Thanks are due to the late Dr. Michael Persinger for his extensive help.
The God Helmet ®, part of the Shiva Neural Stimulation System.
The Science of Mystic Experiences (simpler version).
Most often, mystic experiences seem to begin with very negative experiences, ones that inspire the most unpleasant emotions; especially fear, despair or overwhelming confusion. These emotions build up on the right side of the brain, until the individual structures that support them (most importantly, the fearful amygdala on the right) are overloaded, and the neural activity; the electrical basis for brain activation, overflows and suddenly dumps into another structure. The crucial thing is that one structure abruptly dumps activity over into another, not that the experience begins with a negative emotion.
Most God Helmet sessions are designed to move activity from one structure to another, but without creating negative emotions. This happens applying the same principles that work with the laboratory God Helmet, but targeting different, ‘kinder and gentler’ structures. The laboratory experiments focused on the amygdala on the right because fear and depression are based there, and because 1) each structure’s electrical activity has its own patterns, and also because 2) there are ready brain “cables” connecting each limbic structure on one side of the brain to its counterpart on the other. When the amygdala on the right is overloaded, the easiest place for it to dump its load is to the one on the left. This made it ideal for laboratory experiments, but Shiva system users working with the God Helmet configuration have other, more pleasant choices.
The amygdala is the most sensitive structure in the brain. It’s also one of the most active structures in the brain. It uses more blood than any other part of the brain, and there is reason to believe that the amygdala, in its present form, is one of the more recent deep brain structures. The human amygdala has 20 nuclei, and the amygdala of a chimpanzee has twelve. For comparison, a cat amygdala has only 5. The amygdala became more complicated when we emerged as Homo Sapiens, making it one of the more “uniquely human” structures in the brain.
The amygdala on the right is specialized for fear and anxiety. The amygdala on the left is specialized for more “self-affirming” emotions, most importantly happiness, bliss, and elation. Working together with other structures, the amygdala on the right also supports sadness, and also working together with other structures, the amygdala on the left supports irritability. These structures have a wide range of functions, most of them carried out with contributions from other brain parts. By itself, the amygdala on the right can produce a state of fear so intense that when epileptics feel it during seizures, they describe it as “a feeling of impending doom”. Actually, the amygdala can only act on its own in epileptics and even then, only when it’s so active that other structures nearby can’t keep up with it, so it can perform “as though” it were working alone.
The God Helmet’s technology works by stimulating first one side of the brain (unpleasant), and then the other (very pleasant). This pattern of activation is seen in many classical stories of mystic experiences. The night before his enlightenment the Buddha was tormented by the “daughters of Mara”. Jesus met Satan in the desert, and the next episode in his life finds him out among the people, actively recruiting disciples. St. Teresa of Avila endured horrible pain from illness before her visions of God began. The Hindu saint Ramakrishna had visions of the goddess Kali after an episode of despair so bad that he seriously considered killing himself.
When an episode of fear or despair reaches the point where its electrical activity spills over to the other side of the brain (called an “interhemispheric intrusion”), the result can be a sudden activation of the left amygdala, culminating in a mystic experience.
Not only is the amygdala specialized for emotions, but it also plays an important role in relating to others, especially our feelings about them. The amygdala helps to recognize the emotional ‘feel’ of other people’s facial expressions, and tones of voice. It’s social role means that the religious and mystic experiences created by the sudden and dramatic activation of the amygdala on the left means that God Helmet experiences and sensations will often have a “social” flavor. Other beings, like ones whose presence we sense, or even fully formed angels, spirits, and even God, have appeared in the laboratory.
A very short video showing how the God Helmet Works. (Opens in a new window.)
The explanation for this is that we have two sense of self — one on each side of the brain. When the stimulation changes sides, the normal communication between the two sides of the brain is interrupted, and the two senses of self operate independently. One of them is projected outside ourselves, and is experienced as an outside, external, being. The usual inhibitions imposed on the left amygdala are held back, and the positive emotion created is projected onto the being we feel we are ‘meeting’. The being feels like it’s the source of the positive emotion.
Some session designs in the software don’t target the amygdala. These are designed to activate the hippocampus, an adjacent structure, that functions for cognition (“thinking”) both with words and without. This kind of activation of the hippocampus is more pleasant through the right side of the brain than the left. On the right, the hippocampus functions with nonverbal cognition, and on the left, it uses words.
The model of mystic experiences (the “interhemispheric intrusion” hypothesis) used to explain the success of God Helmet technology regards these experiences as examples of the process wherein activity builds up slowly on one side of the brain (usually the right), followed by the sudden activation of specific structures on the other side of the brain.
The principles supporting the God Helmet have been understood and used in the laboratory for over a decade. Not all the session designs used here have been tested in the laboratory, but the sequence of signals has been tested with Shakti neural stimulation technology. There are notes for each session design, and your feedback will help to keep them updated and increasingly helpful.
In addition to the movement of signals between the two sides of the head, the signals also “rotate” above each temporal lobe. This moves the center of the stimulation constantly. When the signal is applied over one small area, that area tends to become more active. When the signal moves to another area, the previous area quiets down as the next one becomes active. Over time, (20 to 30 minutes) the movement of the signal raises the overall level of activation, creating more response than the same signals would if they remained in one place.
All the principles supporting God Helmet technology were developed by Dr. M. A. Persinger, and Stanley Koren at Laurentian University (partial list of publications).
The Shiva Neural Stimulation System is ________ Gaia.com article on the God Helmet. ________ Review article by Dr. Michael Persinger: ________ . . .
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The God Helmet Experiments (Book)
Experimental simulation of the God Experience using the God Helmet
The Shiva Neural Stimulation System is
Gaia.com article on the God Helmet.
Review article by Dr. Michael Persinger: