Why do some people have a physiological response to the divine? Why do some experience the “anointing of the Holy Spirit” and others do not?
The following testimonial is a sharing of a personal paradox:
I have always had a difficult time believing in things without some proof. As a scientist, who is also a charismatic Christian, I have also accepted that faith is a gift from God and does not need physical evidence. I have also come to the conclusion that there is NO separation between the physical and “spiritual” world. They do not just intersect each other, the “divine” permeates all space, time, energy, matter, etc..
As a child, I found that I had a physiological response to prayer. I also had a heightened perceptiveness that allowed me to know when people were bad or good and if something bad was about to happen. Some would say our “guardian angels” are responsible for such things. The response increased when I was in prayer with others. I just assumed that my blood sugar was off or blood pressure, anything but a divine experience.
As a trained scientist, however, I began to notice a correlation between prayer and this physiological response. The response is hard to verbalize. When in deep meditative prayer, where you sit quietly and free your mind of everything -a Zen spot if you will, I not only had a physical sensation of burning in my hands, a feeling of a warm wind blowing my hair upward, my face was drawn heavenward, I would also feel very light and feel an intense peace and joy….beyond words to describe…I would also have a vision of myself sitting in a chair being totally enveloped in white light that seemed to be coming from a point source above me. When in prayer with others, I would not see this vision, instead I would hear songs and music in my head, I would want to sing the tunes, but because of my stubborn nature, I refused to give up that much control of myself.
Discovering Charisms: I later came to realize that I had charismatic gifts; gifts of the Holy Spirit. When I played music in church and sang, the anointing would be so strong that I could barely stand. Many times I was almost “slain in the spirit” in the middle of songs of praise. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was not only a scholar and scientist, I was also charismatic. I had been given the gift of healing. I had been given the gift of discernment. I had been given the gift of knowledge. I had also been given the gift of tongues. I was anointed in a special way and had become addicted to the grace received during this sharing in the divine. I am also what others define as “sensitive.” I can sense when others are in pain. Sometimes I know something is wrong before they do. I’m not very good though at knowing what is wrong, and many times I assume that the person is angry with me. Over the past 20 years at least 5 of my closest and dearest friends have passed on due to illnesses. I knew before they did that something was wrong.
Reality: Having said all of this, I want you to know that I can no longer seek to use these gifts. About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with temporal lobe seizures. The neurologists have told me that using my charismatic gifts actually induces the seizures and each time I have a seizure, I risk damage to my brain. I was given anti-seizure meds and to my sadness; the charismatic responses were lessened and have almost completely stopped. Sometimes when I am in deep prayer or when I am singing God’s praises, I will still experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but not with the divine intensity of the past.
What Is Really Going On: It is my belief, that charismatics the world over, are being diagnosed as having temporal lobe seizures. The scientific community has to have a legitimate explanation for people who are visionaries or have charismatic gifts. If you look up the symptoms of temporal lobe seizures, you will find that the people are said to be hyper-religious and prone to hallucinations, etc. Articles such as these report the connection:
Another Explanation? I would like to propose another interpretation of the scientifically valid research that has been going on since the seers at Medjugorje were tested. The search for the “God Spot” in the brain is ongoing. Human beings are aware of themselves in a 3-D space and 4-D if you count time. There is a multidimensional, infinitely divine, space of which we have little tactile experience, but with which we can quantify. Could it be that the temporal lobe of the body is an “antennae” that allows some of us to experience the divine? When a group of two or more are gathered in prayer, could their shared temporal lobes not act much like a telescope array? Any charismatic can tell you that miraculous things have happened when a group of charismatics prays. Some charismatics, who are slain in the spirit, claim to see Christ. Are they all having a group temporal lobe seizure? Did the people at Fatima all have a group hallucination when the Sun danced in the sky?
Fatima: “Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel. “http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html
“…one could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: “A miracle! A miracle!” Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws – the sun “danced” according to the typical expression of the people. …
“People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it with its rays. Some said they saw it change colours successively. …”http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/approved/appariti/fatima.html#anchor133742
Bringing The Physical and Spiritual Together: This scientist and Christian believes that some people are born with the gift to perceive not only the 4-D space-time but also the divine. There is evidence to suggest that there is damage to the brain when the seizures occur. Because of this, I abstain from the joy of experiencing the divine in such a profound way. I grieve the loss of the experience. Many would say, “just do it! Obviously, God intended for you to have this experience because He gave you this gift.” As Monsignor Mancini said to me…”We are also directed to do NO harm to the body. Our bodies are also a gift from God, and we must not do things that would hurt the body.”
The GIFT: Even though I grieve the loss of such a divine experience, I was given a great gift. I know that I am still touched by the divine, daily, and as a scientist and a scholar, I have been given knowledge….a glimpse into understanding the divine and how the divine and the physical relate. My faith is unshakable. I have been given a glimpse of what is to come for all of us.
God has something magnificent planned for each and every one of us. With this knowledge, I do not fear death. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in God.