Friday, October 23, 2009

About icons

Icon of Virgin Mary in Veljusa Monastery, Macedonia
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Here is the Quote of the Day that Sojourners sent out in an email:
"Icons are like the horizon between heaven and earth. When you pray in front of an icon it is like you are praying in front of a window into heaven. Even those who are not Christians can stand and appreciate and believe there is something holy there, and sometimes this causes them to study about it." (Dennis Bell, an artist, explaining a Pan Orthodox Icon Exhibit being shown in Washington D.C. this weekend.)
That prompted me to go looking for material on the spirituality of icons and I stumbled upon a little piece about icons and pain reduction. Take a look:
For the research, Catholics, agnostics, and atheists were subjected to a series of electric shocks, some while looking at a picture of the Virgin Mary and some without the image. Practicing Catholics perceived less pain when they were staring at the Virgin Mary, Science News reports, and displayed increased activity in an area of the brain associated with “emotional detachment and perceived control over pain.” Agnostics and atheists didn't show the same kind of neuro-activity, nor the perceived pain reduction.
It's not really all that surprising. Intriguing all the same.

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