Ostow begins by classifying the three parts of the spiritual experience: awe, Spirituality proper, and mysticism. After he pinpoints the psychological origins of these feelings in infancy, he discusses the foundations of religious sentiment and practice and the brain processes associated with spiritual experience. He then focuses on spirituality's relationship to mood regulation, and the role of negative spirituality in fostering religious fundamentalism and demonic possession.
Ostow concludes with an analysis of an essay by the psychoanalyst Donald M. Marcus, who recounts his own spiritual experience during a Native American-style "vision quest" in the woods. Marcus's account demonstrates the constructive potential of spirituality and the way in which spirituality retrieves and recapitulates feelings of attachment to the mother.
Persuasively and brilliantly argued, Spirit, Mind, and Brain brings the disciplines of religion, behavorial neuroscience, and philosophy to bear on a groundbreaking new method for understanding religious ritual and belief.
So whether it's Mother Teresa's acts of charity, Gandhi's perseverance, or your aunt Betty's calm demeanor, as long as you're motivated to be better today than you were yesterday, it doesn't matter who inspires you. Regardless of religion, geographical region, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, flexibility, or vulnerability, if you do good you feel good, and if you do bad you feel bad.
Buddhism isn't just about meditating. It's about rolling up your sleeves to relieve some of the suffering in the world. If you are ready to be a soldier of peace in the army of love, welcome to Buddhist Boot Camp!