PINEAL GLAND (This drawing is a medial view of the right cerebral hemisphere; to the left is to the front of the cerebrum.)
Charles Fillmore located the power of faith in the center of the head in the pineal gland. In my text "Birth of the Light Body" and for this blog, I have relocated it to the cerebrum of the brain. (See drawing of Cerebrum for an explanation,)
As with most of his other locations, Fillmore gave little or no explanation as to why he placed faith at the pineal gland. All he wrote about this is on page 31 of "The Twelve Powers of Man": "The faith center, the pineal gland, opens the mind of man to spiritual faith."
Therefore, we are left to view his designation from historical and other perspectives. For example, in the early 1900s, some people still believed, as Rene Descartes did, that the pineal was the seat of the soul.
In Eastern literature, the pineal gland was said to be the organ that correlated with the crown chakra. Fillmore would have been familiar with this teaching.
Medically, in Fillmore's day, little was known about the pineal gland and its function. It was thought to regulate the reproductive glands, since pineal tumors sometimes caused abnormal growth of the male organs. Since the pineal commonly became calcified with age, it was thought to be a vestigeal organ that had little if any necessary function as we mature.
It was not until the 1980s that scientists began to document that the pineal is an endocrine gland whose primary hormone, melatonin, helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. At night, when it is dark, no light comes into the eyes, so no nerve signals are sent to the pineal gland. As a result it secretes melatonin, which promotes sleep. In the morning, with light coming into the eyes, nerve signals travel to the pineal gland, which then stops secreting melatonin, thus producing an awake state in the cerebrum and the rest of the brain.
Thus, melatonin helps to regulate whether our cerebrum is in its conscious, awake state or mode, or in its subconscious, sleep state or mode. This is vitally important, in that with sleep deprivation our cerebrum does not function well, nor do other parts of our body. In this sense, therefore, the pineal gland has a powerful influence on the cerebrum, and thereby might be thought to be part of, or a center for, our faith faculty. However, rather than being faith itself, melatonin relates more directly to wisdom-judgment-justice, which works in conjunction with faith.
Melatonin also is one of the primary anti-oxidants in the body. It literally appears to set the tone or the level of vibrancy and health for our cerebrum, as well as our whole body.
Finally, melatonin also determines or sets the level of functioning for the whole endocrine system. It does this by directly influencing each of the other glands, which have docking stations or receptors where melatonin enters into their cells. It has a particularly strong influence on the pituitary gland that oversees the functioning of all the other endocrine glands other than the pineal gland.
Some lower animals have pineal glands that directly receive light through the top of their heads. Their pineal glands are photoreceptors. But this is not the case in humans. Rather, light goes to the eyes, gets converted to nerve signals, which travel to the pineal gland. Thus, some esoteric teachings that the pineal is the so-called cosmic or third eye are not accurate.
All endocrine glands serve a similar function in releasing hormones that help to bring target organs into a rhythmical, harmonious, balanced state of equilibrium. As such, they come best under the spiritual power of judgment-justice-wisdom. Each gland is a wise judge in the body, which carefully weighs the activity of a particular organ or system, and sends out judicial decrees in the form of hormones that restore justice and right balance to that organ and system. (See the chapter on "Wisdom" in both "Twelve Powers in You" and "Birth of the Light Body.")
So, why did Fillmore make the pineal gland the center for faith? One reason may be its location in the center of the head, in the central portion of the whole cerebrum. In other words, he had the right general location but lacked the specific knowledge about how the whole brain worked. Even scientists and physicians in Fillmore's day had only a cursory understanding of brain anatomy and physiology.
Another possibility is that Fillmore felt stimulation, activation and acceleration in the top central region of his cerebrum when he meditated and communed with Spirit. This is a fairly common experiene amongst meditators who are sensitive to the inner signals and feelings of their brains. Thinking that the pineal was the seat of the soul and the correlary of the crown chakra, and having stimluation in the top central region of his head may have led Fillmore to conclude that the pineal was the right location for faith.
What now is clear, however, is that the function of the pineal does not correlate with the known function of the cerebrum, as the body's central computer station. Fillmore said that faith is the perceiving power of the mind. That perceiving power takes place principally in the cerebrum. All of our thoughts, feelings, memories and actions are programmed in and through our cerebral computer. It therefore definitely is the rock on which we build our consciousness in and through a physical form.
As one more indication that the pineal is not the faith center, the pineal can be destroyed, and other parts of the brain will compensate and take over its function. Someone with no pineal gland can live more or less normally. If you destroy the cerebrum, however, you are legally dead or what in medical terms is called "brain dead." With no cerebrum, you have no awareness, consciousness, feeling or any other indication of life. Your body may live on (if it is given food and water), since the base of the brain is what governs automatic and autonomic functions. But you are dead to the world. Certainly, therefore, the pineal is not the rock of faith, the very foundation on which we build.