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What research has been done to inspect whether there are connections between the spiritual and the physical?

Starting from the belief that spiritual does in fact exist, has there been any research done to discover what sort of provable effects and connections exist between the physical and/or mental aspects of human life? If so, what do they present? Are their any TED talks directed towards this?

I assume those interested would be those who study and are interested in the overlap of various studies such has cultural, medical, religious, and psychological, and their practical relationships. Potential experts this question is geared to are those in the field such as neuroscientists, psychologists, endocrinologist, physicians, religious workers, etc...

There of course is a starting bias that the spiritual does in fact exist, and in definition is different that the psychological, emotional, and physical.

Also related, what experiences have you had that proof or disprove the overlap of the spiritual with human life?

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  • Jan 15 2013: Hi again Tom,

    To say something general about the spiritual / physical relationship will be my comment this time. Specifics can be mentioned later on, however, there needs to be certain shared concepts in such a discussion. This may perhaps require its own discussion as it does lead us a bit astray from your original topic.

    To approach the last part of your question, "the overlap of the spiritual / physical" can be an interesting starting point.
    Now, if we are in fact spiritual beings ... living in the circular, repetitive condition of time, then it must be possible to observe how the spiritual manifests itself in the physical world without necessarily "seeing" the spiritual "in itself." We can then assume that we see the "footprints" so to say. What "lives" in the plant, lives also in the animal and the human being. This is what the esoterics call the "life force" or "etheric body" This is not yet recognized by the world of science. Kirlian photography may be approaching an understanding of this etheric element but in my humble opinion is not capturing what is the real essence of the etheric world. It is again only the footprint left behind. The life force is too fine of a "substance" (for lack of a better word) to be photographed. This example is necessarily a shortcoming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDOi1BLoN3U

    As human beings, we share this life energy with all that is alive, one could perhaps take the idea of the etheric world as a starting point to go deeper into the higher realms of our existence. The next being the soul realm, and finally the spiritual realm. We are a composition of all four worlds. The physical, the life realm, the soul realm and the spiritual realm. Or what the ancient Greeks would have called earth, water, air and fire.

    The stone is physical
    The plant is the physical plus the life force
    The animal is the physical, life, and soul elements
    The human being is then all four


    I will stop here.

    ....awaiting further comments.
    • Jan 16 2013: The question arises : what is physical ? What is matter ? Nobody knows how matter comes into existence : how particles get their masses ?
      We take a lot of things for granted ; ' stone is physical ' , yes , it reflects heat and cold , it grows, it dies and we quick to explain that it is physical laws that ' governs' the stone existence. But what are the physical laws ? Where they were before the universe sprang into being ? There were no 'place' for them to be. Do they develop on the way ?
      Science, physical laws describe one probability among infinite others ; this reality fallows the script this reality dictates !
      What i am trying to say is : everything is conscious , the stone is conscious where the sun is, it reflects. ' Life force' or absence of such is just the models our mind creates, because to function, to make sense of something it needs the distance between the observer and the observed. But this distance is illusion.
      It's not a problem to find it out, the problem is to face it : the only ' thing ' that is real is something we don't have a name for. We call it ' spirit', and it's OK and now we are debating its existence. Funny, isn't it ?:)
      • Jan 17 2013: Natasha,

        There are a few discrepancies here. Both the physical and the spiritual must be taken into consideration

        In the stone, or should we rather say in the physical world, the faculty of consciousness is not "incarnated" on the physical plane. The consciousness of the stone lies outside of its physical existence. It has no feelings in the sense that the animal or the human being does. It feels no pain. It has no inner experiences.

        I think you meant to refer to the plant as growing and then dies. Also the plants consciousness is outside of its physical self. The life element in the plant is something more developed than the purely physical condition of the stone, but still it has no sense experiences like the animal and human being.

        Continuing on the ladder of development, from the stone to the plant, and then to the animal, we see that a third element that arises. This is the soul element. Feelings of pleasure and pain. Desires, as well as consciousness. This is a level of existence that the animal has over the plant in the sense these soul forces are "within its being". The animal has a shared or "group consciousness" as a whole species. It operates often in flocks. One could say that the soul element of the plants (including the faculty of consciousness) is also present, but it is not manifest within its physical individuality. like the animal.

        Arriving then at the 4th level of existence, in the human being, we find that all of the 3 previous elements are also contained "within" its being. But a new element is also present. This is the faculty of thinking and "self-consciousness". Not to say that the animals do not think, as they obviously do, but to a much lesser degree than humans. Animals follow their impulses and instincts while we can examine them from a higher point of view so to say.

        Only mankind has an individualized self-consciousness.

        Spirit / consciousness manifests itself in a vast conglomeration of physical expressions.
        • Jan 17 2013: Thanks for responding, Daniel !
          I have the feeling that ' i've been here before, i know this room ,
          i've walked this floor ' :)
          I've read a lot of this stuff and i know that mind that creates these models tries to say something very important. And yes, to make it langugable in order to make sense of it we need to create divisions, levels ...separate and separate, language is a code , but nature is a flux. There are no clear cuts, if any at all, nature is fractal in its structure. What that means is that a pattern occurring on a given scale can be expected to occur on other scales, very different. But still the pattern remains the same.
          Look at Mandelbrot set, it's a kind of Logos, visual language , no words , no ambiguity here; you can see how it is unfolding/enfolding insight out and outside in. The best i can put it : everything everywhere are doing the same thing ...infinitely. You are the center of the universe where the center is everywhere.
          And i can repeat myself : everything, and i do mean everything, is different degrees of condensation of the same 'stuff'.
          Sorry, sounds clumsy, but it's the best i can do :)
          One more thing to make my point clear : mind creates a model ( for a example this one that you presented ) in order to understand how it all works, and it may succeed, we do understand, but the trick is the more understandable it is the less it's true.

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