Scientists: Dogs May Have Spiritual Experiences (Has Yours?)

 |  Mar 30th 2011  |   18 Contributions


Dogs may have something akin to mystical and spiritual experiences, some scientists believe. It's just that they probably don't interpret them as humans do, according to Kevin Nelson, a neurology professor at the University of Kentucky, and author of The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain.

Research has found that spiritual experiences may sometimes originate in the limbic system of the human brain inareas similar to those of certain non-human animals, including our pooches, according to an article in The Dog Daily. Some scientists think that because of this, dogs may have moments that humans could interpret as being spiritual, even mystical moments of "oneness."

Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, says non-human animals probably can have spiritual experiences, which he defines as "experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective and comparable to what humans have," reports the article.

The article brings up another idea that many dog owners may already suspect: "It is possible that certain sensations are even more pronounced in dogs, given their heightened sensitivity to sounds, smells and more." (Think about the utter bliss you have seen on your pup's face for such simple acts as rolling in the grass.)

Jean Houston, co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research, says that dogs and other animals "are closer to nature and thus seem to be on a continuum with the natural flow of things." She believes "they serve as wonderful (spiritual) guides because of their simplicity and the naturalness of their being."

I'd love to hear your take on this, Dogsters. Dogs may not line up to go to church, but do you think they could have spiritual experiences, or at least be closer to this natural flow of this sort of thing? Or is it sacrilegious to even contemplate such notions?

(Photo: Flickr Photostream of Mark Cartwright)

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