Next Article in Journal
Faith and Form on Screen
Next Article in Special Issue
A Cognitive Approach to Tantric Language
Previous Article in Journal
Transimmanence and the Im/possible Relationship between Eschatology and Transcendence
Previous Article in Special Issue
Strange Bedfellows: Meditations on the Indispensable Virtues of Confusion, Mindfulness and Humor in the Neuroscientific and Cognitive Study of Esoteric and Contemplative Traditions1
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Religions 2016, 7(11), 132; doi:10.3390/rel7110132

The Potential of the Bi-Directional Gaze: A Call for Neuroscientific Research on the Simultaneous Activation of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems through Tantric Practice

Department of Religion and Philosophy, Berry College, Mt Berry, GA 30149, USA
Academic Editors: Glen A. Hayes and Sthaneshwar Timalsina
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 11 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 October 2016 / Published: 14 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Science and the Study of Yoga and Tantra)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [242 KB, uploaded 14 November 2016]

Abstract

This paper is a call for the development of a neuroscientific research protocol for the study of the impact of Tantric practice on the autonomic nervous system. Tantric texts like Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka map out a complex meditative ritual system in which inward-gazing, apophatic, sense-denying contemplative practices are combined with outward-gazing, kataphatic sense-activating ritual practices. Abhinavagupta announces a culminating “bi-directional” state (pratimīlana-samādhi) as the highest natural state (sahaja-samādhi) in which the practitioner becomes a perfected yogi (siddhayogi). This state of maximized cognitive capacities, in which one’s inward gaze and outward world-engagement are held in balance, appears to be one in which the anabolic metabolic processes of the parasympathetic nervous system and the catabolic metabolic processes of the sympathetic nervous systems are simultaneously activated and integrated. Akin to secularized mindfulness and compassion training protocols like Emory’s CBCT, I propose the development of secularized “Tantric protocols” for the development of secular and tradition-specific methods for further exploring the potential of the human neurological system. View Full-Text
Keywords: apophatic-kataphatic; autonomic nervous system; Śrī Yantra; kuṇḍalinī; sādhanā; synesthesia; Trika-Kaula; Abhinavagupta apophatic-kataphatic; autonomic nervous system; Śrī Yantra; kuṇḍalinī; sādhanā; synesthesia; Trika-Kaula; Abhinavagupta
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Lidke, J.S. The Potential of the Bi-Directional Gaze: A Call for Neuroscientific Research on the Simultaneous Activation of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems through Tantric Practice. Religions 2016, 7, 132.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top