Getting into Gamma Brain Waves

np3_changes_brainwaves

np3_changes_brainwavesMost of the brainwave entrainment products out there focus on meditation and deeper states of consciousness. That’s fine. In fact, that’s great. We Westerners tend to operate on fast forward too much of the time. It’s nice to take a break from our normal beta wave waking consciousness once in awhile and explore the deeper realms of consciousness. However, there are times when it’s valuable to ramp up the brain waves. That’s where getting into gamma brain waves comes in handy.

I’m writing this because I had a remarkable experience with a Transparent Corp  session the other day. I’ve been trying to devote at least 10 minutes a day to writing a book, but with all my other writing work to do, it’s not easy. I sat down at about 6pm to write and was so tired, I could hardly think. After writing a paragraph, I decided to see what the Brainwave a Day was that day. It turned out to be a 20 minute gamma session. I downloaded it, started listening and went back to work. 10 minutes or so into the session, I went back to that opening paragraph and started rewriting.

What had been a single paragraph describing the little house I stayed in while building our home in Cambodia turned into a far more descriptive series of paragraphs that brought that important phase of my first year here into sharper focus. It was in that tiny house that I was introduced to the resident ghost and had my life threatened by a possessed girl. It was also there that the spirit of her deceased sister was made to leave her body. Of course I was going to write about those occurrences, but in rushing to get to them, I failed to fill in the bigger picture. Without that, the rest makes little sense and sounds too unbelievable.

Anyway, what started out as a listless attempt to write ended up lasting for a very gratifying 2 hours. Then hunger overcame me, so I stopped and went out for dinner.

The gamma session on Brainwave a Day was random, but if you’re interested, you can download NeuroProgrammer 3 for free and try it for 2 weeks. I recommend trying a range of sessions and if one doesn’t seem to work for you, try the meditative sessions designed for restless individuals who have a hard time entering into trance states.

If you really get into it and want to learn all about brainwave entrainment from the experts, there’s a live webinar coming up from September 23-26, 2013. You can find the details here.

Rather than explain gamma brain waves here, I’ll let this infographic from Transparent Corp explain it to you or you can go directly to the Transparent Corp blog where it originally appeared.

By the way, if you do purchase NP3 or another Transparent product, I’ll get a commission. Thanks in advance.

Psychic Oranges: Learning to be psychic with Michael Wheeler

Note: This is a reprint of a blog I originally published in 2007 on an old discontinued blog of mine. When I attended Michael Wheeler’s course in 2005, he was relatively unknown. If he had been a “name” psychic, I probably wouldn’t have given his course a shot because of my fairly ingrained prejudices about “name” anybodies. Apparently he’s either famous now or just knows how to hype himself better. At any rate, I’m glad I met him when I did, because it was a remarkable day. Here’s the story.

Learning to be psychic with Michael Wheeler

In 2004 and 2005 I was living in Netherland: not the Netherlands – Netherland. Netherland is my own mythological country – it’s neither here nor there, but some place else. In Netherland I was living a life-between-lives, neither married nor not and with money in the bank, but only a part-time job, I was neither needy nor not. I hadn’t a clue what the future held in store for me, but was unable to go out and find one for myself, so I explored the only terrain that was open to me – myself. I went to workshops and seminars, psychics and tarot readers. In spite of all the extraordinary experiences I’d had on San Juan Ridge, in India and in Bali, I remained sceptical. I knew what was possible, but remained convinced that things like spiritual healing and “second sight” were gifts accessible to only a few rare individuals. With as open a mind as possible I wanted to find out more. I wanted to find out if I could do it, too. If not that, I wanted to find out how it was done. But where was I to look and who was I to trust? I decided that for once in my life I was going to trust my instincts or intuition. And so my search began.

Michael Wheeler, psychic oranges

Michael Wheeler

My search began rather mundanely: I googled “psychics” and clicked the “search Australia only” button, since I was neither curious nor confident enough to take a chance on an overseas experiment. It’s amazing how many people claim to be psychics. Some are, I’ve discovered, some are some of the time and some only think they are. So far, I’ve never met a complete charlatan, though I’m sure they exist as well. Of all the “psychics” in Australia, one caught my attention: it was a website called Psychic Oranges. I liked the title so I had a look. As it turned out, the reason the author gave his website that name is because the smell of oranges was his first psychic experience.

Intrigued, I decided to see how much the workshops cost. To my amazement and delight, I found that one was coming up soon; it wasn’t expensive; and, incredibly, it was going to be held just up the road from where I lived – a 10 minute drive away! I called the number and signed up immediately.

The presenter, Michael Wheeler, was a tall, lean young man who didn’t come across as mystical or spiritual in any way. He started off by telling us what his website had already told me: how he became psychic and how it was not a special “gift” but something that was already within us if we knew how to tap into it. This was what we were going to do that day.

Michael didn’t waste a lot of time with preliminaries. We would begin with a guided meditation to take us through the chakras and help us induce a theta brain wave state, in which we would be receptive to psychic images. Then, while we were still in that state of deep relaxation, we would sit at tables outside opposite a partner and see what happened. The partners were chosen before the meditation so our minds would not become disturbed afterwards.

It was a very nice meditation; not unlike the one I was practising at home at the time, so I had little trouble following him. My first partner was the young woman I happened to be sitting next to. The psychic exercise we were to do was for one of us to take a piece of jewellery – a watch, a ring, anything – hold it in the palm of our hand, close our eyes and go with whatever thoughts and/or images came into our mind. Michael Wheeler called it “psychometry.” If you want to know more about it, there’s a nice explanation on About.com called What You Need to Know About Psychometry.

My partner gave me her watch. I held it between my palms, closed my eyes and waited. As instructed, I made no attempt to filter my thoughts or the images that arose in my consciousness. I simply waited and as the images arose, I told her what they were. Her only job was to listen and not comment until I was done.

As clear as a bell, the first thing I saw was a sailboat – a beautiful, old-fashioned teak sailboat. Don’t ask me how I knew it was teak. It was painted white, yet I was certain it was teak. I got the distinct impression that it was solid and reliable.

The next thing I knew, I was looking at the mast and sail from the sailor’s point of view. My conscious, critical mind jumped in momentarily when the mast mysteriously morphed into a golden lance like the ones used by medieval knights. “Wait a minute,” it said, “that’s not what I’m supposed to be seeing.” As instructed, I let go of those thoughts and let my imagination take over again.

All by itself, my perspective changed and I found myself looking at the lance from a distance. It was being proudly held aloft by a handsome knight in shining golden armour riding a pure white stallion. Strangely and a little disconcertingly, I felt like I was falling in love with him.

Perhaps it was that discomfort that made the image fade. At any rate, it faded. I opened my eyes and asked my partner what she thought about my psychic journey.

It had made no sense to me and I still felt a little uncomfortable about having a romantic fantasy about another man, but it made perfect sense to her. Her fiancé was an accomplished sailor and when they went out sailing together, she felt safe and secure when he was at the helm. And he was very much her “knight in shining armour” – she was deeply in love and looking forward to their wedding day, a few short months away. In short – I was a psychic!

If I was a psychic, the young woman’s fiancé turned out to be a “super-psychic,” though it didn’t seem so at the time. Like mine, the images and words that came to his mind made little sense to him, but like me, he followed our teacher’s instructions and let them come out unobstructed. It went something like this:

“I see you sitting at a desk overlooking a field. It might be a soccer field. The word ‘soccer’ is coming to my mind. At least, that’s what I think it is. It sounds more like ‘soaker’.” He was clearly confused, but didn’t let that stop him.

“You’re sitting at a desk, working very hard at something. It looks like you’re writing. Your house isn’t old, but it is decorated like something out of the fifties. There’s a glass-topped coffee table and some plastic flowers. I don’t know why, it just feels like the fifties. Does that make sense to you?”

With that, the spell was broken. He opened his eyes and shrugged. We tried to fill in the picture with something I could relate to, but nothing he said matched anything in my experience. I quietly feared that in my future I’d be living in a cheap rented home close to a footie oval somewhere in Australia. But that was always my fear. My future prospects were pretty grim at the time.

That was in 2005. Flash forward to 2007 and I find myself sitting at a desk in my newly built home in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. There’s a plastic clock in front of me and a plastic bouquet behind me. My home can best be described as “French-Khmer,” a style that originated in the fifties. I didn’t have a glass-topped coffee table in 2007, but I do now. For the record, I didn’t buy it. Sopheak did. Downstairs in the living room, our gaudy chandelier would have been quite a status symbol in an American home in the fifties and our wedding photos in their kitschy gilded frames look like something my parents might have hung on the wall in our first home – the one they bought in about 1952 with my Dad’s GI loan.

And what about all that stuff about a “soccer field” that sounded more like “soaker?” My house does overlook a field, but it’s divided up into paddies for growing a local vegetable. Close enough? No. But just down the road, at the Sokha (sounds like soaker without a hard American ‘r’) Resort, there is a soccer field. I often ride past it on my bike. The grounds of the 5-star Sokha Hotel are an important part of my life here. There’s almost never anyone on the quiet stretch of beach near the soccer field and I go there frequently for some much-needed quiet and solitude. In fact, it was there that it dawned on me just how freakishly accurate my fellow psychic experimenter’s vision had been.

Brainwave Entrainment Software
I wish I knew where this couple is now. I’d like to tell them my story. What’s most interesting to me is that I’m sure the young man was only there to indulge his wife-to-be, yet it was he who had the greatest success. I have a feeling this might be why he was successful – he wasn’t trying. Like they say in Zen, the key is in “effortless effort.” Why is this so? I’m pretty sure it’s because when we are thinking, we are in a “beta” or fast brainwave state. Beta is great and necessary for dealing with this plane of consciousness, but is completely useless when it comes to the psychic or spiritual planes. These are the province of the slower alpha and theta frequencies. Remember I said that in our guided meditation Michael was taking us into the theta state? Well, I’ve been there since, naturally and aided by brainwave entrainment software. When we’re dreaming we’re in theta. Apparently, dreams are the least of theta’s capabilities when you know how to tap into it.

I just googled “Psychic Oranges” again and am happy to see that Michael Wheeler is still in business. His website is quite a bit slicker than I remember it and he’s written some books and CD’s. Check it out on psychicoranges.com.

Amygdala Research still catching up with TDA Lingo and Neil Slade

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The following comes courtesy of Neil Slade’s newsletter. You can subscribe via his site, neilslade.com.

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Tickle your amygdala and see what happens – image from Wired article cited here

It must be pretty frustrating to be way ahead of your time. TDA Lingo died many years ago, but Neil Slade, his friend and former student, has been bucking the tide of conventional scientific wisdom prejudice about the function of the amygdala for decades since. If I hadn’t stumbled across his website a decade ago and had the simple technique he calls “amygdala tickling” not worked so spectacularly well for me in spite of my doubts, I’d probably still be amongst the skeptics, too. At least I was open-minded enough to try and the rewards have been enormous.

After I discovered firsthand that we’re not pawns in the neurological game of chess and can actually take control of our thoughts and emotions with a simple flip of a switch from reptilian thinking to advanced frontal lobe thinking, I turned to science to see if there was any evidence that the amygdala was anything but the fear center of the brain. To my surprise, there was plenty of evidence, but the majority of scientists were still digging in their heals and saying the amygdala had one function and one function only: to instill fear and the “fight or flight” response. I’m sure that’s still the case and will continue to be so for awhile, but a new study should help put a few more cracks in the wall of scientific dogma.

Study: people without brain’s ‘fear centre’ can still be scared was published in Wired, oddly enough, but the study made its debut in natureneuroscience, a respected scientific journal, so the results may pique the interest of some in the scientific community who might possibly learn something from it if the authoritative inner voice of their all-wise all-knowing former university professors don’t intrude. In a nutshell, the study was done with a group of patients who suffered from a rare disease that damages the amygdala. The assumption was that these people would be fearless, but when exposed to carbon dioxide gas, they not only got scared, they had panic attacks, unlike the control group. This led the researchers to speculate that:

“the fact that the amygdala lesion patients seemed prone to panic (responding at a rate similar to patients with panic disorder), suggests that an intact amygdala might actually inhibit panic. This raises the question of whether some sort of amygdala dysfunction may contribute to panic disorder.”*

Now I’m sure nobody in the scientific community is going to apologize for snubbing TDA Lingo, Neil Slade and those on the fringes of the scientific community who have been saying the same thing for decades, but at least this is an indication of progress.

On a similar note, while you’re here, have a look at my recent article, Explore Your Brain with Brainwave Entrainment. Admittedly, it’s a plug for you to try some products (for free) and I’ll appreciate the commission should you decide to buy, but there’s another reason why I plug Transparent Corp, too. Brainwave entrainment works in ways the hucksters don’t know about and the scientific community refuses to admit.

*Quote taken from Wired article cited above.

Why I Like David Icke Better than Ken Wilber

Note: I wrote the following article as an experiment with an article distribution service. A client wanted ten article distributed through this service and the service offered one extra free submission, so I took it. It has been viewed almost 400 times there, while those I submitted on behalf of my client have been viewed only around 200 times each. Apparently more people are interested in “New Age” thinkers than are interested in buying appliances online.

David Icke and Ken Wilber are two of the most prolific “New Age” writers there are, though neither of them particularly likes the label. In Icke’s case, New Agers are as caught up in the Matrix as anybody else. Wilber likes to identify himself with academics and philosophers and so distances himself from fuzzy headed New Age thinking as much as possible. I can relate to both of these attitudes, but be that as it may, if you go to the bookstore and look for their titles, you will almost certainly find them in the New Age section. Let’s face it, folks – if we’re thinking outside the box, we’re labeled as New Agers whether we wear pastel colored clothes and dance with fairies or not!

I first stumbled across David Icke’s work just after 9/11, when I was trying to find out the facts about that fateful day. Aside from the mainstream stuff, there were a handful of blogs that questioned the official version of the story. Icke’s was one of those blogs. Intrigued by the 9-11 stories he had on his blog, I had a look around to see what he was all about.

In a nutshell, David Icke started out as an ultra-normal British bloke who liked football (soccer) so much he was able to make a career out of it as a television commentator. He was a respected household name in the U.K. until he had a flash of insight and saw that mankind was caught in a hideous matrix of unreality and that we were virtual slaves to a race of reptilian shapeshifters. Instead of keeping this information to himself, he chose to tell the world and in the process became the laughing stock of England. Score one for David Icke! Anybody with enough integrity to put himself on the line like that has to be admired.

Simply because the man had the courage of his convictions and didn’t back down, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and read some more. Although his “Reptilian Shapeshifters” theory was outlandish, I could relate to it on a metaphorical level. I had just begun my studies about the brain and spirituality and was going down a similar path, namely that our “reptile brain” (brain stem and related structures) highjacks our ability to see the bigger picture that our frontal lobes (higher consciousness) have access to. I had also discovered the difference between the way the left brain and the right brain think. David Icke was a right brain thinker. I liked that.

In 2004, I was stuck in the desert in Victorville, California for three months caring for my Dad, who was dying of stomach cancer. There was little I could do for him other than to find him a good hospice, put his affairs in order and pay him a visit every day. For a good chunk of each day and night I had nothing to do. My saving grace was the Victorville Barnes and Noble Bookstore. It was a big, well-stocked store complete with lounge chairs and a Starbuck’s.

I indulged in an orgy of reading while I was there in Victorville and was finally was able to buy a book by David Icke. I chose “Infinite Love is the Only Reality. Everything else is Illusion” because I liked the title.

One day while I was having a coffee in Starbuck’s, a magazine called “What is Enlightenment?” caught my eye. It’s an excellent question, so I picked up a copy and thumbed through it to see what they had to say on the subject. I wasn’t too impressed with the editor’s (Andrew Cohen) opinions, but another regular contributor was a guy named Ken Wilber, who seemed to be pretty intelligent and was billed as “the world’s greatest living philosopher.” After my coffee, I went back inside and looked for a book by that author. When I found nothing in the philosophy section, I asked a sales assistant where I might find his books. I should have known. They were in the New Age section under “W” for Wilber, just a few rows away from “I” for Icke.

After thumbing through a few of them, I purchased “A Brief History of Everything” because it looked liked the best introduction to Wilber’s thinking. I liked the book, but was not blown away by it. He seemed to think a little too highly of himself, but I liked the fact that he wasn’t afraid to think for himself. Wanting to know more about him and what he had to say, I checked out his Integral Naked website.

I was a little disturbed by his website because it seemed to have a cult-like feel to it, in spite of the fact that his readers seemed to be fairly intelligent people who were not cult types. I could live with that, but when Wilber dismissed Walt Whitman as a “nature mystic,” I rebelled. Walt Whitman has been an idol of mine ever since I read “Song of Myself.” These lines in particular hit me right between the eyes way back in 1969 and have stuck with me ever since:

And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love

Was Wilber really that dumb? Had this “scholar” never read what Whitman’s contemporaries thought of him? R.M. Bucke, for instance, considered Whitman to be the greatest exemplar of cosmic consciousness who ever lived. Did Wilber really think his version of “Kosmic Consciousness” was superior to Whitman’s?

While Icke and Wilber both have agendas of their own, for some reason I don’t feel like Icke is trying to shove his down my throat. He still doesn’t seem to particularly care if anybody likes him or not. Wilber, on the other hand, seems to want people to like him and writes as if he is trying to impress his imaginary readers rather than writing from the heart. That’s the feeling I get from him, anyway.

So, that’s why I like David Icke better than I like Ken Wilber. I’m nobody, so I’m sure neither of them cares, but I have a feeling that Icke wouldn’t hold my lack of status in the world against me and would welcome me into his home. On the other hand, I get the feeling that Wilber would politely refuse me entry unless I paid the price of admission or was somebody important in his eyes.

Of Mice and Men and Empathy

I have a pet mouse. It’s not exactly a pet because it doesn’t live in a cage, but it lives in my office and uses my internet cable as a ladder to the air vents in the wall to enter and leave the house. It does this every evening, so I often see it scurry behind my desk, up the cable and out through the air bricks. Sometimes, my pet mouse stops at just about eye level and turns around briefly to check me out, but if I so much as blink, it races off. I don’t blame it.

As I sit at my desk working or web surfing, I often think about my mouse and what it thinks about when it looks at me. I’m pretty certain it is not burdened with language centres like I am, but is it conscious or is it, as so many learned scientists like to believe, just an unconscious or dimly conscious creature incapable of thought, reflection or random acts of kindness?

Rats in loveOne of our greatest human conceits amongst countless others is the contention that “only humans are capable of feeling empathy or compassion.” Anybody who has a pet dog knows that is nonsense, but now even science is coming to the party. Recent studies have proven pretty decisively that mice may be better “Christians” than we are. In one study, an uncaged rat went out of its way to free a caged rat and had to spend a considerable amount of time and effort to figure out a way to open its cage. Not only that, but it chose to engage in this act of compassion despite the enticement of freely available chocolate, which apparently rats love. To make matters even more interesting, it released its captive before it ate the chocolate and freely shared it with the other rat after releasing it. (Sources: Psychology Today and Science Daily)

Or how about this one, also from Psychology Today, Wild Justice and Emotional Intelligence in Animals:

CeAnn Lambert, director of the Indiana Coyote Rescue Center, saw that two baby mice had become trapped in the sink and were unable to scramble up the slick sides. They were exhausted and frightened. CeAnn filled a small lid with water and placed it in the sink. One of the mice hopped over and drank, but the other was too exhausted to move and remained crouched in the same spot. The stronger mouse found a piece of food and picked it up and carried it to the other. As the weaker mouse tried to nibble on the food, the stronger mouse moved the morsel closer and closer to the water until the weaker mouse could drink. CeAnn created a ramp with a piece of wood and the revived mice were soon able to scramble out of the sink.

On the other side of the equation, just the other night I saw a story on TV about a group of people on a beach in California who stood by and watched a man drown. Even though he was not in deep water and they had the means to save him, not one of them went to help him because they were afraid of the legal consequences if they did. In another segment on the same program, which was exploring just how selfish and brutal we have become (actually it was about America in particular), firefighters came to a burning house but refused to put out the fire because the owners hadn’t paid a $75 fee that entitled them to the firefighters’ services.

battery hensSome animals kill other animals, just like we do, but they don’t tend to torture them or slaughter them unnecessarily. They’re hungry, they kill and they eat. Foxes didn’t invent bizarre torture chambers like these cages for battery hens, for instance. Humans came up with that idea.

Now that I’ve removed us humans from the pinnacle of goodness, let’s take a quick look at evil, because this is where we reign supreme. Those of us who like the triune brain/frontal lobes theory like to believe the frontal lobes are the most evolved parts of the brain and are responsible for our feelings of empathy. There might be some truth to that, but, as I mentioned in an earlier blog and others have written about more eruditely elsewhere, the frontal lobes are now thought to be the seat of the executive centre and only incidentally connected with empathy or compassion. I can’t think of a single “less evolved” animal that regularly and methodically plans and executes the kinds of evil deeds we do. The fact that we undertake them consciously and upon reflection justify and “improve” our torture and murder techniques  just makes it worse.

We frontal lobe lovers like to lay the blame for ego and evil on our reptilian brains, but that really doesn’t hold water, either. Crocodiles don’t torture their prey and they certainly don’t go to elaborate lengths to invent horrible ways of killing others just for the sake of gaining, say, some oil-rich land.They kill, they eat and then they sleep or make baby crocodiles. There’s nothing inherently evil in any of that, so calling the reptilian part of the brain “reptilian” and saying it’s the seat of evil is kind of an insult to crocodiles.  Besides, our “reptilian” brains work tirelessly to keep us breathing, so we should show them a little gratitude.

Okay, I know you can come up with stories about cannibalism and infanticide in the animal kingdom. I’m not saying they’re all ascended masters or saints – just that an objective look at the facts seems to indicate that we are very far down on the evolutionary ladder (if there is such a thing) when it comes to stuff that really matters, like love and empathy.

So if evil can’t be so easily explained away, where does it come from? Well, I’m way above my self-imposed 500 word per blog limit, so I’ll save that for another post. Or you tell me. Thanks for visiting.

Beyond the Split Brain

I received some very interesting correspondence from Neil Slade after last week’s post. For one thing, he reminded me about the Curious Case of Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist who had the “great good fortune” of being able to observe her own stroke in progress. I’ve tacked on her TED talk about it below, noticing that over one million seven hundred thousand people have viewed it. Obviously, the split brain is a subject of interest and her story is so extraordinary, it’s worth saving and listening to from time to time. In a nutshell, her stroke virtually destroyed her entire left brain and she came to the realisation that:

I am an energy being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere. We are energy beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now, all we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect. We are whole. And we are beautiful.

This wasn’t my first introduction to Jill Bolte Taylor and I mentioned her in my Sea of Joy chapter, The Split Brain, which, thanks to Iain McGilchrist, now needs further revision. One thing JBT taught me was that my attempts to get a nice balanced view of the brain were doomed to failure. Worse, as McGilchrist points out, the brain is not symmetrical. I love symmetry, so that is an unsettling revelation.

Anyway, as I wrote in The Split Brain:

The contradictory characteristics of brain behaviour have been a source of great embarrassment to some researchers, who have clung tenaciously to the idea that the brain is a compartmentalised construction and nothing more.

My concluding words were, “It is here that we have to leave the lump of grey matter behind and start surfing the Holographic Brain“. If a holographic brain sounds like a bizarre concept to you, please read the entry, because you’ll need to be able to accept it as a possibility before you move on to Thomas Campbell and his Big TOE. Campbell’s TOE (Theory of Everything) is that we live in a digital world or rather, all our perceived realities are digital realities. The more I listen to him, the more compelling his arguments become. For an introduction to Tom Campbell and his Big TOE, read my blog entry, Thomas Campbell,  William Blake and John Lennon: A Strange Symbiosis and watch the video attached to it.

And that brings me to the point of this entry. Note how I wrote “the more  compelling his arguments become” above. To “argue” is a distinctly left brain activity because it’s verbal in nature. There’s a huge problem with any verbal “argument” (whether benign or hostile): arguments are not grounded in reality or, as Iaian McGilchrist pointed out about the left brain, yield “a world that is ultimately lifeless.” Campbell presents his arguments in order to help us begin the process of disentangling ourselves from the narrow scope of our left brain, intellectual thinking processes and imagine alternate realities. That process of imagination is a right brain activity and hence is more holistic, balanced and ultimately realistic.

Personally, I think amygdala tickling and other visualisation techniques work simply because they are imaginative techniques. Whether or not the science is precisely correct is beside the point. The science helps, because we are so trapped in our illusory Newtonian, mechanistic world, we need an escape route and a compelling argument provides that route. Jill Taylor Bolte was lucky because she was a true believer in the world of matter and her stroke was a “stroke of insight” into the infinitely larger world of the “right brain” (in quotes because that is an illusory concept itself).  Most of the rest of us have to take a slower route, since our “left brain” is like a magnet pulling us back to earth.

Tom Campbell is interesting because he has explored many worlds, but doesn’t view any of them as particularly important. What he stresses again and again is the importance of LOVE as the ultimate reality that animates all temporary realities. As Walt Whitman wrote and is echoed by both Campbell and in JTB’s words quoted above:

And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love

(more than) Enough said. Enjoy the video:

The Amazing and Amusing Amygdala

Forgive my title: I couldn’t resist the amazing and amusing amygdala alliteration opportunity

The only thing I don’t like about Neil Slade’s voluminous Amazing Brain website is the sheer size of it. There are so many gems hidden in there, but without taking the time to wade through all the stuff he’s collected over the years, many of the best of them remain as dormant as the average brain. Fortunately, now and then Neil plucks one or two diamonds out of the mine and offers them to his newsletter readers.

Such was the case last week when Neil provided links to two articles by Marie-Louise Oosthuysen de Gutierrez. In the first article, she writes about Wisdom and Amygdala Clicking. She begins by defining wisdom as “good judgement, empathetic understanding, psychological insight, emotional regulation and discerning and shrewd advice.” She took this definition from the “Berlin Wisdom Paradigm”, something I had never heard of before. I looked it up and found a “Wisdom Quiz” which I took and scored a relatively high 4.3 on. I may have cheated a little, though, since it was pretty easy to detect the answers they were looking for. She then goes on to convincingly explain in neurological terms how amygdala clicking can aid in the attaining of wisdom.

The other article, Frontal Lobe Stimulation, starts with a detailed explanation of Paul MacLean’s triune brain theory, which was the basis of TDA Lingo’s theories. In it, she makes the connection between wisdom and stimulation of the frontal lobes via amygdala clicking, saying that in “the absence of an emergency, the prefrontal cortex has the capacity to modify the response of the amygdalae.” What I found most interesting about this sentence was that, intentionally or unintentionally, de Gutierrez was saying that the prefrontal cortex, not the “I” who imagines it is the boss is the one who does the modifying.

Somewhere in the mish-mash of neural activity in our brains is the capacity to make conscious choices. That’s why, after reading Neil Slade’s and TDA Lingo’s “far fetched” theories, I was able to make a decision to try amygdala clicking. What is amusing to me is that, as far as I can tell, the response that follows a successful “foward click” into frontal lobes nirvana, is no more conscious than the reaction that follows a backwards click. Let’s say I didn’t cheat and my 4.3 score indicates that “I” am a relatively wise person. Am I really? Why, for instance, do I feel empathetic when I do? Empathy is not an emotion you can fake and it is often contrary to the much vaunted survival instinct. It just happens, just as an outburst of anger just happens.

Good judgement, too, does not come as a result of some complex intellectual exercise, it seems to come from elsewhere. It just happens. In my case, at least, it often happens in spite of myself. Sometimes, when I’m really “switched on,” I do things that are contrary to what my intellectual perception of “good judgement” is and they turn out to be “my” wisest decisions. On other occasions, I’ve seen “miracles” occur that definitely fall outside the realm of neurology.

We live in interesting times. Between the successfully manufactured fear that fuels the War on Terror, the fear of global warming and the fear of economic collapse, the American collective amygdalae in particular are really working overtime. Some, like yours truly, believe all of these fears are manufactured ones. Who orchestrates them I can’t say for sure, but one thing I strongly believe is that the solution is individually and collectively simple. See the amygdalae for what they are and discover how easy it is to make the simple decision to flip the switch from fear to freedom. That is the only decision you have to make. After that, just let the “still, small voice” of wisdom whisper in your ear.

How to Activate Your Frontal Lobes

I hope I’m not being presumptuous here by offering a brief “How to” manual and I cringe at the thought of sounding preachy, but for what they’re worth, here are some ideas for frontal lobe activation:

Remember the title above, Frontal Lobe Stimulation? That’s a little different from amygdala tickling and may be closer to the mark. Tickling the amygdala with a feather worked brilliantly for me, but since my conversation with Neil, I’ve been rethinking things, as, I believe, he has. Instead of imaginatively switching the negative energy of a “clicked back” amygdala forward, I’ve just been either turning off the switch or, when its voice is too loud, turning down the dial. By reducing amygdaloid activity, I can let my frontal lobes (or perhaps the non-neurological intelligence that runs their show) take over without conscious interference.

However you choose to do it or whatever method you use, the important thing, I think, is to create a space between consciousness and amygdaloid activity. Ramana Maharishi suggested doing this by asking yourself, “Who am I?”  whenever thoughts cropped up. Mantra repetition also seems to “short circuit” amygdaloid activity. Visualisation has the added benefit of being non-verbal.

I believe it’s only when the pesky voices that come from the Dante’s Inferno of the reptilian brain are stilled that we begin to see the Light of wisdom. Do whatever it takes, but “just do it.” You’ll be glad you did – and so will those around you. Who knows? You just might save the world.

 

A Random Musing about Meditation

I did something unprecedented yesterday: I meditated. By that I mean I sat down with my hands folded together in my lap, closed my eyes and watched my breath go in and out while repeating a “secret” mantra I learned almost 45 years ago. Back then, I meditated almost fanatically, but as the years passed, I gradually eased off on any sort of formal or regular practice.

Yesterday morning I felt completely scattered and torn between work, breakfast and a bike ride. Recognising my lack of focus, I took the previously mentioned steps and meditated for about 15 minutes. When I finished, I felt focused and refreshed and wisely chose a morning ride instead of jumping straight into work.

As I road to the beach, it struck me just how transformative a simple exercise like that can be. Colours and sounds are in sharper focus, with greater depth and clarity. Feelings seem to be more benevolent and compassionate. Thoughts become more optimistic and altruistic. In other words, meditation seems to have the power to make one a better person.

On the downside, in my case, at least, it can be hard for me to shake off that feeling of peace and get back to my “real” life. That’s one of the reasons why I rarely meditate anymore. Amgdala clicking or whatever you want to call it works like a kind of active meditation for me, so I usually stick with that.

Anyway, yesterday passed with hardly a shred of work getting done, so I’m behind today and don’t have time for a long post, but I wanted to share my musing with you. I reckon the best medicine is whatever works to make you happier personally and wish for the happiness and wellbeing of others. If we all did that, imagine what a wonderful world this could be.

The Genesis of My Consciousness Cookbook

I can’t remember the exact date, but it must have been somewhere in the first half of 2008 when the idea for A Cookbook of Consciousness came to me. It happened like this:

Cookbook of Consciousness Preface on handmade paper

Click image to view full size

I got an email from a friend of mine asking me to try a meridian tapping sequence. I’ll have to look for the email to find the exact part of the brain this was meant to activate and you’ll have to wait for the details, since I want to get this published this morning (look for an update soon). I tried it and the first words that popped into my mind were “A Cookbook of Consciousness.” I’ve been tempted to change that to “Consciousness Cookbook”, but have decided against it because it seems like whenever I try to change the wording, the inspiration dries up.

Those were the first words that popped into my mind, but what followed was a flurry of mental activity. At the time, I was still involved with a Cambodian charitable organisation. We had recently started a paper making project for the people who lived on the Sihanoukville dumpsite, hoping to give them an alternative means of self-employment. My personal GRAND PLAN was to write and publish my Cookbook and a partial biography of my wife, Sopheak, who lived alone in the jungles of Cambodia for several years when she was a girl. I was going to have these books printed on handmade paper and sell them in bookshops in Cambodia and online.

An interpretation of the chakras

Click image to view full size

Unfortunately, both the NGO and the papermaking project folded and I had to start to find a way to make a living, since I was flat broke – a scary proposition here in Cambodia, where there’s no safety net of any description. The dream is still alive , though, as is the dream of opening some sort of holistic healing centre.

I did manage to print up a couple of sample pages on handmade paper. I thought I’d lost them until I stumbled across them the other day. I want to comment on them in a later post, but until then, you’re welcome to have a look. Click on the images to see them full size.

One quick comment on the second page. I didn’t think then and don’t think now that this is an accurate interpretation of the chakras. It is based on David Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness and I have serious issues with both Hawkins and his map. In my next post I’ll elaborate on that. Have to go now. I’m getting my bicycle repaired today and then going for a ride. Sitting in front of a computer 7 days a week is not good for one’s health.

David Icke vs Alfred Korzybski: the Matrices of Illusion

I have never had the experience, but my Cambodian wife frequently saw shape shifting phenomena when she lived alone in the jungle. She has not only seen “apparitions” before, one helped her when she was in the jungle. She nearly severed her achilles tendon on a shard of metal and a “nyetah” appeared before her and told her how to dress and treat the wound. She didn’t consider it in any way “miraculous.” Other dimensions are as real to her as this one.

Wm. Blake's Beast of the Apocalypse

Wm. Blake's Beast of the Apocalypse: David Icke isn't the first person to believe in shape shifting reptilians

David Icke is another person who has seen and/or believes in alternative perceptions of reality enough to have incorporated them into his personal world view. I find him to be one of the most fascinating and, in his way, informative public figures around today because he exposes so many of the matrices of illusion so many of us are caught up in. His explanation for the state of virtual slavery we live in is that we are under the thrall of shape shifting reptilian aliens who manipulate us in hundreds of subtle ways.

Alfred Korzybski was quite a bit more pragmatic than David Icke, but he, too, understood that as a species, we tend to be out of touch with reality and live in a state of illusion. I’m no Korzybski scholar, so take the following with a grain of salt, but this is what I have learned from him:

  1. The language of mathematics is the only language that accurately reflects physical reality.
  2. Languages always distort reality. Words have as many shades of meaning as there are speakers or writers. In fact, the same speaker or thinker can and does unconsciously change the meaning of words regularly.

Korzybski proposed some changes in our use of language that he felt would help free us from the tyranny and divisiveness of language. He called these, “extensional devices.” For accuracy’s sake and to save time, I’ve copied and pasted this quote from the Institute of General Semantics website:

To achieve the coveted consciousness of abstracting, more appropriate evaluations, etc., techniques were taken directly from modern physico-mathematical methods, the use of which has been found empirically effective and of most serious preventive value, particularly on the level of children’s education. Korzybski calls the following expediencies extensional devices:

  • Indexes to train us in consciousness of differences in similarities, and similarities in differences, such as Smith1, Smith2, etc.
  • Chain-indexes to indicate interconnections of happenings in space-time, where a ’cause’ may have a multiplicity of ‘effects’, which in turn become ’causes’, introducing also . environmental factors, etc. For instance, Chair1-1 [NOTE, read chair “one” “one”] in a dry attic as different from Chair1-2 in a damp cellar, or a single happening to an individual in childhood which may color his reactions (chain-reactions) for the rest of his life, etc. Chain-indexes also convey the mechanisms of chain-reactions, which operate generally in this world, life, and the immensely complex human socio-cultural environment, included.
  • Dates to give a physico-mathematical orientation in a space-time world of processes.
  • Et cetera (etc., which can be abbreviated to double punctuation, such as ., or .; or .:) to remind us permanently of the second premise “not all”­to train us in a consciousness of characteristics left out; and to remind us indirectly of the first premise “is not”­to develop flexibility and a greater degree of conditionality in our semantic reactions.
  • Quotes to forewarn us that elementalistic or metaphysical terms are not to be trusted and that speculations based on them are misleading. [In this article single quotes are used for this purpose.]
  • Hyphens to remind us of the complexities of interrelatedness in this world.

That’s a lot to memorise and I think we would fall into the trap Korzybski is trying to get us out of if we committed it to memory and took it as “gospel” anyway. Years ago, when I first stumbled across his work, I came away with this “extensional device”:

Always be aware that any conviction or belief is opinion, not necessarily absolute fact.

While “2 + 2 = 4″ is a useful and generally acceptable “fact” and falls under Korzybski’s definition of mathematical veracity, on a quantum or other level of reality it may or may not be true or relevant. I accept it as truth in my daily life, but I don’t feel existentially bound by it.

Similarly, I love David Icke’s shape shifting reptilian aliens theory, but don’t accept it as gospel. For me, it is a great way to see through the matrix we live in. What better way to understand how we have come to believe that:

  • money that is created out of thin air has value
  • chemical medications are superior to plant-based ones
  • we are threatened by terrorists
  • we are engaging in humanitarian wars
  • we live in a democratic society
  • Newtonian science is the only reality
  • Darwin presented us with facts, not just a theory

These are just a few of the illusions we buy into, but there are signs of awakening.  We are so accustomed to learning from others, though, that we have a tendency to fall into their matrices of illusion. Put another way: we trade one limiting matrix for another.

I think we sometimes get too carried away when we begin to believe in or see “alternative realities.” I think it might be better to think of them as “alternative illusions.” Shape shifting reptilians believe in their own illusions, too. That may be the ultimate secret to overcoming them. As David Icke’s book title says: Infinite Love Is the Only Reality: Everything Else Is Illusion. We have the capacity for love. Those who wish to enslave us do not have that capacity or choose not to exercise it, I’m not sure which. At any rate, I feel no kinship with them: they feel alien to me and even I have had the occasion “hallucination” that a public figure has shape shifted into a reptilian form.

In my opinion, the more we explore the meaning of the word love, the more liberated (or enlightened, if you prefer) we become. This opinion may be my personal illusion, but it works for me. What else is there that binds us together, nourishes us, heals us and helps us grow?