Neil Slade Tickles Your Amygdala

Tickle Your Amygdala illustrationI was planning on writing a lengthy post about the mysterious energy healing technique I’ve been alluding to in my past couple of posts. I got as far as dusting off my old workbook and placing it in a convenient location for reading, but life intervened and it hasn’t budged since. Just as well, because now I can write about Neil Slade‘s new book, Tickle Your Amygdala.

Neil very kindly sent me an advance copy. Although I still haven’t had the opportunity to read the book in depth, it doesn’t matter too much because the amygdala tickling techniques he tirelessly promotes for no other reason than they work are scattered throughout the book in easily digestible nuggets: perfect for today’s busy people.

Since I’m an amygdala tickling aficionado already, I was less interested in the techniques and the parts of the book that explain in simple language why it works than I was with the interviews. Imagine my surprise when the first one I came across was a snippet from mine. This is what it says:

RS: “…But anyway, one day I was driving along, thoroughly depressed, and I did a little amygdala click and became completely blissed out.

NS: (laughs) “You weren’t taking any drugs, correct?”

RS: “No- no drugs whatsoever, but it was as if I had taken a very strong one- it was that big a change. That feeling persisted for a good six or eight months I guess. A permanent high. Every time I clicked forward I’d get on a big high. It was simply that flip, that simple little flip of the amygdala. This is what is so extraordinary to me, that it happened, and that there wasn’t anything subtle about it. It was just a complete change of outlook.”

Neil interviewed people who are a lot more famous, talented and/or creative than I, but I have to agree that my dramatic example was an appropriate one to highlight, especially since I’m a “nobody.” The beauty of amygdala tickling is that if you have a brain, you can benefit from it, no matter who you are, where you are or what you’re doing. I was working in a boat building factory at the time. It was the worst job of my life, but the magic of amygdala tickling made it not only tolerable, but interesting.

Just below that snippet was Neil’s first amygdala tickling “technique”:

Imagine you have a feather inside your brain.

Use it to directly tickle your brain’s Pleasure Spot.

That’s really all there is to it, but in order for it to sink in, it helps to read about it first and know exactly where to tickle. You can get a lesson here, but I urge you to read Neil’s book. I’ve just received notice that he is going to release it on Monday. As soon as I get the link, I’ll provide it and advertise it here, but I’m not going to advertise the Amazon version in hopes of getting a commission, nor will I ask Neil for one. I want people to read it because I want people to read it: it’s as simple as that. At $16.95 plus shipping for a signed first edition, it’s already a deal and ereader editions are coming soon. You can find the print version here.

Aside from the amygdala tickling “lessons” and interviews, there’s a ton of other fascinating information in the book. Take this for example:

Perhaps an even more compelling case has been documented over the course of fourteen years by Nancy Talbot, who heads a team of a dozen professional university and business scientific investigators at B.L.T. Research in Cambridge Massachusetts. Among other notable cases she has studied are the astonishing abilities of thirty-two year old Robert van den Broeke.

Among recent tests given to Robert was a double-blind test in which he could duplicate a hand-drawn image such as a boat or other scene or a random set of numbers drawn around on a sheet of paper. Further, his drawn facsimile was not vague or approximate- it was an exact duplicate in which he reproduced every element in exactly the right size and shape to the source image.

He then goes on to interview Nancy Talbot. It’s one thing to read stuff second hand. It’s quite another to go directly to the source, as Neil Slade does.

Okay, I hope you’re convinced. If not, don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll be quoting from Tickle Your Amygdala regularly, so you’ll get more reminders to check it out.

The Battle of the Brains

16 December: Please read the follow-up post, Were the Pyramids Built by Aliens, after you read this post. You may be surprised by the answer!

I received a much appreciated article length reply to a recent post from Neil Slade, so drop everything, go to A Fresh Look at the Split Brain and the Frontal Lobes, scroll down to the comments and read what he has to say.This post is only randomly connected to his comment, so don’t consider it a summary or a critique – just vaguely connected thoughts.

He starts off with a title, RIGHT BRAIN versus LEFT BRAIN, hence the title of today’s post. However, the battle I’m referring to is the battle that goes on between separate brains – yours and mine – and how to perhaps end it. Neil writes:

As humans figured out how to make better spears, armor, and other technology that allowed small numbers of people to control vastly larger numbers of people and creatures, suddenly, the advantages of left brain mechanics looked mighty tempting.

What I can’t understand and what nobody has adequately explained to me is what motivated people to invent weapons of mass destruction in the first place. What instigated this disastrous shift from right brain to left brain thinking and how did we function before we became so entrenched in our left brains?

In The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes speculates fairly convincingly that until about 3000 years ago, individual consciousness in humans didn’t exist. Until then, our right brains ruled and we did things unconsciously. Just as our hearts beat and our blood circulates without our conscious intervention, we ate, slept, built stuff and even created elaborate myths and legends without even thinking about it. He cites early versions of texts like the Iliad that are written very differently than more recent versions or more recent additions to prove his point.

There are holes in his theory and it remains a controversial one, but that may have something to do with his definition of consciousness and perhaps a lack of recognition of a transition period or the possibility that just as a few people today have “paranormal” abilities, a handful of people back then may have been as freakishly self-centred as we are today. At any rate, my cursory reading of Jaynes’ opened up worlds of possibility to me.

Let’s take the pyramids, for example. The rational explanations for how they were designed and built are pathetic at best, especially when you consider the weight of the stones and the consistent geometrical patterns that occur in pyramids throughout the world. It is more rational to believe that they were built under the supervision of aliens than it is to believe that some big honchos got their engineers to design them and then forced tens of thousands of slaves to build them. Think about it. Wouldn’t ten thousand slaves require a hundred thousand soldiers to keep them in line?

aliens in egypt?

Aliens in Egypt?

It’s also more rational to believe that left brain (or left brain style) reptilians who had already messed up their own planet came here and messed with our DNA either just for fun, as an experiment, or because they wanted to dominate us and use us for their own nefarious purposes than it is to believe that the right brain – left brain switch just happened all by itself.

If I remember correctly, Julian Jaynes speculated that a cataclysmic event forced the switch, but I don’t buy that. The right brain is far more equipped to deal with the unexpected than the left brain, which can only operate from one known to the other.

Spider webDoes it sound implausible that the pyramids could have been built without extensive planning and design work or that an epic poem or song could arise spontaneously? All you have to do is watch a spider build a web or listen to a bird sing a song and you’ll see that it’s entirely possible. Is it possible for a bunch of people to work together in harmony without rules and regulations imposed from above? Think about the incredible achievements of an colony of ants or bees and you’ll see they are far more efficient workers than we are. Speaking of bees, did you know that they are suffering from “bee colony collapse disorder” thanks to our wonderful pesticides and other chemical goodies? That’s the most plausible theory, anyway.

At the beginning of this post I promised you a possible way to end the battle of the (individual) brains. Well, here it is. I try to make it a point to insert “in my opinion” in all my, well, opinions, no matter how dear to my heart they are. For example, it hurts when I stub my toe and I form a firm opinion that the stone is a more solid object than my toe and is therefore able to hurt me. However, as Einstein pointed out, “Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” On a molecular level, there isn’t much substance to either my toe or a stone.

A big termite mound

A BIG termite mound

When you read that I found it more plausible that aliens helped make the pyramids above, did you heartily agree with me, laugh and cancel your subscription to my newsletter or something in between? Had it been something in between, we could have started a dialogue. It wouldn’t be as good a solution as simply knowing, like mound building termites know exactly what to do even when they’re not within shouting distance of each other, but it would be a start in the right direction.

When we realise that our opinions and those of others are just opinions and nothing more, we become humble and open minded. This automatically puts us in a cooperative frame of mind and perhaps, if we practice it enough, we can shift back into having a symbiotic relationship with one another instead of fighting all the time.

A Fresh Look at the Split Brain and the Frontal Lobes


An old friend indirectly led me to the video I’ve embedded at the bottom of the page. It’s a very easy to follow cartoon version of a lecture by Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. When I listened to it for the third time a few minutes ago to get quotes for this article, I found myself transcribing the whole text: it was that good. Mercifully, I’ll refrain from making you read the whole thing, since watching it is much more entertaining and, I think, enlightening, since the cartoons engage both hemispheres of the brain.

We need to use both sides of the brain

Both hemispheres are important

McGilchrist jumps right in and addresses the issue of the “debunking” of the split brain theory, saying that “the division of the brain is something neuroscientists don’t like to talk about any more”; the reason being that it simply isn’t true that one side of the brain is solely associated with reason and the other strictly limited to emotion. After that fact was established, “in a fit of despair” people gave up talking about it. Nonetheless, he argues, “the brain is profoundly divided” and, more worryingly, continues to become more lopsided, until today we live in a left-brain dominated world.

What’s wrong with that? Well, as McGilchrist points out, the right hemisphere “has a disposition for the living rather than the mechanical”, can see things in context, understands metaphor and can grasp implicit meaning. The left hemisphere, on the other hand, “yields a world that is ultimately lifeless.”

After re-introducing us to the split brain, Dr. McGilchrist starts talking about the frontal lobes. This was where his talk got really interesting for me, because I’ve had a frontal lobes dilemma lately. Based on my experience with “amygdala tickling”, I had come to the conclusion that frontal lobe activation automatically made one more compassionate and loving. However, neuroscientists refer to it as the “executive center” and see it as being impartial or amoral. McGilchrist seems to agree, saying that “the purpose of the frontal lobes is to inhibit the rest of the brain.” It stands “back in time and space from the immediacy of the experience.” This results in a decision maker who is able to do either of two things:

  1. It can “outwit the other party” (he calls this the Machiavellian mind).
  2. It can empathise (he refers to this as the Erasmian mind).

This came as a revelation to me and pieces of so many puzzles started falling into place – so many puzzles, in fact, I don’t even want to go into them all here or you’ll die of boredom. However, I do want to mention this (from another article I’m working on):

I learned amygdala tickling from Neil Slade‘s website. He emphasises stimulating both hemispheres by visualising tickling both the right and left amygdala. Most meditation techniques emphasise detaching yourself from your habitual “mind chatter” (a left brain activity) which is always good advice and probably helps bridge the gap between hemispheres, but personally, I think we need to make more active efforts to redress the imbalance. As Dr. McGilchrist says, the left hemisphere is “entirely self consistent largely because it’s made itself so” and “it’s very vocal on its own behalf” while “the right hemisphere doesn’t have a voice.”

Why is this so important? Please watch this video to the end and you’ll see why. Don’t panic – it’s only about 10 minutes long and is very entertaining:

My Interview with Neil Slade

All it takes is a magic feather's touch
All it takes is a magic feather's touch

Tickle the feather with your mouse to visit Neil Slade's Amazing Brain

 

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Neil Slade the other day. “What?” I hear you say, “Neil Slade interviewed you? Why?” You’re right. It makes no sense that he would interview me rather than the other way around, but this is Neil Slade we’re talking about.

To answer your question, Neil has been interviewing a bunch of “seasoned” amygdala ticklers. He is working on a new book in which he is going to try yet again to get the word out about brain self control and I for one hope he pulls off his grand ambition to make amygdala tickling a fad.

Rather than give you a detailed account of our interview, I’ll just give you the basics as I related them to Neil:

I  discovered Neil Slade’s Amazing Brain website in around 2002 or 2003. At that time, I was going through the absolute worst phase of my working life. I had been abruptly fired from one job in a really ruthless way and had to take the first job I could find, which was for a boat builder who manufactured multi-million dollar yachts. Conditions in his factory were so bad that kids on the dole who were required to take any job they were able to get were excused from taking this one. The cavernous facility was always either freezing cold or stifling hot, the smell of chemicals vied for space with the fog of fibreglass dust while fresh air was pushed mercilessly outdoors. It was a dead end job with no future. Everyone knew that once the $20 million dollar yacht we were working on was finished, the boss was going to declare bankruptcy in order to avoid taxes and responsibility, lay low for a couple of years and then do it all over again under another name.

At that point in my life I was chronically if not clinically depressed. I saw myself as an utter failure with no future to look forward to. I had let myself down and, more importantly, I had let my family down.

I was contemplating these grim facts as I drove to work one freezing cold morning when I decided to give amygdala clicking (as Neil described it then) another try. I had stumbled across Neil’s website about a month previously and had been playing around with the technique. The reason why I had stuck with it was because it seemed to occasionally offer some mild relief from my misery. On this particular morning it gave me much more than that. As I gave first my left amygdala a tickle and then the right, a wave of indescribable bliss rolled over me. And then another

and another

and another

By the time I got to work I was on such a high, I was thanking Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and every other deity who seemed to be paying me a visit for my fantastic good fortune. How many people had the opportunity to experience a really shitty job firsthand and find a way to accept and even enjoy it? How many others were so blessed as to have discovered perfect happiness for absolutely no reason whatsoever?

Neil was most impressed with the fact that my dramatic consciousness shift had nothing to do with my external circumstances and everything to do with amygdala tickling. I went on to tell him that after that initial “brain pop,” my external life went from bad to worse, but my attitude remained largely positive and life affirming. This, in my opinion and I think his as well, is the most important contribution I have to make to Neil’s “cause”: happiness has little or nothing to do with what happens outwardly and everything to do with what happens inwardly. In the age of “abundance gurus,” Americans in particular and American influenced cultures in general somehow managed to equate “enlightenment” with worldly success. That is, in a word, nonsense. Jesus, for one, was a complete loser, but I’ll leave that rant for later and get back to my story before you get bored.

There have been more than a few hiccoughs since then and I’ve had my share of “clicking backwards” into reptilian consciousness experiences along the way, but amygdala clicking, more than any other single technique I’ve learned, has given me a clear roadmap to higher consciousness.

We ended up talking for nearly an hour and I for one would have been happy to have gone on talking much longer, but duty called and I had to cut the call short. Interestingly, Neil’s voice sounded exactly as I imagined it would and his personality, too, matched that of my imaginary Neil Slade.

This morning as I lay in bed quietly tickling away, my thoughts kept wandering towards this post, which was the first “assignment” on my list today. I wanted to convey our interview in words as best I could, but words were failing me. Then out of nowhere an old song popped into my head. The Fool on the Hill was written by Paul McCartney and was included in the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album, which came out in 1967. Enjoy: