(pdf file, 5 ill.)
Many of us experience that prickle feeling with the body hair standing on end and the skin looking like “goose bumps” time and again. It is usually associated or identified with chills, shiver and certain emotional states. Less known, however, is that this prickle is informative and effective in the fields of health care and spirituality. This is suggested by both medical studies and the experience of spiritual masters of different cultures.
The spiritual significance of prickling
If the spiritual dimension of the prickle feeling is not immediately evident to us, it may be because our familiar sources of information don’t make ties between the two. According to current physiology, goose bumps are a relic of a distant past: when the hominids of prehistoric times were still covered with dense hair, the rise of the hair protected from the cold and made women and men look bigger and more menacing – which is thought to have helped averting combats in threatening situations. For relatively hairless and clean-shaven modern people, however, the prickle feeling has become useless. The Bible, on the other hand, links the phenomenon to fear and terror: “Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up“ (Job 4,14-15).
Religious and spiritual traditions of non-Western cultures point to a different aspect: prickle feelings are associated with meditative and ecstatic states, often while experiencing a deep devotional love towards a deity. This is not so difficult for us to comprehend if we remember that we know this feeling from very beautiful moments, be it while listening to harmonious music, looking at touching natural phenomena, or feeling one with a person we love…