Animals Have Spiritual Experiences Too

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New findings show that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain, areas shared by other animals

Anybody who has ever had close contact with a cat or dog, will most likely agree to the findings recently published in Discovery News, namely that animals may also have spiritual experiences.

According to Kevin Nelson, professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades, suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain – areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own: “… it is still reasonable to conclude that since the most primitive areas of our brain happen to be the spiritual, then we can expect that animals are also capable of spiritual experiences.”

Gato and Mowgli

He further believes that “the light aspect of near-death experiences can be explained by how the visual system defines REM (rapid eye movement) consciousness. In fact, the link between REM and the physiological crises causing near-death experience are most strongly linked in animals, like cats and rats, which we can study in the laboratory.”

Mystical experiences – moments that inspire a sense of mystery and wonderment – arise within the limbic system, he said. When specific parts of this system are removed from animal brains, mind-altering drugs like LSD have no effect.

Since other animals, such as non-human primates, horses, cats and dogs, also possess similar brain structures, it is possible that they too experience mystical moments, and may even have a sense of spiritual oneness.

He concludes, however, “Since only humans are capable of language that can communicate the richness of spiritual experience, it is unlikely we will ever know with certainty what an animal subjectively experiences.”

We do get a better understanding of this issue by what Osho says:

“If the vibrations of existence come within one’s grasp, if there is a no-thought state on both sides, then there is no need to talk. Then communication takes place on a very intimate level, and this communication goes straight to the heart. Then there is no explaining because there is no way to explain. Then you also will not waver over whether this or that will be or will not be. Your being will directly know what has happened.

“It is not necessarily the case that only human beings are reached by the vibrations of the fifth body. There is a wonderful phenomenon in the life of Mahavira: it is said that even animals attended his gatherings. Jaina monks have been unable to explain this phenomenon and they never will. Now an animal does not understand human language but it understands the language of being very well. If I sit in a no-thought condition near a cat, the cat is already in the state of no-thought. With you, however, I will have to talk. To take you to the cat’s state of no-thought is a very long journey. Animals, plants and even stones understand the vibrations that begin from the spiritual body; there is no difficulty in that. So this body is also accessible, but only after the fourth body. The fourth body has been penetrated from many fronts, and science will accept the spiritual state readily. But after this there is some difficulty.”

Osho, In Search of the Miraculous, Vol. 2, Ch 5, Q 1

Kevin Nelson is the author of the book ‘The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain”, to be published in January 2011.

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