Science Meets Spirituality by Lisa Natoli

lisa natoli Apr 30, 2024
Science Meets Spirituality by Lisa Natoli

There are times during the day, even if you are not on a spiritual path that you “go” from body-identification to Spirit (or Self)-identification.
They are the moments when you are not thinking, worrying or planning. For most people, it’s when you’re sleeping in bed during those hours either when it’s nighttime or you are napping.
For others there are moments when the mind is quiet and you experience peace and joy during the hours when your eyes are open and you are “up and about” going through your day.
For most people, these moments of peace and happiness are brief, temporary and fleeting.
But with practice, these moments become your whole life and you are living in recognition of your true nature, which is eternal, radiant and shining as yourself.
A Course in Miracles speaks of shifting from body-identification to Spirit-identification.
In place of the word “Spirit” it also uses words like “God” “Christ” and “Self” to describe Spirit-identification.
It should be fairly obvious to most people that this “shift” from body to Spirit is a shift in focus, a shift in awareness, a shift in how you see things. It doesn’t mean that the body dies or that you die, but when you are in Spirit-identification, you know that the body does disappear from awareness — and when this occurs, thoughts disappear, stories disappear, memories disappear, problems disappear, and emotional states (like suffering and depression) disappear.
In science, this shift is described as brain waves — and there are four states called Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.
Beta is when the mind is active, actively engaged in mental activity and it produces beta waves. Science calls “mind” the brain.
Beta waves are relatively low amplitude and are the fastest of the four brain brainwaves, with a frequency ranging from 15 to 40 cycles a second. A person active in conversation, completing tasks, driving a car, working a job are all in beta.
Beta is also when you are thinking, worrying, planning, controlling situations, judging yourself or others, wondering about why something is happening. This is all beta. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s a particular frequency of mental activity.
The next brainwave is alpha, which is slower than beta and higher in amplitude. Their frequency ranges from 9 to 14 cycles per second. A person who has completed a task and sits down to rest and take a break can be in alpha (unless they are on that break worrying, thinking or wondering — in which case, they are still in beta). A person that is quiet, reflective or meditating is often in alpha unless during those times the mind is active with ideas and a lot of mental activity. When someone goes into nature for a walk or to sit and they leave the past and future behind and they are in the present moment appreciating nature, the sounds, the beauty, they are in an alpha state.
The next state is theta which is even a greater amplitude and slower frequency. This frequency range is typically between 5 and 8 cycles a second. A person that is so present in the moment is often in a theta brainwave state. If sitting, maybe with a cat or dog in your lap and you are simply sitting and enjoying it, you become aware that you have no idea how much time has passed and you suddenly “snap back to the room” and wonder where you have been, that’s theta. This can also happen when you are driving on the highway and you go on autopilot, and you realize that you’ve been driving the car safely but suddenly you “come back” to the road and you wonder where you’ve been, that’s theta.
It's usually very relaxing and time disappears. And the body disappears also from awareness, even though it’s still here.
During these long drives or walks in nature is when people usually have great ideas come to them — or they suddenly know exactly how to solve a problem that they could not figure out while they were “working hard (in beta)” to figure it out.
Theta often happens in the shower, the bathtub or during physical exercise — or when you go to bed at night or just when you are waking up — when there is mental relaxation and not a lot of thought going on.
This state is usually very relaxing and enjoyable.
Theta is also when you are sleeping but the mind is active in dreaming.
The final brainwave state is delta. This is deep sleep with no dreams. Here the brainwaves are the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency, with a frequency between 1.5 to 4 cycles a second. This is when you are sleeping.
So, in our daily lives we already are accessing “Spirit-identification” when we are relaxing, resting, enjoying, being present. In this state there is no guilt, no fear, no agitation. The identification with the body disappears from awareness… or at least fades from awareness.
Now, what if you could access this state consciously, at will?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could actively be in alpha and theta during the day, experiencing a state of flow, receiving divine ideas?
This is the importance of finding time to quiet the mind from the day’s activities, during the day, at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day.
A lot of people who have difficulty sleeping have a lot of mental activity and have not learned how to quiet the mind.
My mother calls this mental activity “the itty-bitty-shitty committee” which is that voice in your head, in your mind, that just keeps on talking while you are trying to get to sleep.
How is any of this important and beneficial? Because it can change your life when you train yourself to be aware of how you feel.
Pay attention if you spend a lot of the day “thinking about” stuff. Notice how when you are thinking and worrying, that it feels like you’re in a cloud of agitation. Notice that there is a lot of energy that makes you feel like “you’re all over the map”.
Realize that you have within you the power and ability to be still, to be quiet and to be present.
Be aware when you are present to this moment whether the mind kicks up with a lot of mental activity or does it quiet down?
A Course in Miracles says that we can be “the calm at the center of the storm” and that we can carry this calm with us, everywhere we go.
And there is scientific evidence that mind wave activity affects the physical. When there is a lot of mental activity, it can be documented that the heart races, stress levels go up, your hands get sweaty and eyesight is affected.
And when you come into the present, maybe take a few good deep breaths, relax, rest… you feel better, calmer, at peace.
All the brain waves are just that — a wave and frequency — they are neither good nor bad. Beta is great for functioning in the world, making sure bills are paid, for driving on the proper side of the road, operating machinery, getting to work on time, remembering what day it is.
It also gives normal everyday people super power abilities in high stress situations that demand a fast response, like those stories of mothers lifting automobiles off a child that is trapped under it.
Beta is being on high alert.
But staying in beta chronically (in high alert) is a recipe for stress and difficulties.
I call this body-identification. If you are chronically identified with the body all day long, with no periods of rest, relaxation, enjoyment, play or fun, you suffer.
It’s entirely within everyone’s ability to move out of the mind’s agitation into flow.
I’m not a scientist but I started to notice a few years ago that whenever I was in pain or experiencing physical symptoms, that whenever I stopped with all the mental activity I felt better. In many cases, pain disappeared entirely.
I would rest from the mind activity of “Why is this happening to me?” and “How did I cause this?” and “I wonder if it’s something I ate?”... This is all beta.
For years, I lived here chronically. From the moment I woke up in the morning to the moment I went to bed at night, I spent all my time thinking about stuff.
Worrying about things.
Judging myself.
Attacking myself with bullying thoughts.
Feeling like a failure.
In scientific terms, this is beta. A lot of mental activity.
When I began to rest and relax, I felt better. Every time.
In scientific terms, this is alpha and theta. It’s a flow state.
Science meets spirituality.  
Over the years, I began to observe that I could access these flow states of peace and happiness in every moment, any time I want.
And when something needed to get done, I noticed that I’m grounded, present and I function flawlessly in beta, fully alert to the moment – and in this state, work is play, everything flows perfectly.
As I lived more and more in awareness of energy and emotions, I began to notice that I was living more and more in Spirit-identification.
I was out of the chronic agitation. I was no longer hanging out in unnecessary stress states all day long.
When you start really being present, you notice that you actually are not in a physical stress environment (there are no lions or tigers or bears) but that the mind is in a stress state of fear, irritation, worry, overthinking and analyzing.
But when you come back into this moment, here and now, you can see that you can rest for a moment. You can allow the mind to be still. You can stop worrying about the past and you can stop wondering about the future.
You can allow yourself to experience the deep peace that comes from being in a quiet state. You can witness for yourself how your sleep improves when you actively move out of mental activity when you climb into bed. You can see that you have the ability to move into gratitude, love and Presence at will, whenever you want.
You see that you can easily say goodnight to the itty-bitty-shitty committee if it still wants to keep the meeting going in your head. You can say “Okay. I love you guys. The day is done. You guys rock. I’m going to sleep now and so are you.”
You can make it fun. You can make it playful. Love is here for all of us and needs only be recognized.
Life is so beautiful and effortless when you experience the shift out of body-identification into Spirit-identification by resting and relaxing in our shared true nature which is God. 
I hope this is helpful.
Lisa Natoli