Can a scientific model of the human brain explain many of the qualities and properties of both consciousness and spirituality? Frank hopes to persuade you that he has devised such a model and that you will agree that the answer is “yes!” The model begins with decomposing the human brain into three agents: The Thinker, Doer, and Experiencer. Frank describes the properties of the agents and evidence that supports this decomposition. He argues that the three-agent model explains the origin of spirituality. His explanation centers around the dominance of the Thinker in modern humans – the Thinker causes suffering and spirituality alleviates this suffering. This model describes how and why spiritual practices work and explains the resulting changes in human consciousness.
Next, Frank combines the three-agent model with Attention Schema Theory (AST). AST is a model of conscious awareness proposed by Princeton neuroscientist, Michael Graziano. The application of AST to each of the three individual agents result in three substantially different kinds of conscious awareness. Since a human being is composed of a blend of these three distinct agents, the resulting human consciousness is some combination of these three different kinds of conscious awareness. When the proportions of these three kinds of awareness vary, the human will experience multiple different types of consciousness. For example, this model can explain the differences between an animal’s consciousness, normal modern human consciousness, the consciousness experienced in a “flow” state, and the consciousness reported in states of spiritual enlightenment.
Frank Heile, Ph.D. is the author of a forthcoming book with a tentative title of “Spirituality Explained.” Frank has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics from MIT and Stanford. He has had an interest in consciousness and spirituality for many years and has been working on this model of consciousness for over ten years. Frank has made concurrent session presentations of this model at several Science and Nonduality Conferences in San Jose, and at several of The Science of Consciousness Conferences in Tucson. He lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Clara, CA. Check out Frank’s website, https://spiritualityexplained.com, for videos and more information about this model, and sign up for updates on the website to be notified of the publication of the book.