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Metaphysics & Psychology

The Number One Thing Psychiatry Can Learn from Shamanism

The Number One Thing Psychiatry Can Learn from Shamanism 88

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.

The Number One Thing Psychiatry Can Learn from Shamanism 89Psychiatry 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

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an ‘experimental’ patient

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 102
Image: Giphy.com

US doctors described the story of a man who tried to relieve depression with psilocybin mushrooms in an unconventional way. He injected an intravenous infusion of mushrooms, causing the mushrooms to continue to multiply in his blood and cause multiple organ failure. The case was reported in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

Many drugs that people traditionally use as psychedelics are increasingly becoming the focus of medical attention. Some of them have already been repurposed and started clinical trials: for example, micro-doses of LSD have proven to be at least safe in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, and psilocybin has helped patients with  migraines and  depression. Often in such experiments we are talking about microdosing – that is, the mass of the substance is not enough for a psychoactive effect.

The story of an American who decided to experiment on his own was described by doctors led by Curtis McKnight of Creighton University School of Medicine. According to relatives, the 30-year-old American suffered from bipolar disorder, but shortly before the incident stopped taking his prescribed medications and suffered from alternating states of mania and depression.

When he stumbled upon research on the potential benefits of psychedelics, he boiled psilocybin mushrooms and injected the filtered solution into his vein. A few days after this experiment, relatives found him in a lethargic state with jaundice, diarrhea and bloody vomiting and took him to the hospital.

Doctors discovered the patient had a problem with multiple organs at once: acute renal failure, liver damage, tachycardia, and low blood saturation and ionic imbalance. He was prescribed droppers to normalize the composition of the blood, vasoconstrictors to raise blood pressure, antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Despite this, he developed septic shock and DIC (excessive blood clotting) and needed plasmapheresis. Only eight days later he was discharged from the intensive care unit, and at the time of publication of the article he had already been in the hospital for 22 days.

In the patient’s blood tests, in addition to the Brevibacillus bacteria , there were also Psilocybe cubensis fungi  – the same ones from which he injected himself intravenously. Apparently, due to insufficient filtration of the solution, the fungi entered the bloodstream and multiplied there, causing intoxication and multiple organ failure.

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 103

The authors of the work note that this is not the first such case – at least in the 80s of the 20th century, doctors already described a patient with similar symptoms after an intravenous injection. Therefore, McKnight and coauthors warn their colleagues: since psychedelics are increasingly used as a medicine (at the end of 2020, they began to legalize it in the United States), it is important to remind patients of the inadmissibility of self-therapy. Intravenous administration can be dangerous – doctors still do not know if it has the same psychoactive effect as the classical methods of administration.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

A part of a person’s essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan

A part of a person's essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan 104
Photo: pixabay.com

A new method of scanning the human brain has produced amazing results. It turns out that in every person there is a certain part of his essence, which accompanies him all his life from the moment of birth to death.

Scientists believe that this is the core of a person’s self-awareness. It combines memories of the past with fleeting sensations of reality and provides a basis for anticipation of events in the future.

It turned out that a certain part of a person’s consciousness is consistent as they grow older and older.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been interested in the question: can this sense of “personal self” be stable throughout life? A new psychological study with the results of a brain scan made it possible to conclude that a certain part of a person’s consciousness really accompanies him throughout his life.

It is consistent as it gets older and older. Miguel Rubianes, a neuroscientist at the Complutense University of Madrid, says the aim of the study was to answer the question: Are we the same person throughout life? In combination with the results of other studies, scientists have concluded that there is a certain component that remains stable from birth to death.

The other part of consciousness remains susceptible to current changes. The scientists recognized independence as the basis of identity. And every time a person uses the word “I”, he means a thread that connects together all the events and experiences that have occurred in life.

Experience gained over the years changes a person, changes the components of his identity. Each case associated with personal experiences, a broken heart, a successful career step, expected or unexpected failure lead to the fact that a person compares himself to himself before and after these events. It is a neurological programming scheme that involves visual self-knowledge as an indicator of connection with your impressions of yourself.

This effect makes it possible to cope with memories and recognition of information when it is associated, for example, with one’s own photograph of an infant. Although this principle has a lot of evidence, scientists believe that the very mechanism of the brain involved in this remains a mystery.

This study was published in the journal Psychophysiology.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop 105

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes do not notice how time flies past us, what miracles surround us. We do not have time to listen to the rustle of leaves in the wind and we miss those minutes when the crimson moon hangs at the very horizon.

Below are 10 films that reflect the beauty and diversity of our world. You watch such a movie and forget about everything.

Kytice

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

7 fairy tales-ballads based on Czech folklore are filmed colorfully and poetically. 

They endure a time when people were closer to nature, believed in miracles and the spirits of the forest, when the terrible and the beautiful were merged together.

Ashes and snow

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Gregory Colbert’s documentary has no plot, but it attracts with its stunning, unrestrained beauty, reflecting the unity of man with nature.

The film was shot for 13 years in the most exotic corners of our planet: Burma, Ethiopia, India, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, Tonga islands and many other picturesque places.

The fountain

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main character Thomas tries to find a cure for his wife Isabelle. Every day she gets worse, and he cannot be near, because he puts experiments in the laboratory. In his soul, love, the desire to be with Isabelle and the desire to extend her life are fighting. 

Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical drama was filmed in vivid colors, despite the fact that the director did not use computer special effects.

Samsara

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful one and a half hour trip to the most amazing places on the planet. 

Director Ron Fricke showed the inextricable connection of all people and events on earth, the cycle of death and birth, the versatility of our world, where beauty coexists with nondescriptness, and the end means the beginning.

The Bear

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The story of a bear cub that lost its mother and nailed to a large wounded bear. Together they have to go through many trials, the worst of which is meeting the hunters. 

The wonderful plot of the film is combined with stunning music that helps you immerse yourself in the world of nature and feel it with your whole body.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The harsh Siberian nature, untouched by man, the majestic Yenisei River and the small village of Bakhta with a simple way of life. 

People live and survive in these parts, rely only on themselves and also ask only themselves. Four seasons – four lifestyles for each of them.

August Rush

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Young musician August Rush does not know his parents, but he really wants to find them and for some reason is sure that if he plays, they will hear and recognize him by his music. 

Mesmerizing music permeates the entire film and works wonders to dispel the evil spell of separation.

Baraka

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

A documentary masterpiece, a philosophical essay accompanied by superb cinematography and music, goes without words. The only and main actor here is life in all its diversity and unity. 

The gaze of a monkey sitting in a hot pond is equal to all the depths of cold space, and the dances of the aborigines are synchronized with the movements of the forest.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful and unhurried philosophical parable about a wheel of time moving into infinity. Each time, with the beginning of a new cycle of rotation, life on earth is renewed, and everyone has the opportunity for a new rebirth. 

The film by Korean director Kim Ki-dook tells about two monks – a teacher and his student – and the obstacles that must be overcome on the way to finding harmony.

Chronos

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main characters of the documentary narration are cultural and historical monuments. 

They absorbed the life of the people who created them, and have remained for centuries as an imprint of bygone eras.

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