1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Brain Cells Making us Sick? The microglia connection in ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia
Simon McGrath looks at theories that microglia, the brain's immune cells, could trigger and perpetuate the symptoms of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Does brain fog reduce the spiritual sense?

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Hip, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Hell...Hath...No...Fury..

    Hell...Hath...No...Fury.. Senior Member

    Messages:
    362
    Likes:
    431
    England
    @wifi: i understand what you are talking about but this isn't what i was explaining or attempting to.
  2. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    Likes:
    95
    Nothern California
    I had some other experiences with brain fog and the spiritual that I thought might be interesting to share, in the context of HHNF's "above" and "below" the level of ordinary thought. For the last couple of months, I have been feeling more energy and less brain fog, and really hope this continues! I'm not really "back" to my level of pre-crash consciousness, though, and as a result, I wouldn't say I'm having very many neurotic thoughts, compared to pre-crash. The result has been that I have felt very peaceful, just observing myself and my environment, without getting too worried about things.

    I think one benefit of CFS is that it has really simplified my life, so that my main concerns are day-to-day ones. I am lucky in that I have no immediate financial, health, or other crises, and have been able to scale back my work and social commitments so that resting and taking care of myself have been my main priorities for the last 6 months or so. In one sense, my condition doesn't allow me the energy to have long-range projects right now, so that reduces the range of things I would worry about. In another sense, I think the volume of my thinking has really decreased as of late, perhaps because the neurotic/worrying part of my brain just isn't getting as much blood to it as it did when I was healthier. When I was higher-functioning, I was pretty capable of getting projects and such done, but also had a fair amount of anxiety about these due to overthinking things. Recently, there have been a few hours of a few days when my brain felt fully-functional again. Of course, at these times, I immediately started making all sorts of plans for things I would do with my new brain/energy. And guess what else came back? Low-grade anxiety, a byproduct of all that thinking.

    If I follow HHNF's model of below-thought/vegetative brain-fog state, normal consciousness/neurotic(my word) thinking state, and above-thought/meditative state, I think I have found another "sweet spot", that is a little above the body/mind suffering of vegetative brain fog, and a little below the everyday consciousness/beta brainwave-dominated neurotic thinking state, that is also quite pleasurable. I don't think it is the same as the "above-thinking" meditative state, as there is a lack of "clarity," and my mind is still unable to do deep/concentrated thinking without tiring - it is more an experience of being that is not troubled too much by neurotic thought. Or to use another model, maybe this "sweet spot" is not all that different from an above-thinking meditative state, but that it is mild brain fog and faulty neurotransmitters/blood flow, rather than concentration or other meditation techniques, which has made the neurotic thoughts decrease. Full-on brain fog is another matter - it sucks and is about as "unspiritual" as you can get! Mild brain fog - the sick and tired person's fast track to peaceful mind states!
    Wayne likes this.
  3. Hell...Hath...No...Fury..

    Hell...Hath...No...Fury.. Senior Member

    Messages:
    362
    Likes:
    431
    England
    Yeah i totally agree about that 'sweet spot' with mild brain fog, the stage between the lower/vegetative state and normal level. With only mild brain fog, its still possible to be aware of being the awareness and sometimes makes the whole thing easier. Whether brain fogged or not i never involve concentration of any kind anymore. I watch the breath for a few minutes and thats about it, after 10 or more years i'm finally at the place where my thoughts calm and disperse quite quickly so they're not so much a part of the meditation anymore.
    I cant take credit for the above and below thought description hehe. Its used in Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's books. It made sense for me when i read it but it might actually be a bad way to describe it because people often associate above with better and good and below as worse or bad or whatever, but for me i just think of it like a sandwich, normal thought is the filling, and the two slices of bread on either side are both filled with non thought (potentially) one is conscious non thought and the other, unconsciousness. Maybe the butter is the halfway bits between them depending on the day. :)
    For full on brain fog, i think the sandwich has been dropped on the floor and ground under foot until its unrecognisable :)
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes:
    2,411
    Yes, I also think that people with very, very mild ME/CFS may have a tendency to being spiritual or mystical, or have increased "free consciousness", because very mild brain fog may bring out this disposition. But when you get full ME/CFS, the increased consciousness disappears, and is generally replaced by zombie-like reduced consciousness.
  5. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,736
    Likes:
    728
    i havent been able to pray since i got CFS 20+ years ago. its like i cannot do it somehow. my brain starts to hurt or there is a block/
    MishMash likes this.
  6. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    Likes:
    95
    Nothern California
    What a waste of a finely-crafted and perfectly good sandwich!
  7. MishMash

    MishMash *****

    Messages:
    446
    Likes:
    479
    Georgia
    How interesting. I feel the same way. Prayer is at some level a form of concentration. And concentration makes our brains hurt (at least mine). Also, standing during a church service, for some reason, gives me OI more than just about anything else. Standing while singing or reciting prayers seems mandatory in most churches. Also most church service like to begin really early. And my sleep patterns don't allow me to be alert or in a spiritual mood at that hour.
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes:
    2,411
    I see prayer and meditation as two different routes of communication. I have no problem with saying a prayer, but can rarely manage to do mindfulness meditation, now that I have ME/CFS.

    Prayer is a verbal form of communication to a higher power (in that that you tend to use words, and there is a usually specific intention behind these words); meditation is a non-verbal mode of communication that depends on the spiritual energies in your mind (in meditation you connect non-verbally to a higher power). I find a can do prayer, since I can still muster up words to say, but I can rarely do meditation, since I cannot usually muster up enough spiritual energy in my mind.

    One of my main prayer requests these days is simply to be given back my spiritual energies, so that I can meditate again!
  9. mir

    mir

    Messages:
    7
    Likes:
    3
    There are different forms of prayers.
    There are meditative forms of prayers as well as contemplative prayers, hymns, etc.
    Prayer establishes a connection with God and in that there is always an element of meditation, even in prayers with words or when we sing hymns.
    But if prayer is reduced to mere words, it loses much of its power whether we pray for intentions, thanksgiving or praise.
    This is particularly important when we pray for healing.

    As for other forms of meditation, there are no spiritual energies in the mind, only emotions and thoughts. You can obtain peace of mind through meditation but not peace in a spiritual sense which you can only get from union with God.
    It's not a coincidence that the religious tradition from which mindfulness meditation originated does not believe in God as it relies on human mind alone. (there are exceptions as some teachers of that tradition have come to experience the existence and presence of the Holy Spirit but that's another topic).

    God can only be experienced through the Holy Spirit (an experience shared by Jewish, Christians and Muslims). You simply cannot get there through mindfulness meditation, in other words through human intelligence or thoughts or emotions. Quite the contrary this way will take you far away from God.

    To the extent a form of meditation takes you in that direction (if you look and ponder carefully), it can be viewed as an instrument of satan whose main goal is to keep people as far away from God. he's very good at that.
  10. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,736
    Likes:
    728
    hi mir. do you mean the hindu tradition does not believe in God? i was not aware of that.
    Mr. Cat likes this.
  11. mir

    mir

    Messages:
    7
    Likes:
    3
    No, I was not referring to Hindu.
  12. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,736
    Likes:
    728
    buddhist?
    Seewell likes this.
  13. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

    Messages:
    4,964
    Likes:
    3,020
    N. California
    The experience of "God" is not exclusive to those in the Abrahamic religions.

    And the claim that anyone who practices mindfulness meditation is being led away from God by "satan" is a fear mongering tactic, that was created by religious extremists to control weak minded and vulnerable people. I thought that went out with the end of the Inquisition, but apparently it did not.
  14. mir

    mir

    Messages:
    7
    Likes:
    3
    Where there's fear, there's no God. For reasons you only know, you read things into what I said which I did not even think. The fact that some religions do not believe in God is a fact and has got nothing to do with fear.
    Instead, I was referring to the topic of the thread, where there may be a loss of spiritual sense associated with certain forms of meditations.
    In any case bless you!
  15. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

    Messages:
    4,964
    Likes:
    3,020
    N. California
    Joseph Campbell's work has always been an inspiration to me. I have read several of his books over and over since I was 18, and watched all the video series of his lectures, and all his interviews with Bill Moyers. For spiritual insight, he's one of my favorites.

    In the first part of this clip he talks about this amazing ritual of initiation in New Guinea, during which young boys have to stand up and fight the older men of their tribe, who are wearing masks. The men let these kids win. Then they take off their masks and put them on the kids.

    As Campbell describes it, the mask represents the power of the "god." And claiming it as your own in this kind of ritual has to do with claiming the power of the god within you, claiming authority over your own life. "You've broken past the image as fact, and understand the image as metaphor. And now you are to represent what the metaphor stands for."

    In my experience, the power of metaphor (aka the power of myth) has been a guiding force. It's the one thing I can count on to break through my foggy brain and give me a spiritual boost

    MishMash likes this.
  16. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes:
    2,411
    Yes, certainly, and what you are saying is a theme that you find in lots of different teachings. Prayer needs to be a conscious act, not just a mechanical chant of empty of words.

    Indeed, even satanists say the same thing! The notorious Aleister Crowley once wrote: "every conscious act is a magical act" — a beautifully succinct way of expressing the same idea, even if he was "batting for the opposition". Not that I want anything to do with satanism, but I do recognize insightful prose when I see it. What Crowley seems to be saying is that when we bring the power of living consciousness into our thoughts and actions, those thoughts and actions will not just be secular activities, but somehow acquire a transcendental power.

    Consciousness itself is a very mysterious thing. Modern science is having a lot of difficulty in trying to understand it, given that it may be a transcendental aspect of our being.

    I think you may have some misconceptions about the nature of mindfulness meditation, which is a major form of meditation in Buddhism. This form of meditation does not involve intelligence or thoughts or emotions. Indeed, intelligence, thoughts or emotions are considered the main hindering factors when they arise during the practice of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the cultivation of spiritual consciousness, as distinct from words, concepts, thoughts or reason. This mindfulness state of Buddhism is closely analogous to the descending of the Holy Spirit upon you in the Abrahamic faiths.

    Another important type of Buddhist meditation is metta bhavana, which translates to loving kindness. This type of meditation involves cultivating love for others, and wishing for others to be well. This meditation closely relates to the teachings of Christ, which were focused on cultivating love for others.

    I very much enjoy looking for the similarities and common ground across different religions and traditions.

    Buddhism does not assume the existence of God, but does believe in the immortal soul, in heaven and the afterlife, and reincarnation and rebirth. Early Christianity also believed in reincarnation and rebirth, incidentally, but Christianity later changed its teachings.


    But returning to the subject of this thread: the loss or weakening of spiritual consciousness due to brain fog; from the above discussion, this unfortunate condition would appear to impact both prayer in the proper sense, and practices such as mindfulness meditation. Not good.

    Perhaps the fact that spiritual consciousness (or the Holy Spirit) does not now so readily descend upon me explains why my prayers for healing are not working! Because, due to brain fog, my prayer acts are not properly conscious acts.
  17. mir

    mir

    Messages:
    7
    Likes:
    3
    Hey Hip,
    that's beautiful and from the way you write, it doesn't seem to me you suffer from any fog!
    I can't say anything on Buddhist's teachings about the Holy Spirit as I do not know, except for indirectly knowing some leaders who recognize the experience.
    But I want to bust the myth that the Holy Spirit is something belonging only to Christians like me. It's just not true.
    This notions is usually due to the lack of proper understanding of Christian teachings. In fact, since the early days of Christianity, the Holy Spirit showed it goes where God wants (it's written in Acts 10-11).
    In relation to something mentioned previously, I would also add that any aberrations under whatever religion banner have always been due to human beings acting in contrast with the Holy Spirit (as Paul clearly explains in Gal. 5:16-26)
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes:
    2,411
    Ah, well you caught me on good day.


    I was brought up in the Christian tradition (Catholic to be precise), but being one of these "seeker" types, which are people who restlessly search for some undefined truth at the end of a rainbow, I got involved in a number of different traditions. I was most drawn to Buddhism and Zen in terms of practices to follow, and it became very clear, from my direct experience of performing these practices, that what they evoke strongly resembles Christian precepts. From this you get the impression that states of mind we have familiarly with, such as that feeling of being imbued with the Holy Spirit, also occur in other certain faiths (but perhaps not in all faiths), just under a different name.
  19. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes:
    2,411
    I think I did read one or two books by Campbell. I certainly used to read Carl Gustav Jung a lot. Campbell is also a Jungian, and his work extends Jungian ideas. Jung's ideas on intuition, and on universal unconsciousness, are very interesting.
    MishMash likes this.
  20. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

    Messages:
    4,964
    Likes:
    3,020
    N. California
    Hi Hip--I read all of Jung's Collected Works in college, along with many other Jungian authors--ML Von Franz and James Hillman being two of my favorites. I am currently plodding (ever so slowly) through Jung's famous RED BOOK, from which the image of my avatar (Jung's drawing of Philemon-- the wise old man) is taken. I periodically reread Jung's autobiography, which is an awesome life journal of of a true (devoted!) introvert.

    I love Campbell's presentation of mythology, which he brings to life in a way that no one else ever has. Though I don't think he would be thrilled to be categorized as "a Jungian." LOL! By his own definition Campbell considered himself "a maverick," and his work can stand on its own without any association to Jung or the Jungians. On that note, even Jung used to say "thank God, I am Jung and not a Jungian."

    This brings me back to the theme of that little Campbell video I posted, which is all about becoming your own authority in life. At a certain point of inner development, you have to abandon your heros and gurus and find your own way. A big challenge, but a very worthwhile one.
    MishMash likes this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page