Contemplation is not my specialty, but I know something about neuropsychology and also the Bible. When our brains deal with trauma or are just plain overstimulated, it's the emotion brain (limbic system) that runs the show, and our executive brain (frontal lobe) is so-to-speak "off-line." When Jesus walked with his traumatized, grief stricken, and confused disciples to Emmaus, he reasoned some with them, but mostly cared for their bodies and their emotion brain: He walked with them. He talked about familiar bible passages they knew from childhood and which they had probably shared with each other during the three years they spent together. However, even this did not "click" until Jesus broke the bread and shared the wine. They could easily remember the bread and the wine from the precious time they had together during the last supper. It was something they could see, hear, touch, taste, smell and which they associated with Jesus' love and nearness. When he engaged all of their senses they were finally able to recognize him, and enjoyed the heart connection with him again, which they so desperately needed. Our emotion brain can be aroused and also calmed by means of threatening or assuring sensations. In contemplation, we can choose to engage our senses, just as Jesus did with bread and wine, as we consider assuring biblical truths. Combining our senses with reflection, this truth comes to life not only for our understanding, but also for our emotion brain, and can further calm and engage us during emotionally troubled times.
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