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Paperback The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga Book

ISBN: 0738206814

ISBN13: 9780738206813

The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga

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Book Overview

In The True Path, Duke psychiatrist Roy J. Mathew draws on his own extensive knowledge of neuroscience as he looks at the centuries-old Indian idea that spirituality is a state of mind-a higher form of consciousness. Mathew shows how the latest brain research demonstrates that activities such as prayer, music, art, nature, intuitive knowledge, altruism, and meditation stimulate the non-dominant hemisphere of the brain. Spirituality is intimately...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great book

I'm reading this book for a yoga class I'm taking. The book is scientific in terms of the brain and how yoga effects the brain.

Don't be fooled by the title

In this case the old adage, don't judge a book by its cover, is very helpful to get to the insights about the human mind and eastern sprituality contained within. The book does not offer a "path" for the reader to follow, nor does it prescribe a method of yoga. The author, an Indian born into an Indian Christian family, and a neuroscientist, fuses his knowledge of these two traditions to relate to the reader an idea of how the brain process, the various stimuli that we as seekers of truth give it through our senses. As the author relates in the preface, the impetus for this book was a personal spiritual crisis caused by the passing of his mother. Don't let your dominant hemisphere fool you into not reading this book! If you are a seeker, check it out.

Packed with intriguing insights

This blends spirituality with science and yoga insights in a category which might prove hard to shelve, but which is intriguing. Dr. Mathew blends his neuroscience background with Indian philosophy to consider yoga beliefs in general and the yoga concept of spirituality as a higher form of consciousness, in particular. From brain research which supports the idea that quieting neurons allows for a more spiritual state of mind to insights on 'pure consciousness', this is packed with intriguing insights.

blend of Vedanta with neuroscience

The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga by Roy J. Mathew (Perseus Books) How the latest brain research supports the possibility of pure consciousness and explains our most profound spiritual experiences is partly what Mathew manages in this accessible blend of ancient yoga philosophy with the latest insight from neurobiology and brain science. In many ways this book is a sort of Roots for Mathew's as he rediscovers the Indian heritage of his homeland. It is a fun tour of the best of Indian philosophical considerations, especially following closely the vivid Radhakrishnan accounts of Sankara's Vedanta and tying it into his own facile understanding of current neuroscience. The result is hardly hard science but it does provide further inclination toward a reconsideration of the possibility that what we call consciousness, though species specific as a biological and cultural artifact is at is root reflective of the innate intentionality, or intelligence or design of the universe or spacetime or matter itself in some way. This is the tendency of many books on science and religion and consciousness. Mathew manages to inform as he educates us in this exciting science and at the same time provide a provocative correlation with ancient Yoga philosophy.

neuroscience and yoga interphase

The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga by Roy J. Mathew (Perseus Books) How the latest brain research supports the possibility of pure consciousness and explains our most profound spiritual experiences is partly what Mathew manages in this accessible blend of ancient yoga philosophy with the latest insight from neurobiology and brain science. In many ways this book is a sort of Roots for Mathew's as he rediscovers the Indian heritage of his homeland. It is a fun tour of the best of Indian philosophical considerations, especially following closely the vivid Radhakrishnan accounts of Sankara's Vedanta and tying it into his own facile understanding of current neuroscience. The result is hardly hard science but it does provide further inclination toward a reconsideration of the possibility that what we call consciousness, though species specific as a biological and cultural artifact is at is root reflective of the innate intentionality, or intelligence or design of the universe or spacetime or matter itself in some way. This is the tendency of many books on science and religion and consciousness.The transformative power of spiritual experiences is well known-drug addicts have recovered after them, and hardened criminals have reformed. But is there a scientific explanation for this phenomenon, which Indians call "yoga"? Although Eastern traditions have long pondered this mystery, Western science has tended to dismiss spiritual experiences as whimsy on the part of believers.In The True Path, Mathew draws on his own extensive knowledge of neuroscience to prove the age-old Indian idea that spirituality is a state of mind, a higher form of consciousness. He shows how the latest brain research supports the idea that quieting the neurons that control everyday activities allows for a more spiritual contemplation of life. As this part of the brain slows down, other parts become more freely expressed, promoting relaxation and pleasure in one's surroundings. With scientific evidence that this "pure consciousness" truly exists, Mathew shows how to use meditation, yoga, and other traditional Indian methods of contemplation to achieve this spiritual state of mind. The work makes some important connections about the nature of yoga and emerging neuroscience. Worth a read.
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