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Ever wondered how prayer affects your brain? 

Ever wondered how prayer affects your brain? 

What does prayer mean to you?

For me, I connect with the word 'prayer' as a tuning into something ‘greater’ than my mind—an unbiased, all-knowing energy guiding, witnessing, and loving unconditionally. Even as I write this I feel myself questioning my words, simply because this for me is beyond words. 

This is a personal conversation.

And still, my logical mind wants to know what happens during prayer.

I wasn't brought up with a religious faith, but I deeply resonated with a connection beyond what I was perceiving.

So, for all of you who often find yourselves wondering how practices affect the physical body, here are some beautiful gifts prayers have to offer:

A study that stood out to me offered a conclusion that people who pray can control their thoughts better than those who don't. Even though the brain doesn't change in size overall, there's an area called the left orbitofrontal cortex that seems to be crucial for this control. This part of the brain is involved in making decisions and handling emotions. So, when people pray frequently, it helps them use this part more effectively, allowing better control over their thoughts.

Dr. David Spiegel, from Stanford University School of Medicine, explains that praying activates deeper brain regions—the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reveals these specific brain areas involved in self-reflection and self-soothing during prayer.

In a study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 26 adults new to relaxation response practices underwent 8 weeks of training. Blood samples showed that these techniques positively influenced over 22,000 genes, particularly impacting inflammation, circadian rhythms, and energy metabolism.

After a few hours of reading papers, I got the gist, but I know that research studies are so limiting. Yes, I found things to back my biased beliefs, but also, I could probably find studies to prove the opposite.

So, I sat with this for a while. And I realized, that when I go online within, I am no longer alone. There is a belief that I am communicating and having an effect on something that would be considered out of my control. Sometimes, this is all a concept for me, but on the occasions that I truly feel it with every cell in my body, I know something. I feel it. And that is enough.

As I continue to bathe in the benefits of a calmer nervous system, my subconscious self begins to be reprogrammed. I am safe. We are connected. What I think, say, and do has an effect.

Collective Prayer

When we come together in prayer, a remarkable synergy unfolds. It's a departure from the mindset of radical individualism, where we acknowledge the power of collective energy. As we join our intentions and hearts, we tap into a shared source of strength that extends beyond the boundaries of personal endeavors.

In this communal act, it's not just about connecting with each other; it's also a reminder of our deep connection to nature. So, what do we call this intangible force that binds us together in prayer? 

Some might refer to it as the divine, the universe, or the collective consciousness. Regardless of the label, it signifies a shared recognition that, in unity, we access a realm that transcends our individual selves, reminding us of a sense of interconnectedness and shared humanity.

Prayer 🙏

As I inhale, I breathe in trust for my journey. With each exhale, I surrender my ideas, welcoming the path ahead. Sending love, safety, and nourishment to all beings in need—humans, animals, and the nurturing embrace of nature.

Join us for the upcoming prayer circle on the 14th of January! Kindly RSVP and feel free to bring a friend along.

Explore meditation and energy healing through our living library's curated collection of videos.

See you soon, Danielle

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