What might our ancestors have noticed?
Our ancestors might have noticed that when they thought they were in danger, they went into a certain state of being. They felt fear, they got ready to fight , they felt anger. We can now recognize this as having an activated Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
But at other times they felt calm and peaceful, connected with other people , felt little anxiety and maybe had sex . They trusted that they would not be eaten by a tiger that night, We can now recognize this as having an activated Activated Para Sympathetic Nervous System (PSNS)
They learned how to activate their PSNS.
They enjoyed being in the PSNS so much that they empirically discovered ways to get into it.
They found when they felt grateful and expressed gratitude , when they sang praises, when they helped other people and got closer to them, they felt more calm and peaceful . We can now recognize this as being able to activate the Para Sympathetic Nervous System (PSNS) deliberately.
And people who were good at helping other people activate their PSNS became teachers and leaders and started religions.
But who were they praising and being grateful to?
Unfortunately for human beings, we decided we had to have some thing or some person to praise and be grateful to. Being calm and peaceful was not enough . So we started inventing deities. And of course we had to develop ways of doing this and so we invented religions.
(and of course we invented different deities and started wars as to which religion was best !!!!)
Benefits of believing in a deity.
It is very clear that there are significant benefits from believing and acting on a belief in a deity. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) had its origins in the Oxford Group which came from the Judeo-Christian religion. But AA encourages its member to choose their own deity, even a door knob is an acceptable deity!
When a believer remembers or calls upon their deity for help (praying) they experience a feeling of humility which helps activates the PSNS. Once the PSNS is activated, the praying person will start experiencing less fear, more trust and maybe even get to thinking “Everything is OK, Everything will be OK”
The belief in the existence of a deity means that that the beleiver can create objects (altars, crosses ,pictures etc) to remind them of the existence of the deity. These serve as memory anchors and remind the believer of the deity, assocate that with the state of trust, low anxiety and connection with others and activate their PSNS.
So where do you want go from here?
If you want to realize that the place you want to get to is a state of calm, peace, low anxiety (an activated PSNS) , then there other ways to get there in addition to religions and deities.
These are described here.
The unfortunate aspect of this is that learning about these ways will not necessarily help you experience more peace , calm etc the PSNS.
We have to take the actions suggested in these methods to get more PSNS activity!!!!
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