Andrew Newberg Transcript

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Andrew Newberg Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. I’ve done hundreds of them now. And if this is new to you and you’d like to watch previous ones, please go to the past interviews menu on, where you’ll see all the previous ones archived in various ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. If you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there’s a Pay Pal button on every page of the site. And even small contributions are significant if enough people do it. My guest today is Andrew B. Newberg and D. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation. I’ve been reading Andrews books and listening to hours of his other recordings and interviews and talks. And this his whole area of of expertise and study fascinates me. I’m gonna read his entire bio here, even though it’s a little long because it’s substantive, and it’ll give you a really good idea of who he is and what his credentials are. So Andrew is currently the Associate Director in Charge of research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital in Philadelphia. He is also a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University. And he is adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. And now this next sentence tells you why I’m interviewing. Dr. Newberg has been particularly involved in the study of mystical and religious experiences, a field referred to as neuro theology. He has also studied the more general Mind Body relationship in both the clinical and research aspects of his career, including understanding the psyche, the physiological correlates of acupuncture, therapy, meditation and other types of alternative therapies. He’s published over 200 peer reviewed articles and chapters on brain function, brain imaging and the study of religious and mystical experiences. He’s written or CO written several books, about half a dozen in, such as neuro theology, how science can enlighten us about spirituality. How Enlightenment changes your brain, the new science of transformation, how God changes your brain breakthrough findings from a leading neuroscientist. Why God won’t go away brain science and the Biology of Belief. And the metaphysical mind probing the biology of filth, philosophical thought, oh also principles of neuro theology. He has also produce 2024 lecture video program entitled The Spiritual brain for the teaching company. He has presented his work at scientific and religious meetings throughout the world and has appeared on Dr. Oz Good Morning America, Nightline, 2020, CNN ABC World News Tonight, as well as in the movies. What the Bleep Do We Know, Bill Maher’s religious and awake to the life of Yogananda. His work has been featured in articles in Newsweek, time, National Geographic discover, oh magazine, The New York Times Los Angeles Times The London observer, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Reader’s Digest. And his website is Andrew So I don’t usually read such a long bio, but I think that was worth worth reading.

Andrew Newberg: Thanks. Thank you for having me on the program. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So customarily, I start with just a little bit of the person’s background. And I recall, I recollect a few things from listening to other interviews you did about your childhood, how you’re really an inquisitive kid. And at a rather early age, you realize something that took me until about the age of 17, to realize and that with the help of a little LSD, which was that everybody sees the world very differently, even though presumably, there’s only one world out there. And you really puzzled over that. Anyone? Right? Comment on that a little bit?

Andrew Newberg: Sure. Yeah. As you said, I mean, from the time I was a kid, I think I was just always asking questions. And I was very stymied, by the issue of the fact that we seem to have all these different religious and spiritual beliefs and different political beliefs, of course, is a very prominent topic in today’s world. And it was it was disturbing to me, I think it was it really bothered me. And I remember, you know, many times, lying awake at night long after I was supposed to be in bed and in pondering these questions, and then I’d wander into my father’s office and he was doing some work there. And I said, Dad, you know, I don’t understand this. You know, tell me why. What is God tell me what what’s going on and, and, you know, he was he was always incredibly supportive and usually would sort of throw the questions back to me, he didn’t give me an answer, which I really appreciated, we, we were not brought up in a particularly religious or spiritual household, I was born as a reformed Jew, and, you know, got Bar Mitzvah, but for the most part, it was, it was a lot of questioning. And, and I guess I so I thought, well, you know, somebody’s got to solve this problem. And, and so I started to think about this question. And I guess, you know, in many ways, to me, the primary question is, what is the nature of reality? And how do we, as human beings know what that might be? And so, it started me on this path of trying to answer that question. And I think my, my first thought was that it will have something with the human brain, that the human brain is taking in all this information and helping us to construct our perspective on reality than then part of it has to do with what’s going on in the human brain. But as time went on, I realized that, that just looking at science and just trying to look at things from this objective, vantage point and objective in quotes, wasn’t quite enough. And so I started to read about what other people had come to and read, you know, Aristotle, and Plato and, and Decart, and all up to the modern philosophers and phenomenology and so forth. And, and so that all started to happen probably around the time I was in high school, and, and into college. And then in college, even though I was very interested in medicine as a career, I was able to, I was fortunate to be able to take a lot of courses and Buddhist thought, Hindu thought, comparative religions, formal logic, as well as the science courses, chemistry, biology, and so forth. And, and so all of this was really kind of swirling around in my brain, up until the point where when I was in medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, I wound up deciding to do this extra year they called it and that was really this kind of pivotal moment in my life where I wound up finding, amazingly, two incredible mentors to work with, usually, most people are lucky to get one. And one of them was this doctor Alavi who was the brain imaging world, one of the brain imaging experts. And he’s got a CV that spends about 45 pages or more, and he’s got 1000 articles. And so

Rick Archer: I won’t read the whole thing. Exactly. You know,

Andrew Newberg: I mean, he’s, he’s just, you know, a world renowned expert in imaging. And so I started to work with him. But I also had the fortune of meeting up with a psychiatrist named Eugene de Quilly, who was a psychiatrist, but also an anthropologist by training. He was a PhD in anthropology. And he had been asking these questions, some of the same ones that I had, and thinking about the relationship between religious and spiritual ideas and the human brain as early as the 1970s. So when I connected with him, we started to work on ideas and questions. But then at some point, I was thinking, Well, gee, you know, if I’m scanning the brain of somebody with Alzheimer’s, or somebody with depression, why can’t I scan the brain of somebody who’s meditating or praying or feeling spiritual? And then that was what really kind of launched the whole aspect of neuro theology and trying to look at what’s going on in the brain and how that’s related to the religious and spiritual side of ourselves.

Rick Archer: Did you yourself latch on to some spiritual practice or discipline at any point?

Andrew Newberg: Well, you know, for me, it really is, it has been this path. And so I mean, I do get that question a lot.

Rick Archer: Is that a meditative practice or something? Yeah. And people

Andrew Newberg: say, Well, you know, what do you do? And I don’t do you know, one particular type, I don’t, I mean, I, I suppose I’ve explored a few in my day. But it has really been a little bit of my own concoction of a kind of philosophical meditation. And I have actually spent a lot of time in that kind of meditative thought process. And in fact, in how Enlightenment changes your brain, I talk a little bit about my personal experiences through that process, which in many ways, you know, had elements that seem sort of mystical or I was very difficult to understand what they meant. But that also even further fueled my interest and understanding what other people had felt so that I could see where the similarities and differences were with with where I was going in my own my own thought processes.

Rick Archer: You would they call Yanni or Jana, Yogi? I will the path of knowledge

Andrew Newberg: it was I was certainly looking for it. Although, you know, interestingly, you know what, so I don’t know if you’re going to ask me specifically about this, but it was actually between my my college and medical school, where I thought, you know, I’m about I just entered medical school, I’ve got to figure this out, you know, this is I can’t, I can’t just continue to have these incredible, disturbing, angst and trying to understand it. And so I really took that summer off and spent a lot of time in this kind of deep, contemplative type of state. And at at one point in pursuing, as much as I could the answer to these questions, what I, what I, my my process was, is that if I wasn’t sure about something, I would say, Well, I don’t know. And so I would doubt it. And I would say, well, that goes into this, you know, quote, unquote, realm of doubt. And I would say, but then I’ll keep moving. And I eventually, as I kept pursuing the questions, I eventually got to this point, where I felt like I couldn’t go any further and kind of harken back to something that one of my Hindu professors had talked about that, you know, you can strive for things, but then sometimes you just have to let them come to you. And so I thought, Well, I’m just going to wait and see what comes and had an experience that I’ve only been able to describe as infinite doubt. And in that infinite doubt, experience, realize that there was nothing I could ever know. And, and it was interesting that when I talked to my, my writing colleague, this, Mark Waldman, and I explained to this, I explained this to him. He said, well, that must have been one of the worst experiences ever. I mean, here you are trying to find an answer, and you’ve come to the conclusion that there is no answer. And I said, but it was actually just the opposite. It was one of the most peaceful, blissful, calming experiences that I ever had. And it put all of what I was doing in my own mind into perspective, and somehow also allowed me to continue to have the questioning, but to do it on a different kind of level. That wasn’t disturbing anymore. I was, it was sort of part of what the universe was all about. For me, and I continue to do that, to this day.

Rick Archer: I’m sure you’ve heard the term don’t know, mind in Zen, you know, and I think it was Ramana Maharshi, or someone who, or maybe Nisargadatta, who spoke of Enlightenment as a state of sort of perpetual freefall. And he said, the good thing is, there’s no ground where you’re gonna go, splat,

Andrew Newberg: you know? That’s a good, it’s a perfect analogy. And, you know, I was one of the things I was talking about, and hopefully in my life, and I’m part of, you know, the mentors who I found who were so wonderful to me, what they, you know, they really have this essence of what I call a passion for inquiry. I mean, they just love to ask the questions, and it was, and it’s actually the asking of the questions, which is, where it’s at. I mean, that that’s the power of it. It’s not finding the answers. It’s asking the questions. And, and that was just, again, part of that whole process and continues to be

Rick Archer: Yeah, I had your point about the sea of infinite doubt highlighted here, actually, because that was the next thing I was going to ask you. So. And one thing you said in that context was, all beliefs were equal? And none were better or worse or more right or wrong than others? And in parentheses, I put really, I mean, because obviously, you know, is the moon made of green cheese? Or is it made of rock? Okay, I think we’ll lean toward rock, you know, there’s certain it’s like, you know, in the scientific method, as I understand it, you form hypotheses, and those hypotheses either gain or lose credibility as evidence, you know, warrants.

Andrew Newberg: Right, exactly? Well, you know, in, in that absolute infinite doubt, there really isn’t anything that is more notable than anything else. However, as you mentioned, and actually something that was always instilled in me by my father was sort of the practical side of things. And so that’s also part of why to me, science does continue to be of great value, because it does say, Well, there’s a much higher likelihood that the moon is made of rock than then it’s made of cheese, and we have a lot of evidence to support that we can measure its mass, we can look at its gravity and so forth. So yes, I mean, you know, when when we sort of bring everything back into the practical realm, and we bring it into the world, as in which we we live, then we bring in all of these probabilities, which have a huge emphasis and influence on the way we think about things. But at some very, you know, fundamental level, you know, we don’t really know what, what the universe is all about. And you know, even from a scientific perspective, you think about what quantum mechanics is, and, you know, the atom is mostly nothing. You know, how do we how do we decide, you know, what is the moon really rock, I mean, it’s actually mostly nothing.

Rick Archer: And there’s always the chance that some astronaut will come back with a cheese sample. You never know that possibility.

Andrew Newberg: They have a very nice Jarlsberg up there.

Rick Archer: Okay, now, on this note, I like to think of everything every religion has ever said or mystic has ever talked about as a hypothesis that could be explored. You know, I mean, a lot of religion is all about belief, but in my opinion, it would be more A sensible, more practical, more useful to approach everything that anybody has ever said but religions in this context as an apotheosis that we could explore experientially, at least, you know, theoretically or potentially. What do you say to that?

Andrew Newberg: Well, in many ways, it’s a it’s a perfect statement in the context of this field of neuro theology. I mean, that that is to me what neuro theology is about in many ways, which is, how do we explore the experiences that we have? How do we explore our religious and spiritual beliefs, practices, experiences? And, you know, there are multiple levels at which that can happen. So yes, you know, I scan maybe 300 people’s brains while they’re doing different practices. And obviously, we’ll talk about that later on. But there’s also just the idea of what do people actually think and feel? Can I explore what you’re feeling and thinking, Can I, one of the things that we talked about in, in our book how Enlightenment changes your brain is the data from a survey where we asked people about their most intense experiences. And simply, you know, what we’re saying is, let’s not rely on what Buddha said, Let’s not rely on what the great mystics have said. But let’s just ask people, What do they feel? What are they experiencing? What is it like for them? And are there commonalities Are there similarities, differences and so forth, that we can actually glean a lot of information about the investigation of those experiences? So I completely agree with you. I mean, to me, that’s, that really lies at the heart of neuro theology, which is that ability to explore, and whether it’s biologically exploring whether it’s looking at what other people are feeling and thinking based on how we ask them questions, or what we do personally. And as I said, I mean, that, to me, it’s it’s all going together. It’s not just, it’s me contemplating these questions for myself, it’s me asking you what, you know, what has experienced in your own mind? And it’s saying, Well, what else is going on at the level even of the human brain or, or our consciousness?

Rick Archer: Yeah. In chapter one of your, your book, it was entitled, The Happy prison of the brain. And I think that can kind of relate to what we’re saying here. In other words, well, why don’t you explain the phrase rather than me?

Andrew Newberg: Sure. Well, you know, I always say, Well, you know, and this was, again, part of the crux of my problem of, well, how do we, you know, here, we were kind of trapped within our brain, we are looking out at the world around us and trying to make some sense out of it. So, to some degree, we it is a prison. All we ever know is what our brain informs us about the world. So everything that we see, when we see colors out in the world, when we see trees, animals, when we hear sounds of traffic, or whatever, that’s all being processed by our brain. And as long as we’re inside of our brain, which is basically where we are, we’re never totally sure if what we think on the inside is, you know, works with regard to what is out there on the outside, we never know if it’s an absolute one to one correspondence. And in fact, part of what we’ve looked at, and even some of our previous work, is that our brain actually, I mean, it does a remarkable job on one hand, but it also does make a tremendous number of mistakes, both in our perceptions of the world, the way we think about the world with the way we believe about the world. So it really is, in many ways, this prison that kind of traps us inside, with no clear way of getting out now. Part of why I call it a happy prison is is that our brain basically keeps telling us that even though we are very limited in trying to understand what is essentially an infinite universe, we seem to be okay with that. I mean, we don’t we don’t go through the world, thinking, Oh, my gosh, I have, you know, the world is going to end because I have no idea what’s really going on out there. Our brain keeps telling us, you’ve got it all figured out, you know, you understand the world. And when you get into the car and turn the key, the engine is going to go on and you know what streets to take to get to work or whatever. So we kind of rely on all of that. And we go through life very blissfully happy with regard to most of that in general. And anytime the brain makes a mistake, it usually just keeps right on going and never bothers to tell us so. So that’s why to me it really is this kind of prison that we’re all in. The question is, is there any way of ultimately escaping it? Do we do we need to escape it? And what would that ultimately do for us? I mean, it gets back almost to the allegory of the cave and Plato and you know that you’re kind of trapped looking at things in one particular way. And then sometimes you have an opportunity to turn around. But how many times do you have to keep turning around or keep going to that next level? And as we were joking, right before we went on, you know, what the next, you know, universe, the next dimension, you know, our brain is just right here. So it’s a real challenge.

Rick Archer: Well, as you know, Enlightenment is sometimes sin. Artemis with the word liberation. And the idea there is that what we really are, is not this little tiny meat puppet, but that we are eternal unbounded universal consciousness, which is not constrained by even the universe, much less a brain. And that, you know, Enlightenment is the shift to realization of our true identity is that, and so at that point that would seem, one has been released from the prison of the brain, and yet one is still functioning, that that universality has come to a point where in this body, at least, it is able to function as a living reality through this particular instrument. Right? Yeah.

Andrew Newberg: Well, so, you know, what you said, is very much something that I’ve said in a slightly different way. But, you know, what I always say to people is that, you know, part of why I got into the study of spiritual experiences, and particularly the mystical ones, as you mentioned, is because those are the only examples of, of human experience that I’m aware of, where the person does escape the brain, you know, or at least reports that they hit some universal consciousness or Universal Mind, or whatever it is that the person, infinite oneness of the universe, that’s the only place where you ever actually hear of somebody theoretically doing it. So, to me, those are the most important experiences for us to look at. If we’re going to get to the answer to that question of, well, what are we supposed to think about in our, in our brain, in our mind about the world, because that may be the only avenue that we alter that we have out. And again, and I agree with you as well, that that part of where again, the neuro theology piece comes back into it is not just thinking about what that experience is that infinite oneness or that infinite consciousness? But how does it then come back and relate to ourselves to our brain? Is there are we are we creating it in our brain? Are we receiving it in our brain are we you know, as you mentioned, just sort of an instrument through which these processes work, and what what all of that ultimately mean in terms of who we are as human beings, and how we are to eventually understand the universe itself, our place within it, and what those kinds of mystical or Enlightenment experiences actually are. So I would wholeheartedly concur with that, that thought, and that, to me, is part of why I really have spent so much time trying to key in on what those experiences are and what we how we can understand them as part of the larger process.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m sure some skeptics, because they would say, Yeah, you are creating with your brain there. Yeah, it’s ridiculous to suggest that you are some kind of universal consciousness, there is no such thing. You know, your brain is somehow tricking you into having this experience. But on the flip side, though, you know, the, some ancient traditions would say, well, consciousness is really the foundation of it all and and everything that we see as apparently, physical is, in fact, consciousness sort of interacting with itself and giving rise to the appearance of physicality. And, and consciousness somehow has this agenda where it evolves more and more complex, sophisticated forms through which it can experience itself as a living reality, as in in an embodied sense. And that Enlightenment or liberation is a sort of end goal of that whole universal process. We finally come back home to work from whence we started to paraphrase TSI.

Andrew Newberg: Right? Well, an early article that I had written with Jean de Quilly, addressed this very issue where we were talking about consciousness and the brain. And, and I agree, I mean, you know, there to me, there’s sort of two very basic ways of looking at there’s probably multiple ways, but to me, there’s, there’s two very basic ways of looking at it, which is that, you know, the scientific way which says, the universe is matter. And out of that matter, consciousness arises. The problem, of course, with that is we have no explanation as to how consciousness would arise out of matter. And then to my knowledge, no one has, even though there been books written called Consciousness Explained, or whatever, I mean, no one, no one has really put it together, how that would actually happen. So to me, that’s a limitation of what science can say, Now, maybe science will figure it out someday. But at the moment, you know, we seem to have this pretty fundamental limitation. On the other hand, as you mentioned, there’s the alternative where we say, well, the universe is consciousness. And somehow the material world arises out of that, whatever, you know, whatever that means. We struggle to understand how that would happen. You know, how, what does that, you know, everything that you said, is that the consciousness ultimately kind of manifests itself into a physical universe, but what you know, how does that happen? And why, you know, why would there be a speed of light right, and why would all these things happen in an interview are a physical kind of way. So it seems to me that that, you know, at the moment, whether one takes a totally spiritual path or a totally material path, neither of them quite get us all the way there. And to me, again, this is where I find some value in the idea of neuro theology as a way of saying, let’s take both paths together and see, you know, where they ultimately meet in the middle, and whatever. And again, I don’t I’ve always said, I mean, I’m not sure if it’s 5050 or 90, you know, 10, or whatever. But But somehow, we need to understand what those different sides of the coin are. And maybe, maybe that’s just it. And sometimes I’ve even mused over the possibility that, that consciousness and matter are basically two ways of looking at the same thing and in, in an analogous way, not not to invoke quantum mechanics, per se, but in an analogous way, when we look at a, you know, an electron is either a particle or a wave, for example, it depends on how you how you measure it, how you look at it, it may relate to the entire universe that, you know, if we look at it, for the from the perspective of consciousness, we find consciousness. And if we look at it from the perspective of measurement, we find the material world I, I don’t know. But again, those are to me the questions that need to be explored as part of this process.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s interesting to note that, in many enlightened people have said, well, when I look at the world, I see myself, I’m seeing that that same stuff of consciousness, as it were, that I had known myself to be at some point earlier on, maybe initially, they, you know, there was some glimpse of pure awareness. And but the world seems separate and concrete still, but eventually, even the the appreciation of the world is in terms of the self. And so that’s kind of a unity state in which there’s really only one thing and that’s

Andrew Newberg: consciousness. Right. Right. And, and, you know, again, you know, it gets back to your point about how can this be investigated. And there can be some very creative ways. I mean, there’s a very large literature out there of people looking at how consciousness can manipulate matter, and you know, at a distance, whatever, whatever that means. But at least from a physical perspective, it looks like it’s at a distance. And so there have been some very creative approaches to that the data has been very compelling, obviously controversial, as well, because it ultimately entails a pretty substantial paradigm shift in terms of how we understand our mind and our brain. You know, there’s even a very interesting study that a colleague of mine has been working on, looking at near death experiences, and, and part of what part of what happens in a near death experience is this, you know, this experience where you rise out of your body, and you kind of float up to the top of the ceiling and looked down on things? Well, you know, he had this very clever idea that if you could go to trauma Bay’s, where it’s likely that somebody is going to die and have a near death experience, if you could put a shelf in above somebody’s head and put, you know, some picture on the opposite side, opposite side of it, like the Eiffel Tower or something like that, then if somebody has a near death experience, and then you come back, and you talk to them about what they saw, and what they felt, if they say, Yeah, I floated up to the room, and it was the strangest thing. But suddenly, I saw a picture of the Eiffel Tower, that would have some huge implications is to maybe their brain really, you know, is able to separate from kind of the other way around, maybe consciousness is able to separate from the brain. So there are ways of looking at these kinds of questions both in a very personal reflective, you know, which goes back to kind of what the mystics would say about their own experiences, but to be also able to apply a bit of a scientific perspective, that that might actually bring some very exciting kind of results. So, so we have a lot to look forward to, I hope, but it’ll be very interesting to see whether we were able to be able to explore those issues and find some information that will radically change the way we think about our world.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve heard you say that neuro theology is kind of in its infancy, and there’s a huge range of potential, you know, progress for it to make over the coming years, decades, centuries. Sure. I hope so. Yeah. And I love the whole science, spirituality interface, even though I have no scientific training, but I really feel like spirituality can benefit tremendously from the sort of empirical rigor of a scientific approach in which we don’t get all caught up in moods and imaginations, and God knows what but you know, we’re able to sort of proceed in a careful, verifiable, experiential manner. And there have been some spiritual teachers who’ve talked that way. I mean, I think the Buddha kind of did you know, he didn’t want people to get all caught up and fancies he wanted them to have direct experience. He said, don’t even believe what I say, you know, prove it, prove it in your own experience.

Andrew Newberg: Exactly. Exactly. And absolutely, and So I completely concur with that idea of, you know, trying to understand, I think there’s huge value in each of us working within that prison of our brain to explore the questions in our for ourselves. Part of what I also, you know, one of the things I talk about, in my book principles of neuro theology, we talk a lot about some of the aspects that we need to think about methodologically. And it gets back to what you were just saying, which is, part of what I think science can help us understand a little bit are the biases and the beliefs that we have, and how we invoke them at different in different ways. You know, when I, when I do talk about these topics, and you mentioned, you know, an atheist, for example, who might come at this in a different way, you know, what, what are the beliefs that any given individual has? How are they using those beliefs? How does it change the way they think, and address these kinds of questions. And I think sometimes, being able to demonstrate that for people can be very valuable. And so whether, again, whether it’s, it’s a survey of people’s beliefs, and so often, we just inherently assume that we know what somebody believes, because they call themselves a Buddhist, or because they call themselves Catholic or whatever, as opposed to actually asking them the questions, as opposed to asking them what they really feel, and trying to understand what you know, however, they’re defining something, whether it’s the same way that we’re defining it. And we’ve already in this interview talked about a variety of terms like consciousness, like spirituality, what do they mean, you know, what is what is consciousness?

Rick Archer: Really should nail all that down somehow? Right? And

Andrew Newberg: I, you know, that’s one of my very first principle of the of neuro theology is death is the principle of definitions that while you know, it’s always going to be a challenge to truly come to a universally accepted definition of virtually any of these terms, to at least start with that, at least start with what I when I say consciousness, what do I mean? What do you mean, when you say, consciousness? And can we use that information? So that at least we know what we’re talking about? And then and then we, you know, we walked from there. But, but definition is also have some very interesting issues as well. Because where do we what’s the source of a definition? If we let’s talk consciousness? I mean, should the definition of consciousness come from Buddhism? Should it come from a monotheistic tradition? Should you know when when I’m a doctor, so when I say somebody’s conscious, that really just means they’re awake? You know, that doesn’t, that doesn’t refer to the, the consciousness that we talk of in terms of self reflective consciousness, and it certainly doesn’t refer to any kind of universal consciousness is, you know, people have looked at the relationship between consciousness and quantum mechanics. So there’s, there’s a physics element to it, there’s a full philosophical, and in all of those, how do we then begin to craft what consciousness may be, so that we can then better understand what we mean when we talk about it and help us to better understand it?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think an underlying point to the point you just made is we in which we discussed earlier, is that regardless of our understandings, and attitudes, and opinions and perceptions, and so on, then there must be some kind of actual reality out there, that is not subservient to our understanding. You know, a stop sign is a stop sign. And some people see it as a giraffe or something that’s not the stop signs problem. And so, you know, what we’re all trying to do is that you’ll blind men and the elephant metaphor, you know, feeling different parts of the elephant coming up with completely different descriptions. And what we’re trying to do if we really want to understand what’s what is arrive at a congruence we between our perception and understanding and the actual reality of things, and ideally, a collective one where we’re all sort of on the same page. We’re far from that. But that should be a goal maybe? Well, absolutely.

Andrew Newberg: And that is very much. So I mean, part of what I see the value of neuro theology is helping people to understand the differences that we have in terms of our beliefs, and in terms of the biases and so forth, that we each hold, but also, again, coming back and saying, but you know, what I mean, part of the thing is, is that we each have, you know, we each have a frontal lobe, we each have a temporal lobe in our brain. And so all of those different parts of our brain for each one of us, is looking at the world and interpreting the world. And so we bring in our, you know, our genetics, how we were raised, what types of, you know, what sacred texts we may have read when we were a child, what we all had different teachers and different life experiences. Maybe some of us lost a parent or sibling, maybe some of us, you know, had very happy childhoods. We have a very sad childhood. And all of this, you know, brings us to wherever we are in the moment As we now look at the world, and then try to make some sense out of it so. So I think that, again, trying to do that in a very systematic way and in a way that can try to bring in not just what the spiritual side says, and not just what science says, but to bring them together in a way that hopefully helps us to, you know, helps to inform both sides, as well as ultimately helps to inform us and, and in fact, I mean, part of why I also enjoy the field of neuro theology is that when I go and give a talk, when I, when I do an interview, it’s exciting to me, because each person, each group can take different things from it. So my discussions with a group of psychiatrists, where we might get into well, is a mystical experience a psychotic delusion or not. That’s an interesting, fascinating discussion for a psychiatrist to have. That’s not necessarily the kind of conversation you’re going to have with a group of people in a church or a synagogue, or a group of mystics, who might hold those experiences to the highest, you know, as the highest type of experiences we can have. It might be interesting for them to know that sometimes people think that they’re, they’re psychotic. But, you know, also why not, you know, why are they not psychotic? What are the reasons why it isn’t that way? And how do we build all of that information together?

Rick Archer: Yeah, the thought that occurs to me is that if you had a large collection of people that had sort of attained Enlightenment, quote, unquote, and had, you know, broken out of the happy prison of the brain, and had, you know, realize their true nature as universal awareness, that is not to say that they’re still not going to have different perceptions, and attitudes and opinions as individuals, I know people who probably fit that description, who are all across the political spectrum who have different attitudes about this. And that, I mean, you know, Papaji, for instance, famous sage and Lucknow hated Pakistan, because he had grown up there and his family was kicked out when India was divided, he used to, you know, just be screaming his head off during India, Pakistan, soccer matches, you know, rooting for India. And so that was his attitude that couldn’t be some guy, enlightened guy in Pakistan, who had the exact opposite attitude. So, you know, so this universality we’re talking about doesn’t necessarily totally infuse into individuality.

Andrew Newberg: Exactly. And, you know, some of the things, as I mentioned, when we were talking earlier about just my background and training, you know, I was very struck by when reading the Bhagavad Gita and sort of the Ida, you know, obviously, I’m sure most of the listeners would know, but, you know, the idea that you could sort of you could attain Enlightenment, but sometimes you still have to go to battle, I mean, sometimes you still have to, you still have to live and do certain things, because of the way our body manifests. And so, you know, now, I don’t know, I mean, maybe someday, we will achieve some new evolutionary Enlightenment and no longer need a physical body or whatever, but, but there will always be certain elements of whatever the universe is that we have to contend with, even though we may understand it fully. And, and, you know, there’s there’s a similar parallelism to science, I mean, we may be able to understand, you know, the nature of the atom or what quantum mechanics is, but we were still going to, at the end of the day, we’re still going to put the glass on the table, or we’re still going to fill up, you know, our tank of gas, within our car, so that we can go somewhere. So we understand that even though we might look at some incredible aspects of the world, what do they ultimately mean on a very practical level, and even though we may understand, you know, the dynamics of airspeed and all that we may still want, you know, our football team to win, or we might still want our soccer team to win and, and that, that that’s a different kind of experience for people. So but I do think that and I mean, this is part of what has come out of some of our surveys, is that there are certain elements that and perhaps maybe a way of saying it is appreciations or compassion, that helps us to understand that even though I may, you know, I may not like Pakistan, I understand what a Pakistani person is, and that they’re part of this universe. And so I can say, I want my team to win or I want this to happen. But there’s, there’s you kind of operate on another level as well. And I think that that’s part of what those experiences are about. And again, I think that’s part of what we see when people report back from having these experiences that they do have a new appreciation and an understanding for other people and a compassion for the idea that people have different viewpoints.

Rick Archer: Yeah, certainly universal love and compassion is kind of a traditional characteristic of, of enlightened beings. Exactly. You know saintliness That kind of thing. So I didn’t want to malign Apogee there, he’s just a personal post, we’ll

Andrew Newberg: let him slide on.

Rick Archer: Yeah, one little wrap up point from 10 minutes ago, I just want to say it arose as puzzles me that a person could call themselves both an atheist and a scientist. You can call yourself an agnostic and a scientist, but an atheist, because, again, you’re you’re being rigid about a hypothesis that you can’t really disprove.

Andrew Newberg: Right? Well, yes, I mean, I’ve always tried to make the argument that, again, we are all trapped within our brain and the atheist as much as the religious and spiritual person. And so when a scientist says the verse is, it is measurable, it is something that can observe, it operates based on certain rules and things that are observable to me. And measurable, those are assumptions in those are theories and ideas, assumptions that are made. Ultimately, they are beliefs, and they’re, they’re good beliefs. I mean, they work and they can be very helpful, and they help us to explore the world around us and in a materialistic way. But But I agree, you know, I certainly know of a number of atheists who have said to me, Well, you know, I don’t have any beliefs, you know, everything that I know, I know, and I’m saying, but, you know, the data, look at the data, you know, look at the data that shows so arrogant, right? I mean, the data is, and and the data is just the opposite, that, you know, no matter what any of us think about the world, we I mean, we are ultimately, you know, we talked about the prison of the brain. I mean, all we know, all I know, right now is what’s going on in my room, I’m assuming that you know, that the the electrons and so forth, that are connecting me to you are doing it in a way that makes sense. Hopefully, I’m answering questions that are being, you know, ask that I’m interpreting what you’re trying to do in an inappropriate way. But I’m just aware of what’s happening right around me, and everyone is so you know, for anyone to come to some conclusion that they absolutely get it and they understand the world, to the exclusion of other ideas, you know, goes back to your analogy, also, which I use a lot the the blind man with the elephant, you know, we’re, you know, we have an infinite universe. So for any of us to think that somehow, we’re even close to understanding what the world is about, to me seems, as you sort of said, very arrogant, and, and kind of not really aware of our own biases and issues that, that our brain brings to us.

Rick Archer: And history of science is littered with, you know, people who were adamant like that, and then were later proven wrong. Absolutely. So, then there’s, go ahead,

Andrew Newberg: whenever anybody says to me, you know, well, you know, like, science is going to lead to, you know, kind of the, the moral way of thinking about things in the right way. And I say, but, you know, how many scientists do you know, you know, I mean, scientists have been pretty nasty to each other over the years, you know, as, as bad as the church was to Galileo. You know, anytime somebody comes up with a new idea, quantum mechanic, I mean, look, you know, whether it’s quantum mechanics or, you know, any a variety of new ideas that come about, a lot of times the scientific community, you know, not only disagrees, but goes out of its way to ridicule and destroy people’s careers and things like that. It’s, you know, we’re, they’re human beings, too, you know, and, and we’re all enrolled in that same boat.

Rick Archer: I remember hearing, I don’t know if that’s true. And I remember hearing that surgeons used to, like, not routinely, but on occasion scrape a scalpel on their shoe before doing surgery just to ridicule Louis Pasteur.

Andrew Newberg: Well, I’ve eat right. And, you know, it’s always amazing to me, just how how strongly, you know, scientists adhere to their own ideas and beliefs about the world, whether it’s health and, you know, I, you know, the example I give a lot is, when I was going through medical school, everyone believed that if you got a stomach ulcer, it was because you had too much acid in your stomach. And then somebody said, had the crazy idea that it was an infection. And I remember reviewing the articles and everybody says, Oh, the articles are terrible, and they’re poorly done. And these people don’t know what they’re talking about and how crazy that is. Today, we treat people with antibiotics and we go lower H. Pylori. Exactly, exactly. So, you know, on and on it goes.

Rick Archer: Anybody who’s interested in this particular topic would do well to read Thomas Kuhns, the history of Scientific Revolutions, I believe that was the title of the book, where he talks about the whole idea of paradigms and resistance to the change of paradigms and then, you know, anomalies that make that bring it to the point where the paradigm has to shift and everybody sort of like, you know, gets dragged kicking and kicking and screaming and it’s a great way of seeing things and it says someone else said science progresses by a series of funerals.

Andrew Newberg: One funeral at a time. But you know, now again, here’s where like neuro theology has an opportunity to come in and say Okay, what goes on in your brain as a belief system as a belief changes? So, you know, take somebody who goes through an Enlightenment experience? I mean, why does that experience change the person? What is it about that experience, which is unique about it, which is different than all the other experiences that we have? So I mean, let’s say somebody’s listening to us right now, maybe I say something that they’ve never heard before. Now, their brain has several options. I mean, they can either say, Well, you know, yeah, this guy has written a bunch of papers, but I don’t know who he is, and blow off whatever I say. Maybe they will look into a book that I’ve written, or some articles that somebody else has written and say, Okay, well, there is some information here, but still doesn’t totally make sense. You know, or maybe they’ll say, Gee, that that’s incredible. You know, that’s a whole new way of thinking that I’d never thought about. And, you know, so what does go on in our brain that helps us to evaluate an idea, a particular belief, a particular fact, you know, whatever, whatever term one wants to use? And how much information how much data for each one of us do we need in order to convince us to think about things in a different way? I mean, we’ve talked about atheists a few times. One of my very good friends, who’s a very, very staunch atheist said, you said to me one time, well, look, if there’s really god, why doesn’t God just come down here, shake my hand and say, you know, here I am. And then from then on, I will absolutely believe in God. And I said, No, you won’t, you’ll check yourself into a mental institution, because you think that you’ve now had a psychotic break, that you’re now seeing God, you know, so if his initial belief is so much that, that you know, that you’re never going to believe that God exists, then no matter how much data you bring, I mean, at some point, there’s going to be enough data, theoretically, that would change somebody’s way of thinking, but, but exactly how much? And of what type? And how do we think about that? It’s, these are the questions that remain for us to look at.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, some people think Jesus was God, or the Son of God, look what happened to him?

Andrew Newberg: Right. Right. And, you know, I mean, you know, brings back to the movies like, oh, god and Morgan, Bruce Almighty, right? You know, I mean, like, how much do you need to be convinced that, that the world is different? And, you know, the other movie that I always thought really captured it very well, it was contact, the one that was written by Yeah, by Carl Sagan. And you know, it ultimately brings you to the peak moment where, you know, the the Jodie Foster character, who is a pure scientist, and does not believe in anything spiritual, has this unbelievable experience. And she has no proof about it. And yet she feels that she needs to argue that, you know, that that is the true experience of the universe. And it’s very, very touching moment where the, you know, the person who is the spiritual person in her life, says, our, you know, our goals are one of the same and which is basically the exploration of truth.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that leads me into something I wanted to talk about with you. You know, we’re talking a few minutes ago about how the scientific approach could be really good for spirituality. I think that spirituality perhaps even has more to offer science, then vice versa. Because spirituality explores realms of reality, and has the means to do so at least ideally, which scientists switch scientific instrument instruments cannot explore. And I often like to think of the human nervous system as the ultimate scientific instrument, you probably thought that to which, which, if used in the right way, and it can be a nice, rigorous systematic way, can open us up to realms of experience that no Hubble telescope or Large Hadron Collider could ever touch.

Andrew Newberg: Right? Well, and, you know, in terms of my own approach to these questions, I, you know, again, wholeheartedly agree with that point that, that if I were to just look at any of these questions, for me, just as an externalized, kind of scientific perspective, I would learn things. But to me, the far more important in many ways, is the personal, contemplative aspect of what I do, which I do feel is in many ways, an experiment, a scientific approach, to try to do something very systematically to understand the world around us. And so I also agree with what you were saying that spirituality has a lot to offer, what science can say about the world? I think science also has things the Internet to be able to offer to the spiritual realm as well. But, but I think that there, there are these aspects of the world. I mean, you mentioned like the Hubble telescope. Well, ultimately, when we see that incredible picture of these, you know, billions of galaxies that are millions and billions tons of light years away, that’s still ultimately an experience that we’re having, you know, whatever is captured on that film is just what that instrument does. But it’s the human person, that’s now saying, oh my gosh, that’s a galaxy, or Oh, my, you know, this is that’s gravity at work, that’s Einstein or whatever. And so it still is always, you know, no matter how good the science is, it’s really, in many ways, meaningless, unless there’s that human person, that human consciousness that can, can understand it a little bit more. But But again, as you mentioned earlier, there’s still the, that whatever the external world is, there’s that thing that’s out there that we keep trying to chip away at, in one way or another and trying to figure it out. And, and, and again, I would agree that, you know, with without that spiritual piece to it, I think we’re really going to fall short of the mark of trying to understand what the universe is all about.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Now, as a neurophysiologist, I imagine you could hit people up to the appropriate instruments, EEG and whatnot, put them in a separate room, and you could be in the other room looking at monitors, and you could tell whether they were awake or asleep or dreaming, right?

Andrew Newberg: To a large extent, yes, to a pretty great extent. But you’d

Rick Archer: have a hard time telling what they were thinking in their waking state or dreaming about in their dreaming state. And so that really, instrumentality can’t really detect that kind of thing.

Andrew Newberg: Well, right, and this is, you know, I teach a course, and the University of Pennsylvania called human brain imaging, and one of the things I really emphasize to people is that as great as these scanners are at looking at blood flow, and all these changes in the brain, if I don’t know what the person actually is thinking and feeling, all of those changes become irrelevant. So you need to have some subjective measure, whether you ask them, whether you watch what they’re doing, or there’s something that’s going on, so that you have some inkling as to what’s going on within their brain. Now, interestingly, apropos of your question or your point, there was a study that was done, where they had people think about two different things. And they scan their brain when they said, you know, think about one thing a and think about thing B, then when they could say, Okay, now you think about whichever one you want, they could actually determine whether they were thinking about a or b, with about, you know, 80%, I think, you know, ability, so you can start to tell what’s going on in a person’s mind a little bit. But you still don’t know for sure, until you ask them. And you know, even on a very practical level, I again, I taught teach a lot in terms of psychiatry, and so forth. And I say to people, look, if I were to do a brain scan of you, and and it looked like somebody who had depression, there was kind of the characteristic findings of depression. And I went into the person I said, you know, your brain looks like you have depression, do you feel depressed? If they said to me, no, I feel great. I’m not going to treat them, I mean, I’m not going to start giving them an antidepressant. And conversely, if I have somebody who comes in, and I do a scan of their brain, and looks totally normal, and they say, I like I’m ready to kill myself, I feel so depressed, I’m absolutely obligated to treat that person, even though I’m looking at, you know, quote, unquote, a normal brain. So whatever we see on a brain scan, you have to know what’s going on within the person themselves, whether it’s a spiritual issue or something clinical.

Rick Archer: So based on what you just said, Do you feel that the shortcoming is really with the technology to be that if the technology were infinitely sophisticated, there would be a correlation between what you were detecting with it and what the person was experiencing? Well,

Andrew Newberg: one of the things that I talked about in principles neuro theology book is our realize that there’s a bit of an uncertainty. Id just like we have the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. There’s sort of a neuro theology uncertainty principle as well. And, and I actually think that it is not a limit. There are limitations in how good we can get at this point. And you know, and certainly, when I talk about a brain scan, and I say, you know, somebody’s you know, this area of the brain lit up, got more active. I mean, there could be 20 neurons in there, there could be 100 neurons, it could be a million neurons, I don’t know exactly what’s going on. So certainly, we should theoretically be able to get better and better along those lines. So that is part of the process. But I think at some fundamental level, the neuron itself, you know, there’s something going on with whether it’s in a neuron or the complexity of neurons or whatever, that the thought arises. In fact, you know, again, this is another point that I bring up with my students. I say, Well, look, you know, you’ve got neurons that are all interconnected with each other. You’ve got blood flow that goes into them. There’s an electrical signal that conducts down the length of the neuron to the next neuron. There’s neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that are released when they get there. You know, there’s there’s metabolic activity, there’s, you know, mitochondrial active, there’s all these things going on wearing all of that is the actual thought itself, where’s the consciousness itself. And again, I mean, I personally think that we might do better and better at figuring out, you know, where we might be able to exclude certain things, for example, but I think that we may ultimately run into an impossible gap to be able to bridge that that we can never truly know. And much like the Heisenberg, you know, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, for those who aren’t familiar with it basically says that it’s not our instruments, the closer we get to being able to measure something, ultimately, we wind up affecting it in and of itself. So we never truly know what it is. And I think to a certain extent, I mean, ultimately, if you could sort of change what somebody’s neuron is doing so that you can know what it’s doing. Well, now you’re changing what the thought like you don’t you don’t know what the person is actually thinking about in that moment. And even if they’re telling you what’s happening, they’re still telling you several seconds after whatever’s happened, has happened. So you never truly know. And I think it may always be a bit of an impossibility to get all the way there. And again, it gets back to your your larger point of this is why you need the spiritual. And this is why you need that contemplative part, because that’s part of what that that’s the experience. That’s the thing that we ultimately need to find

Rick Archer: one point that’s been in the back of my mind for a while, as we’ve been speaking, and which is why I brought up that thing about waking, dreaming and sleeping man, but being able to tell what state you’re in is that, you know, many spiritual authorities speak of higher states of consciousness as being distinct, unique states of consciousness, as different from waking, dreaming and sleeping as they are from each other, both subjectively and physiologically. And that we have the sort of the potential to experience the States not only temporarily, but in an abiding way. But we just haven’t unfolded that potential. And so, you know, much of the stuff you study might be considered to be, you know, variations of waking state where a person is having a particular experience of this, that or the other type, whereas, and then they continue on in waking state after they’ve had that experience. Whereas it might also be an interesting field of study. And maybe you’ve done this to some extent, to study people who report being in a completely different state of consciousness 24/7, for instance, one characteristic of such a state is a which I have pages of notes on from various people who reported it is having a maintenance of pure awareness throughout waking, dreaming, and sleeping, even possibly during anesthesia, not awareness of anything, not that your senses are functioning, but that awareness itself is awake to itself, even when the senses are shut down. So that would be an interesting thing to study. And who knows what other higher states there may be, that you kind of want to parse out what those states are, as opposed to, you know, speaking in tongues or things that might just be sort of variations or aberrations of waking state.

Andrew Newberg: Right. And so, you know, there’s some very interesting points you raised there. Now, we’ve touched on this in our work in several different ways. on a, on a very, on an on a more philosophical level, I suppose. We talk about epistemic states that, that each of these states are different ways of knowing the universe, essentially. And that they are, you know, as you were saying, you know, what the mystics might say that they are fundamentally distinct states, and we call in our model of these different epistemic states, we talk about the everyday reality state that is a state in which we look at the world and we perceive objects in the world, and we see how they interact with each other in certain ways. And maybe we use science or whatever. But that that is very distinct from a mystical state, where we look at the world in a completely different way. What What’s also interesting about these epistemic states is that we tend to look at people who are in the other state, from wherever we are now, as being, you know, in a less real or a state, which is an illusion, you know, people use different terms to talk about it, but it’s not the same kind of state. And again, that’s part of where my interest in my profound interest in studying mystical experiences because, you know, when, when we’re in a dream when we’re dreaming, and we wake up, and you know, for the average person, you’re in a dream, it can feel incredibly real and your brain is responding as if that is that Through reality, then you wake up, you know, somebody’s chasing you in the dream, you’re out of breath,

Rick Archer: you’re scared, you’re gonna, your actual heart is pounding and their heart

Andrew Newberg: is pounding, right, and you wake up. And you know, for a split second, you’re still scared and running, you know, in your in your brain. But the moment that you wake up, then you say, Oh, that was just a dream, you relegate it to an inferior aspect of reality. Now, when people have the mystical experience, the same thing happens again, where you now look back on the everyday reality and say, that was just that was the dream, or that was the less real estate, and now I’m in the real world. But what’s also unique about the mystical state, is that if people come out of that state, they still perceive that state to be more fundamentally real sure, than the everyday reality experience. And then, as you said, some people,

Rick Archer: some people don’t, and they don’t stay there.

Andrew Newberg: Exactly, yeah. And now it gets back to what you were also talking about, again, here’s where neuro theology I think could come in, because we could hook up somebody to, you know, who, and we haven’t. But you know, you mentioned, I mean, it’d be great to be able to bring in somebody who can refer you to some people, that would be wonderful, I would love that, you know, it’d be great to be able to look at what’s going on in that person’s brain, and how that is relative, you know, how that relates to a different person’s brain. Now, you know, we may not be able to find a distinction, that’s, that’s valuable, in part because of the limitations of our science. But there may ultimately be, you know, as I’ve often said to people, you know, in some senses, the most incredible finding I might ever have on one of my brain scan studies is that somebody has this incredible mystical experience, and nothing changes on their brain, because maybe I would have actually captured something that wasn’t biological. But was that that consciousness, that spiritual piece that that didn’t specifically have anything to do with the biology of who we are?

Rick Archer: Isn’t there always a correlation between mind and body? I mean, any thought we think any should experience there must be something going on in the brain.

Andrew Newberg: There should be there shouldn’t be yes. But the point is that there, you know, how much of it is truly biological versus how much of it may actually be something beyond that. But But yes, I mean, ultimately, there, there could always be some biological signature. You know, the other analogy that I sometimes make is that some of what we’re trying to do is trying to understand a boat by studying its wake, you know, you can, you can kind of see, like, you get a sense that it’s a big boat, or a little boat, or it’s fast or slow or whatever. But you don’t know a whole, you know, there’s still a lot that you’re not going to get from from studying the way.

Rick Archer: Yeah, one thing I mean, when I think of your field, there, there’s a maddeningly vast array of variables, it must be almost impossible to sort of proceed with as much scientific rigor as scientists are no like to. I mean, I mean, as you’re speaking just then I was thinking, okay, yeah, there’s the subtle body, though. There’s the Kundalini there, the chakras, there’s the naughty, there’s all this subtle stuff going on, that could account for spiritual experiences that wouldn’t necessarily show up in the gross body. And then, of course, you have, you know, hundreds and 1000s of different techniques. And even if everybody’s practicing the same technique, they all have different nervous systems, different backgrounds, different conditionings, and so on. So it really seems like it’s gonna have to be a mix of hard and very soft science for a long time. Right, dependent on.

Andrew Newberg: Yeah, you know, and one of the things that I do say to a lot of my scientific colleagues is how this whole field may actually benefit science, because you’re right, I mean, you’re we’re trying to study something, which is not easy to study, you know, we’re trying to study something which is subjective, we’re trying to study something, which has a very individualized aspect to it, trying to try to figure out, you know, if you lined up 10, mystics, you know, and they all felt oneness, I mean, did they all feel it the same way and, and, you know, go back to the work that we did with our, with our spiritual survey or survey of spiritual experiences, you know, some people said that they, when they had the experience, they, they felt oneness, some people said, they felt a force, some people, they felt God, some people they felt an energy. And we, you know, are is that all the same experience that then is described differently based on how we use our language? Or are they fundamentally different experiences? And again, I mean, you know, I think you’re also touching on you know, what we talked about early that earlier on that neuro theology, in many ways is in its infancy, because there are so many huge questions and so many variables that, you know, if you had a billion dollars, and you could study all 1000s of, you know, techniques and experiences and individuals, then, you know, maybe you could start to say something a little bit more definitive about it, but, but you still have have the experience itself that consciousness itself, which may always be something which is a little bit beyond whatever our brain scans can show.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and even if you had a billion dollars, I don’t think this is the kind of problem that you can just throw money at, I think it’s going to take, it’s going to take decades generations for this whole science to evolve. And, you know, maybe there will be eventually some highly advanced society, which understands the spiritual dimensions and all the potentials of human experience as rigorously as we now understand, you know, Newtonian physics or something. But boy, it’s gonna be well,

Andrew Newberg: it Yep, absolutely.

Rick Archer: Okay, a couple of questions came in, let me ask them. This is from Francoise in Glastonbury UK. He says, Can we explain experiences in the light of neuroscience experiences such as out of body premonitions, visions near death, having our awareness moving out of our being into something or someone else, etc. Experiences of oneness and bliss seem to be explained as a brain state as in the case of Jill Bolte Taylor, how do we know there’s a higher purpose underlying this?

Andrew Newberg: Well, you know, I think it touches on some of the things that we’ve been talking about, I mean, on one hand, there are certain types of experiences that we do a little bit better at, you know, in terms of trying to isolate. So, you know, there certainly been a lot of studies of different emotional responses. And we know that if so, if somebody feels love, or if somebody feels compassion, then you know that that is something that, that we might be able to show has something to do with the limbic system, for example. On the other hand, some of the more ethereal, not non material type of experiences, like whether it’s something like a psychic phenomenon or premonitions or out of body experiences, we can potentially offer some ideas as to how that type of thing could happen, you know, so for example, we might postulate and I know, we’ve done this, when we did an article on near death experiences, and people talk about the body, you know, at the out of body experience component, well, we know that there’s a sensorial representation of the body in the brain, and perhaps because of some neuronal shift, that sensorial sense of the brain of the body, excuse me, can somehow be perceived as shifting outside. And so we now feel our body, but not in ourselves, but we feel it outside.

Rick Archer: Yeah, but then you see something that was on a ledge outside the hospital window that you couldn’t possibly have seen, right, and that kind of thing. Right?

Andrew Newberg: Well, and that gets back to, you know, the study I was talking about earlier, which is that theoretically, then, you know, we should be able to find ways of, I mean, theoretically, there are ways of testing those kinds of phenomena. And, and then if we can demonstrate that those phenomena do occur, we can still look at what’s going on in the brain. So for I mean, again, you know, an interesting study that we did was a study of Brazilian mediums. And so we had a bunch of people come up from Brazil, who did a specific kind of practice called psychogeography, where they got into a trance state. And they, they wrote down what they thought the spirits were telling them to write down. Now, you know, and this is perhaps another really important point about neuro theology, which is that we always have to be very careful about whatever conclusions that we draw, we saw changes in their brain. And one of the things that we saw, for example, is that their frontal lobes, which is located right behind your forehead, tended to quiet down. Now, the frontal lobes normally help us to kind of think purposely about the world and help us to kind of figure out, you know, where we are in the world and what we’re doing in the world. So the idea that they may shut down, to allow things to, you know, come to us more easily, that may make some sense. Now, again, you know, when I show that the the frontal lobe changes in this person who’s experiencing the spirits, that just tells me what’s going on in their brain, when they have that experience, it doesn’t prove to me that the spirits are floating around in the world are communicating with them, it doesn’t prove that they’re not, you know, it just proves what’s going on in the brain when they have the experience. And, and again, that kind of comes back to we need that spiritual side to understand what that experience truly is. But we also may be able to find ways of of trying to prove certain things, you know, we may be able to identify something that, theoretically, this, this individual would never have known or like you said, you know, somebody feels that they’ve wandered down the hall and they see a patient in another room. And, you know, with red hair, well, we might be able to show that or prove that and so there are things that we might be able to prove there are also certainly limitations that we’ll have to deal with.

Rick Archer: Yeah, and of course, repeatability is part of the scientific method. And you know what, it’s hard pardon? Which is hard and hard in this instance? Yeah, I mean, ordinarily, you can, you know, you read a scientific paper, and they, they mentioned, the exact kind of equipment they use and everything else. So somebody else could try to do the same thing and replicate it. But with this, I mean, you know, theoretically, those Brazilian mediums could teach somebody else to be a medium in the same way. And, you know, potentially, they could end up having the same experience. But then again, there’s all kinds of questions about whether they be capable of it, whether they’re wired properly for that kind of thing. You know, but that, again, everybody’s not wired to be a nuclear physicists, so, and some experiments take decades before they yield results. So the whole spiritual experiment, you know, maybe some people are more suited for it than others more, they progress more rapidly, and maybe even so, it might take them 1020 3040 years before they reach, you know, such and such that the Buddha described or something,

Andrew Newberg: exactly. Oh, now, again, I mean, you know, you could theoretically tried to do studies to look at that, you know, you could go to a Buddhist monastery in Tibet or something, and you could scan, you know, all of the novices today, and then go see who would Yeah, and then go back 30 years from now and find out who got enlightened and who didn’t. And, but, but But even there, you know, well, this raises a whole other interesting point, which we’ve talked about some of my colleagues and I, which is, you know, let’s take this specific point of Enlightenment. Who makes that determination?

Rick Archer: Yeah. You know, I mean, so, so traditions, the master has to kind of confirm it, you know,

Andrew Newberg: exactly. And, you know, we’ve often thought about having not only the subjective measure of the individual, but some external person being able to decide, and I mean, wouldn’t it be fascinating to know that, you know, that the master says, you know, Guy number one, seven, and nine have hit Enlightenment, and then you go to one, seven, and nine? And maybe two of them say, No, not right. I don’t think I’ve hit it yet. On the other hand, you may have number three, who says, Oh, I haven’t been enlightened for years,

Rick Archer: then again, fMRI and EEG on them. And sure enough, seven and nine have a habit in terms

Andrew Newberg: of WhatsApp. Yeah, whatever that means.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s, uh, you know, I’m in Fairfield, Iowa, I used to be in the TM movement. And, you know, Maharshi had this idea that, that students should ideally attain higher states of consciousness as they went through their academic program. And that part of the testing should be some kind of neurophysiological thing where you certify that they have not only learned something about literature, or physics, but they actually have attained such and such level of consciousness, that never really panned out. But it’s an interesting idea.

Andrew Newberg: Well, I think part of the problem, you know, again, this also goes into this, you’re trying to understand what an Enlightenment is, like, is there a singular path, you know, and at least again, our data suggests that there clearly is not I mean, when, when people have when we did this survey, and we have about 2000, people who provided narratives and information, you know, some of them had experiences through drug induced states, some of them had near death experiences, some of them through meditation, and even through, you know, different types of meditation and things like that, you know, I mean, it’s, you know, take it to a very practical level, I mean, there’s a lot of ways of being a really good tennis player, you know, you can be left hand you can be right hand, you have a one handed backhand, a two handed backhand. It’s winning in the end that matters, and it doesn’t matter exactly how you get there, as long as you get there. And so, you know, with Enlightenment, you know, we, it’s an interesting question to say, well, you know, if somebody takes psilocybin or LSD, and has an incredible spiritual experience, or maybe even feels enlightened, are they you know, is it is it? Is it more? Is that a justifiable, legitimate way of doing it, compared to the, to the monk who spend this, you know, 40 years in the monastery? And I don’t I don’t know. But you know, when we looked at the survey, for example, the people who did it through, quote, unquote, natural means versus those people who did it through drugs, at least descriptively the experience seem extremely similar. So

Rick Archer: were the drug induced people still in that state? No, no, exactly. Yeah. As the woman I interviewed last week, said she was a llama, American female Lama. She said, You know, it’s like taking psychedelic drugs is kind of like climbing a tree in the forest. And you suddenly get the panorama of the forest from a different perspective. But you still got to come back down the tree and keep on walking through the forest. Right. So maybe gives you a glimpse of something, but you’re not there yet.

Andrew Newberg: Yeah. Although, you know, again, when we do ask people about those experiences, there are some people who are transformed by them. They may not necessarily continue to be in the state, but they which is a different kind of thing. But yes, absolutely.

Rick Archer: This kind of leads back to something we were talking about. Towards the beginning, which is common terminology. You know, what are we talking about when we use a word like Enlightenment? And alto, something we’ve been talking about all along is how, how reliably can that be defined? How, you know? How much can the definition be standardized in terms of not only are the words we use to describe it, but the physiology of it? Yeah. You know, cuz otherwise all kinds of you were mentioning in your notes to me earlier, something like Biggie and literally Enlightenment, right? I’m hesitant, hesitant, even use the word Enlightenment because it has this sort of superlative mental static connotation, and you don’t see a real examples of that. But, yeah,

Andrew Newberg: but and, you know, again, I mean, people have used many different descriptors to describe Enlightenment and wisdom and knowledge, but, but also compassion, oneness, unity, you know, these are very distinctive kind of statements in terms. So, you know, how do we decide on what some common theme is, or common description is of that kind of an experience. And again, you know, you raise other aspects of it, which the idea that, that there could be some experiences that are very small, some experiences, which are very large, some experience and that in and of itself, from it from a neurophysiological perspective, as well as from a qualitative perspective. One thing I’m fascinated by is what we, my colleague, and I used to call talk about this as a continuum of experience. And, you know, on one hand, for the individual who attains that spiritual moment, or Enlightenment, whatever we want to call it, there seems to be a jump, there seems to be something very distinctive that happens. But if you actually get the descriptions of these experiences, and you kind of line them up, it’s hard to find the actual jump, you know, there, there’s some people who, you know, again, if you talk about like, unity, the Unity aspect of it, I mean, there’s some people who feel everything is one, and then there’s some people who feel everything is one in God. And then there’s other people that feel all humanity is one and, you know, like, are they where are they in the, you know, there’s different degrees to which it happens. And so on one hand, it’s hard to find the jump. But on the other hand, for the person who, who gets it, there seems to be that jump that happens. Yeah,

Rick Archer: one metaphor, which comes to mind with this is that, you know, when Lewis and Clark went across the country, they had a very fuzzy idea of what was actually out there. And the maps that they came up with, after their trip, were still very, very crude and approximate compared to what we know now, where we have the whole thing mapped out with satellites down to the square foot, probably, GPS knows exactly where you are, and everything. So you know, I think we’re still kind of at the Lewis and Clark stage, in terms of understanding everything we’ve been talking about here. And there may come a time when it’s like it is now with our understanding of, you know, the topography of the country, the spiritual art, you might be able to, you know, 500 years now, or whatever it would take, you know, person could describe their experience, you could hook them up to certain instruments and tell precisely where they are on the map in terms of all the potential levels and realms and varieties of spiritual experience.

Andrew Newberg: Right? Well, and, you know, I mean, not to take this to a whole other level, but I’ve been, you know, the more and more we develop computers and electronics, you know, people already implanting certain things, you know, computers into brains. Is it possible that we could find ways of doing it, you know, of achieving these different states in radically different ways than have typically been done? And then again, are they true experiences of Enlightenment? Are they you know, are they different? And are Is it ethical to do I mean, you know, there’s there’s all kinds of really fast

Rick Archer: shins and young and he’s hoping to come up with some kind of contraption like that that would jumpstart Enlightenment.

Andrew Newberg: Right. Well, I mean, there’s been people have already started to do that, in some ways. You know, there have been a couple of people who have used things like transcranial but yeah, exactly. transcranial magnetic stimulation and different electromagnetic waves to try to turn certain parts of the brain on and off. And I think that one question that you would read mentioned Jill, Bolte Taylor, who had that unusual mystical experience because of a stroke in her brain,

Rick Archer: which didn’t want to make right standardized spiritual technique.

Andrew Newberg: Exactly. But on the other unit, right, exactly. So So there’s, it gets very interesting.

Rick Archer: Does my suspicion on these contraptions to you know, accelerate and Enlightenment or whatever, and there have been things around like that for decades, biofeedback and all this. They can be certainly can be helpful. I just have a feeling that there’s a lot that sort of has to be it’s like a drug. I mean, you’re not going to just work out all of your deep impressions Boston as they call them, you know, But pumping some pill, it’s going to be more of a long term process. I mean, as, as the we’re, I guess, neuroplasticity doesn’t happen overnight? Radically. Right. It’s something that takes time to happen incrementally,

Andrew Newberg: right? Well, well, there were two things I was thinking about. Let me address that first. That’s another reason why these experiences that to me are very fascinating, because there seems to be something different about how they change the brain, which is very different than the way we normally think about the brain working. I mean, we, you know, we, we learn math by learning addition, in first grade and subtraction in second grade and division in third grade. And then, you know, you work up to algebra and calculus and, and you develop the connections in your brain to support that, over time, these experiences seem to radically change the whole person’s way of thinking about things in, you know, a moment. So how does that happen? We don’t really have a good model by which we understand that by which we understand how that may, how that may happen, and how we may be able to, to, you know, change that our brain back quickly.

Rick Archer: And sometimes people had been doing spiritual practices for many, many years and others, nothing, you know, there’s no Yeah, tying their shoes one morning all of a sudden, boom, big shift.

Andrew Newberg: Exactly, exactly. So and you know, and even going back to what we were just talking about, you know, we were also drawing a very distinctive line when we talk about like a drug induced state, for example, I mean, you know, somebody who just, you know, college student who decides to do LSD or something like that, I mean, maybe they have an experience. But what would happen if we gave LSD to that monk who had been in the monastery for 40 years? Would that you know, would that be a different kind of Kickstart to the experience because of the background and the context and everything. And with that ignores i

Rick Archer: The Story of Ramdas coming to Neem Karoli Baba and named who was his girl, and Nick really, you know, says, Well, we’re the pills. And rom das takes out a little pom full of acid tabs and neem perilla drops them all. Nothing happens to him.

Andrew Newberg: Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. I mean, if you Right, exactly. I mean, you could already be, you know, in that state Or your brain may be such that it doesn’t, it doesn’t change things very much. So absolutely. Yeah. Fascinating issues.

Rick Archer: One thing I want to talk with you about before we run out of time, is free. Will. You devoted a chapter of your book to it? And there are a number of, you know, spiritual teachers and thinkers who insist that we don’t have any Sam Harris is one of them. He’s not really spiritual teacher, but articulate, intelligent. Yeah. And, you know, I forget the guy’s name. Anyway, the number of gurus and teachers who say we not only don’t have free will, but there’s actually no self. And the the sense that we have either is some kind of illusion or delusion. So from your perspective as a neurophysiologist, what do you think about the those points?

Andrew Newberg: So, you know, the idea of freewill, and part of why I wanted to address it in the neuro theology book was that, you know, as with everything that we’ve been talking about, it’s a lot more complicated than being able to say, yes, we do know, we don’t, you know, a lot of people who talk about the neuroscience of free will refer to a very limited set of studies in a very small number of people that basically showed that, you know, milliseconds before we make a conscious decision, or that we’re consciously aware of the decision, that we that we actually, you know, see changes going on in the brain. And the idea, you know, the argument then is that, you know, it wasn’t our consciousness that, you know, our conscious choice to make a decision, but it was something that kind of welled up from our subconscious, and that that’s what it was. So, so part of it is, is that we need a lot more data before we can even start to use that information to to inform us about what freewill is, or if we have it. But it also gets back to our point that we talked about earlier, which is definitions. You know, part of what somebody like Sam Harris will say, or somebody who will look at that study and say, well, here’s this activity, but let’s just say for a moment that that study was perfectly done, and it’s absolutely 100%. Right? So if there’s if there’s neural activity that occurs before we consciously make a decision, does that count as will because what what people who say we don’t have free will, basically they’re saying is that somewhere inside of us is a little person who decides to make the thing happen and decides me to raise my arm or whatever. You know, there’s another way of defining freewill which is that freewill comes from all of me, you know that it comes from not just my consciousness brain, but it comes from my unconscious or subconscious brain, and that all together that’s part of where my willfulness comes from. So that’s another way of looking at it. And then you know, you mentioned this a whole Other way of thinking about you know, will, you know, is freewill, something that doesn’t actually exist on the human level on the sort of the human ego level, because that sense of self is really just more of an illusion, an illusory type of idea. But there is some kind of universal consciousness and an a universal freewill that we are able to tap into. So, you know, there’s a lot of very interesting variations on this theme. I mean, obviously, we don’t have time to kind of go into everything but but I think, you know, the short ultimately is, is that we need more data to look at these things, we need to have better definitions of what freewill is. And the definitions of free will have to include what we know scientifically as well as what we know from a religious or spiritual perspective. And then try to kind of put all of that together to hopefully have some, maybe even testable hypotheses, which we could then look at and try to better figure out whether we really have freewill and what it means to have it and how that relates to our brain and how it relates to our consciousness.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s one issue that sheds light on it, I think, which is the knowledge and experience are different in different states of consciousness. And so what you might perceive as free will, in one state of consciousness, you might later recognize wasn’t your own individual will, it’s the will of God, it’s the three gunas or whatever. But that’s really you can’t apply the rules or principles of one one state to another state. That’s a confusion of levels. And so that as long as you perceive yourself as having free will, you need to exercise it responsibly. And accordingly. If you reach a point at which it’s all God doing everything, then fine, but don’t pretend to have reached that if you haven’t.

Andrew Newberg: Right. Right. And, you know, one of the points that my late colleague, Jean Aquila, and I did talk about at one point was, you know, when people have that mystical experience, what’s kind of interesting about it is that our, as our ego goes away, that sometimes can we sort of give our ego sense of will away, which is a scary thing to do. So on the other, yeah. And that’s surrender, and at but as you surrender, you get to this universal consciousness and this universal free will if, you know, however, you want to define that, which then, you know, even though you’ve lost it on the ego level, as you said, you gain it on a different level. And that is ultimately a very, very powerful kind of experience.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I like your use of the phrase free won’t free that you might have, maybe thoughts and impulses bubble up and you don’t know where they came from. But does it seem to be a sort of a gatekeeper, who can say, yeah, not not that one. Okay, this one’s alright. There seems to be some kind of choice in terms of whether or not we act on things. Unless, you know, I mean, it depends on to what extent one is precluded, you know, or conditioned. I mean, some people just can’t help but murder the guy. They’re so driven by their their Vasanas their tendencies or conditionings. And other people think, yeah, I’d like to punch that goes by I won’t do it. Right. Right.

Andrew Newberg: And again, you know, you can look at changes in the brain that might, you know, lead it, there have been studies of violent criminals. And, you know, we see, you know, how they people can regulate their emotional responses and how much they can’t regulate them. And there’s some interesting issues that come up with that. But, you know, and it’s good that you bring that up, because I mean, there are some fascinating legal consequences. I mean, you know, it ranges from the very esoteric of, well, you know, if we have you take a Christian perspective of original sin, and we have to have free will, all the way to did the guy, you know, who killed the person, you know, was it? You know, were they insane? Or were the, you know, moral? And whenever I

Rick Archer: hear that argument, I say, of course, he was insane. He killed somebody.

Andrew Newberg: Exactly, exactly. Like why did it right, exactly. But, but, you know, it does raise a lot of very interesting issues and problems and questions for us. And this is, again, where I feel like neuro theology has an opportunity to be able to say, Well, let’s look at the brain, you know, when we make a moral decision, what are we doing? Are we using our thoughts? Are we using our emotions? Are we using certain just certain parts of the brain turn on or turn off? If it’s if there’s one or two areas of our brain, which are particularly relevant to moral decision making? Are they abnormal and people who have violent tendencies? Can we use that information practically, in some way? Can we treat them? Can we, you know, can we maybe at least make sure that we don’t let them out? You know, so because they’re going to do something again, versus the person who we say, no, maybe we can let them out because we know that their brain has changed or something. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Rick Archer: One interesting thing. I’ll let you go in a minute. But I’m wondering same thing on this whole issue that I’ve heard is that as we evolve spiritually, we sort of work our way back to a more and more causal are fundamental level of the thought process until eventually we’re actually sitting at the point at the switchboard at the point from which thoughts initially sprout. And from there, we do have sort of Complete choice as to what’s going to bubble up or not. But But if we’re far from that, if we’re Wait, it’s like a river, you know, if you’re sitting at the source of the river, maybe you could redirect it in a completely different direction quite easily. But if you wait out the mouth of the Ganges where it’s pouring into the ocean, you can’t have any effect on the whole river. So so like that somebody who’s heavily conditioned, who’s, you know, hasn’t gone through the whole spiritual process, they’re at the mercy of whatever comes up, and have very little choice in the matter. But, you know, spiritual spiritual development can be thought of like traversing the river back to its source, and then eventually living at the source. Right, yeah, right.

Andrew Newberg: And absolutely, and again, it gets down to as you were saying, you know, the different levels in which we see it. You know, one of the thoughts that has crossed my mind at times is that I tend to, at least, you know, in my own personal belief, I feel like we probably have freewill at least again, depending on how we wind up defining it. But I do think that whenever we try to find it, we have, it’s a challenge to find it, because we can always find, well, you know, how were we raised and what’s in our genes and how much dopamine is circulating in our brain at that moment. And, you know, like, you can figure out exactly like how that theoretical process occurred. But, but again, you know, that that’s where the spiritual part comes back in, which is, can we go back to that original source and maybe know or understand what the free will is starting from that point?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay. Well, this has been a sampling of Andrew Newberg. I’m sure he and I could go on for many more hours, I could read all of it. I wish I had the time to read all your books. And you know, maybe we’ll do another one of these one these days, and we’ll come up with a whole new batch of points to discuss. Sounds good. Yeah. But before we wrap it up, is there anything you would like to say in conclusion that somehow you want to leave people with,

Andrew Newberg: um, you know, probably goes back a little bit, I think, what I would ultimately want to say to people, it goes back to some of the things that we talked about early on in the discussion, which is, I think everyone needs to continue to search these questions for themselves. And, you know, part of another part of what I like about neuro theology is that I think sometimes it gives people a new language or a new perspective to bring to the table, it doesn’t eliminate the spiritual, it doesn’t eliminate the consciousness, it doesn’t eliminate meditation, but it just helps us to understand things from a new perspective that we haven’t had before. And, and by continuing to, to explore our world, and to use that kind of explorative process, whether it’s personal inside, whether it’s using an FMRI machine, whether it is asking people about their own ideas, reading what other people have had to say, all of those are wonderful ways of exploring these questions. And exploring that big question that we started with, which is, you know, what is reality? And how do we understand it, it’s just so fascinating to think about the complexities of it, and, and, and to some degree to be humble, and in the face of the immensity of the challenge, and the and the infiniteness of the universe. So that’s part of what I think all of this can lead us towards.

Rick Archer: It really is. And I still want you to have last word, but another important part came to mind, which, which is just that, I think what you’re doing is so cutting edge and so important. You know, I mean, we’ve talked about how powerful sciences and how much is impacted our world. But you know, it could be argued that it’s brought us to the verge of extinction. The, the oceans are full of plastic, and the air is being polluted and the co2 is rising, and so many, all this can be attributed to science. So what is science missing, that has allowed this to happen? And I think what science is missing is the dimension that spirituality brings in its pure form. And that, you know, you are a guy who is helping to marry science and spirituality, and that we could end up with something that is as beneficial as science has been, but benign at the same time that devoid of all the deleterious effects that science has given us.

Andrew Newberg: Sure, and I absolutely agree with that. I mean, I do hope that that’s where we can go in the future, which is understanding both sides of that process of what makes us human beings and, and tried to, you know, use the wonders of science with the incredible aspects of compassion and love and stewardship of the Earth and the universe and so forth. And I’m not each other. And, you know, I think it’s something that, that the spiritual or the religious does have an opportunity to bring to us. And, and again, I mean, that, you know, not to go off on another tangent, but I mean, that’s part of what neuro theology also can help us with, which is, you know, what happens when spirituality goes well, and what happens when it doesn’t go well, and then there are certainly plenty of times where religious beliefs do not go in good directions and certainly the atheist point them out all the time. And so you know, how do we how do we foster the positive side of ourselves the positive side of our spiritual aspects And how do we use kind of the best of the spiritual and the best of the scientific to, to hopefully move humanity to a new Enlightenment as as a as a species and as individuals?

Rick Archer: Yeah. Which opens up a whole nother point, which we could talk about next time. And, and that is that can the founders of the various religions really be held accountable for what’s been done in their names? How far have the teachings of various religions drifted from what the founder actually was experiencing and teaching?

Andrew Newberg: Right, right. Well, that, yes, that’ll be part two.

Rick Archer: Okay, well, Thanks, Andrew. I’ve really appreciated having this discussion with you and preparing for it as well. So I’ll be putting up a page for Andrew on, as I always do, and have links to all of his books. And if people find this sort of thing, interesting. Most of your books are written for the layman of these the ones you’ve sent me. And so they’re easy to understand and really thought provoking. And, you know, I think people who have enjoyed this conversation will enjoy those as well. Thank you. Yeah. So thanks for listening or watching everybody. Thank you again, Andrew. Next week, I’ll be interviewing a fellow named Terry Patton, who’s read another interesting book. It’s like, every week I have this, like 400 pages. I’d like to really read and then ever get it all and it’s like, oh, God, because his book looks fascinating, too. And it’s just such a blessing to be able to have these conversations with people like you. I’m really honored to be able to do it.

Andrew Newberg: Well, thank you for having me on your program. It was a pleasure.

Rick Archer: You’re welcome.