Do aromas aid reverence?
The simple answer is yes, but there is more to the story. Some people submit to the divine and are passionate about their love for the Creator. For a few others it is a way to deal with the fear of the unknown consequences of their actions. For most others, it is for the accomplishment of some unfulfilled desire. (Mannat).
A spiritual Aid since ancient times
Ancient civilizations used to appease the elements of nature and revere them. For instance, they were in awe of the rain God. They were also exhilarated by the earthy aroma that came from the first drops of rain that fell upon the earth. Experiencing the uplifting effects of this aroma, they expressed their gratitude to the divine.
From time immemorial, the nature of the human mind is such that it is deeply attracted to the unknown mysteries surrounding the functioning of the universe.
More recently, quantum physicists theorizes that a field exists everywhere in the universe. This field may be like other non-thinking fields like gravity, electromagnetism or something bigger, far bigger.
The expansion of our awareness and the subsequent merging with this field, is the final destination of the reverent mind.
The Biology behind the feeling of sacredness
Let us take a step back and understand how the first impressions of the emotion of reverence are made on our minds. As children we observe the body language and expressions of our elders towards revered personalities and when in holy places. Invariably, at these places we may experience aromas from the burning incense like Frankincense, Myrrh or Sandalwood. We also may experience the aromas that come from fragrant flowers like marigold weaved into necklaces.
Aromatherapist speculate that to strengthen our connection with the divine we should build emotional memories with aromas that our mind associates sacredness with. According to medical research, human emotions are accompanied with physiological changes. This would include the emotion of reverence too. Changes in heart rate, blood flow , pupil dilation, skin temperature are amongst the physiological changes induced because of varying degrees of an emotion. When we experience emotions, neurotransmitters are released by the amygdala (grey matter in the brain responsible for emotional response). This release may enhance the cognitive functions of the brain.
We normally wake up from sleep when our mind receives a signal from the internal body clock or when it is exposed to an external stimulus such as noise (Auditory), someone touching us(Touch), light hitting our eyes( Visual) or smelling a fragrance(Smell).
While we are getting up the other mental activity of the brain is still minimal, awakening our minds with certain aromas at this stage helps build a strong association with them. This association enhances our awareness towards these aromas. Staying awake and alert in sustained meditative states is a challenge, the mere awareness of these aromas can help us stay alert.
Which aroma are best?
Use your personal intuition to judge which aromas work best for you.Experience the holistic effects of aromas in your daily life. Allow them to heal and enhance your spiritual mood. Earthy aromas from plants roots like Vetiver ( Khas), Spikenard (Jatamansi) strengthen our Root chakra. These aromas help us feel confident and keep us grounded.
- Influence of Fragrances on Human Psychophysiological Activity: With Special Reference to Human Electroencephalographic Response, Sowndhararajan K, Kim S
- Goel N, Kim H, Lao RP. An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women. Chronobiol Int. 2005;22:889–904. [PubMed]
- Watson CJ, Baghdoyan HA, Lydic R. A neurochemical perspective on states of consciousness. In: Hudetz AG, Pearce RA, editors. Suppressing the Mind: Anesthetic Modulation of Memory and Consciousness. New York: Springer/Humana Press; 2010. pp. 33–80.
- Nonepinephrine is required to promote wakefulness and for hypocretin- induced arousal in zebrafish, Chanpreet Singh, Grigorious Oikonomou, David A Prober.
- Good Night and Good Luck: Norepinephrine in Sleep Pharmacology. Heather A. Mitchelland David Weinshenker
- Olfactory Influences on Mood and Autonomic, Endocrine, and Immune Function. Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser,a,b,* Jennifer E. Graham,c William B. Malarkey,b,d,e Kyle Porter,f Stanley Lemeshow,b,f,g and Ronald Glaser.
- https://www.scientificamerican.com/store/books/the-higgs-boson-searching-for-the- god-particle/