My friend Razena posted an article on my FaceBook page about a study done in Germany and Austria. Fifteen experienced shamanic practitioners had their brains scanned while they were journeying to the spirit world. The results were published in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Pathology in June of 2015. Functional MRI scans revealed which areas of the brain were active during the journey.

I read that article as well as one written for non-scientists, The Neuroscience Of Trance. I noted the three major areas of activity and also researched them on Wikipedia. I wanted to see how the observed brain functions matched up with my own experiences.

There was increased activity in the posterior cingulate cortex. This part is associated with internally directed thought, first impressions, wakeful rest, and is not focused on the outside world.

The insular cortex is associated with the sources of urges and cravings, decision making, and communicates with other areas of the brain. It is part of the core control network and is suspected of helping maintain internally directed states.

The third part is the anterior cingulate cortex which acts as a core network controller also, and helps regulate the amygdala. In turn, the amygdala controls autonomic functions such as blood pressure and heart rate. The amygdala is also associated with rational functions like decision making, impulse control, empathy, and the emotions. The amygdala is important in deciding what is a threat and what is not (survival instinct).

These findings please me. The functions described are not concerned with the outside world but internally on a state of wakeful rest. They are focused on decision-making, internal brain communications, and maintaining internally directed states. There is a connection to our feelings. Note that, other than the internally directed state, the other areas of focus are areas our brains engage in during our normal, non-trance, every day experiences.

This tracks perfectly with my journeys. As I report in my soon-to-be-published book, My Journeys To The Spirit World, journeying is so real that I view it as a normal event. My first journey to the spirit world was on April 13, 2011. After describing that journey on page 6 of my book, I wrote, “Simply put, it was real. I knew it was real. I acted on this reality.”