Integration of Neuroscience and Spirituality
Sacred Desire:Finding God & Good Within

Despite centuries of science and religion being on opposite sides of the debate about the relation of body and spirit, science is now confirming what people of faith have long known. The recent discovery of mirror neurons in our brains has opened the door to seeing human Desire—spelled with a capital “D” to indicate that which urges our minds to respond to God—as incarnate in our bodies.


     Sacred Desire urges us to connect with God and to manifest the imago Dei within us through loving others, ourselves, and God.

Womb of Compassion

Life and love begin in the womb and continue on earth in a “womb of compassion” where we are God-bearers and God-nurturers for one another. New understandings of human biology call us to take incarnation seriously as we consider the imago Dei within each person and our mutual interdependence in learning to live and love as God lives and loves.

The Grace of Gazing

     Gazing at each other mediates the flow of God’s creative energy between mother and infant, nourishing the imago Dei in both. We call this exchange “resonant attuning,” a process through which a mother acts as a catalyst for the development of her infant’s brain. This encourages both the infant’s psychological growth and lays the foundation for a healthy relationship with and understanding of the Holy.

The Widening Boundaries of Life and Love

     As infants become toddlers, acquiring language and mobility, socialization stimulates growth and healthy self-formation. The brain learns to assess safety and risk, building up the wisdom of the body. This is a critical time because our imago Dei can be tarnished by destructive relationships.             

Living in Sacred Desire

     In Jesus God enters the world in human form where we see the epitome of the fulfillment of sacred Desire. He invites us to be so radically free and whole that the power of life—God—can be visible to the world through us. Like Jesus, we are called to enrich the world by living out our God-infused essence (imago Dei) and by creating a Christlike physiology in community (the body of Christ) where an unclouded attraction to what is good prevails.

The Distortion of Desire

     Attuning to those who frighten or threaten us distorts our sacred Desire, causing us to act out of fear rather than love. We develop fear-based behaviors in our attempt to cope with anxiety, shame, helplessness, and despair.

Beyond Distortion: Reconfiguring Our Past Today

     The living experience of attuning reconfigures us. Because our biological, psychological, and spiritual aspects are interrelated, psychological or physical abuse is also spiritual abuse, and spiritual abuse also violates our psychological and physical well-being. If any aspect is hurt, they are all hurt. If one person hurts, we all hurt. We are called to wholeness, to live in love, and to enhance our being and the being of all others.

The Healing Power of Desire: Practical Steps to Loving God, Self, and Others

     To reject our suffering is to reject ourselves and God’s promise of redemption. Seven steps—psychological, biological, and spiritual—can heal our compartmentalized lives and move us from fear to love of God, self, and others.

Redemptive Attuning: Desire’s Continuing Journey

     In redemptive attuning, we surrender to God’s grace and embrace both our and the world’s distortions so that they are restored to wholeness and we are transformed. We continually become something new, someone we had not previously been able to be.

Incarnational Spirit: The Restorative Work of Community

     We are the human face of God, the incarnated presence of the Holy. Restoring wholeness is relational. Just as Simon of Cyrene carried the cross of Jesus—we carry the cross of others.

Toward a World of Compassion: Learning to Live and Love Globally

     Embracing Desire globally requires recognizing and respecting the imago Dei in every person, and acknowledging that we are intricately connected with each other, with creation, and with God. When we accept this interconnectedness we can—individually and collectively—survive and thrive.

This workshop can be presented in total (requires an evening introductory session plus five full days) or in part.

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