eternity
Our perception is actually us observing ourselves (consciousness relating lower level sub conscious perceptions).In this self relative but finite system of bits in which to encode experience, the brain, the lower entropy functioning temporal lobes essentially assign stimuli to all degrees of experience. all colours all memories all time and space is experienced as near to one, "god".
As these lower level perceptions are actually within ourselves, and our experience in general is an observation of a mirror of our perception, when a seizures strikes the communication between these two levels becomes slightly out of phase. We (our observer level, our consciousness) mistake our lower level perception (our self) for a distinct being, we have telepathic experience with ourselves. We see the rocks are alive...for it is our observation of our perception of rocks.. which is alive, if not the rocks themselves. Thus everywhere we look we see god, for everywhere we look we see our perception, our selves. In everything there is a meaning, for in this lower entropy state every perception is more likely switched "on" and thus each perception less distinct.
The white light of God is The white light of Ourself

rejjie's picture

tle

hi jimmi! saw your post on tle & i really liked it! (i've had to see god). you really had an impressive explanation. through all the years i've lived with this, i never hear proper considerd explanations. but maybe its hard to understand unless its happened to you, or you've studied a lot of people with it, & i get the feeling we're not that common. anyway i've been looking since it happened for a decent way to understand what happened. i think you gave me it - understanding. THANK YOU! rejjie.

Harold's picture

the existence of an epileptic's God

I have had TLE since childhood (I knew I was having seizures when I was in 2nd grade although I had no idea what they were---I just thought I was crazy. I was finally diagnosed in 1983 when I was 38 years old).
I am not "obssessed" with religion. However, I am more highly religious than almost anyone I know---thoroughly Christian and very main-stream orthodox in my theology. However, if you read my blog (http://sumnonrabidus.wordpress.com/) you will soon discover that I consider my seizures, in fact, to be a means of reaching greater spiritual depth and awareness. My blog today, for example, is a mixture of an homage to Hildegard von Bingen and discussion of an article by two astrophysicists discussing the probability of the beginning of life in the universe. My understanding is not quite fixed yet, but I do know that all of this is heightened by and comes in conjunction with my seizures---which no longer frighten me but cause me great spiritual joy.

rejjie's picture

the TLE blues

i've got tle. had the visions of god, the devil, angels, others,etc, felt them touch me. heard them "talk" into my head like you "talk" in a dream.felt it erased from my mind straight after. the de ja vu, the increadable feeling/thought of insight & revelation about whatever i was thinking of or looking at when the aura/seizure hits.those times when i felt i could do anything, i was going to fix everything, i would just tell everyone what was right - it was obvious. i can see my personality has changed. it's like i just forgot who the old guy was. i think i'm more principaled & ethical now, which sux because i argue a lot with people & feel very guilty about it - but what ya gunna do, not talk? that Ramachandran guy almost sounds like he understands. i think of my form of tle as the "phrophets" disease. i could fully see how you can think god has chosen you when it happens. i think your intrest in the experences of children is insightful. i've wondered as well ? i think that the "god visions" start late 20's - like a lot of (there are a LOT) the phrophets. i think god is a strong complex emotion we don't understand, it's law, culture, fear of death, ego, & more. but its an emotion the same as love,hate, empathy. compare love of god & empathy, to me it is the same, but empathy is easy to explain.¶for the record i have been athiest at least as long as i can remember, i still am & that belief was never changed. while i was seeing god - i felt a primal susperstition, like fear of the dark as a very young child. but straight after i new that something had gone "wrong" & i was sick. & finally to be fair i have to say my attitude to religion has changed, i used to be able to tolerate it - now it revolts me. i'll just leave at that.

Anonymous's picture

personality

I have chronic temporal lobe epilepsy (hippocampal sclerosis) and have skim read various pieces on temporal lobe personality.

Mmmm, I've never kept a diary and have no interest in God. The only out-of-body experiences are during the fits themselves: deja vu, memory loss, hallucinations that are clear at the time but that I cannot recall afterwards.

I'm also supposed to have aggressive outbursts. Errr, no. Yes, I've felt thoroughly fed up at times due to people's attitudes towards my epilepsy and day-to-day memory problems. But in many ways I come out stronger - or does that make me aggressive... I stand up for my rights but I don't shout and I don't swear, for example.

I presume that personality can be determined by numerous factors. And, no, I'm not getting all philosophical. I have to lead a fairly boring lifestyle but that is for practical reasons (especially as I am now pregnant) - not to do with "personality".

I wish people with temporal lobe epilepsy all the best. It can be an absolute nuisance to live with but I guess things could be worse. I try and concentrate on the positive things in my life. Errr, does that make me egocentric?

Isabella Eguae-Obazee's picture

Interesting

Its interesting to see the responses written to this paper. When I wrote it, I was interested in making connections between neuroscience and my faith (I am a christian). I wanted to see what science said about God and how the brain behaves when people like myself say they experience God. Its interesting that responses on the web (beyond this page) have been to use the paper as a launching pad for proving the nonexistent of God. In fact, I believe it to be the opposite...

Anonymous's picture

About God

I have had seizures, but have had the one you describe only once. I did not see bright lights or God or Devils or anything, but in the days afterwards, my personality changed. I'm kind of shy and, in the past, have been uncomforatble with people---kind of like waiting for them to hurt me or something. In the days after this seizure, I wasn't afraid of anything. I laughed a lot and had a happy outlook. I was much more talkative and open with others. Also, when I heard music, it seemed to fill me up. I knew I had never experienced music in the way I did then. It was a very curious experience and I remember driving down the road thinking "What is wrong with me?" I was afraid something might have happened to my brain, because I knew I was different than I had been before. My brother is schizophrenic, so you can understand why I would have a concern about that. At the same time, I hoped the feeling/change would never go away, but felt sure that it would fade. It did fade after a couple of months. One thing I came away with from this is: Maybe the people who kill others and do horrendous things have something wrong with the chemicals in their brains. I wondered if only we could massage that part of a person's brain to bring out the good things, before the bad things happened. We are all God's creatures after all. Maybe there is a way to help others with this knowledge, but I don't know what to do. I thought maybe if I told someone they could do research on this---but not with drugs or something artifical, but some natural way that God has given us to soothe our minds---that we have just not discovered yet.
About God. I think God is very practical. If He needed some part of our brain to be an easy way for us to experience Him, it just makes sense that He would put it in our brains. I think there is no question about the existence of God. You really only have to look at the magnificent way our body works, or the universe, or a tree. This is what I believed before I experienced salvation. I did have several points in time, that I think I did experience God on a more personal level. After I repented to Jesus Christ, I felt inside my mind the fathomless power of God. I had 2 thoghts: What incredible power--power can be dangerous if misused. The other thought I had was simply that I did not love other people enough. That was it. After that experience, though, I am absolutly sure that God exists. I just am not sure about what we are supposed to be doing here on this earth. I kind of decided that we must just be here to share God's love.

MagickTouch's picture

God bless you. And amen to

God bless you. And amen to that.

Daniel's picture

Reply

"ts interesting that responses on the web (beyond this page) have been to use the paper as a launching pad for proving the nonexistent of God. In fact, I believe it to be the opposite..."
Could you elaborate further.. How do you find the studies to support the existence for god

Sharon's picture

TLE comment

I have had extreme religious experiences some of which have been Dante-like in nature prior to recieving the right medication. Prior to medication I had auditory as well as visual hallucinations. There were times that I could feel the touch of them. Many of them were religious in nature. I still have experiences during seizures as I am not completely siezure-free. Balancing my life is a holistic pursuit of health by watching my stress level through stress management, exercise, meds, diet and sleep. I find that creative work such as drawing helps tememdously with the pain and aggitation that accompanies the condition for me.

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