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Happiness is something that most of us are are in pursuit of. Love, beautiful relationships,  fun hobbies and the like are all followed in an attempt to allow happy chemicals to freely flow through us.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Shamanic Approaches to Healing Addiction

Jonathan Davis, Guest
Waking Times

Are There Other Ways to Deal With Addiction?

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the use of ancient shamanic medicines, and remarkably one of the most promising uses for them in the modern world is the healing of the destructive relationship we have with their modern cousins: substances of recreation and abuse.

Keep in mind that all of the shamanic medicines listed below have the potential to do harm when facilitated by practitioners who don’t have the appropriate level of training and experience.

The True Purpose of Culture… and Psychoactive Substances

Before the written word existed, knowledge was passed down through culture. In each generation, the vital information learned through life experience that could help ensure survival for future generations was encoded into story, dance, song and ceremony so that the accumulated the wisdom of that generation and all the ancestors before them could be remembered and passed on indefinitely into the future.

In the world we live in today, we may have the written word, but culture seems to have lost its original purpose of carrying information designed to prevent us from losing our way and becoming self-destructive, and potentially even leading ourselves to our own extinction.

One of the most self-destructive aspects of modern ‘culture’ is our relationship with substances that have the ability to alter our consciousness, i.e what we commonly call ‘drugs’.

Long before these self-destructive aspects of modern western culture, there was a long history of knowledge around the use of non-ordinary states.  Psychoactive substances, for almost all of human history, have been used to support the original purpose of culture: to preserve and enhance our ability to survive and thrive in our environment.

Iboga and Ibogaine

The chemical compound found within iboga – ibogaine – has been found to be effective in many cases to completely cure heroin addiction (and other addictions) in a single session.

Iboga is a plant from the equatorial rainforests of West Africa. The most well-known use of this plant comes from The Bwiti tradition in Gabon, where it is used in flood doses for initiation rituals; introducing the initiate to a fully immersive and personal experience of the world of the spirits. This initiation can last for around 72 hours, where the person is in an intense and non-ordinary state. Reports from recipients often describe a strong, loving, masculine presence guiding them through and supporting them as they experience all the pain they have ever caused others – from the perspective of the person who was harmed. This is by no means the only kind of experience, however, it’s common enough to mention. Like all visionary shamanic medicines, the healing is occurring on emotional levels as well as physical. Practitioners claim that the healing also occurs on spiritual levels.

On a neurological level, ibogaine resets the opiate receptors in the brain to the state they were in before the addiction. Though, this is a double-edged sword because, on one hand, it completely removes all craving, but on the other hand it also removes tolerance. Therefore if a person relapses (often due to social reasons), there is a high risk of overdose, if the person was to take what they had come to consider a normal dose.

Ibogaine is illegal in many countries where the war on drugs still continues to escalate. It has been shown to also be effective for other forms of addiction including cocaine and methamphetamines.

Kambo a.k.a. Sapo, or Kampu

The Phyllomedusa Bicolor frog of the Amazon jungle is known as the Giant Monkey Frog for its ability to go anywhere it chooses in the jungle, including high in the canopy, and far from water. It is able to do so due to a secretion that has the two-fold effect of keeping moisture in, and being poisonous to predators. Kambo is also known as the king of the amazon, as predators know to leave it alone and it is, therefore, free to roam where it chooses without interference.

Several tribal groups in the amazon, including the Matsés, use this secretion as an intense purgative to remove parasites, flukes, and anything else that might be obstructing hunters from being at the absolute peak of their capacity to sense and track game.

Kambo could certainly be described as ordeal medicine. Think of the vomiting, sweating, and evacuation that comes with acute food poisoning and then imagine a shamanic jungle technology that causes this natural function to be switched on, on purpose, for about 20-30mins. Kambo is not a visionary medicine and the secretion is not ingested. Small, light burns take the top layer of a person’s skin off so that the frog’s secretion is able to make contact with their nervous system (by being placed on the burns).

Kambo has been effective in assisting with addiction interruption and acceleration of the withdrawal process in a wide variety of addictions, (along with a great many other ailments), according to extensive anecdotal evidence.

On a scientific level, the Kambo secretion apparently contains the highest number of peptides of any substance known to man, and more research is needed to understand it from a modern scientific perspective. It is, however, proven to have powerful analgesic effects.

Kratom

This plant is being used in a method of addiction recovery known as ‘stepping down’. It is itself a mild opioid-containing plant, which is about as addictive as caffeine. People suffering from opiate addiction have experienced rapid success in getting off pharmaceutical and street opiates by switching to kratom, as a way of achieving immediate relief from withdrawal symptoms.

The person first steps down to Kratom to get off the more intensely addictive opiate and then is able to come off the Kratom with little or no problem.

Drug abusers have also long known that they can escape the pain of withdrawal from a substance like crystal meth by switching to opiates like heroin. Meth addicts are also seeing success with healing their addiction by using Kratom in a similar way, which brings the relief they seek, without the continuing harm of further drug abuse.

CBD Oil

Cannabidiol or CBD is derived from cannabis and is useful in helping to rehabilitate the damage to the central nervous system that can come with extended drug abuse, particularly for meth users. Over the past 50 years, CBD has been progressively bred out of recreational strains of cannabis, in order to make room for more of the intoxicant, THC. CBD has many medicinal qualities including being a natural antipsychotic.

An interesting combination being explored is the combination of Kratom for addiction interruption and CBD oil for central nervous system rehabilitation in meth abusers to relieve and heal the extremely raw feelings of nerve sensitivity that can result from meth abuse.

CBD oil is illegal in many territories, despite it not being an intoxicant and having an incredible number of healing qualities already proven by science.

Ayahuasca

An excellent example of the Amazonian visionary plant medicine being used for addiction interruption can be found at the Takiwasi healing center in Peru. Prof. Jaques Mabit accepts addicts for a 9-month program, which combines the use of Ayahuasca and other non-visionary master plants from the amazon, with western psychotherapy and a live-in community environment.

Ayahuasca is used initially to assist the purging process, in order to accelerate and reduce the severity of the withdrawal period. Throughout the program, it is also helpful in allowing the participant to understand the root causes of their addiction and heal past emotional trauma.

While far from perfect, the rate of relapse and re-use is exceptional when compared to modern western rehab methods.

Canadian addiction specialist, Dr. Gabor Mate, has also seen success working with ayahuasca. You can find out more about this in the episode of ‘The Nature of Things with Davis Suzuki’, called ‘The Jungle Prescription’ at the end of this article.

Huachuma and Peyote

Huachuma, sometimes known as the San Pedro cactus, as well as its northern cousin, Peyote, both contain the visionary chemical mescaline. The cultural mecca of Huachuma is the Chavin temple complex in the Peruvian Andes, used in ancient times to allow thousands of participants to attend Huachuma rituals together. Peyote has been a medicine of tribes, such as the Huicholes in Central America who still, to this day, participate in annual pilgrimages into the desert to collect their sacred medicine. Peyote has also migrated north and can be found being used in the Native American Peyote Church.

These medicines are anecdotally known to heal heart and blood pressure problems, along with a wide variety of other ailments. There is also a great deal of success claimed around healing alcoholism, as well as other substance abuse problems.

Psilocybin

There is a good deal of peer-reviewed evidence suggesting that psilocybin is highly effective in breaking nicotine addiction. I would not be surprised if this was the case with other addictive substances as well. A great video from ‘The Atlantic’ on the modern use of psilocybin in clinical trials, at Johns Hopkins, can be found here,

LSD

LSD is a man made substance originally derived from Ergot Fungus, which may well have been the elixir served at the Temple of Eleusis in ancient Greece. The Eleusinian Mysterieswere large scale rituals not dissimilar to those held at the Temple of Chavin in Peru. Initiates included Socrates, Aristotle, and Pythagoras and may have actually had a significant influence on inspiring the founding of western civilization.

While LSD may not be a traditional shamanic medicine, there were those who explored its potential for inducing a non-ordinary state and being used as a healing tool for almost 30 years, before it escaped the lab and was banned in the late 60’s. Remarkably, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was a supporter of LSD as a tool for addiction interruption.

With the ban on scientific research slowly lifting during the 90’s and 00’s, one of its most impressive clinical uses is in the treatment of alcohol addiction.

MDMA

As spoken about in the Uplift article The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection, trauma, and the severance from family and community that it can cause, is very likely the underlying reason for addictive behavior.

While not a shamanic medicine in the traditional sense, MDMA is being trialed extensively in the US for use in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, for people suffering from extreme trauma (PTSD).

The theory is that the MDMA has a mood elevating effect, allowing the participant to go into the traumatic memory and come to emotional completion, without being triggered into an experience of trauma flooding. Trauma flooding is an overwhelming and immersive experience of re-living the event, which itself is traumatic and potentially only compounds the original trauma.

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be helpful in finally releasing the pain and trauma at the root of a person’s addiction. Hopefully, clinical trails will give way to legalized MDMA-assisted psychotherapy by the end of this decade.

Plant-based 5MeO-DMT and Otac, The Sonoran Desert Toad

Arguably the most intense experience a human being can go through, other than their own birth or death, 5MeO-DMT consistently takes the subject into the very deepest states of non-ordinary awareness. This can include the temporary dissolution of personal identity and a sense of return to the oceanic oneness at the essence of all existence.

Participants report having the experience of becoming all of the infinity of existence. Transpersonal psychotherapist and theorist, Prof. Stan Grof suggests that this unitive state of oceanic oneness may be exactly what we are all craving, and may be the underlying desire at the root of all addiction.

Perhaps this state of oneness is where we came from and where we return to, and during the time we exist in this physical reality, we can experience an immense pain of separation from this state of oneness.

5MeO-DMT participants often return with a feeling that this sense of separation causing them pain is actually just an illusion, and that we are in fact always in a state of connection to ‘the source’ or to the infinite unity of all things. This separation may be the original trauma; the original feeling of disconnection discussed in my previous Uplift article ‘The Opposite of Addiction is Connection’.

Perhaps this is a clue as to why crack cocaine addicts, meth addicts, and others have been assisted in abstaining and recovering by working with what is arguably the most intense shamanic medicine of all.

Sweat Lodge

The sweat lodge is one of the earliest known shamanic ceremonies. It is a ritual cleanse which involves literally crawling into a warm, damp, dark womb-like environment and going through the ordeal of intense heat, for usually four rounds that correspond with the four directions, and then having the opportunity to crawl out again renewed.

Pain and intense experiences such as ritual ordeals have the potential to open up a heightened state of neuroplasticity, so if a person wishes to change an unhelpful behavior pattern, an ordeal ritual can be helpful. Addiction is one of the most challenging behavior patterns possible so it may take a series of sweats to rewire our neural pathways, and also sweat out the toxicity of the addictive substance and its associated lifestyle. If medicines that induce psychedelic visions aren’t your cup of tea, then working with a traditional sweat lodge may be a helpful path for you.

Breathwork

Another method of clearing trauma used in shamanic cultures was working with the breath to flood the body and brain with oxygen; triggering a non-ordinary state. This can allow for the rapid re-arrangement of things within our consciousness that have become misaligned, including the release of trauma. In this instance, just as deep breathing can bring the pain of physical injury down from a something like an 8/10 to a 5 or 6/10, so too can the deep breathing of a breathwork ceremony dilute emotional pain. For those who are dubious about the thought of MDMA as a medicine, or those who can’t wait for years for it to become legal, breathwork could be a good avenue for releasing the underlying trauma at the root of the addictive behavior.

How and Why Do These Medicines Work?

One peer reviewed paper at a time, science seems to be proving psychedelic theorist James Kent correct on his hypothesis that psychedelic substances bring about a state of accelerated or enhanced neuroplasticity. This is an important point relating to why ceremonial use is so different to recreational use.  When people take these kinds of substances casually, it seems increasingly likely that they are in a heightened state of being able to rewire their own brain… but towards what exactly? The randomness of a party or festival? On the other hand, a ceremonial setting encourages focused work on a chosen intention which means the neuroplasticity isn’t rewiring ones brain into randomness at best and a tangled mess at worst, it is instead wiring the brain towards a greater state of coherence around the person’s chosen intention for healing or personal growth.

It is my contention that this extends to ordeal medicines such as sweat lodge, vision quest and initiation rituals involving pain.  Consider when the first time you burned yourself on a hot stove.  Pain causes extremely accelerated neuroplaticity, helping it become ‘burned’ into our memory to never make the same mistake again.  I feel it is likely that over the coming years we will see clear evidence to show that indigenous initiations involving ordeals are a technology for bringing about a non-ordinary state and a heightened state of neuroplasticity so that the lore and law of their culture can be passed on and never forgotten.  We may even find that all forms of non-ordinary states bring about varying degrees of enhanced neuroplasticity.

There may be no behaviour pattern more ingrained than substance addiction, so it’s easy to see why non-addictive substances which enhance neuroplasticity may be of benefit.

Drugs are about dulling perception, about addiction and about behavioral repetition. What psychedelics are about is pattern-dissolving experiences of an extraordinarily high or different awareness. They are the exact opposite of drugs. They promote questioning, they promote consciousness, they promote value examinations, they promote the reconstruction of behavioral patterns.
– Terrence Mckenna

A Final Tip

Should you wish to explore any of these options it is important to thoroughly understand the legality of these medicines in the territory in which you live. Travel to another country may be required.

When choosing a practitioner, look for people who are, without any doubt, in service to the good of all instead in service to them self above others. Humility, reverence, and self-discipline are key qualities to seek out. It’s also best to seek references from people who have had similar challenges to you, and have been successfully helped by the practitioner you are considering.

The Nature of Things with David Suzuki – The Jungle Prescription

About the Author

Jonathan Davis is an Australian writer focusing on shamanism and alternate modes of healing.

This article (Shamanic Approaches to Healing Addiction) was originally posted at Uplift Connect, and is reposted here with permission.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

A New Theory Based On Quantum Entanglement Says Your Mind Exists In Another Dimension

The relationship between the mind and the brain is a mystery that is central to how we understand our very existence as sentient beings. Some say the mind is strictly a function of the brain — consciousness is the product of firing neurons. But some strive to scientifically understand the existence of a mind independent of, or at least to some degree separate from, the brain.

The peer-reviewed scientific journal NeuroQuantology brings together neuroscience and quantum physics — an interface that some scientists have used to explore this fundamental relationship between mind and brain.

An article published in the September 2017 edition of NeuroQuantology reviews and expands upon the current theories of consciousness that arise from this meeting of neuroscience and quantum physics.

Dr. Dirk Meijer (Courtesy of Dr. Dirk Meijer)

Dr. Dirk K.F. Meijer, a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, hypothesizes that consciousness resides in a field surrounding the brain. This field is in another dimension. It shares information with the brain through quantum entanglement, among other methods. And it has certain similarities with a black hole.

This field may be able to pick up information from the Earth’s magnetic field, dark energy, and other sources. It then “transmits wave information into the brain tissue, that … is instrumental in high-speed conscious and subconscious information processing,” Dirk wrote.

In other words, the “mind” is a field that exists around the brain; it picks up information from outside the brain and communicates it to the brain in an extremely fast process.

He described this field alternately as “a holographic structured field,” a “receptive mental workspace,” a “meta-cognitive domain,” and the “global memory space of the individual.”

Extremely rapid functions of the brain suggest it processes information through a mechanism not yet revealed.

(HypnoArt)

There’s an unsolved mystery in neuroscience called the “binding problem.” Different parts of the brain are responsible for different things: some parts work on processing color, some on processing sound, et cetera. But, it somehow all comes together as a unified perception, or consciousness.

Information comes together and interacts in the brain more quickly than can be explained by our current understanding of neural transmissions in the brain. It thus seems the mind is more than just neurons firing in the brain.

Neuroscientists are still searching for a mechanism for this “binding” of disparate parts of the brain’s information processing. Meijer has turned to quantum entanglement and tunneling for part of the answer.

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which particles appear to be connected over vast distances. When actions are performed on one of the particles, corresponding changes are observed on the others simultaneously.

Quantum tunneling is a phenomenon in which a particle tunnels through a barrier it shouldn’t be able to according to classical physics.

These quantum phenomena allow for processes so rapid, they can’t be explained with classical physics. So they may help explain ultra-fast subconscious mental processes.

Principles of quantum physics may explain how the mind processes information.

(Geralt)

If the “mind” or mental field could interact with the brain this way, it could be a step toward explaining the rapidity of mental processes.

Meijer also uses the wave-particle nature of matter in quantum physics to explain the relationship between the mental field and the brain. Essentially this principle holds that electrons and photons exist in the form of waves, but can also behave like particles. In a manner of speaking, they are both waves and particles.

Similarly, Meijer said the mental field is both non-material and, at the same time, physically part of the brain: “The proposed mental workspace is regarded to be non-material, but in relation to the individual brain, entertains a non-dual wave/particle relation according to quantum physical principles: it is directly dependent on the brain physiology but not reducible to it.”

The mind and the brain, according to Meijer, are connected. They are unified, yet separate. Such an apparent paradox is characteristic of quantum physics.

The mind may reside in another spatial dimension.

(HypnoArt)

Meijer hypothesizes that the mental field is in another dimension: “That we cannot directly perceive this information aspect is traditionally ascribed to a hidden fourth spatial dimension … which cannot be observed in our 3-D world, but can be mathematically derived.”

He clarified that this fourth spatial dimension is not time (time is commonly described as the “fourth dimension”). Rather, this is a concept of space-time that includes four spatial dimensions, plus time (a “4+1 space-time structure”).

He cited studies that have suggested this concept of dimensions could reconcile the miss-matches between traditional physics and quantum physics that plague scientists today.

The mind would exist in the fourth spatial dimension.

The mind could be like a black hole.

(Imonedesign)

Meijer envisions a sort of screen or boundary between the outside world and the individual mental field. He likens this boundary to the event horizon of a black hole.

“It is assumed that information entering a black hole from the outside is not lost, but … rather is being projected on its outer screen, called the ‘event horizon,’” Meijer wrote.

“Consciousness is a boundary condition between a singularity (black hole) and space within the brain.” The event horizon separates “a mental model of reality for internal use in each individual” from all that exists outside of it. Yet it is connected to a “universal information matrix.”

Meijer described via email how this “dynamic holographic boundary” collects information from inside the brain as well as from the “information fields in which our brain is permanently embedded.” He said: “In this manner, it is implicitly connected to a universal information matrix.”

The structure of the hypothesized mental field could take the shape of a torus.

A torus (Public domain) Background: (Felix Mittermeier)

The geometrical shape known as a torus is well suited for the nature and functions Meijer attributes to the mental field.

A torus is described by the Merriam Webster dictionary as, “a doughnut-shaped surface generated by a circle rotated about an axis in its plane that does not intersect the circle.”

Meijer presented various reasons within physics theories for choosing this shape for his hypothesized mental field. One reason is related to a theory of how electrical activity in the brain oscillates.

The nested torus structure suggested by Dr. Dirk Meijer for the mental field connected to the brain. (Courtesy of Dr. Dirk Meijer)

These rhythms have been compared to microscopic features of the universe, such as those described by String Theory. Meijer described these as “multidimensional torus movements.”

The torus structure is found in physics from the micro-scale to the extreme macro-scale of black holes and the universe as a whole, Meijer explained. It could be instrumental in dynamically integrating information in the mind and brain.

Meijer discusses the broader implications for the philosophy of mind–matter relationships.

Meijer wrote: “Our paper, may directly contribute to an answer on the famous question of [cognitive scientists and philosopher David] Chalmers …: how can something immaterial like subjective experience and self-consciousness arise from a material brain?”

The ability of the mental field to pick up information from other fields, as conceived by Meijer, could also explain some anomalous phenomena, such as extrasensory perception, he noted.

In his view, “Consciousness can be regarded as the most basic building block of nature and consequently is present at all levels of the fabric of reality.”

Since quantum physics emerged, scientists have been exploring its ability to explain consciousness. Meijer’s work fits within that exploration.

Another theory called “orchestrated objective reduction,” or “Orch-OR,” was developed by physicist Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Dr. Stuart Hameroff. On his website, Hameroff describes the theory: “… it suggests consciousness arises from quantum vibrations in protein polymers called microtubules inside the brain’s neurons.”

Like Meijer, Penrose and Hameroff have said “there is a connection between the brain’s biomolecular processes and the basic structure of the universe.” They have also called for a major change in how scientists view consciousness.

Hameroff said in an interview with the blog Singularity: “Most scientists can’t explain consciousness in the brain, so they can’t say that consciousness out of the brain is impossible.”

Update: Dr. Dirk Meijer has provided The Epoch Times with an update on his paper, clarifying that quantum tunneling and entanglement are not the most likely methods of information transfer between the mental field and the brain. These two phenomena have been shown to provide only a correlation between two particles, not necessarily information transfer (although that may prove to be the case with further research).

Rather, quantum wave resonance is a more likely mechanism of extremely rapid information processing in the brain. This means, instead of signals being sent between neurons in the brain, a wave pattern that encompasses all neurons, as well as the mental field, transmits the information instantaneously.

Picture a vibration wave going up and down in a consistent pattern and running all through your brain and even outside of it. That pattern communicates information that can be understood by vibratory receptors in your brain. All of this is happening in a dimension and at a microscopic level not directly perceptible through conventional scientific instrumentation at our disposal today, yet can be inferred through physical and mathematical modeling.

Source www.theepochtimes.com

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Why You Need to Stop Playing Hard to Get, According to Science

When you first start dating someone, at least one of your friends will tell you to “play it cool.” It’s a piece of advice that’s almost as old as dating itself, and it’s based on the idea that if you act like you’re not really eager for the relationship, you suddenly become irresistible.

According to a new study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, you can try your best with that method, but it probably won’t work.

The team, led by IDC Herzliya psychology professor Gurit Birnbaum, conducted a series of six studies – some experiments and some looking at diary entries – to see whether uncertainty about a partner’s romantic intentions affected how sexually attractive they were perceived to be.

In the first study, 51 women and 50 men, aged 19 to 31 and all single, were told they were chatting to another participant online who was in another room. Then they were told their photo would be shown to the other person and they could see a photo of who they were talking to in return. In reality, the other person in the chat was one of the researchers, and every participant was shown the same photo of someone of the opposite sex.

At the end of the chat, participants could send one final message. Some were told their chat partner was waiting for them, while others were told they weren’t. The idea was to create certainty or uncertainty about the online partner’s interest. Then, participants rated their partner’s sexual desirability and how much they wanted to talk to them again.

Those who knew the partner was eager to hear from them perceived them as more sexually attractive than those who were uncertain. The rest of the studies showed a similar pattern – that sexual desire seems to thrive on reduced uncertainty. And this was true for men and women in committed relationships too.

So where did the idea come from that playing hard to get is a turn on? According to the study authors, it could all come down to self-preservation.

“People may protect themselves from the possibility of a painful rejection by distancing themselves from potentially rejecting partners,” said Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at Rochester, and co-author of the study.

Birnbaum added that the findings suggest sexual desire may “serve as a gut-feeling indicator of mate suitability that motivates people to pursue romantic relationships with a reliable and valuable partner,” and “inhibiting desire may serve as a mechanism aimed at protecting the self from investing in a relationship in which the future is uncertain.”

In other words, we all fear rejection and playing it cool makes us appear less vulnerable. But in reality, by pretending you’re not interested, that’s exactly how you come across – literally not interested.

So if playing it cool is your dating method of choice, good luck with that. It might work if you’re attracting a player or someone with an avoidant attachment style. But if you’re looking for long-term happiness with someone who’s right for you, it seems honesty really might be the best policy.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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