Neurotheology is a field of study that measures the impact of spiritual/religious practices such as prayer, meditation and positive thinking on the human brain.
The Dalai Lama has long been interested in bridging Western science and Eastern philosophy in order to find a common language. Smart thinking. He regularly gathers leading scientists for symposiums, not to proselytize Tibetan Buddhism, but rather to find a way to translate what is meaningful and beneficial into a Western framework that can easily be assimilated.
Despite an atheist background, I have been a practitioner of meditation and prayer for 45 years. Thus, when I received an email spam that made it through the firewalls and filters into my inbox (reminding me of the sperm that gets the egg) with "neurotheology" in its title, I restrained my semi-automatic delete impulse and pressed open.
After a hearty introduction from Dr. So and So in the opening video, he goes on to tell us cyberstudents that there are 47 positive physical results from the power of prayer.
Wow! I can't wait to listen to the rest of the 15 minute video to hear about all the wonderful things meditation can do for me - if only I did it longer and more often. But then an alarm bell goes off as the doctor adds, "...but there is one prayer pitfall that can make you sick!" Having just recovered from cancer, this particular factoid might be a critical one; have I been praying the wrong way all these years, horror of horrors?
Pen in hand, ready to write down all the life-saving information about prayer, a unexpected big downer comes crashing into my proverbial head. I have to buy his friggin newsletter for "pennies a day" (which adds up to $50 a month BTW), to find out how to radically improve the human condition.
Do-gooders do have to make a living, but the rest of the online video kept repeating the phrase, "click on the orange button that will appear at the bottom on the page" to order said newsletter; a non-stop marketing ploy meant to wear down even the most resistant consumer.
Me thinks, if he were for real, wouldn't he just tell us the 47 benefits and more importantly, warn us about the one prayer that will make us sick, just because he cares? And then perhaps peddle his wares if we want more in depth instruction?
One of my most beloved advisers Steven C. used to say, "Ah so, this too we must accept."
In Steven's memory, today I accept the fact that Dr. So and So is a such and such, and determine that my "pennies a day" will go to a cause more worthy than his taunting cyber-dragnet for small change that adds up to big change.