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Metaphysics & Psychology

How To Be Happy: The 10-Day Happiness Challenge

by Luminita D. Saviuc

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama

Since so many of us are looking for happiness, wanting to share it with those we love and care about, I came up with this idea of a 10 Day Happiness Challenge. I trust that by committing to these practices and by doing more of the things that bring meaning and joy into our lives, we will all start appreciating ourselves and our lives a lot more and as a result we will become happier.

So here it is, your 10 Day Happiness Challenge. Enjoy.

P.S. Just so you know, I will embark on this challenge as well. I will be doing what you are doing and experiencing what you are experiencing and together we will make this world a brighter and happier place. Let’s begin.

Day 1: Give a smile to every person you meet

I love walking on the streets with a big smile on my face, but you know what I love even more? To share my smiles with total strangers. The look on their faces once they accept “my gift” is priceless.

If you ask me, we are way too serious. Of course we all have “grown up problems” and we all have a lot of things on our minds, but that doesn’t mean we should stop enjoying life. Life is short, we might as well enjoy it as much as we can, and smiling will help us do just that.

On this day, your “job” is to wear a smile on your lips at all times and to share your smile with everyone you come in contact with. Trust me, you will be a lot happier if you do.

“Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give. So get used to smiling heart-warming smiles, and you will spread sunshine in a sometimes dreary world.” ~ Lawrence G. Lovasik

Day 2 – Return to ONEness

There are days when I have moments of intense clarity, moments when I can look at everyone around me and realize that we are all ONE, connected to one another. In those moments, I feel so much acceptance, love and compassion towards everything and everyone and I feel like hugging the entire planet :)

If you go on the Moon and from there you look down on planet Earth, I am sure that this concept of Oneness will make a lot more sense to you. Of course, there is no need to go on the Moon, you can experience it all here on this planet.

We are all in this together. This is our home, both mine and yours, and no matter how cheesy it may sound, we are all one big family, all connected, all ONE.

On this day, you will practice tolerance, love and acceptance towards everyone you come in contact with. By doing so, chances are that you will experience the ONEness, the connection between each and every one of us.

“We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate each other.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Day 3: Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is such a powerful thing, for it can heal our hearts, making room for love to enter, allowing us to go back to our real and authentic Self, giving us permission to re-connect with one another at a deeper level. We forgive not because we are weak, not because we are naive, not because we want to be hurt again, but because we are strong enough to understand that the more we hold on to grudges and resentments, the more we pollute our minds, our hearts and our lives.

On this day, see if you can practice forgiveness, not only towards those who might have harmed you but also towards yourself, for the things you might have done, consciously or unconsciously, to hurt or harm, not only yourself but those around you as well.

Let go of anger, bitterness, hate or resentment as much as you can. Allow love to govern your mind, your heart and your life and allow peace to come to surface once again.

“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.” ~ Thomas Fuller

Day 4: Let go of pointless drama, toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors

We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of stress, anxiety and unhappiness, and instead of detaching and letting them all go, we cling on to them. For some strange reason, we believe that our happiness will come from holding on to toxic thoughts, things, people, experiences when in fact it will only come from letting go of them.

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ― Deborah Reber

On this day, you will work on letting go of all the pointless drama, toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors that are present in your life. On this day you will learn to shift your focus from the bad on to the good.

Day 5:  A complaint free day

I used to complain A LOT about every little thing that was happening to me and all around me. I was so busy pointing out all the things that were going wrong in my life that I couldn’t see the many things that were going right. I was really good at pointing the maaaany things I didn’t like that I forgot about the things i did like.

“Complaining not only ruins everybody else’s day, it ruins the complainer’s day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.” Dennis Prager

On this day, you will give up the need to complain about the many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed, and instead, you will focus on the things that make you feel good, on the things that are right with the world. You will go 24 hours without complaining, because you deserve it! :)

Day 6: Embrace an attitude of gratitude and appreciation

I love the feeling I get every time I start to acknowledge the good that is already present in my life.  We get so busy with our problems and so preoccupied with the many things that are missing from our lives that we forget to express our gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful, people and things that we already present in our lives.

On this day, you will embrace an attitude of gratitude and appreciation and you will say an honest “thank you” for all the beautiful experiences, things and people that are making your life a lot more meaningful and joyful.

“Gratitude is the key to happiness. When gratitude is practiced regularly and from the heart, it leads to a richer, fuller and more complete life… It is impossible to bring more abundance into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. Why? Because the thoughts and feelings you emit as you feel ungrateful are negative emotions and they will attract more of those feelings and events into your life.” ~ Vishen Lakhiani

Day 7: Practice Self love and acceptance

If you ask me, not too many people know how to be their own best friend. We  are pretty good at being our own worst enemy but not so good at being our own best friend. The most important relationship you will ever have is the one with your beautiful and magnificent self and that is why you need to learn how to love and accept yourself fully.

On this day, you will act in kind and loving ways towards yourself and you will treat yourself just as you will treat your own best friend. On this day, you will work on building the relationship you have with yourself and you will give yourself permission to be whoever you want to be without placing any harsh labels or judgements on yourself. On this day you will treat yourself with much love and acceptance.

“You surrender to a lot of things which are not worthy of you. I wish you would surrender to your radiance … your integrity … your beautiful human grace.” – Yogi Bhajan

Day 8: Practice random acts of kindness

What if, on this day, you practice giving without expecting anything in return. What if on this day you allow yourself to feel the wonderful joy that comes from doing a good for someone without expecting anything in return.

It can be anything… calling a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while, giving free hugs (I looove hugs), paying for the person behind you in a drive-thru or at a coffee shop, leaving money in a public place for someone to find, or maybe sending a card or flowers to a person that might be going through a hard time. It can be an expensive gift that you give, it can be money or maybe just a love note that you leave on someone’s desk. It doesn’t really matter how big or small your gift is as long as you give it from the heart.

Giving is receiving, it really is, and the more we give to others, the more that we will receive ourselves.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu

Day 9: Lighten your material load

I used to be so bad at giving away things I no longer needed. I remember when I came back from U.S., I was in shock when I saw that my sister gave away all my things to “the poor people”. Because she assumed that I no longer needed them, she gave them all away.

Even though I didn’t want to admit it at that time, the truth of the matter is that she was right. I really didn’t need those things anymore but I just couldn’t give them away. I was so attached to every single thing I had and I couldn’t understand how can people give away their things. It felt like such a weird concept to me. Not sure who was weirder, me or the concept :)

I thought I was the one owning the stuff when in fact the stuff was owning me. Well, things changed, I changed and I am happy to say that I now know how to let go of the things I no longer use and I do it with ease.

When you give away things you no longer use, or need, you make room in your life for better things to come your way. You take out the old and you allow the new to enter. Lightening your material load can be a real therapeutical experience.

On this day, make time to go through your house, your closets, your basement, etc. and take out all the clothes, shoes, bags, books, and any other stuff you no longer need or use. Give it all away and see how much better, lighter and happier you will feel.

“The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is not mortification, a penance. It is joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. But we are perfectly happy.” ~ Mother Theresa

Day 10: Awareness Day

A few years ago I came to the realization that one day I will die (yes, it took me quite some time to realize that one day I will die). I saw in my mind’s eye this image… It was me on the death bed, looking back at my life with regrets, many regrets about the many things I didn’t had the courage to do.

That image really scared me! As a result, on the same day, I made a commitment to myself to start living life fully and to make the rest of my life the best of my life. To stop running away from my fears and from life and to start living. In those moments the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt made more sense to me than ever: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

On this day I want you to use your imagination, to see how your life would look like if you continue living your life the way you are living right now. When you will be on your death bed ready to leave this world, looking back at your life would you be happy with what you see, would you have any regrets?

I don’t want this exercise to scare you but rather to give you the push you need to start living life fully.To use one fear (fear of living with regrets) against another fear (fear of doing the things your heart desires) and in the end to get the push you need to start living life fully. If you don’t do the things you fear doing and if you don’t follow your heart, chances are that you will live a life full of regrets…

“Remembering that you are going to die one day is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. Follow your heart.” ~ Steve Jobs

You see, happiness is not so hard to achieve.

By giving yourself permission to practice these things for 10 days, not only will you become a lot happier, but you will also become more disciplined and focus on building other new positive habits in different areas of your life.  If you tell your mind you want to try something for 10 days, it will most likely be willing to co-operate. 10 days doesn’t feel like a very long time.

After you have completed your 10 days, your conscious mind will have the choice of stopping or carrying on with these healthy and positive practices… or at least that’s what it thinks. Your neural pathways have formed already and chances are that you will continue with the new healthy habits. You have seen the benefits along the way and your unconscious mind will want to continue if it has been beneficial. After the 10 days, you can pick some of your favorite things from this list and continue for 11 more days, to make it a total of 21 days… Your 21 day happiness challenge. Use your imagination and just have fun with it :)

With all my love,

danas-medium

 

 

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Metaphysics & Psychology

The Number One Thing Psychiatry Can Learn from Shamanism

Something important is missing from the psychiatric model of ‘mental illness.’ It’s not a secret or anything, but rather more of an omission. It should be there, but by no accident it’s absent.

You see, human beings are multi-dimensional. We are made up of mind, body and spirit. All three are utterly essential components of life, and until the transhumanists figure out how to disembody the mind, our wellness and happiness is fully reliant on the synergistic balance between these three elements.

Sure, psychiatry along with the medical sciences has the body well enough figured out. And they’ve produced copious theories along with tomes of supporting research on the chemical relation between the body and the mind. With all of this they can haphazardly tweak the performance of the mind by dumping chemicals into the body, even if they have to add more chemicals to offset the effects of the initial chemicals.

They’ve also grown quite adept at selling the idea of better living through chemistry.

A fine example is the top-selling pharmaceutical Lyrica. It was designed to treat fibromyalgia and muscle and nerve pain, but is now widely overprescribed as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant. Such a warped interpretation of the mind-body connection. In 2016, sales of Lyrica netted over $4.4 billion for Pfizer. It’s really big business.

What’s missing from the psychiatric mindset, though, is an acknowledgment of spirit.

You see, the underlying difference between psychiatry and shamanism is that of worldview.

Psychiatry holds onto a predominantly materialistic picture of nature, operating from the perspective that what we can see is all there is. Shamanism, on the other hand, works from the point of view that what we see is only a tiny percentage of what is actually happening. That there are other immeasurable spaces in which we can interact, if only we sufficiently expand our attention. That most of the magic, good and bad, happens in these other realms first, before it manifests in the physical realm.

The psychiatric modality is dreadfully incomplete when measured against the shamanic view. This results in incomplete or partial healing, which is amply reflected in the state of mental health today, where depression is rising astronomically in tandem with sales of pharmaceuticals. The pills work well enough to mask the symptoms, but they don’t work well enough to overcome the need for the pills.

I know this because I’ve been down both roads. I’m speaking from personal experience.

Interestingly, at the same time, there is a surge in interest in shamanic healing. Ayahuasca tourism is pretty much mainstream now, and the African plant medicine iboga continues to gather renown for its ability to help people overcome so-called mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, while also dramatically helping people to overcome past trauma.

People who’ve had these experiences, including myself, often refer to plant medicine ceremonies as the gift of years worth of high-quality psychotherapy in a single night. We say this because the shamanic traditions first treat the spiritual root causes of these conditions. We feel this to be true. It’s difficult to communicate with language, but the knowing is unmistakable.

Once the spirit is healed, the mind and body are easily able to return to normal, proper functioning. Synergy being restored, people don’t need an indefinite prescription of medications, in fact, most people who experience shamanic plant medicines only do so one or two times. There is no need to keep returning to the doctor. Genuine healing works this way.

This is possible only with the understanding that the spirit is the highest component of the self, the most important aspect of being alive. For spirit is the eternal portion of the individual, that which comes long before the body arrives, and that which lives on long after the body returns to the earth. It is where the magic, both good and bad, happens. When the spirit is happy, the mind and body follow suit.

I sometimes reflect on both my experiences with modern psychiatry and those with shamanic plant medicines, searching for common ground. I wonder if there exists the possibility for the unification of science and spirit in order to positively affect the human condition, and I figure that if there is, it will require modern science to in some degree accept the shamanic view of the world and to open up to the needs of the spirit.

About the Author

Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and co-host of Redesigning Reality, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.

This article (The Number One Thing Psychiatry Can Learn from Shamanism) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to DylanCharles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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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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