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Archive for May 15th, 2008

Hope you all saw David Brooks’ most recent column in May 13th’s New York Times. I was pleased to see him recommend the work of Dr. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania, who I had the pleasure of interviewing once for a story I wrote for USA Today about speaking in tongues. In his research, Newberg had shown that the frontal lobe – the area associated with language skills and voluntary bodily control – goes dim when people speak in tongues. It seems we humans are in some way hardwired for mystical experiences (I am not about to touch the does-God-exist debate).

Anyway, the column reminded me of Newberg and made me think that perhaps this is what happens in our brains when we pray with prayer beads – that we shut down the part of ourselves that is keeping score, if you will – taking our emotional temperature, worrying about what to have for dinner and wondering where these last 5 pounds came from. The trick, though, is getting there, and after practicing almost daily sessions with my prayer beads I still have time reaching that pure, focused state. But I am encouraged to be reminded by the column that the path there exists – embedded in my brain.

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