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Dr. Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer), a Science of Us contributing writer, is editor of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog. His latest book is Great Myths of the Brain.
A lot of so-called “positive psychology” can seem a bit flaky, especially if you’re the sort of person disinclined to respond well to an admonition to “look on the bright side.” But positive psychologists have published some interesting findings, and one of the more robust ones is that feeling grateful is very good for you. Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often linger well after the exercises are finished.
Now a brain-scanning study in NeuroImage brings us a little closer to understanding why these exercises have these effects. The results suggest that even months after a simple, short gratitude writing task, people’s brains are still wired to feel extra thankful. The implication is that gratitude tasks work, at least in part, because they have a self-perpetuating nature: The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.
The Indiana University researchers, led by Prathik Kini, recruited 43 people who were undertaking counseling sessions as a treatment for their anxiety or depression. Twenty-two of them were assigned to a gratitude intervention; for the first three sessions of their weekly counseling, this group spent 20 minutes writing a letter in which they expressed their gratitude to the recipient, an hour in total (whether they chose to send these letters was up to them). The other participants acted as a control group, so they simply attended their counseling as usual without performing the gratitude task.
Three months after their counseling was over, all of the participants completed a “Pay It Forward” gratitude task in a brain scanner. Each was “given” various amounts of money by imaginary benefactors whose names and photos appeared onscreen to add to the realism of the task. The researchers told the participants that each benefactor said that if the participant wanted to express their gratitude for the monetary gift, they’d appreciate it if the participant gave some or all of the donation to a named third party (again, identified by photo and name), or a named charity. The participants knew this was all an exercise, but were all told that one of the transactions, chosen later at random, would actually occur — that is, they’d actually receive the cash amount offered to them by one of the benefactors minus the amount they chose to pass on (and the money they opted to pass on really would go to charity).
The researchers found that, on average, the more money a participant gave away, and the stronger the feelings of gratitude they reported feeling, the more activity they exhibited in a range of brain areas in the frontal, parietal, and occipital regions. Interestingly, these neural-activity patterns appeared somewhat distinct from those that usually appear when brain-scan subjects complete tasks associated with emotions like empathy or thinking about other people’s points of view, which is consistent with the idea that gratitude is a unique emotion.
Most exciting, though, is the finding that the participants who’d completed the gratitude task months earlier not only reported feeling more gratefulness two weeks after the task than members of the control group, but also, months later, showed more gratitude-related brain activity in the scanner. The researchers described these “profound” and “long-lasting” neural effects as “particularly noteworthy,” and they highlighted that one of the main regions that showed this increased sensitivity — the “pregenual anterior cingulate,” which is known to be involved in predicting the effects of one’s own actions on other people — overlaps with a key brain region identified in the only previous study on the neurological footprint of gratitude.
This result suggests that the more practice you give your brain at feeling and expressing gratitude, the more it adapts to this mind-set — you could even think of your brain as having a sort of gratitude “muscle” that can be exercised and strengthened (not so different from various other qualities that can be cultivated through practice, of course). If this is right, the more of an effort you make to feel gratitude one day, the more the feeling will come to you spontaneously in the future. It also potentially helps explain another established finding, that gratitude can spiral: The more thankful we feel, the more likely we are to act pro-socially toward others, causingthem to feel grateful and setting up a beautiful virtuous cascade.
However, let’s not allow the warm glow of all this gratitude to melt our critical faculties. It’s important to realize this result is incredibly preliminary. For one thing, as the researchers openly acknowledge, they didn’t conduct a baseline brain scan of the participants before they started the Pay It Forward game, so it’s possible, though unlikely given that participants were randomly assigned to the gratitude and control groups, that the participants who performed the gratitude task simply had more neural sensitivity to gratitude already, not because they performed the gratitude task. Another thing: Members of the control group didn’t perform a comparison writing task, so we can’t know for sure that it was the act of writing a letter of thanks, as opposed to any kind of writing exercise, that led to increased neural sensitivity to gratitude.
Still, neurological investigations into gratitude are in their early days, and this research certainly gives us some intriguing clues as to how and why gratitude exercises are beneficial. For that we can be, well, grateful.
Dr. Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer), a Science of Us contributing writer, is editor of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog. His latest book is Great Myths of the Brain.
:#GRATITUDE #NEUROSCIENCE #STUDIES
OUR SOUL IS WHO WE ARE
IT IS A PRODUCT OF OUR BIRTH AND OUR EXPERIENCE
IT CONTAINS ALL OUR MEMORIES
IT IS OUR IDENTITY
OUR SOUL IS GRADUALLY TRANSFORMED EACH TIME
WE ARE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
OUR SPIRIT DETERMINES WHAT SORT OF PERSON WE ARE
WHETHER WE ARE GOOD OR BAD
OUR SPIRIT IS REGENERATED WHEN WE ARE
BAPTIZED IN THE SPIRIT / BORN AGAIN
AS WE BECOME A CHILD OF GOD BY FAITH
THE HOLY SPIRIT WITNESSES WITH OUR SPIRIT
ANGELS AND DEMONS CAN ALSO PUT THINGS INTO OUR SPIRIT
OUR CONSCIENCE AND INTUITION GIVE US AN AWARENESS OF THE SPIRIT
THE BODY IS OUR PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION, STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION
WE USE IT TO INTERFACE WITH THE WORLD
IT INCLUDES OUR EYES AND EARS, OUR BRAIN, OUR ARMS AND LEGS, OUR FACE ETC
IT LIMITS WHAT WE CAN SEE, HEAR & FEEL, WHAT WE CAN UNDERSTAND AND WHAT WE CAN DO
OUR BODY WILL BE TRANSFIGURED IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE WHEN CHRIST COMES TO REDEEM US
WE WILL HAVE A NEW BODY, A SPIRITUAL BODY
THE MIND EMOTIONS AND WILL
OUR MIND EMOTIONS AND OUR WILL TRANSCEND
THE BODY SOUL AND SPIRIT
THE ACTIVITY OF OUR MIND EMOTION AND WILL IS AFFECTED BY THE SPIRIT, THE SOUL AND ALSO THE BODY
OUR HEART IS AN EMPTY PART IN US THAT WAS DESIGNED TO CONTAIN GOD'S SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN OUR HEART IF WE ARE BORN AGAIN / BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
EVIL SPIRITS CAN ALSO DWELL IN OUR HEART
PEOPLE TRY TO FILL THEIR HEARTS WITH ALL SORTS OF THINGS
THEY SET THEIR HEARTS ON IDOLS INSTEAD OF THE ONE TRUE GOD THAT CAN SAVE THEM
ONLY CHRIST CAN FILL THE EMPTINESS THAT WE HAVE
AND ONLY IN CHRIST CAN WE FEEL COMPLETE
HE CAN GIVE YOUR LIFE MEANING AND DIRECTION
OUR SPIRIT IS REGENERATED WHEN WE INVITE CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS (THIS IS THE SAME AS CONVERSION, REBIRTH AND BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT)
OUR SOUL IS BEING TRANSFORMED/ RENEWED DAY BY DAY WHENEVER WE TURN TO GOD TO GET FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT
OUR BODY WILL BE TRANSFIGURED IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE WHEN CHRIST COMES TO REDEEM US
by Watchman Nee
Man is composed of two independent kinds of material: spirit and body. When the spirit entered the body of dust, the soul was produced. It is impossible for the spirit to control the body directly. Hence, it requires a medium. This medium is the soul, which was produced when the spirit touched the body.
The spirit mingled with the body and brought forth the soul. As such, man became a living soul. Hence, the soul is the result of the union between the spirit and the body; it is the personality of a man.
The body is the outer shell of the soul, and the soul is the outer shell of the spirit. Before man fell, it was the spirit that controlled his entire being. When the spirit wants to do something, it communicates this to the soul, and the soul motivates the body to obey the command of the spirit. This is the meaning of the soul as the medium. Luke 1:46-47 says, "My soul magnifies [present tense] the Lord, and my spirit has exulted [perfect tense] in God my Savior." The spirit must first exult, before the soul can magnify the Lord. The spirit first communicates the exultation to the soul, then the soul communicates to the body.
The body is the "world-consciousness," the soul is the "self-consciousness," and the spirit is the "God-consciousness." There are five organs in the body, which afford man the five senses. This physical body enables man to communicate with the physical world. This is why it is called the "world- consciousness." The soul includes that part known as man’s intellect, which helps to make man’s existence possible. The part of love generates affections toward other human beings or objects. The part that can be aroused is the part that originates from the consciousness. All these are parts of the man himself; they form the personality of man. Hence, they are called the "self-consciousness." The spirit is the part with which man communicates with God. With this part, man worships God, serves Him, and understands his relationship with God. Hence, it is called the "God-consciousness."
The spirit has knowledge, but this knowledge is different from the knowledge of the mind. Because the spirit is different from the mind, only a spiritual man can know himself. First Corinthians 2:11 says, "For who among men knows the things of man, except the spirit of man which is in him?" Although man knows things through the mind, his mind is actually not trustworthy and cannot know "the things of man." The mind may have knowledge, but only by man’s spirit can he know the things of man and know himself. Hence, God’s Word states the fact: "For who..knows the things of man, except the spirit." This spirit is the part with which man fellowships with God. "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (Job 32:8). "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly" (Prov. 20:27). The spirit of man is the part with which man fellowships with God.
The soul can be stimulated, and it can be disquieted (Psa. 42:5). It can feel sorrowful (Matt. 26:38). In short, the soul is everything that the personality entails. Hence, we can say that the soul is the personality. Many portions in the Bible do not call man a man, but a soul. For example, when the house of Jacob went down to Egypt, there were seventy people (Gen. 46:27). But the Bible says, "All the souls...were threescore and six" (Gen. 46:26).
The body is like a servant; it is under man’s control.
The soul is the meeting point; here the spirit and the body join. Man communicates with the spiritual realm through the spirit. He communicates with the world of senses through the body. The soul is in between. On the one hand, it communicates with the spiritual realm through the spirit, and on the other hand, it communicates with the physical world through the body.
The soul is in between the spirit and the body; it binds the spirit and the body together as one. The spirit rules over the body through the soul and subjects it under God’s power. The body can induce the spirit to love the world through the soul.
In conclusion, the soul is the source of the personality; man’s judgment, intellect, and love all are of the soul. The spirit is the part with which man communicates with the spiritual realm. The body is the part with which man communicates with the physical realm. The soul is in the middle of these two parts. It exercises its judgment to determine if the spiritual realm is to rule or if the physical realm is to rule. Sometimes the soul rules through its intellect and stimulations; this becomes the rule of the psychological world. Unless the soul yields its rule to the spirit, the spirit cannot rule. Hence, the soul has to authorize the spirit to rule before the latter can rule over the soul and the body. The reason for this is that the soul is the origin of the personality.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)
Anyone undertaking a difficult task like healing their soul and personality needs to be supplied by at least five people who pray regularly and perhaps even fast occasionally for them. You need to develop such a network if you do not have one already. They will be like a spiritual "blood supply" for your recovery needs.
Most of us have never asked anyone to pray for us although we often ask others to pray for an occasional prayer request. Many people have never been asked to pray for someone yet are quite willing to do so. Most people say they don't know what to pray about when they are asked. This list will help guide you as you discuss with them how they can pray for you. As you grow you will also pray for others. You can also use this guide to tell others how you will pray for them.
1. Pray for my maturity.
Help me reach maturity in all aspects of my life such as: spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, relational, financial, social maturity.
A. In order to become mature, people must do hard work so pray that I will be encouraged and that you will find ways to encourage me.
B. Growing mature requires that my needs are met. I will keep you informed each week on what my current needs are as I discover them. Together we will ask and give thanks as they are met.
C. Maturity only develops in committed relationships. Pray that I will receive the necessary divinely appointed relationships in which I can receive and give life. Pray for spiritual mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children to adopt me into the spiritual family. Pray that I will be ready and open to these adoptions.
2. Pray for my redemption.
Redemption's work must spread to my body, soul, mind, spirit, relationships and history until every way in which I have been injured by the enemy of our souls has been redeemed. This redemption includes my salvation, deliverance from evil, healing and restoration to full fellowship with God and His people.
A. Pray for my protection from evil. Pray that I will be delivered from all the power, dominion and effects of evil in my life and history. Pray that this work be completed both within and around me. Pray that I will be guided to those believers who are gifted in helping me win this battle.
B. Pray for the healing of my spirit, mind, soul and body.
C. Pray for the restoration of full fellowship and participation in my relationship to God and the people He gives me for my personal spiritual family.
D. Pray for God's timing in all of these ministries. Pray that he will reveal to you, to me and to those ministering when each type of ministry should be sought.
3. Pray for my equipping. Pray also for the equipping of my counselors, prayer ministers and spiritual family. Specifically ask God what he has given you to equip me with before prayer, healing, deliverance and counseling sessions. Help insure that I do not enter the challenges before me unprepared.
4. After each gift from God join with me in testimony/praise/thanksgiving for what God has done. Help me remember to celebrate and live fully the life God is giving to me.
Community Support Checklist
Personal Prayer Support for Counseling
List five people who are praying regularly for your growth and recovery. These people should be updated on your progress and needs each week.
The Care of Your Soul
Please list the two people who take personal responsibility for the care of your soul as though you were their own child. Who sees to it that you are prospering in your growth and are not hurt in your relationship to God and others?
Spiritual Mother __________________________________________
Spiritual Father ___________________________________________
Others ________________________________ ______________________________
Your Sources for Prayer and Ministry
Where do you receive your corrective and restorative prayer ministry for each of the following?
Healing: Group __________________________________________________________
Contact person _______________________________________ Phone (______) _______________________
Deliverance/Spiritual warfare: Group_____________________________________________________
Contact person _______________________________________ Phone (______) _______________________
Fellowship: Group __________________________________________________________
Contact person _______________________________________ Phone (______) _______________________
Crisis: Group __________________________________________________________
Contact person _______________________________________ Phone (______) _______________________
Heb 12:2 - "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
In the last few hours of Jesus' life what did He endure, and what shame did He suffer?
EXCRUCIATE: to cause great agony, torment
Latin : ex : out of, from cruciate : cross
"from the cross"
The tone of this presentation can best be summarized in the word "excruciate", (the root of the word "excruciating") which refers to something which causes great agony or torment. The Latin roots of the word are :"ex", meaning from or out of, and "cruciate", meaning cross. The word "excruciate" comes from the Latin for "from, or out of, the cross".(Websters)
GENERAL OVERVIEWJesus spent the last hours before the crucifixion at several places in Jerusalem. He started the evening in the Upper Room, in southwest Jerusalem. At the Last Supper, He told the disciples that His body and His blood were to be given for them.(Matt 26: 26-29) He went outside of the city to the Garden of Gethesemane. He was then arrested and brought back to the to the palace of the High Priest. where He was questioned by Annas, a former High Priest, and Caiaphas, Annas' son in law. Afterwards, He was tried by the Sanhedrin, and found to be guilty of blasphemy by proclaiming Himself the Son of God. He was sentenced to the death penalty. Since only the Romans were able to execute criminals, He was sent to Pontius Pilate at the Antonia Fortress. Pilate, not finding anything wrong, sent Him to King Herod, who returned Him back to Pilate. Pilate, submitting to the pressure of the crowd, then ordered that Jesus be flogged and crucified. He was finally led out of the city walls to be crucified at Calvary.
THE HEALTH OF JESUS AND DEMANDS OF THE ORDEALIt is reasonable to assume that Jesus was in good health prior to the ordeal that He faced in the hours before His death. Having been a carpenter and traveling throughout the land during His ministry would have required that He would be in good physical condition. Before the crucifixion, however, He was forced to walk 2.5 miles over a sleepless night, during which He suffered great anguish through His six trials, was mocked, ridiculed and severely beaten, and was abandoned by His friends and Father. (Edwards)
THE UPPER ROOM OR CENACULUMThe ordeal began in an upper room of a house at what we now call the Last Supper, where Jesus, in giving the first communion, predicted that His body and blood would be given.(Matt 26:17-29) Today in Jerusalem, one can visit the Cenacle or Cenaculum (Latin for dining hall), a room which is built over what is believed to be the site of the Upper Room, (Kollek) which was located on the southwestern aspect of the old city.
GETHESEMANE: OIL PRESS
Luke 22:44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
"the Spirit of God....crushed"
From the upper room, Jesus went outside of the city walls where he spent time in prayer at the Garden of Gethesemane. The garden has many ancient olive trees today, some of which may have grown from the roots of the trees that were present in Jesus' time. (All trees in and around Jerusalem were cut down when the Romans conquered the city in 70 A.D. Olive trees can regenerate from their roots and live for thousands of years.) The name "Gethesemane", comes from the Hebrew Gat Shmanim, meaning "oil press"(Kollek). Since "oil" is used in the Bible to symbolize the Holy Spirit, it may be said that the garden is where "the Spirit of God was crushed".(Missler). It was here that Jesus agonized in prayer over what was to occur. It is significant that this is the only place in the KJV where the word "agony" is mentioned.(Strong's concordance) The Greek word for agony means to be "engaged in combat" (Pink) Jesus agonizes over what He is to go through, feeling that He is at the point of death.(Mark14:34) Yet He prays, "Not my will, but thine be done."
Of medical significance is that Luke mentions Him as having sweat like blood. The medical term for this, "hemohidrosis" or "hematidrosis" has been seen in patients who have experienced, extreme stress or shock to their systems. (Edwards) The capillaries around the sweat pores become fragile and leak blood into the sweat. A case history is recorded in which a young girl who had a fear of air raids in WW1 developed the condition after a gas explosion occurred in the house next door.(Scott)) Another report mentions a nun who, as she was threatened with death by the swords of the enemy soldiers," was so terrified that she bled from every part of her body and died of hemorrhage in the sight of her assailants."(Grafenberg) As a memorial to Jesus' ordeal, a church which now stands in Gethesemane is known as the Church of the Agony. (also called the Church of the Nations because many nations donated money to its construction.(Kollek)
ABANDONED BY MANMatthew 26:56: "Then all the disciples deserted him and fled."
Psa 22:11: "Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help."
While in Gethesemane, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the Jews. His disciples all desert Him, even at the expense of running away naked (Mark 14:51-52). He is bound (John 18:12) then brought back to the city to the court of the High Priest, which is located near the Upper room.
ILLEGAL ASPECTS OF THE TRIAL OF JESUSFollowing are some of the illegal aspects of the trial of Jesus:
Deut 17:6: "On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness."
Mark 14:56: "Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree."
While in the court of the High Priest, He was questioned by Annas (John 18:13) and struck by a soldier (John 18: 22). He was then brought to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. who sought to put Jesus to death by the false testimony of many witnesses. The witnesses brought against Him did not agree. By the law, no one could be put to death without the agreement of two or three witnesses. Although the witnesses did not agree, He was found guilty of blasphemy when He told them of His identity as the Son of God. He was sentenced to death. Jesus suffered ridicule from the palace guards, who spat on Him, beat Him and slapped Him on the face.(Mark 14:65.) During the trial, Peter denies Him three times. The proceedings of Jesus' trial violated many of the laws of His society. Among some of the other broken laws were:(Bucklin)
PILATE'S VERDICTMark 15:15 - "Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified."
The Sanhedrin met early the next morning and sentenced Him to death. (Matthew 27:1) Because the Jews were not, and the Romans were, able to carry out an execution, Jesus was brought before Pilate. The charge was now changed to an allegation that Jesus claimed to be King and forbade the nation to pay taxes to Caesar. (Luke 23:5) In spite of all the charges, Pilate finds nothing wrong. He sends Jesus to Herod. Jesus is speechless before Herod, except to affirm that He is King of the Jews. Herod sends Him back to Pilate. Pilate is unable to convince the crowds of Jesus' innocence and orders Jesus to be put to death. Some sources state that it was Roman law that a criminal that was to be crucified had to be flogged first.(McDowell) Others believe that Jesus was flogged first by Pilate in the hope of getting Him off with a lighter punishment.(Davis) In spite of his efforts, the Jews allow Barabbas to be released and demand that Jesus be crucified, even crying that,"His blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25) Pilate hands Jesus over to be flogged and crucified.
It is at this point that Jesus suffers a severe physical beating. (Edwards) During a flogging, a victim was tied to a post, leaving his back entirely exposed. The Romans used a whip, called a flagrum or flagellum which consisted of small pieces of bone and metal attached to a number of leather strands. The number of strikes is not recorded in the gospels. The number of blows in Jewish law was set in Deuteronomy 25:3 at forty, but later reduced to 39 to prevent excessive blows by a counting error. (Holmans). The victim often died from the beating. (39 hits were believed to bring the criminal to "one from death".) Roman law did not put any limits on the number of blows given. (McDowell) During the flogging, the skin was stripped from the back, exposing a bloody mass of muscle and bone ("hamburger " : Metherall). Extreme blood loss occurred from this beating, weakening the victim. perhaps to the point of being unconscious.
ROMAN SOLDIERS MOCK AND BEAT JESUSMatthew 27:28-30 (The soldiers) stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him."Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. Jesus was then beaten by the Roman soldiers. In mockery, they dressed Him in what was probably the cloak of a Roman officer, which was colored dark purple or scarlet.(Amplified Bible) He also wore the crown of thorns. Unlike the traditional crown which is depicted by an open ring, the actual crown of thorns may have covered the entire scalp.(Lumpkin) The thorns may have been 1 to 2 inches long. The gospels state that the Roman soldiers continued to beat Jesus on the head. The blows would drive the thorns into the scalp (one of the most vascular areas of the body) and forehead, causing severe bleeding.
THE CROWN OF THORNS AND THE ROBEGenesis 3:17-18: "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD."Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." The significance of the scarlet robe and crown of thorns is to emphasize Jesus' taking the sins of the world upon His body. The Bible describes sin by the color of scarlet (Is 1:18) and that thorns first appeared after the fall, as a sign of the curse. Thus, the articles that He wore are symbols to show that Jesus took on the sins (and the curse) of the world upon Himself. It is not clear that He wore the crown of thorns on the cross. Matthew describes that the Romans removed His clothes after the beating, and that they put His own clothes back on Him. (Matt 27:31)
THE SEVERITY OF THE BEATINGIsaiah 50:6: "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting."
Isaiah 52:14: "..... Just as there were many who were appalled at him -- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness--"
The severity of the beating is not detailed in the gospels. However, in the book of Isaiah, it suggests that the Romans pulled out His beard.(Isaiah 50:8). It is also mentions that Jesus was beaten so severely that His form did not look like that of "a son of a man" i.e. that of a human being. The literal translation of the verse reads, "So marred from the form of man was His aspect, that His appearance was not as that of a son of a man." People were appalled to look at Him (Isaiah 52:13). His disfigurement may explain why He was not easily recognized in His post resurrection appearances.(Missler) Today, one can visit a site known as the Lithostrotos, traditionally believed to be the floor of the Antonio Fortress.(although recent excavations may cast doubt on this theory (Gonen)) The floor is marked for games once played by the Roman soldiers
From the beating, Jesus walked on a path, now known as the Via Dolorosa or the "way of suffering", to be crucified at Golgotha. The total distance has been estimated at 650 yards. (Edwards). A narrow street of stone, it was probably surrounded by markets in Jesus' time. He was led through the crowded streets carrying the crossbar of the cross(called a patibulum) across His shoulders. The crossbar probably weighed between 80 to 110 pounds. He was surrounded by a guard of Roman soldiers, one of which carried a titulus, a sign which announced His crime of being "the King of the Jews" in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. On the way, He was unable to carry the cross. Some theorize that he may have fallen while going down the steps of the Antonio Fortress. A fall with the heavy patibulum on His back may have led to a contusion of the heart, predisposing His heart to rupture on the cross. (Ball) Simon of Cyrene (currently North Africa (Tripoli)), who apparently was affected by these events, was summoned to help.
The present Via Dolorosa was marked in the 16th century as the route over which Christ was led to His crucifixion.(Magi) As is the location of Calvary, the true location of the Via Dolorosa is disputed. Much tradition as to what happened to Jesus is encountered on the Via Dolorosa today. There are 14 stations of 'events' that occurred and 9 churches on the way today. The stations of the cross were established in the 1800's. (Magi) Today, there is one section of the path where one can walk on the stones which were used during Jesus time.
SUFFERING ON THE CROSSPsalm 22:16-17: Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me."
The crucifixion event is prophesied in several places throughout the Old Testament. One of the most striking is recorded in Isaiah 52:13,where it says that, "My servant will act wisely (or prosper).He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted." In John 3, Jesus talks about His fulfillment of that prophecy when He says, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life." He refers to the events recorded in Numbers 21:6-9. The Lord had sent a plague of fiery serpents on the people of Israel and they bit the people so that many of the people died. After the people confessed their sin to Moses, the Lord for gave them by having a bronze serpent made. Bronze is a symbol for judgment and the serpent is a symbol of the curse. Whoever was bitten by a serpent and then looked at the bronze serpent, was saved from death.. These verses are prophecies that point to the crucifixion, in the Jesus would be (lifted up ) on the cross for the judgment of sin, so that whoever believed in Him should not die (an eternal death), but live an eternal life.II Cor 5 :21 amplifies this point, in that "He (the Father) made Him who knew no sin (the Son) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."(Pink) It is interesting that the sign of Aesculapius which is the symbol of the medical profession today, had its roots from the making of the bronze serpent.(Metherall) Indeed, Jesus is the healer of all! Jesus is led to the place of the skull (Latin Calvary, Aramaic :Golgotha) to be crucified. The actual location of Calvary is also in dispute. At the end of the Via Dolorosa, there is a "T intersection". If one turns left, we go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. If one turns to the right, one goes to Gordon's Calvary. The Church of the Holy sepulcher has long been believed to be the traditional site of the crucifixion.
Gordon's Calvary has a possible prophetic reason for being the actual site of the crucifixion.In Genesis 22, Abraham is tested by God to sacrifice Isaac on the top of a mountain. Realizing that he is acting out a prophecy, that "God Himself will provide a Lamb", Abraham calls the place of the event "Jehovah Jireh", meaning "In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." If we take this as a prophetic event of Jesus' death, then Jesus' died on the high ground of Jerusalem. Gordon's Calvary is the highest point of Jerusalem, 777 meters above sea level.(Missler: Map from Israel tour book) Today, at Gordon's Calvary, caves in the rock are situated which give the site the appearance of a skull.
Jesus was then crucified. Crucifixion was a practice that originated with the Persians and was later passed on to the Carthaginians and the Phoenicians. The Romans perfected it as a method of execution which caused maximal pain and suffering over a period of time. Those crucified included slaves, provincials and the lowest types of criminals. Roman citizens, except perhaps for soldiers who deserted, were not subjected to this treatment. (McDowell)
The crucifixion site "was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls...for sanitary reasons... the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers by." (Johnson) Sometimes, the subject was eaten while alive and still on the cross by wild beasts. (Lipsius)
The procedure of crucifixion may be summarized as follows. The patibulum was put on the ground and the victim laid upon it. Nails, about 7 inches long and with a diameter of 1 cm ( roughly 3/8 of an inch) were driven in the wrists. The points would go into the vicinity of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain to radiate through the arms. It was possible to place the nails between the bones so that no fractures (or broken bones) occurred. Studies have shown that nails were probably driven through the small bones of the wrist, since nails in the palms of the hand would not support the weight of a body. In ancient terminology, the wrist was considered to be part of the hand. (Davis) Standing at the crucifixion sites would be upright posts, called stipes, standing about 7 feet high.(Edwards) In the center of the stipes was a crude seat, called a sedile or sedulum, which served a support for the victim. The patibulum was then lifted on to the stipes. The feet were then nailed to the stipes. To allow for this, the knees had to be bent and rotated laterally, being left in a very uncomfortable position. The titulus was hung above the victim's head.
There were several different types of crosses used during crucifixion. In Jesus' time, it was most likely that the cross used was a T shaped (or tau cross,), not the popular Latin, or t shaped cross which is accepted today.(Lumpkin)
PHYSICAL SUFFERING ON THE CROSSPsalm 22:14-15: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death."
Having suffered from the beatings and flogging, Jesus suffered from severe hypovolemia from the loss of blood. The verses above describe His dehydrated state and loss of His strength.
When the cross was erected upright, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints.(Metherall) The arms, being held up and outward, held the rib cage in a fixed end inspiratory position which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. The victim would only be able to take very shallow breaths.(This may explain why Jesus made very short statements while on the cross). As time passed, the muscles, from the loss of blood, last of oxygen and the fixed position of the body, would undergo severe cramps and spasmodic contractions
ABANDONED BY GOD-SPIRITUAL DEATHMatthew 27:46: "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'--which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
With the sin of the world upon Him, Jesus suffered spiritual death (separation from the Father ). Isaiah 59:2 says that sins cause a separation from God, and that He hides His face from you so that He does not hear. The Father must turn away from His Beloved Son on the cross. For the first time, Jesus does not address God as His Father.(Courson)
DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION: SLOW SUFFOCATION
"...it appears likely that the mechanism of death in crucifixion was suffocation. The chain of events which ultimately led to suffocation are as follows: With the weight of the body being supported by the sedulum, the arms were pulled upward. This caused the intercostal and pectoral muscles to be stretched. Furthermore, movement of these muscles was opposed by the weight of the body. With the muscles of respiration thus stretched, the respiratory bellows became relatively fixed. As dyspnea developed and pain in the wrists and arms increased, the victim was forced to raise the body off the sedulum, thereby transferring the weight of the body to the feet. Respirations became easier, but with the weight of the body being exerted on the feet, pain in the feet and legs mounted. When the pain became unbearable, the victim again slumped down on the sedulum with the weight of the body pulling on the wrists and again stretching the intercostal muscles. Thus, the victim alternated between lifting his body off the sedulum in order to breathe and slumping down on the sedulum to relieve pain in the feet. Eventually, he became exhausted or lapsed into unconsciousness so that he could no longer lift his body off the sedulum. In this position, with the respiratory muscles essentially paralyzed, the victim suffocated and died. (DePasquale and Burch)
Due to the shallow breathing, the victim's lungs begin to collapse in small areas. causing hypoxia and hypercarbia. A respiratory acidosis, with lack of compensation by the kidneys due to the loss of blood from the numerous beatings, resulted in an increased strain on the heart, which beats faster to compensate. Fluid builds up in the lungs.. Under the stress of hypoxia and acidosis the heart eventually fails. There are several different theories on the actual cause of death. One theory states that there was a filling of the pericardium with fluid, which put a fatal strain on the ability of the heart to pump blood (Lumpkin). Another theory states that Jesus died of cardiac rupture." (Bergsma) The actual cause of Jesus' death, however, "may have been multifactorial and related primarily to hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia and perhaps acute heart failure."(Edwards) A fatal cardiac arrhythmia may have caused the final terminal event. (Johnson, Edwards)
A LAST DRINK OF WINE VINEGARJohn 19:29-30 "A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips." When he had received the drink, Jesus said, `It is finished'. "With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
Having suffered severe blood losses from His numerous beatings and thus in a dehydrated state, Jesus, in one of His final statements, said "I thirst." He was offered 2 drinks on the cross. The first, which He refused, was a drugged wine (mixed with myrrh). He chose to face death without a clouded mind. Edersheim writes:
"It was a merciful Jewish practice to give to those led to execution a draught of strong wine mixed with myrrh so as to deaden consciousness" (Mass Sem 2.9; Bemid. R. 10). This charitable office was performed at the cost of, if not by, an association of women in Jerusalem (Sanh. 43a). The draught was offered to Jesus when He reached Golgotha. But having tasted it....He would not drink it.....He would meet Death, even in his sternest and fiercest mood, and conquer by submitting to the full....(p.880).
The second drink, which He accepts moments before His death, is described as a wine vinegar. Two points are important to note. The drink was given on the "stalk of a hyssop plant". Remember that these events occurred at the Feast of the Passover. During this feast, (Exod 12:22) hyssop was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the wooden doorposts of the Jews. It is interesting the end of this hyssop stalk pointed to the blood of the Perfect Lamb which was applied to the wooden cross for the salvation of all mankind. (Barclay) In addition, the wine vinegar is a product of fermentation, which is made from grape juice and yeast. The word literally means "that which is soured" and is related to the Hebrew term for "that which is leavened". (Holmans) Yeast or leaven, is a Biblical symbol of sin. When Jesus took this drink, (i.e. a drink which was "leavened") it is thus symbolic of His taking the sins of the world into His body.
CELEBRATION OF THE OPPOSITION
SPIRITUAL WARFAREPsalm 22:12-13: "Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me."
While He was on the cross, darkness covered the land (noon to three p.m.). Jesus, inLuke 22:53, associates those who arrested Him with the power of darkness. Where were the evil forces while Jesus was on the cross? The verses above from Psalm 22 seem out of place when first read. There seems to be no mention of "bulls" and "lions" around the cross. The verses, however, have a deeper meaning.(Courson) Bashan was an area to the east of the Jordan River which was famous for its fertility. Cattle were raised there which grew to enormous sizes. The people there worshipped demon spirits (associated with Baal) within the cattle. In 1 Pet 5:8, Satan is described as "a roaring lion...seeking those who he may devour" These verses are thus suggestive of the spiritual activity of Satan and his demons, celebrating as Jesus was suffering on the cross.
JESUS LAID DOWN HIS LIFEJohn 10:17-18 "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
Luke 23:46 "Jesus called out with a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit'." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The average time of suffering before death by crucifixion is stated to be about 2-4 days(Tenney), although there are reported cases where the victims lived for 9 days.(Lipsius) The actual causes of death by crucifixion were multifactorial, one of the most significant would have been the severity of the scourging. (Edwards) Jesus died a quick physical death (Pilate was surprised that He had died so soon.(Mark 15:44)). While many of the physical signs preceding death were present, one possibility is that Jesus did not die by physical factors which ended His ability to live, but that He gave up His life of His own accord. His last statement, "Into your hands I commit my Spirit" seems to show that Jesus' death occurred by giving Himself up. In John 10, He states that only He has the power to lay down His life. He proved His power over death by His resurrection. Truly, God is the one who has power over life and death
DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION:HASTENED by the breaking of the legs, so that the victim could not push up to take a good breath.
John 19:32-33: The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
CONFIRMED by a spear thrust into the right side of the heart.
John 19:34: Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.Death in crucifixion was hastened by the breaking of the legs of the victim. This procedure, called crurifracture, prevented the ability of the victim to take in a good breath. Death would quickly occur from suffocation. In Jesus' case, He died quickly and did not have His legs broken. Jesus fulfills one of the prophetic requirements of the Passover Lamb, that not a bone shall be broken.(Exodus 12:46, John 19:36)
To confirm that a victim was dead, the Romans inflicted a spear wound through the right side of the heart. When pierced, a sudden flow of blood and water came Jesus' body. The medical significance of the blood and water has been a matter of debate. One theory states that Jesus died of a massive myocardial infarction, in which the heart ruptured (Bergsma) which may have resulted from His falling while carrying the cross. (Ball) Another theory states that Jesus' heart was surrounded by fluid in the pericardium, which constricted the heart and caused death.(Davis) The physical stresses of crucifixion may have produced a fatal cardiac arrhythmia. (Johnson)
The stated order of "blood and water" may not necessarily indicate the order of appearance, but rather the relative prominence of each fluid. In this case, a spear through the right side of the heart would allow the pleural fluid (fluid built up in the lungs) to escape first, followed by a flow of blood from the wall of the right ventricle.(Edwards) The important fact is that the medical evidence supports that Jesus did die a physical death.
The story, of course, does not end here. The greatest event that separates Jesus from all others is the fact that He rose again and lives today. He intercedes for those who follow Him at the right hand of the Father.(Heb 7:25)
APPEARANCE IN HEAVENRevelation 5:6: Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.
In eternity, Jesus will bear the marks of His crucifixion. Rev 5:6suggests that He appears in heaven with the marks as a Lamb "looking as if it had been slain". We know that when He appeared to Thomas that He bore the scars of the nails and the spear in His side.(John 20:26-28) It is also worth considering reasons as to why He was not immediately recognized after His resurrection. In John 21:12, it is stated that the disciples did "not dare to ask Him His identity, because they knew that it was the Lord." It is possible that His resurrection body still has the marks of His beatings. "The body of His glorification will be the body of His humiliation." (Missler)
Are we ready to meet Him? What have we done with what He has given to us?. Today, He encourages us to consider the cost of the cross and to apply it to our own lives.
FOLLOWING JESUS CHRISTLuke 9:23: Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
When He was on earth, Jesus stated that, "If any man would come after me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23) As we have seen, in Jesus' time it meant going to your death, giving up and separating yourself from all that you had.......your rights, your friends, your body and blood and even your "god", to follow Him.
We are challenged by the example of Simon of Cyrene. Scripture mentions Him as being the father of Alexander and Rufus.(Mark 15:21) Rufus ("a choice man in the Lord") and Simon's wife were both addressed by Paul in his letter to the Roman church. (Romans 16:13) Here was a man, who indeed carried the cross...and made an impact for Christ in eternity. What commitment are you willing to make to Him now?
The Bible, God's Word (II Timothy 3:16-17), relates how God once had a personal relationship with man. God would talk and relate to man, just as you might relate to your best friend. God created man to give him a meaningful and purposeful life.
Man chose to go his own way by disobeying God. (This applies to all men as inRomans 3:23). This disobedience, called sin, caused a break in the relationship between man and God. If a man casually seeks a relationship with God by his own efforts (religion), he will find nothing, because sin has broken the communication. (Isaiah 59:2)
Christianity is the story of God sacrificing His Son to restore a relationship that was broken. As stated in the above text, Jesus gave up His life to pay for the sins of mankind and taking the punishment for the sin upon Himself. Because He gave His life on the cross, any one who believes in Him will have a restoration of a personal relationship with God. Jesus Himself claimed to be the only way to God (John 14:6) and only by the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ can man have a meaningful and purposeful life.(John 10:10)
God desires that all men come to know Him in a personal way. If you have never received Jesus' gift of Himself for your sins, or have any doubts to how you can have a meaningful and purposeful life by the kinowledge of God through Jesus Christ, you can start by praying a simple prayer, such as:
Dear Lord Jesus. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I confess that I am a sinner before God. I acknowledge that by your death and sacrifice that you have paid the penalty of my sins for me. Please come into my heart and become the Lord of my life.As you gave your life, I give my life to you. I will take up my cross and follow you, not as I will, but to follow Your perfect will for my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer, please let us know by e-mail. It would be a real blessing to us. Or if you have any further questions about the work of Jesus on the cross, please send Dr. Terasaka e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you like to know more about how you can have a personal relationship with God? If so, click here
Ball, D. A. "The Crucifixion and Death of a Man Called Jesus". J Miss St Med Assoc 30(3): 77-83, 1989.
Barclay, William. "The Gospel of John Volume 2" Westminister Press, Philadelphia, Pa.,. 1975.
Bergsma, Stuart. "Did Jesus Die of a Broken Heart?". The Calvin Forum, 14:165, 1948.
Bible, Amplified version. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1964.
Bucklin, R.. "The Legal and Medical Aspects of the Trial and Death of Christ". Med Sci Law. 10:14-26, 1970.
Courson, Jon. "Why Psalms 22?" (tape) Firefighters for Christ, Westminister California.
Davis, C.T. "The Crucifixion of Jesus :The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View". Ariz Med 22:183-187, 1965.
DePasquale, N. P. and Burch, G.E. "Death by Crucifixion", Am Heart J 66(3):. 434-435, 1963.
Edersheim, A. "TheLife and Times of Jesus the Messiah". Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Peabody, Massachusetts, 1993.
Edwards, W.D., Gabel, W.J and Hosmer, F.E. "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ." JAMA. 255 (11), pp. 1455-1463, 1986.
Gonen, R. "Biblical Holy Places : an illustrated guide",Palphot Ltd. Israel 1994
Grafenberg, J. S.."Observ.Medic.," Lib.III. p.458.
Holman's Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, 1991.
Johnson, C.."Medical and Cardiological Aspects of the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus, the Christ", Bol Asoc Med P Rico 70 (3) :97-102, 1978.
Kollek, T. and Dowley, T., "Next Year in Jerusalem", Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1995.
Lipsius, Justus. "De Cruce. Libri tres, ad sacram profanamque historiam utiles. (3rd part Tom III. Opera Omnia. Antwerp, 1614)
Lumpkin,R.."The Physical Suffering of Christ", J Med Assoc Ala 47: 8-10, 1978.
Magi, G. "Israel". Casa Editrice Bonechi, Florence, Italy, 1992.
McDowell, J. "The Resurrection Factor". Campus Crusade for Christ, Nashville, Tenn., 1981.
Metherall, A.. "Christ's Physical Suffering" (Tape) Firefighters for Christ, Westminister, Ca.
Missler, C. "Isaiah 53" (Tape) Firefighters for Christ, Westminister, Ca.
Missler, C. "Israel Tour Book" 1995 Edition.
Pink, A. "The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross", Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1958.
Scott, C.T. "A Case of Haematidrosis", Br Med J.1: 532-533, 1918.
Strong, J. "Strong's Concordance", MacDonald Pub Co., McLean, Va.
Tenney, S.M. "On Death By Crucifixion", Am Heart J.68(2) :286-287, 1964.
Websters Dictionary, Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 1974.
Compiled by David Terasaka, M.D. ©1996. All Rights Reserved, David Terasaka, M.D. However, permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute free of charge for non-commercial purposes only.
On the evening before His crucifixion Jesus was gathered with His disciples in the upper room, sharing with them some of the most intimate truths of His entire ministry. As He discussed the love of the Father and His love for His disciples he declared:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13Though they did not realize it at the time, the disciples were only hours from the practical realization of this truth. One of the subtle evidences of the supernatural origin of the Biblical text is that astonishing events are often described in extremely brief narratives.
This is perhaps best illustrated in the matter-of-fact way in which the crucifixion of Jesus Christ-the most pivotal event in the history of the universe-is described in the Gospel accounts.
After Jesus was examined and declared to be without fault by the Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate, he delivered Him to be judged by the assembled crowd. When the opportunity arose to decide the destiny of Jesus, the crowd and the Jewish leadership cried out saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him." 1
The horrifying events of the next six hours were preceded by the simple words:
Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. John 19:16"Great Drops of Blood"
The physical suffering of Jesus began in the Garden of Gethsemane on the evening before His crucifixion. While the disciples slept, the Gospel of Luke records that the LORD "being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."2
The notion that someone could actually sweat blood seems contrived. However, there is a rare but recognized condition called hematohydrosis, in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to express blood. This usually occurs under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress. Jesus wasn't sweating blood because he was afraid of the physical pain of the cross. Indeed, the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus looked forward to the cross:
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2The Trials
After Jesus' arrest they led Him away to the High Priest Caiaphas, where the Scribes and elders were assembled. During this inquisition we are told that "some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, 'Prophesy!' And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands."3
Beatings about the face received by a blindfolded individual cause even worse trauma because the victim cannot "roll with the punches." In the hours that followed Jesus received two additional beatings at the hands of Roman soldiers.4 Severe disfigurement of the face would certainly have resulted from the brutal treatment. It is likely that the eyelids were swollen shut as a result of such beatings. This was done in fulfillment of Isaiah 52:13-14:
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.The Scourging
After His trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus was scourged (flogged) by the Roman guards. This process typically involved a whip with numerous leather thongs, 18-24 inches long, with bits of metal, bone or glass embedded in the leather. At times they would use an iron rod to beat the prisoner. According to Jewish custom, a prisoner was usually flogged 39 times (Forty minus one was a sign of Jewish mercy!)
Scourging was an extreme form of punishment. The skin on the victim's back was usually shredded, thus exposing the underlying muscle and skeletal structures. Severe blood loss and dehydration were the rule. Many victims died from such scourging.
After the scourging of Jesus, the Roman soldiers beat Him a second time with their hands and with a reed. Then they put on him a "crown of thorns."
Jesus had not drunk since the night before, so the combination of the beatings, the crown of thorns, and the scourging would have set into motion an irreversible process of severe dehydration and cardiorespiratory failure. All of this was done so that the prophecy of Isaiah would be fulfilled:
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah 50:6
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Crucifixion was invented by the Persians between 300-400 b.c. It was "perfected" by the Romans in the first century b.c. It is arguably the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term "excruciating." It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of criminals.
The most common device used for crucifixion was a wooden cross, which consisted of an upright pole permanently fixed in the ground with a removable crossbar, usually weighing between 75-100 lbs. Victims of crucifixion were typically stripped naked and their clothing divided by the Roman guards. In Jesus' case this was done in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18, "They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots."
As a gesture of "Roman kindness" the prisoner was offered a mixture of vinegar (gall) and wine as a mild anesthetic. This anesthetic was refused by Jesus.5 Consequently, He bore it all! The Apostle Peter stated of Jesus:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Peter 2:24The victim was then placed on his back, arms stretched out and nailed to the cross bar. The nails, which were generally about 7-9 inches long, were placed between the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) and the small bones of the hands (the carpal bones). (Figure 1.)
The placement of the nail at this point had several effects. First it ensured that the victim would indeed hang there until dead. Secondly, a nail placed at this point would sever the largest nerve in the hand called the median nerve.
The severing of this nerve is a medical catastrophe. In addition to severe burning pain the destruction of this nerve causes permanent paralysis of the hand. Furthermore, by nailing the victim at this point in the wrist, there would be minimal bleeding and there would be no bones broken! Thus scriptures were fulfilled:
I can count all my bones: they look and stare upon me. Psalm 22:17He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:20
The positioning of the feet is probably the most critical part of the mechanics of crucifixion. First the knees were flexed about 45 degrees and the feet were flexed (bent downward) an additional 45 degrees until they were parallel the vertical pole. An iron nail about 7-9 inches long was driven through the feet between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones. In this position the nail would sever the dorsal pedal artery of the foot, but the resultant bleeding would be insufficient to cause death.
The Catastrophic Result
The resulting position on the cross sets up a horrific sequence of events which results in a slow, painful death. Having been pinned to the cross, the victim now has an impossible position to maintain. (Figure 2)
With the knees flexed at about 45 degrees, the victim must bear his weight with the muscles of the thigh. However, this is an almost impossible task-try to stand with your knees flexed at 45 degrees for 5 minutes. As the strength of the legs gives out, the weight of the body must now be borne by the arms and shoulders. The result is that within a few minutes of being placed on the cross, the shoulders will become dislocated. Minutes later the elbows and wrists become dislocated. The result of these dislocations is that the arms are as much as 6-9 inches longer than normal.
With the arms dislocated, considerable body weight is transferred to the chest, causing the rib cage to be elevated in a state of perpetual inhalation. Consequently, in order to exhale the victim must push down on his feet to allow the rib muscles to relax. The problem is that the victim cannot push very long because the legs are extremely fatigued. As time goes on, the victim is less and less able to bear weight on the legs, causing further dislocation of the arms and further raising of the chest wall, making breathing more and more difficult.
The result of this process is a series of catastrophic physiological effects. Because the victim cannot maintain adequate ventilation of the lungs, the blood oxygen level begins to diminish and the blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level begins to rise. This rising CO2 level stimulates the heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen and the removal of CO2.
However, due to the pinning of the victim and the limitations of oxygen delivery, the victim cannot deliver more oxygen and the rising heart rate only increases oxygen demand. So this process sets up a vicious cycle of increasing oxygen demand-which cannot be met-followed by an ever increasing heart rate. After several hours the heart begins to fail, the lungs collapse and fill up with fluid, which further decreases oxygen delivery to the tissues. The blood loss and hyperventilation combines to cause severe dehydration. That's why Jesus said, "I thirst."6
Over a period of several hours the combination of collapsing lungs, a failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get adequate oxygen supplies to the tissues cause the eventual death of the victim. The victim, in effect, cannot breath properly and slowly suffocates to death. In cases of severe cardiac stress, such as crucifixion, a victim's heart can even burst. This process is called "Cardiac Rupture." Therefore it could be said that Jesus died of a "broken heart!"
To slow the process of death the executioners put a small wooden seat on the cross, which would allow the victim the privilege of bearing his weight on his buttocks. The effect of this was that it could take up to nine days to die on a cross.
When the Romans wanted to expedite death they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing him to suffocate in a matter of minutes. At three o'clock in the afternoon Jesus said, "Tetelastai," meaning "it is finished." Then He gave up the ghost. When the soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs, He was already dead. Not a bone of Him was broken!
How Should We Then Live?
I realize that it is difficult to read of the details of Jesus' physical sufferings. And yet, when we realize that He looked forward, on our behalf, to the cross, we are overwhelmed with His practical demonstration of love and, hopefully, a personal realization of our unworthiness. How should we then live? I believe that the Apostle Paul said it best:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11This article was originally published in the
April 1998 Personal Update News Journal.
By Angel E
Spirits of: A spirit of fear (as in stress and anxiety) causing a rush of ACTH into the blood stream; fear of abandonment; fear of rejection; fear of the future; lack of identity; spirits of oppression and heaviness; spirits of occultism. Any number of these spiritual root issues may be generational iniquities, meaning that the same spiritual root issues were present in the father or mother or grandparents even though they might not have had the disease. After ministering, pray a prayer for healing. We encourage you to consider speaking healing in the name of Jesus to the tissue, organ or body part that is in need of healing. Also, command the body to come back into balance and to function as God intended from the foundation of the world. If a creative miracle is needed, call it forth in the name of Jesus. Please remember that our prayers for healing should not be spoken as a mantra or as a legalistic prayer. Our Father God knows what we need before we ask. We trust that God will meet you thru this process.
Dehydrative Degenerative Changes in Disk:
Spirits of: generational personality of addiction, pharmakeia and drunkenness; need to be loved; fear (as in stress and anxiety); anger and rage; self-conflict; occultism; spirit of pain (chronic pain)
High Blood Pressure:
Spirits of: fear (as in stress and anxiety); fear of tomorrow; projecting fear into the future; anger against self, others and/or God.
Spirits of: generational self-anger (these people are very angry with themselves), self-mutilation, self-bitterness, self-rejection, self-hatred, and guilt; fear; spirits of death and destruction. Speak Healing or a Creative Miracle to the following: · Speak a creative miracle to any genetic mutations. · Speak healing to the hypothalamus, amygdala and limbic system to be healed. · Speak healing for normal blood levels and receptor cells for LDL and HDL. · Speak healing for normal number of receptor cells for cholesterol in the liver. · Speak healing for a normal balance of all hormones, especially, thyroid hormones, and estrogen in women and testosterone in men . · Pray that the lipoproteins will be broken down. · Speak healing for the reduction of total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and protein. · Speak healing for normal levels of C-reactive protein and cardiac enzymes return to normal · Speak healing to normalize homocysteine levels in the blood. · Speak healing to strengthen the immune system and command the macrophages to stop attacking the lining of the blood vessels. · Speak healing to all inflammation in the blood vessels to be ceased and for all fatty deposits to be dissolved. · Speak healing to the liver and normal synthesis of lipoproteins and cholesterol and for liver enzymes to return to normal.
Spirits of: fear (as in stress and anxiety); spirits that might have gained access as a result of lack of nurturing; torment from victimization. Pharmakia from sleeping meds Speak Healing or a Creative Miracle to the following: · Speak healing to the hypothalamus and limbic system and any fear programming to be broken. · Speak healing to the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis. · Speak healing to balance all hormones especially CRH, ACTH, cortisol, adrenaline, estrogen and serotonin. · Speak healing to the suprachiasmatic nuclei our body clock and for the body’s circadian rhythms to return to normal. · Speak healing to the pineal gland and for normal production of melatonin. · Speak healing to the autonomic nervous system and for there to be no abnormal nerve transmission affecting the endocrine system. · Speak healing for a normal balance of acetylcholine and healing to the acetylcholine receptors. · Speak healing to normalize REM sleep. · Speak healing, blessing, and peace over them.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."
The old adage is being called into question by new research from UCLA: Dr. Naomi Eisenberger has found that social rejection and physical pain are intrinsically linked in the brain, so much so that a lack of the former can impact the latter.
How social rejection might affect physical pain
In an experiment published in the 2006 issue of the journal Pain, Eisenberger used 75 subjects to explore perceptions of physical pain in the context of social situations.
First, researchers identified each person’s unique pain threshold by transmitting varying levels of heat to the forearm. Participants rated pain levels until they reached “very unpleasant.” This provided a baseline for personal pain thresholds under normal conditions.
Participants then participated in a ball-tossing game with three characters on a computer screen. One character represented the participant, and researchers told participants that the other two characters were played by real people, though a computer actually controlled everything. The participant was either socially included (the ball was tossed to their character) or excluded (the ball was never tossed to their character). In the final 30 seconds of the game, a new heat stimulus was applied and subjects again rated the level of pain they felt.
Unsurprisingly, the non-included group reported 67% more social distress on average. More surprisingly, the same people who reported great social distress from the game also reported higher pain ratings at the end of the game—showing a link between social and physical pain. Other studies on improving emotional control
Many fMRI studies have confirmed that emotional and physical pain both activate the brain’s dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. Still other studies note that people who suffer from physical conditions such as chronic pain are more likely to have emotional anxiety and feel social rejection more deeply.
In a recent 2013 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers explored one method of enhancing emotional control through an adaptation of a well-studied working memory task called n-back. In the standard n-back task, people must remember different visual or auditory stimuli from 1, 2, 3, or more trials ago; in this case, they were prompted with images of different facial expressions and emotionally loaded words such as dead and evil. Out of 34 total participants, those who spent 20 days using this emotion-based working memory task controlled their distress more effectively when later exposed to films of traumatic events.
These two studies are fairly preliminary; the future of understanding and improving emotional control is still full of open questions. But as researchers continue to explore the complex workings of the human mind, there is more and more evidence that seemingly unrelated functions may in fact share underlying brain processes. These fascinating insights into the neuropsychological basis of emotional distress only scratch the surface of what we can learn about the impact of emotional control on our daily lives.
DD IF PTSD DE DPD V VIF FIFF DID
< Less Pain ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Greater Pain>
1- DAYDREAMING OR FANTASY (DD) A pleasant, dreamy series of thoughts in which the mind wanders off or fanaticizes and imagines being at another location with specific experiences. It is like a student in school who is bored with the teacher which results in pain. The boy imagines being at the beach but he dissociates when he feels the breeze blowing against his face and the hot sand on his feet. It is almost like actually being there at the beacon a hot summer day.
2- IMAGINARY FRIENDS (IF) This is when a child feels the pain of loneliness so he dissociates by having imaginaryfriends past the normal period when this should occur in childhood.
3- POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERTRAITS (PTSD) A person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others, the response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. If the trauma is severe enough, a person can develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is when a person who has been traumatized continues to act as if the trauma is still evident. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event (images, thoughts, or perceptions), in distressing dreams, persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness, persistent symptoms of increased arousal(difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, hyper vigilance, or exaggerated startle response ) more than 1 month, and disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
4- DISSOCIATIVE EPISODES OF AMNESIA OR FUGUE (DE) As pain starts to come to the surface and manifest, the person tries to run from it in various ways such as an inability to re call important information; unexplained travel away from home. Identity confusion.
5- DEPERSONALIZATION DISORDER (DPD) This is when the person feels detached or outside the physical body and may have an out-ofbody experience. One has a recurrent feeling of being detached from one’s body or mind. 6- VOICE (V) The voice from within takes the opposite position of their own mind. This voice is often the voice of the values of the abuser which often thinks in extremes. This is often “black/white thinking.”
7- VOICES WITH IDENTITIES AND FUNCTIONS (VIF) Emotions, feelings, or thoughts go into the identity of another personality. The voices put functions into another personality within in order to deal with the pain of abuse.
8-FRAGMENTS WITH IDENTITIES (FI) The fragments of personalities have internal form or identity.
9- FRAGMENTS WITH FUNCTIONS (FF) The fragment of personalities travel further away from the pain but needs to perform functions and responsibilities.
10- DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER (MPD or DID) This is when 2 or more personalities have developed with amnesiac Barriers so the birth person can survive and each personality has their own feelings, thoughts, functions, threats, and secrets with varying degrees of function.
11- COMPLEX DISSOCIATIVE DISORDER (CDD) This is when there are 50-200 alter personalities that are poly fragmented with some degree of organization or sophistication. This may result from severe childhood abuse or Satanic Ritual Abuse from either the “Low Cult” or “High Cult.”
12- HIGHLY COMPLEX DISSOCIATIVE DISORDER (HCDD) This is when there are over 200 alter personalities that are poly fragmented with intricately complex multi-levels of personalities usually as a result of “High Cult” Satanic Ritual Abuse and often has associated psychological disorders.
Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 © 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.
For the devout, there never has been any question that prayer has the power to heal. Now, more and more medical research from leading hospitals and universities across the U.S. has shown conclusively a belief in God really IS good for you, making you healthier and happier, and helping you live longer. “Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick — and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster,” Duke University’s Harold G. Koenig, M.D., tells Newsmax Health.
An exhaustive analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies “indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health,” Dr. Koenig says. “And out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer. “There’s a lot of evidence out there.”
Dr. Koenig — director of Duke’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and the author of several authoritative books on faith and healing — says a striking study published in the Southern Medical Journal demonstrated that prayer has a remarkable effect on patients with hearing and visual deficiencies. After prayer sessions, “They showed significant improvements based on audio and visual tests,” Dr. Koenig said. He added: “The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better. In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they're more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. “They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and probably better cardiovascular functioning.”
The proof of the power of prayer is overwhelming, says researcher and writer Tom Knox, a one-time atheist who became a regular worshiper after doing in-depth study of the medical benefits of faith. “What I discovered astonished me,” admits Knox. “Over the past 30 years a growing and largely unnoticed body of scientific work shows religious belief is medically, socially, and psychologically beneficial.” Study after study backs up the benefits of having faith, especially in prolonging life.
In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. “Religious attendance is associated with adult mortality in a graded fashion,” says Knox. “There is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between those who never attend church and those who attend weekly.” The American Journal of Public Health studied nearly 2,000 older Californians for five years and found that those who attended religious services were 36 percent less likely to die during that period than those who didn’t. A study of nearly 4,000 older adults for the U.S. Journal of Gerontology revealed that atheists had a significantly increased chance of dying over a six-year period than the faithful.
Crucially, religious people lived longer than atheists even if they didn’t go regularly to a place of worship.
The American Society of Hypertension established in 2006 that church-goers have lower blood pressure than non-believers.
Scientists have also revealed believers recover from breast cancer quicker than non-believers, have better outcomes from coronary disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and are less likely to have children with meningitis.
Research at San Francisco General Hospital looked at the effect of prayer on 393 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for by strangers who had only the patients’ names. Those patients had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, and needed less drug treatment. They also got better quicker and left the hospital earlier. Concluded Knox: “Atheists can sneer at faith all they like, but they can’t assume science is on their side.”
© 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.
Trauma is the result of overloading the emotional circuits in the brain’s control center. Chronic traumatic effects follow overloads that damage the brain, development, wiring, chemistry and structure. Some of this damage is immediate but most of it happens in the 48 hours following the traumatic event when the injured person is not able to return to joy and quiet, either because they have not developed the capacity (immature or underdeveloped nervous system) or because no one will share their pain with them.
Measuring Type B trauma intensity
Mild Trauma (left-brain off) – Normally, I run my life in a conscious way that fits with how I know life works and who I am. These explanations are kept in my left-brain and represent my reality. We could call them my accumulated “Godsight” because to me they are ultimate reality. The first loss of my brain synchronization under an increasing load of emotional energy happens when my explanations for how things work (stored in my left hemisphere) fail to account for intense emotions I am feeling. The first response from the control center in the right-brain is to shut down the left-brain (level 4+) and take over operations until my emotions have been quieted. The right-brain always tries to gather everything I know about feeling this way before it does what I have always done (or seen done) under these conditions.
Moderate Trauma (PFC off) – As trauma becomes more intense the captain of the control center in the right prefrontal cortex (level four) discovers that I have never been in a mess this bad before. There is no example to follow to tell me what my people or I would do now. The control center begins to come apart (lose synchronization) and the mental banana at level three takes over to see if there is anyone who will share this distress with me. This middle level tries to establish a mutual mind state with anyone who seems to know how to handle this experience. How long I will look for a mutual mind depends on many factors including what I have learned if I went through trauma before. Before long my brain will select a preferred way to go through trauma if I have repeated incidents. When I can’t wait any more, or the intensity of the emotions becomes too great, I will shut off level three and go into severe trauma.
Severe Trauma (Cingulate off) – If I lack enough capacity to handle the strength of my emotions or there is no one to help me through sharing a mutual mind in my pain I will turn off the mental banana at level three (cingulate cortex) and with it the front part of my mind. My left-brain has been off for a while, my captain (level 4) failed so my control center began to come apart when the top level shut down followed by the middle level (three) and now all the cortex that can be turned off has been turned off. I am no longer a relational being, I no longer think or act like a person, I do not distinguish people from objects and I react in terror/rage. I am under the control of my level two (amygdala) which is not cortex and does not respond to my will or the desires of others. In the minutes, hours and days following a severe trauma I will try to find a mutual mind at level three to help me return to the world of relationships. If I fail to find a mutual mind I will be bothered by intrusive thoughts and reactions to this experience when my cortex starts to run again.
Profound Trauma (Vegetative vagal/parasympathetic shut down.) If my impersonal terror/rage condition lasts very long I will completely shut down and become a vacant stare. This shut down condition is called dissociation. While my brain continues to respond in minimal ways, I may no longer recognize that I am present or that these events are happening to me. If my brain is immature or my capacity is too small, I may not be able to consciously recall this experience when my cortex starts to run again.
Chronic Trauma Effects will vary depending on how severe, frequent and prolonged the traumatic events were, how much “mutual mind” help I received and how weak my control center was due to immaturity or Type B trauma. These factors will also determine how much physical damage was done to my control center by the trauma and how impaired my brain has become as a result. The general effects of trauma can be divided in two ways: right versus left and back versus front.
Left and right – After trauma the brain favors the right-brain instead of the normal left side. This is because the mind struggles to control the intensity of feelings. This takes up way too much mental energy and keeps the control center on the right busy. People have difficulty concentrating, learning and being productive. They tend to be moody, reactive, thin-skinned and self-preoccupied. They may be very smart and still not live or react in ways that make sense, tending to make foolish choices when feelings are present or feelings are being avoided.
Front and back – The front half of the brain is driven by desire and goals while the back half is dominated by fear. The front half of the brain contains some of its more complex thinking and activity while the back of the brain is more involved in processing basic data and solving simple problems. During trauma the higher parts of the brain (levels 3, 4 and 4+) are shut down as we have seen. One of the enduring effects of unresolved trauma is a dominance of the fear driven back of the brain. Fear driven people are anxious, hyper-vigilant and avoidant. They do what it takes to get out of problems (real or imagined) and avoid whatever makes them unhappy or uncomfortable. Since they are not goal directed they are rarely far from the very feelings events they fear and often participate greatly in producing the very thing they fear.
Two types of trauma are described in the Life Model – Type B trauma is the kind we usually think about and involves the bad things that happen like war, rape, assault, child molesting and emotional abuse. Type A trauma is often referred to as “neglect” but the absence of the basic necessities in our lives produces traumatic effects of its own. Type A traumas include malnutrition, abandonment, insecure bonds and a lack of joy in the home.
Type A trauma during childhood builds a weakened control center in the brain. Without proper stimulation the structures and capacities needed for a stable personality do not develop. The resulting weak mind is far more vulnerable to being traumatized by events that would not crush a normal or robust mind. This lack of capacity greatly reduces the focus, stability, productivity and capacity to learn for that individual. Instead, the person is susceptible to fearful or aggressive reactions instead of goal-directed responses.
Type A trauma always produces damage. Bad things that happen sometimes produce trauma and other times they do not. This has made it very hard to produce a list of bad things that will always lead to conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or dissociation. We will look at what it takes for intense events to produce trauma in a moment, but we first need to observe that when someone does not receive the things they need it always produces weakness and damage. If you grow up without enough calcium or enough joy, as two examples, your body will not develop properly and this damage will produce vulnerabilities, deficits and malfunctions.
Type B trauma is what happens any time your brain’s control center gets overloaded (see limited capacity.) We all have a limit to our capacity to endure overwhelming events and the emotions they produce. When the intensity of an emotion even becomes stronger than our capacity and there is no one to help us bear it the brain shuts off the higher cortical regions of the control center and goes first into terror and then to parasympathetic shut down as the back of the brain tries desperately to survive.
Bad things that happen to us do not always produce trauma, if a person has the strength to experience the pain they suffer but without being traumatized. What traumatizes a poorly grown brain is often handled by a well-developed control center in another person’s mind. The stronger mind will be able to quiet itself, stay in relationship and act like him or herself in the face of the pain levels. Suffering well is the alternative to being traumatized that comes as we grow our capacities.
Partial article by Deni Huttula
Trauma “A” is the “absence of the things we need”. Trauma “A” is often overlooked and minimized in our culture. But what are some of our “needs” that we’re telling ourselves aren’t really necessary?
Some of these needs include:
Science has confirmed that you can access neuroplasticity for positive change in your own life in many ways, but it’s not quite as easy as some of the neuro-hype would have you believe. In the article, “Neuroplasticity: can you rewire your brain?,” Dr. Sarah McKay, neuroscientist, says:
“Plasticity dials back ‘ON’ in adulthood when specific conditions that enable or trigger plasticity are met. ‘What recent research has shown is that under the right circumstances, the power of brain plasticity can help adults minds grow. Although certain brain machinery tends to decline with age, there are steps people can take to tap into plasticity and reinvigorate that machinery,’ explains Merzenich. These circumstances include focused attention, determination, hard work and maintaining overall brain health.”
In his book, Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life, Dr. Michael Merzenich (which Dr. McKay cites above), a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research and co-founder of Posit Science, lists ten core principles necessary for the remodeling of your brain to take place:
1. Change is mostly limited to those situations in which the brain is in the mood for it. If you are alert, on the ball, engaged, motivated, ready for action, the brain releases the neurochemicals necessary to enable brain change. When disengaged, inattentive, distracted, or doing something without thinking that requires no real effort, your neuroplastic switches are “off.”
2. The harder you try, the more you’re motivated, the more alert you are, and the better (or worse) the potential outcome, the bigger the brain change. If you’re intensely focused on the task and really trying to master something for an important reason, the change experienced will be greater.
3. What actually changes in the brain are the strengths of the connections of neurons that are engaged together, moment by moment, in time. The more something is practiced, the more connections are changed and made to include all elements of the experience (sensory info, movement, cognitive patterns). You can think of it like a “master controller” being formed for that particular behavior, which allows it to be performed with remarkable facility and reliability over time.
4. Learning-driven changes in connections increase cell-to cell cooperation, which is crucial for increasing reliability. Merzenich explains this by asking you to imagine the sound of a football stadium full of fans all clapping at random versus the same people clapping in unison. He explains, “The more powerfully coordinated your [nerve cell] teams are, the more powerful and more reliable their behavioral productions.”
5. The brain also strengthens its connections between teams of neurons representing separate moments of successive things that reliably occur in serial time. This allows your brain to predict what happens next and have a continuous “associative flow.” Without this ability, your stream of consciousness would be reduced to “a series of separate, stagnating puddles,” explains Merzenich.
6. Initial changes are temporary. Your brain first records the change, then determines whether it should make the change permanent or not. It only becomes permanent if your brain judges the experience to be fascinating or novel enough or if the behavioral outcome is important, good or bad.
7. The brain is changed by internal mental rehearsal in the same ways and involving precisely the same processes that control changes achieved through interactions with the external world. According to Merzenich, “You don’t have to move an inch to drive positive plastic change in your brain. Your internal representations of things recalled from memory work just fine for progressive brain plasticity-based learning.”
8. Memory guides and controls most learning. As you learn a new skill, your brain takes note of and remembers the good attempts, while discarding the not-so-good trys. Then, it recalls the last good pass, makes incremental adjustments, and progressively improves.
9. Every movement of learning provides a moment of opportunity for the brain to stabilize — and reduce the disruptive power of — potentially interfering backgrounds or “noise.” Each time your brain strengthens a connection to advance your mastery of a skill, it also weakens other connections of neurons that weren’t used at that precise moment. This negative plastic brain change erases some of the irrelevant or interfering activity in the brain.
10. Brain plasticity is a two-way street; it is just as easy to generate negative changes as it is positive ones. You have a “use it or lose it” brain. It’s almost as easy to drive changes that impair memory and physical and mental abilities as it is to improve these things. Merzenich says that older people are absolute masters at encouraging plastic brain change in the wrong direction.
USE these articles as a reference to your overcoming physical, emotional & spiritual problems & illnesses.
Cleanse Your Spirit