New Edition of “Sacred Pathways: The Brain’s role in Religious and Mystic Experiences”


I’ve just finished a new  (second) edition of  Sacred Pathways: The brain’s role in Religious and Mystic Experiences“.  I remain grateful to both H.H. The Dalai Lama, and Dr. Michael A. Persinger for providing forewords to my book.  Although the reader feedback for the book is very positive, a couple have commented that they found proofreading errors, and asked that they be fixed.  I have done so.

In addition, I’ve made smaller additions throughout the text, as well as adding references for many statements.

Preparing the text for the second edition was a very fulfilling job that sent me back to the drawing board, and I learned a few new things along the way.

One important change is that recent evidence shows that only a small portion of the anterior commissure (AC) connects the two amygdala, which makes it even more likely that it would be changed during a dramatic spiritual experience.  Interestingly, most of the AC fibers connect the temporal lobes with each other.  In other primate species, they are exclusively dedicated to connecting the two amygdala to each other.

Another is that there is more emphasis on the role of the frontal lobes in such experiences, especially with respect to their connections to the brain’s reward circuits.

None of these changes call for any alteration in the book’s basic hypothesis, that religious and mystic experiences represent excitement in the “Sacred Pathways” that we evolved to support the death-process, as made explicit in Near-death experiences.

There are a few more illustrations, of brain circuits, some of the saints mentioned in the text, and of Yama, the fascinating lord of The Underworld in the mythologies of India, Thailand, China, and most of Southern Asia.  I’ve also put it into Amazon’s “Matchbook” program, so if you buy the paperback edition, you can get the kindle version for 1/3 of the regular price.  I don’t know why anyone would want to read it in both editions, but Amazon seems to think its a good idea, and they know more about kindle readers than I do.

Sacred Pathways: The Brain’s role in Religious and Mystic Experiences” is available in paperback.

Sacred Pathways: The Brain’s role in Religious and Mystic Experiences” is also available in Kindle E-Book

New Book Sacred Pathways: The Brain’s Role In Religious and Mystic Experiences. Foreword by the Dalai Lama.

My book has been released.  Sacred Pathways: The Brain’s Role In Religious and Mystic Experiences.  It has a foreword by the 14th Dalai Lama, and one by Dr. M.A. Persinger, and a third by an Orthodox Bishop.

“ … interested readers will no doubt find (this) illuminating.” – From the foreword by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

This work in neurotheology integrates science and spirituality, starting with evolution. It offers new ways of thinking about reincarnation, God, enlightenment, psychic skills, and the human brain. It’s written from an atheist perspective, but it openly encourages prayer, meditation and spiritual living. It tells us that the pathways in the brain that function at death are also the basis of mystic experiences while we’re still alive. “ … this book, … balances … subjective experience with the general principles of neuroscience. … Sacred Pathways is the Principia (‘book of basic principles’ or ‘first work’) of the scientific investigation of spiritual experiences.”  – Dr. M.A. Persinger.

Todd Murphy is a member of a university neurosciences group, and has published in several scientific journals. His 9-hour lecture series can be seen on YouTube.


  • Forward by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet
  • Forward By Dr M.A. Persinger
  • Forward by His Grace, Bishop +Nazarin
  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Reincarnation in Human Evolution
  • 3 Some Brain Parts
  • 4 Some Principles from Neuroscience
  • 5 The God Helmet
  • 6 The Stages in Near-Death Experiences
  • 7 Neural Bases for Phases of NDEs
  • 8 Sensed Presence & Visitor Experiences
  • 9 Out Of Body Experiences
  • 10 God and the Brain
  • 11 Romantic Love
  • 12 Enlightenment And the Self
  • 13 Neural Avalanches (Interhemispheric Intrusions) (case histories of mystic experiences)
  • 14 Psychic Skills
  • 15 Prayer
  • 16 The Earth beneath Our Feet (Geomagnetic Influences)

There is a 506-page paperback edition, and a kindle e-book.

The price is below the Publisher’s suggested retail price for a “book of this length and genre”  You can see it online here: (Kindle and Paperback).

Articles on the same subject (sometimes called neurotheology).