The Pineal: Meet the Spirit Gland

“One of my deepest motivations behind the DMT research was the search for a biological basis of spiritual experience. Much of what I had learned over the years made me wonder if the pineal gland produced DMT during mystical states and other naturally occurring, psychedelic-like experiences.” (Strassman 2001: 56)

“The pineal gland is unique in its solitary status within the brain. All other brain sites are paired, meaning that they have left and right counterparts…Interest in the pineal accelerated after it attracted Rene Descartes’s attention. Introspection showed him that it was possible to think only one thought at a time. Descartes proposed that the pineal, the only single organ of the brain, generated thoughts. Descartes also had a deeply spiritual side. He believed that thinking, or the human imagination, was basically a spiritual phenomenon made possible by our divine nature, what we share with Gof. That is , our thoughts are expressions of and proof for the existence of, our soul. Descartes thus proposed that the pineal gland somehow was the “seat of the soul,” the intermediary between the spiritual and the physical.” (Strassman 2001: pp59-60)

“The human pineal gland becomes visible in the developing fetus at seven weeks, or forty-nine days, after conception. Of great interest to me was finding out that this is nearly exactly the moment in which one can clearly see the first indication of male or female gender…The human pineal is not actually part of the brain. Rather, it develops from specialised tissues in the roof of the fetal mouth. From there it migrates to the centre of the brain, where it seems to have the best seat in the house. Additionally, it sits in strategic closeness to the crucial emotional and sensory brain centres.” (Strassman 2001: 61)

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