How To Have Your Own Personal Zen Master Around Anytime You Descend Into Stress

When you look at a true spiritual master, guru or yogi, one of the most remarkable things you might notice is that they don’t seem to experience stress. You might conclude that they arrive at this state through meditation, fasting, prayer, or other such disciplines. This is only partly true. Those spiritual practices can certainly contribute to stress reduction, but their ultimate effect is to support the maintenance of ONE KEY THOUGHT that spiritual masters hold in their minds (and bodies) with unfailing certainty.

Granted, this key thought is not easy to grasp, hold as truth, and then deeply embody within yourself. Throughout history spiritual masters have done their darndest to articulate it for those hoping for inner peace and harmony. The limitations of language, of all human languages, is woefully revealed in these attempts. But if you are ready, open, and genuinely seeking–an ‘aspirant’ as they say in yoga–then it becomes possible for a certain expression or turn of phrase to begin to activate your deeper inner knowledge of the state some call samadhi, enlightenment, Christ consciousness, or what I like to simply term presence. Are you ready?

Stress-Free Perception

In a true state of presence it is impossible to feel stress. Impossible. That is because stress is predicated on our seeing the world as dualistic. In a state of presence we embody a perception of singularity. The apperception of the world as whole, as unified, is truth unmasked.

From a perception of unity there is no past or future, there is only now. Note that human experience is only ever experienced through the now, past experiences were only ever experienced in the now, and the same will hold for our future experiences. Having the experience of presence helps us get a glimpse that time itself is a fabrication, a ‘program’ that helps our intentionally limited minds have a particularly lush and interesting kind of experience in the physical world.

How We Create Stress

But let’s get back to our everyday time-bound consciousness. For those of you who earnestly seek to dissolve your stress, and are open and willing to let go of anything your mind is clinging to in order to achieve it, I will try to explain the one key thought.

The experience of stress is the experience of the tension or dissonance between two things: how your world IS in any moment, and how you think it SHOULD BE. You create stress by carrying in your mind an image of how something in the NOW—yourself and others, the presence or absence of things, the weather—is NOT OK as it is. That puts you into a self-created adversarial relationship with the only point of contact you have with life.

Fortunately, your emotions alert you to this crazy confabulation, by making you aware of internal discomfort you label as STRESS. This STRESS is nothing more than an urgent signal from your higher intelligence to return to presence. But in a state of stress how can you possibly return to presence?

The One Key Thought Into Presence

You need to get into the habit of using your awareness of your own stress as a trigger to align yourself with this one key thought: everything is perfect as it is. It’s like having your own personal Zen master around any time you descend into stress asking you the well-worn koan, ‘What, in this moment, is lacking?’

It works. Trust me.

But it only works to the extent that you are willing to let go of the past (and future), along with all your judgments, grievances, ‘shoulds’, hopes, and fears that arise out of a dualistic perception. If you are truly willing and able to deeply hold this one key thought as ULTIMATE truth, above ALL other beliefs and opinions, you will start to feel it working.

Spiritual Context

If you have doubts about this one key thought representing ultimate truth, allow me to provide the spiritual context I work with in which the statement makes perfect sense.

A common thread at the heart of all great spiritual traditions is that we are all immortal souls who are currently having a ‘human’ experience. The circumstances of this life experience were chosen by us to facilitate our soul’s evolution. So any time you feel stress, you can see it as the universe prodding you to take an evolutionary step. That evolutionary step is to see the perfection in everything, if only for a moment at first. If you’re game, these brief moments of clarity add up quickly to a more permanent step up.

An Example

Let’s say for example you’re stuck in traffic, and realize you are going to be late for a meeting. Maybe it’s even your ‘fault’, because you left late or didn’t check your GPS. If you’re feeling stressed about it, realize it’s because things are not how your mind thinks they should be. Your mind thinks you ‘should’ be at the meeting on time–to get some important information, perhaps, or because your reputation as a reliable person is at stake, and you will be judged by others at the meeting in a way that may impact your future success.

Now, you can continue to be stressed in that moment (and subsequently for the entire drive to the office), or you can take ALL that very reasonable blather of ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’, roll it up in a ball, and drop it into your faux-ashtray. You will be able to do this if you reach for presence, if you remind yourself that there is only the present moment, and in the present moment you can choose to experience stress, or choose to experience peace. If you choose to be fully present you accept the present moment exactly as it is, realize there is nothing you can DO in that moment to remedy the so-called problem, and take the evolutionary step of seeing everything as perfect in this so-called ‘stressful’ moment. There is no problem now–and you will deal with the ‘problem’ when the ‘problem’ arises. You are simply in a car driving. You will then start to feel relief, and gain confidence that if you maintain presence through your arrival to the office, your late entry into the meeting, and your conversations afterwards, the ‘problem’ will never arise and you will literally breeze through the whole experience. You will be ‘ok’ with whatever happens.

Common Fears About Presence

FEAR: If I go into presence I will lose my mind.

Maybe-but only in a good way. Lol. Seriously, presence is not losing one’s mind, it is aligning one’s mind properly, with the timeless ‘true mind’ playing the role of master and the time-bound ‘false mind’ (ego) playing the role of servant, allowing the true mind to interface as it pleases with the time-governed physical world.

FEAR: If I go into presence I will stop trying to make my life better.

Perhaps. After all, what is better than presence, where everything is perfect? But there is more to it. You may be surprised to hear that a state of presence does not thwart action, it only thwarts reaction, fear-based, ego-sponsored drives to alleviate doubt, fear, insecurity, stress. In a state of presence the true mind decides on action, the best action for the situation, which is then carried out in perfect flow with the environment.

FEAR: It’s too hard to do and I’ll ultimately fail.

Failure is impossible. Patience, though, is required. The evolution of consciousness might seem like waves rising and falling on the shore, but the high water marks accumulate and eventually produce a stable higher state of awareness. Remembering and forgetting presence is natural, but with persistence it is remembered more often, maintained for a longer period of time, and eventually becomes part of your normal, base perception. With this as your base perception, then, it is truly possible for you to experience a life free of stress.

 

Does Consciousness Create Our Material Reality?

Where does the “physical” world come from? Matter at its smallest observable form, atoms, pop in and out of existence all the time. The idea that physical matter is birthed from a non physical realm, such as the “quantum vacuum” or the “void”, or something else we are unaware of is not novel.  Nikola Tesla himself believed that “all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha, or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.” (Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907)

A paper published by Parahamsa Tewari in the journal Physics Essays explains,

“A century from now, it will be well known that: the vacuum of space which fills the universe is itself the real substratum of the universe; vacuum in a circulating state becomes matter; the electron is the fundamental particle of matter and is a vortex of vacuum with a vacuum-less void at the center and it is dynamically stable; the speed of light relative to vacuum is the maximum speed that nature has provided and is an inherent property of the vacuum; vacuum is a subtle fluid unknown in material media; vacuum is mass-less, continuous, non viscous, and incompressible and is responsible for all the properties of matter; and that vacuum has always existed and will exist forever….Then scientists, engineers and philosophers will bend their heads in shame knowing that modern science ignored the vacuum in our chase to discover reality for more than a century.”

This non-physical “field” may also be dark energy, we don’t really know or understand it quite well, but we know it exists. A declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document touches on this,

“We do not understand why it exists or how it is created; we simply know it provides an ever-present force on spacetime, causing the universe to expand. Indeed, recent high-precision experimental observations indicate dark energy may be a cosmological vacuum energy.”

So, if our material world is birthed from this non material “stuff”, does consciousness play a factor? It’s interesting to contemplate, especially given the fact that consciousness is not a physical thing, nor is it the result of any known physical process or biology. You cannot pinpoint or find the source of consciousness within the brain. Even at the quantum level, factors associated with consciousness have been known to change the behavior of matter, like photons, suggesting that matter itself may be a conscious perceiving thing.

Does this mean that all “physical” things possess some type of consciousness? Photons don’t have a brain, do they? What about plants? There is a growing amount of evidence suggesting that plants act and behave in ways suggesting that they are a thinking things, capable of feelings, emotions, perceptions and thoughts.

If consciousness can have such an influence over matter, and is a non physical property that exists within all physical things, could it somehow be responsible for the creation of reality? This has been a common theme discussed within the realms of quantum physics for quite some time. In fact, the discussion of “ether”, this non physical, indescribable “stuff” has been the subject of contemplation for thousands of years. Plato wrote about the ether  in his work Phaedo, and explained how life exists within it. He believed what air is to us, the ether is to them. Is the ether alive? Is the universe itself, which could be primarily made up of this non-physical stuff, a conscious living entity?

You cannot explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals like space, time, mass,  and charge. As a result, the logical thing to do is postulate whether consciousness itself is something fundamental to the existence of reality, to view consciousness itself as one of these fundamentals.

“Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gives birth to conscious intelligences?” Cicero, c. 44 BCE 

A New Paper

Another paper has emerged claiming that “observers” are responsible for determining physical reality, and that conscious observers themselves generate and create the structures of time and space.

What’s interesting to contemplate here is that, if this is true, it would include all “observers” within the universe itself, not just human observers. It reminds me of the double slit experiment, where tiny bits of matter are shot through a slit forming what’s called a wave pattern of probabilities and possibilities, but when an observer is introduced the wave function collapses.

One of the authors of the paper, Robert Lanza, told Big Think that observers can dramatically affect the “behavior of observable quantities” both at a microscopic and massive spatiotemporal scales. In fact, a “profound shift in our ordinary everyday worldview” is necessary. The world is not something that is formed outside of us, simply existing on its own. “Observers ultimately define the structure of physical reality itself.”

How does this work? Lanza contends that a network of observers is necessary and is “inherent to the structure of reality.” As he explains, observers — you, me, and anyone else — live in a quantum gravitational universe and come up with “a globally agreed-upon cognitive model” of reality by exchanging information about the properties of spacetime. “For, once you measure something,” Lanza writes, “the wave of probability to measure the same value of the already probed physical quantity becomes ‘localized’ or simply ‘collapses.’” That’s how reality comes to be consistently real to us all. Once you keep measuring a quantity over and over, knowing the result of the first measurement, you will see the outcome to be the same

The implications of this are and have always been quite large. The idea that consciousness itself is fundamental to reality suggests that it must have played an integral part in the creation of reality, that consciousness itself had to exist prior to the birth of physical material reality. One could go on and on contemplating things like: if consciousness is fundamental to the creation of physical matter, then what created consciousness itself? Where does consciousness itself originate from? Does existence itself even have a beginning? Can the future change the past, can the past change the future?

Who knows, but the most important point to takeaway here is that consciousness itself is fundamental to the creation of our physical experience. If we want to change the world, ultimately we have to change the way we think, feel and perceive. This is a key factor that is directly intertwined with the type human experience we create for ourselves.

This is why, perhaps, sometimes it seems that the greatest resource for powerful people, politicians and corporations is human consciousness itself.  If we ourselves determine what direction humanity heads simply by what we think and feel, just imagine what somebody could do if they could manipulate that aspect within us? The state of the world today, some might say, is chaotic, and that could be a direct result of the fact that the collective mind and heart is not in a state of coherence.

You might say “we are all over the place.” We’re separated by our beliefs and unable to come together in understanding and harmony. This collective state of being in turn will create a physical experience that reflects that, which is exactly what we are seeing today and have seen throughout human history.

Below is a great little documentary from a colleague of mine, it’s based off an essay he wrote for his philosophy master’s degree. It dives a bit deeper into this discussion.

Why Is The UFO Discussion Even Important? How Does It Impact Our Lives?

At CE we’ve covered this topic a great deal over the last 12 years. It’s actually quite astonishing to see how there has been an almost complete flip in culture over the last 4 years or so, where it’s not longer fringe and laughable by all to be discussing the topic. We’ve literally had people decline interviews with us in the past because our publication spoke about UFOs, yet now, there isn’t any publication you can go to that isn’t talking about it regularly.

For myself personally, I became passionate the subject when I was a kid. I used to watch the show X-Files with my family on Friday nights, and I always found it to be intriguing. The many episodes on ETs and UFOs piqued an interest within me that seemed deep and natural – an innate curiosity towards ‘what else is out there’ that also happened to draw me towards anything supernatural or paranormal.

As I got older and I was able to look more closely at evidence for these ideas and I began learning a few key things. One being that these subjects are ridiculed by mass culture and so it’s often a bit tricky to talk about. Another being that the science and evidence behind the study of paranormal ideas is actually quite rigorous and plentiful. Finally, that what these topics reveal about life as we know it, and how we understand it, is that perhaps we don’t quite acknowledge reality to the fullest. Sure, an obvious statement in some senses. Of course we don’t understand all of reality to the fullest, but the question is: have we made big missteps in our collective worldview that has us having a hard time opening up to the reality of subjects like ETs, UFOs or the paranormal?

I debated whether to write this piece as more of an essay or lean on what I already have that’s a bit more of a video essay. I asked myself this because when I watched back an interview I gave in 2019 for the then upcoming film Close Encounters of The Fifth Kind by Dr. Steven Greer, I realized the interview turned out to touch on most of the key points surrounding why I feel the discussion of UFOs and ET life are important. As I was writing this piece I felt it would be more meaningful to lean on the video essay-ish version. Not just because I already have it but because there is an energy in it that I have been told is quite impactful by those who have already seen it. Just before we jump into it I wanted to share a bit more background.

At first glance, many feel the topic is one of people interested in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of it all. We want to know the details about what the craft are, how they move, what ET bodies might look like, and what technology brings them here. We pay attention to every government disclosure that comes out about UFOs. Sure, this is one small piece but certainly not the entire story. For myself and many others, our interest has also deeply included the realm of consciousness and it’s non-local nature.

In 2008 and 2009 I began experimenting with initiating contact through meditation-like practices with what we, my friends and I, felt were ETs. We’d go out to a park near lake Ontario on clear summer nights, and intentionally seek to have a communication or connection with ‘what’s out there.’ On many nights we saw anywhere between 5 and 15 craft show up. No, not satellites that we trained ourselves to identify, and not planes with their flashing aviation lights. I’m talking about star filled skies where you intentionally make ‘contact’ and over a short period of time those skies begin to fill with objects you cannot explain. I’m talking craft coming down slowly to the horizon, moving toward us, glowing with incredible light, dimming down slowly, moving across the horizon left, then right, then up, then back down. All with no sound and all while you are having an experience of connection that you can only quite understand when you engage in it.

To me, it is not a connection fuelled by entertainment value and other beings being ‘above’ humans or anything like that, it’s one of mutual respect and curiosity.

And of course, no, we were not drunk or high while doing this. Me feeling inclined to mention that fact often relates to the societal judgement that often exists around this topic, and the quickness to want to lend any petty explanation to something we don’t understand. And it’s in THIS that I feel this discussion is so important.

In the video piece below, I will go on to discuss how and why the mainstream is now covering the ET subject. The importance of the rise of post material science as it relates to this discussion. Why consciousness is extremely important in the ET/UFO discussion. Why the ET and UFO phenomenon plays a role in humanity’s evolution – in consciousness, society and technology. How people can observe and engage in an evolution of their own consciousness. And how this all deeply relates to a deep and meaningful change in overall worldview and paradigm.

These in fact are the key reason as to why UFO and ET disclosure is important in my view. It’s a subject that does not have to be guided by what government or mainstream media deem is what’s important about it.

Click here to watch my full discussion around this.

A New Media Approach For Improved Sense-Making Through Physiological Coherence

The simple exercise you were just introduced to is designed to help create a physiological heart brain connection that has been shown to improve memory, learning, problem-solving and discernment.

Since 2009, Collective Evolution has been committed to forging a radically new approach to media and the discussion of current events. Over the years scientific research has come to support the approach we have been taking to help improve the way people consume and synthesize information in order to make meaningful choices in their lives and in society.

Since part of our mission at CE is to observe what is happening in our world from a more neutral point of view, asking what about us and our current human story creates our world, society, ideas, day to day choices, and policies to be the way they are, it was important to us to develop a style that encourages people to be in a state of mind and being where they’re more open to exploring new ideas without bias, cognitive distortions, and immediate resistance.

This discussion is worthy of consideration as most platforms either focus on simple ‘feel good’ or ‘well being’ based content, or focus on news from a purely journalistic sense, often with a political bias. Since our content focus is on both personal transformation and news/current events from a new approach, we have chosen to actually measure whether or not people are having a more positive experience consuming current event information. A recent research survey that will be publicized in March 2021 will show the positive results of CEs approach on audiences well being, emotional state, and development of critical thinking over the 12 years CE has been doing this work.

Coherence & Optimal Function

Decades of research shows that our hearts send more information to our brains than our brains send to our hearts. When our body’s heart is beating in what is called an ‘incoherent rhythm’, it sends a message to our brains and nervous system that produces suboptimal function that leads to a reduction in our ability to learn, make effective decisions, problem-solve, critically think, and self regulate our emotions.

When our heart is beating in a coherent rhythm, it sends coherent signals to the brain and nervous system that then brings each of these systems into synchronization physiologically. The result is opposite of that of incoherent signals. Research shows an improvement in our ability to think clearly, navigate information, make decisions, remember things, and communicate. All of this can come from as little as 60 – 90 seconds of practices like the one we place at the top of each of our articles. Over time, these practices also helps to build self-awareness which helps us see our own bias’ more clearly.

Further research has shown that a connection between thoughtful breathing and the production of a compound in the cerebrum called noradrenaline. This compound goes about as a “mind compost” that is delivered when we are feeling tested, inquisitive, or centered.

Our Unique & Research Backed Style

At CE we have found that the pathway to meaningful and sustainable change in our lives and society comes from being able to self-regulate our emotions, understand and change our habits and patterns, and also from learning how to navigate information in our world in such a way that allows us to carry our personal transformation into the realm of societal change.

In other words, sometimes people can have a spiritual practice or work on personal transformation, but don’t often apply their transformation to questioning or re-imagining things like current events, society, or politics. We are at a critical time in humanity’s history where faith in existing institutions is deteriorating rapidly, typically based on a right intuition people have that these institutions don’t work in their favor. We must begin exploring why our world is in need of change, and at the same time be able to shift our consciousness and thinking enough that we can make societal changes from a new way of thinking and being.

In 2009, we chose to focus our journalistic, video and education content in alignment with these findings. Focusing on a sense of ease, curiosity, and playfulness in our style. We don’t intend on trying to convince people to believe what we are reporting on, instead we encourage them to openly explore and question. This has had a dramatic affect on how people feel when consuming our content, and how they understand what we’re producing.

Commonly reported feedback from our audience includes things like feeling more grounded, hopeful, inspired, clear, and empowered to take action in their personal lives and society. Our readers also report that they tend not to feel a notion of ‘us vs. them’ and division that often occurs when consuming media about current events. Interestingly, readers have also commonly reported that after repeated consumption of our articles, videos, podcasts or courses, they notice a stark difference in how they feel when they consume content from more traditional alternative or mainstream media. This was also a huge discovery for us as it suggests that people’s relationship with other forms of alternative media can bring them new information but does not necessarily help their well being and sense of inspiration to act.

To us, all these suggest that our style not only informs but helps to create a noticeable shift in our audiences state of being. We don’t feel that it is us doing this for our reader, we feel the style and platform invites the reader to, by nature, build their self-awareness, practice emotional regulation, and think more clearly. Imagine how this will ripple out into the world as a result. Imagine how different conversations would be about current events if more had access to this approach.

Controversial Topics & Meaningful Change

At CE, we sometimes cover ‘controversial’ topics that as a society we are often resistant to explore, whether we have a spiritual practice or not. Many of our colleagues and friends in the personal transformation space have chosen not to explore some of these subjects much as they don’t quite align with their brand messaging or line of work, we respect and agree with their choices. However, we saw this as an important challenge to take on in our work as these ‘tough’ conversations need to be had, and we believe they can be done in a way that inspires change and well being.

Culture today is often uncomfortable with uncertainty and thus open inquiry and examination of new evidence has shut off around certain subjects. In our minds, this is causing a very societally impactful sense-making crisis in which we have become divided, distressed, emotional, and unclear as to what is actually going on around us. With this, we are quick to react and are often living on edge. As research shows, when we make decisions within our lives and society based on this state of being, they are often ineffective, suboptimal, and create further disharmony.

Our research has shown that 63% of our audience feels that CE helps them explore tough or controversial subjects while feeling less emotionally charged when compared to when others report on it, whether it’s a mainstream or alternative media source. This was a very inspiring statistic for us as we feel this makes a meaningful contribution towards shifting the way media is told to bring about a better society, without being limited to only focusing on ‘good news’ which has many limitations and, we feel, does not lead to deep societal change.

In our work we have found that combining personal transformation and emotional regulation with the openness to re-imagine society and explore new ideas, even when they are controversial, has created the greater sense of empowerment, clarity and well-being amongst our readers.

In short, our work has helped to provide a path to self-awareness, practice, and the skills to tackle information openly and coherently, thus readers are not triggered by disagreements and different perspectives, and are able to synthesize information into meaningful practice, solutions, and actions steps.

We’re at a critical time for developing a greater sense of self awareness, openness, and increased critical thinking so that we can better explore information without our emotions, biases, and pre-conceived notions getting in the way and shutting down our inquiry.

At Collective Evolution we feel that the journey to creating collective change is one founded upon personal transformation, what might be called a shift in consciousness, which is to say: we must generate a greater conscious awareness of ourselves, how we function, how to regulate our emotions, and think more clearly about what is going on around us. When we make this shift, our perception about life, society and what is possible dramatically shifts, and we begin to tap into a new story about humanity and what we want to create.

With this new story, coherence, and connection to self, we have found that people are inspired to work towards creating a greater sense of harmony and coherence in their lives and society as well. Effectively being able to see how new and emerging ideas can build a new foundation for society, instead of making small adjustments to our current society that’s built on an old and outdated story.

To more fully explore our work, participate in practical courses and engage with a like minded community, consider becoming a member of CETV. Your participation not only helps to empower change in your personal life and society, but also helps support the continuation of our unique and impactful work.

A Symbiosis of Humans & Technology – Changing The Conversation

Have you ever noticed that discussions about transhumanism tend to focus on technology more than humanism? The journey to reaching our highest potential as a species is usually focused externally on the technology rather than internally on our conscious evolution. This is probably because people assume that conscious evolution is more about spirituality whereas technology is more having to do with the things humans create. The two paths are interdependent so we need more conversations between experts in each of these fields. It will only be through a recognition of the symbiotic nature between humans, their technology, and the environment that we will avert self-destruction.

trans·hu·man·ism (n.) 1. A belief that humans should strive to transcend the physical limitations of the mind and body by technological means. 2. A movement of people who espouse such a belief.

Standing at a Crossroads: The influence that technology has on society and culture is called, technodeterminism. Most of us carry mini supercomputers in our pockets called smartphones. These devices act as external brains which seamlessly integrate into most aspects of our life. Most of us are completely dependent on them for travel, work, communication, entertainment, and beyond. Take a moment to consider the future implications of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine-learning, mass surveillance, automation, genome editing, nanotechnology, and their potential influences on society, culture, and our environment.

When I think about these things, I can’t help but ask:

Why aren’t people like the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Andrew Weil conversing more with people like Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk, and Steve Mann?

Ancient Futures: It will become increasingly imperative for our most advanced technologies to be informed by the natural ethos of indigenous people blended with the emotional-intelligence of our enlightened spiritual masters. We must remember that the first humans who captured fire to light their cave, stay warm on a cold night, or cook their food were using technology. Anthropologists proudly call us humans “tool-makers” as one of the attributes that make us distinct from most species.

Paradigm Shift: Conscious evolution will require a concerted effort to communicate across silos and disciplines. Cooperation and collaboration towards collective goals will need to take the place of competition for personal gain. What are we hoping to accomplish, and at what cost? We are a risk-taking species and that drives us to exceed all our limitations. Let’s make these be calculated risks because with our technology also comes a great responsibility.

Start Within: Even our most sophisticated technology does not possess the complexities of organic systems. Computers and machines can do many things for us but they will never be able to feel for us. The realm of emotion is central and unique to our human experience yet it is only now starting to be recognized as a valuable form of intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” -Andrew Coleman A Dictionary of Psychology

Research in multiple fields of study shows that curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy are skills that will redefine traditional beliefs about intelligence. The ability to accommodate new information requires a certain level of mental flexibility, humility, and ultimately character. It is through our ability to feel and process our emotions that our higher intelligence flourishes.

SuperHumans: Any sports fan knows that there are individuals who possess superhuman gifts. Think of popular sports stars like Michael Jordan, or any of the various extreme sports heroes who somehow manage the seemingly impossible. We also have the various musical or art prodigies who express the skills of a master before the age of 10. We have seen humans walk on red-hot coals with bare feet, walk a tightrope between skyscrapers, and exhibit mind-boggling feats of mental-focus, and will-power. Did you know that Wim Hof ran a half marathon barefoot on ice and snow, with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 34 seconds? Humans are capable of amazing things when they channel discipline, practice, creative brilliance, fearlessness and focus. We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible!

Global Meditation: This simple practice of quieting the mind, and bringing presence to one’s breathing has a long list of documented benefits that include enhanced neural connections, deep feelings of connection and well-being, as well as a strengthened immune system. When we compound this focused intention to include tens of thousands of people all over the world, we begin to literally shift planetary magnetic resonance. The science does not lie, we are potent electrical beings with the ability to focus consciousness and create beyond our wildest imaginations.

Everything technology offers is a reflection of the technology that we, as humans are. Learning to laugh at ourselves a little while delving into our emotions and to make room for possibilities beyond our currently held beliefs is essential for this journey. In order for us to create technology that is aligned with all of life and our planet, we must first become aligned with ourselves and each other. Global meditation is where we practice together!

We can no longer claim that a technology is advanced if it is destroying our skies and rivers or perpetuating harmful practices like war and domination. These are examples of misguided technologies. Our DNA has been informed by countless generations of evolution. It is time that we focus our consciousness towards the natural wisdom kept by indigenous people, while embracing the presence of enlightened spiritual masters. This will allow us to infuse our science and highest technological advancements with ecological and emotional intelligence for the benefit of all life.

The Astonishing Evidence That Made Carl Sagan Believe “Reincarnation Deserves Serious Study”

Today more than ever, parapsychology, which is the scientific study of telepathy, remote viewing, clairvoyance, reincarnation and much more, is receiving extreme amounts of credibility. Numerous studies and repeatable experiments have shown statistically significant results, and various findings within quantum mechanics have also demonstrated that mind/matter interaction, also known as telekinesis, may very well be real.

On top of this we also have declassified literature from multiple countries that show parapsychological phenomena has been documented and demonstrated within human beings that poses “special abilities.” For example, this CIA document shows how “gifted children” in China were able to “teleport” small objects from one location to another, here’s another that documents the “paranormal writing” ability of a child. It’s quite fascinating, and understandable why so many people just don’t believe in this type of thing. It’s truly paradigm shifting and has the potential to change what we think we know about the nature of reality, forever.

Such discoveries and evidence have always been ridiculed and ignored by “intellectual” authorities simply because they don’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Furthermore, when it comes to this type of study, which is also known as non-material science, we must go beyond the parameters of science. A lot of the phenomena documented and observed within these realms is simply not explained by science and our our perception of what science is and has become. In a lot of ways, science limits us today and there are many examples where dogma has become labelled as “science.”

Did you know that Carl Sagan, the late astronomer was a founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)? He once wrote that “there are three claims in the (parapsychology) field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study with the third being “that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation.” He wrote this in 1996, it’s now more than two decades later and the number of examples and evidence accumulated suggesting that reincarnation, or at least some form of it, is real is quite astonishing.

Serious scientific study of reincarnation has spanned the last several decades. There are many interesting cases of children remembering details they could not have obtained from anywhere else.

For example, a report published in 2016 in the journal Explore titled “The Case of James Leininger: An American Case of the Reincarnation Type” published by Jim B. Tucker, MD from the University of Virginia, explains,

Numerous cases of young children who report memories of previous lives have been studied over the last 50 years. Though such cases are more easily found in cultures that have a general belief in reincarnation, they occur in the West as well. This article describes the case of James Leininger, an American child who at age two began having intense nightmares of a plane crash. He then described being an American pilot who was killed when his plane was shot down by the Japanese. He gave details that included the name of an American aircraft carrier, the first and last name of a friend who was on the ship with him, and a location and other specifics about the fatal crash. His parents eventually discovered close correspondence between James’s statements and the death of a World War II pilot named James Huston. Documentation of James’s statements that was made before Huston was identified includes a television interview with his parents that never aired but which the author has been able to review.

At the age of two, James’s father was looking through a book called  The Battle for Iwo Jima 1945. His father reports that James pointed to a picture showing an aerial view of the base of the island, where Mt. Suribachi, a dormant volcano, sits, and said, “That’s where my plane was shot down.” His father said, “What?” and James responded, “My airplane got shot down there, Daddy.” That’s when it all started.  This is one of many cases that are similar. In this case James demonstrated knowledge of events from 50 years before he was born. Many of his accurate statements  were documented before the previous personality was identified.

On August 27, 2000, when James was 28 months old, he told his parents he had flown his plane off a boat. When his parents asked him the name of the boat, he said, “Natoma.” After that conversation, his father searched online for the word and eventually discovered a description of the USS Natoma Bay, an escort carrier stationed in the Pacific during World War II. He printed out the information he found, and the footer of the printout includes the date he did.

You can read about this specific case more thoroughly, here.

If you want to read about more examples, here’s an excellent paper published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration you can refer to. Here’s another from 2005. You can access many more research studies on the topic here, all from the Perceptual Studies department at the University of Virginia. It’s a great place to start if you want to dive deeper into the topic.

I’ve written about a reincarnation case in which a three-year old boy claimed to have remembered a past life. In this life, he remembered being struck by a big blow to the head with an axe, and having a long, red birthmark on his head.

The present-day boy, whose name remained confidential throughout the entire study, also had a birthmark in the exact same spot, which is interesting because multiple studies, like the one published in Explorepoint out how shared birthmarks are common to children who remember their past lives.

The boy’s father and a number of other relatives in the village decided to visit neighbouring communities to see if his past life identity could be established and Dr. Lasch was invited to join. On this journey, they visited multiple villages until the boy remembered the right one. He remembered his own first and last name, as well as the first and last name of his murderer.

You can read more about this specific story here.

Can “Consciousness” or “the mind” Survive “death” ? Is reincarnation one of many paths?

Reincarnation may not be “the” answer as to what occurs when someone dies. Perhaps it’s one out of many paths. I’ve come across a lot of interesting information suggesting that we are more than just our body, and when we leave this physical plane our “soul” can take multiple routes, and reincarnation might be one of them if we have to come back and complete/learn the lessons we were/are supposed to while experiencing life on this planet. I’ve also come across some interesting information that this is a choice before we are born, that we choose to incarnate here, that we “exist” before we are born, but such claims lack definitive proof despite the fact that they seem to resonate with many people. But then again, perhaps our definition and view of “proof” needs to change. There are anomalies in this word, like some mentioned at the beginning of this article that have enormous amounts of proof, yet they are simply “too much” for the average human being to believe.

These questions have been contemplated for thousands of years. In the Socratic dialogue, Meno by Plato, the character Socrates attempts to prove that life exists before birth. Instead of innate knowledge that we are simply born with, knowledge that simply comes naturally to us, Plato relies on prenatal knowledge to explain our ability to solve problems in mathematics and philosophy, and suggests that we must have known the answers to these problems all along.

Perhaps reincarnation isn’t really reincarnation? Perhaps these memories are simply proof that all consciousness, in some way, is connected and these children are simply picking up on aspects that’s simply another part of themselves? Perhaps they are simply retaining memories of the past life, and that specific consciousness or “soul” did not actually reincarnate into another body, because if it did would more memories not be present? Perhaps there is another explanation as to why these children can remember such things that don’t include the idea of reincarnation?

There are so many unanswerable questions.

Perhaps reincarnation is one path out of many, what about those who have learned what they came here to learn? Perhaps they came here for another reason and do not need to reincarnate? I’m not sure what the other paths may be, perhaps an experience as another being on another planet? Perhaps as a life form that doesn’t dwell within the physical realm? I don’t know, but I could think of several possibilities. Perhaps a trip back to where we all originated from? Perhaps consciousness is separate from a “soul” and one remains and lingers while the other moves on? Perhaps a “soul” can experience multiple “consciousnesses”?

The question of whether or not consciousness survives after death is at the forefront of many scientific circles. For example, Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander says that science shows that the brain does not control consciousness, that it’s more of a receiver of it, a channel for consciousness to come in from somewhere else. He believes there is reason to believe our consciousness continues after death, and that a physical body is not required for consciousness to exist.

Here is a great video from Dr. Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at the University of Arizona discussing whether or not consciousness is the product of the brain or a receiver of it.

There is also the topic of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) that are quite astonishing. People who have “died” and come back on the operating table were able to describe being outside of their body and provide details they would not otherwise have been able to provide had they been “inside” their body. To read and learn more about NDEs, you can access the research here.

The idea that consciousness is a separate “thing” from our biology is supported by a wealth of evidence in the fields of quantum physics, parapsychology and neuroscience. Despite this evidence, the topic is still shunned within many mainstream academic circles, and perhaps it’s because the idea simply challenges our long held belief systems of what we think we know and have already discovered.

Cassandra Vieten, PhD and president/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences offers a possible explanation.

There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important that encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.’ (source)

Consider the prominent physicist Lord Kelvin who stated in the year 1900 that, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now…All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” It wasn’t long after this statement that Einstein published his paper on special relativity. Einstein’s theories challenged the accepted framework of knowledge at the time and forced the scientific community to open up to a broader/alternative view of reality. This type of thing will continue to happen throughout humanity history, the only thing constant is change and discovery that expands upon and changes what we once thought we knew.

Photo credit: Illustration by Jody Hewgill

Scientists Successfully Communicate With Lucid Dreamers While They Are Dreaming

What Happened: A recent study published in Current Biology titled “Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep” has discovered that individuals who are asleep and experiencing a lucid dream, which is a dream where the individual knows that they are in the midst of a dream, can “perceive questions from an experimenter and provide answers using electrophysiological signals.” These answers are provided while they are dreaming.

The study points out:

We implemented our procedures for two-way communication during polysomnographically verified rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep in 36 individuals. Some had minimal prior experience with lucid dreaming, others were frequent lucid dreamers, and one was a patient with narcolepsy who had frequent lucid dreams. During REM sleep, these individuals exhibited various capabilities, including performing veridical perceptual analysis of novel information, maintaining information in working memory, computing simple answers, and expressing volitional replies. Their responses included distinctive eye movements and selective facial muscle contractions, constituting correctly answered questions on 29 occasions across 6 of the individuals tested. These repeated observations of interactive dreaming, documented by four independent laboratory groups, demonstrate that phenomenological and cognitive characteristics of dreaming can be interrogated in real time.

Lucid dreamers were able to follow instructions to compute mathematical operations, answer yes-or-no questions, or discriminate stimuli in the visual, tactile, and auditory modalities. They were able to respond using volitional control of gaze direction or of different facial muscles. There were three different participant categories.

Pretty remarkable isn’t it? The fact that lucid dreamers were able to communicate with the researchers, who weren’t dreaming, is quite mind altering.

Researchers used spoken words, beeping tones, flashing lights and other tactical stimuli like touching the dreamers hand and “tapping” to communicate with the dreamers. The “messages” and questions that the dreamers were “receiving” were answered and acknowledged by the dreamers in the form of eye movements, facial contractions etc.

The dreamers used in the study provide some descriptions after they woke up of what they experienced in real time when the researchers began the stimuli process

I was at a party with friends. Your voice was coming from the outside, just like a narrator of a movie…I decided to answer ‘no’ (with facial muscle contractions).

When the lights started flickering. I recognized this as a (Morse-coded) signal from the outside and counted **** *** ***** and reported the answer ‘4’ with eye signals.

During the finger tapping, I was fighting against goblins. I remember being surprised that I was able to do many things at the same time as the task.

After reading this it reminded me of the movie Inception, when the dreamers were “triggered” by outside stimuli to begin the “waking up” process, which would manifest as some sort of experience in their dream that would trigger their awakening. The only difference this time is that the stimuli wasn’t done for the purposes of waking the dreamers, but to simply communicate with them while they were dreaming.

As mentioned in the study, one of the examples came from a 35-year-old German participant. This one was an experienced lucid dreamer, and while he was dreaming and presented with a visual stimuli by the researchers of alternating colors and a Morse-coded math problem which was 4 minus 0, the participant produced the correct answer using eye movements. The participant described giving his answer after awakening from the dream. “In his description of the dream, he maintained that he heard the message “4 plus 0″ and answered accordingly.” This example comes from the second quote above.

A 20-year-old French participant with narcolepsy and remarkable lucid-dreaming abilities was also used. Because of his narcolepsy, he reached REM sleep quickly, about 1 min after the beginning of a 20-min daytime nap, and he signaled lucidity 5 min later. The researchers  verbally asked him yes/no questions and he answered correctly using facial muscle contractions (zygomatic muscle for yes, corrugator muscle for no). In a separate analysis of facial contractions during lucid dreaming, the researchers never observed a response in the absence of stimulation. This example comes from the first quote above, where he experienced this in his dream as an actual voice asking him a yes or a no question.

“There are studies of lucid dreamers communicating out of dreams, and also remembering to do tasks. But there’s a fairly limited amount of research on the stimuli going into lucid dreams….One thing that surprised us is that you could just say a sentence to somebody, and they could understand it just as it actually is….It’s amazing to sit in the lab and ask a bunch of questions, and then somebody might actually answer one. It’s such an immediately rewarding type of experiment to do. You don’t have to wait to analyze your data or anything like that. You can see it right there while they’re still sleeping.”  – Karen Konkoly, a PhD student at Northwestern University and first author of the paper. (source)

It’s very interesting because it shows a level of “alertness” to the “real world” that is still present in the dream world. Participants are able to experience both worlds.

A 2009 study showed that lucid dreaming constitutes a “hybrid state of consciousness with definable and measurable differences from waking and from REM sleep, particularly in frontal areas.”  This study showed that lucid dreamers operate with gamma brainwaves, which are of the the highest frequency. They range from 40 to 100 Hz, the fastest documented brainwave frequencies known to man, and suggest that some lucid dreamers are using more of their brain, and that the brain is functioning at a higher level as compared to when in the normal “waking” state.

When it comes to brain waves, lucid dreamers brainwaves can be compared to the brain waves of meditating monks.

Not long ago, researchers led by Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at The W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior teamed up with a number of monks and volunteers. The Dalai Lama even dispatched eight of his most accomplished practitioners to Davidson’s lab to have them hooked up for EEG testing and brain scanning. These monks come from traditions of meditation for an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods of 15 to 40 years.

The monks were fitted with a net of 256 electrical sensors and asked to meditate for short periods, and Davidson was particularly interested in measuring gamma waves, the highest frequency and most important known electrical brain impulses. The results showed that the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast moving and usually powerful gamma waves in the monks (3). The movement of the waves through the brain were far better organized and coordinated. (source)

Dream Telepathy? 

In the mid 1960s, Montague Ullman, MD, began a number of experiments at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, to test the hypothesis that people could be primed to dream about randomly selected material. In other words, they could choose what they wanted to dream about before going to sleep, and this could include anything, from artwork to movies to photographs and more. Shortly after these experiments began, Ullman was joined by Stanley Krippner (quoted above), a scientist with an impressive background in psychology, parapsychology, and dreams.

The experiments they conducted lasted a span of more than 10 years, and “yielded statistically significant results.” You can read more about that here.

During the experiments, there was usually a “telepathic sender” and a “telepathic receiver.” They met in the laboratory for a short period of time before being placed in completely separate rooms just prior to sleep. The telepathic sender had an envelope waiting for them in the room in which they’d sleep. It would contain something like a picture or a drawing. The receivers were then purposely awakened shortly after Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM) began so the researchers could take a dream report.

According to Dr. Stanley Krippner, professor of psychology at Saybrook University in California:

A wealth of anecdotal and clinical material exist which supports the possibility of telepathic effects occurring in dreams (Krippner, 1974). However, an experimental approach to the topic did not become possible until psycho physiological laboratory technology became available. It was discovered that sleeping research participants awakened from periods of rapid eye movement (REM) activity were frequently able to recall dream episodes. As a result, it was possible to request a “telepathic receiver” to attempt dreaming about a target stimulus that was being focused on in a distant location from a “telepathic sender.” (source)

Here is an interesting video from Dale E. Graff, a physicist and former director of the US government/Stanford remote viewing program where he  shares his knowledge about dreaming, and how we can all experience what he calls ‘Psi’ dreaming, or psychic/precognitive dreaming. Also a very interesting phenomenon.

Here is another article regarding precognitive dreaming we published a few years ago with some astonishing experiments as well.

Final Thoughts 

It’s truly remarkable to look into the fascinating world of dreams, especially lucid dreaming. Dreams are a big mystery, but they can perhaps provide some insight and be used as tools for personal development. Perhaps they can be used to help one get clear on life decisions, gain clarity on a situation, or move past a trauma – anything that pertains ones own life and beyond.

When we contemplate and interpret dreams, one can go down a deep philosophical and scientific rabbit hole that will touch on many other topics and aspects of life. Despite the fact that such topics are quite fascinating to a large number of people, our world and current human experience often fails to explore such topics. They are not on the forefront of the collective mind when it comes to the human experience, which seems to be quite defined. We are taught to focus on going to school, getting a job, etc. We are often not invited to explore such profound topics because we often view them as irrelevant and not in alignment with our current worldview. Yet research is showing that it might be time to rethink the worldviews that form what we believe is important in our world.

I believe that if humanity collectively was able to create a human experience that provides abundance to all, where we re-thought our current ideas and beliefs around “work” and “earning a living,” we would be able to move forward with what we naturally are, curious explorers who are looking to discover more about the true nature of reality. I believe we have the potential to create this type of human experience, and the solutions are already there. But the solutions aren’t as important as the consciousness behind these solutions and developments. What are we using our technological developments for?

It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. It is a matter of converting our high technology from Weaponry to Livingry. (Buckminster Fuller)

The ‘Power’ Of The Quartz Crystal From An Indigenous Point of View

Crystals have been used by several ancient cultures from around the world for a very long time. You can find literature on them in the Vedas, Buddhist traditions, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greek lore. They are also described in the Shamanistic practices of several indigenous cultures as well as within ancient lost civilizations like Atlantis. Even Nikola Tesla was fascinated by Crystals, saying that “in a crystal, we have clear evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and though we cannot understand the life of a crystal, it is nonetheless a living being.”

These gemstones have been central to various cultures throughout human history. So why does mainstream anthropological literature seem to ignore crystals? Today, the meaning and significance of crystals are virtually unknown, which is a shame. The significant power of crystals could be used to help planet Earth and improve the overall health of the entire population.

Relegated To ‘New Age’ Practice

Today, crystals are placed within the “New Age” category, and because of that, they are given somewhat of a negative connotation. It’s not as if only modern groups all of a sudden started having an interest in crystals out of nothing; interest in crystals do indeed have an interesting and ancient origin.

This article is going to focus on the Shamanistic perspective of crystals, as outlined by Michael Harner, in his book The Way of The Shaman. Harner is the founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. He actually pioneered the introduction of shamanism and the shamanic drum journey to contemporary life and is recognized as the world leader in this movement.

Harner received his anthropology Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at a number of institutions, including Columbia and Yale University, He served as co-chair of the anthropology section of the New York Academy of Sciences, but left academia in 1987 in order to devote himself full time to shamanism. In 2003, he received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his achievements in shamanic studies.

As a website dedicated to his legacy points out,

Michael Harner is not just an anthropologist who has studied shamanism; he is an authentic white shaman, observes the distinguished transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof. Dr. Harner began learning about shamanism in 1956-57 while studying with the Shuar (Jívaro) tribe of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and started practicing shamanism during his 1960-61 stay with the Conibo people of the Peruvian Amazon. He subsequently returned to the Shuar for additional practical training in shamanism. He became recognized as a shaman by the indigenous shamans with whom he worked, including ones belonging to the following peoples: the Conibo and Shuar (formerly Jívaro) in South America; the Coast Salish, Pomo, and Northern Paiute in western North America; the Inland Inuit and the Sami (formerly Lapps) in the Arctic; and the Tuvans of central Asia. In Russia, assembled Siberian shamans of the Buriat people publicly declared Michael Harner a great shaman, upon witnessing his shamanic healings in 1998 (the word, shaman, comes from Siberia). They also said he proved that one could do both science and shamanism.

Clearly, if you’re looking for a source to dive deep into the realms of Shamanism, it’s hard to think of a source as solid as this which can provide reliable information.

The Quartz Crystal: According To The Way of The Shaman

While there is potentially an almost infinite variety of power objects, there is one kind in particular that is regularly found in the keeping of shamans. This is the quartz crystal. In North and South America, Australia, southeast Asia, and elsewhere, shamans ascribe a singular importance to these pointed, six-sided stones that are usually transparent to milky-white. Shamans use a wide variety of sizes, ranging from the length of a little-giner joint to rarer ones a foot or more in length…The quartz crystal is considered the strongest power object among such widely separate peoples as the Jivaro in South America and the tribes of Australia. People as distant from one another as the aborigines of easter Australia and the Yuman speakers of southern California and adjacent Baja California consider the quartz crystal “living,” or a “live rock.” The widespread employment of quartz crystals in shamanism spans thousands of years. In California, for example, quartz crystals have been found in archeological sites and prehistoric burials dating as far back as 8000 years.

In his book, Harner goes on to describe how throughout all these cultures, this crystal is viewed as a healing tool and a spirit helper. He goes on to say that “the western Yuman shamans enter into a special partnership with their quartz crystals and must “feed” them; this is reminiscent of Jivaro shamans feeding their spirit helpers with tobacco water in order to keep them.”

Harner explains how some shamans in training had a piece of quartz “sung” into their foreheads so that they would “be able to see right into things.” This concept is not much different from the concept of the “third eye.”

Seeing Into Other Worlds

Quartz crystals were used from everything to seeing into other worlds to assisting in the extraction from patients of harmful disease or “intrusions,” as Harner called them. He gives an example of the Warao shaman of South America, who believed that, at death, their soul would merge with the quartz crystal inside of his rattle and ascends to the sky in the form of light. The Australian Kabi shaman with “many crystals in his body” could journey down into the deepest waterholes, where the rainbow spirit lived, and receive more quartz crystals. Such a shaman would arise “full of life, and be a medicine-man of the highest degree.”

A lot of power is associated with the quartz crystal according to shamanism, and Harner points out:

“In modern physics, the quartz crystal is also involved in the manipulation of power. Its remarkable electronic properties early made it a basic component in radio transmitters and receivers. Thin wafers sliced from quartz crystals later became basic components for modern electronic hardware such as computers and timepieces. Western science has obviously advanced to the point that it recognized the quartz crystal as a power object, something that shamans have known for thousands of years.”

While this all may be coincidental, it is one of the many synchronicities that make the accumulated knowledge of shamanism exciting and even awesome.

Not only did shamans used their quartz crystals to heal, they used it to peer into the future, for seeing as well as divination. An interesting point in the book Harner brings up is the crystal ball, “with which people in our culture are familiar, at least by name, is simply a polished descendant of the old shamanic crystal.” He explains how some indigenous cultures used crystal gazing to see visions of the past, what’s happening in the present as well as to see in the future.

One thing I came across that really interested me, was distant healing. It’s something I’ve written about for years and something that’s been exemplified by countless peer-reviewed studies that have been published in multiple journals.  Distant healing is using one person’s intention and directing it towards another for the purposes of healing. If you want to learn more about that, you can check out the Institute of Noetic Sciences, or refer to this article that goes a little bit deeper into the mind-body connection and the power it has to heal.

“The shaman sent out the crystal at night to bring back the image of the sick person. When the image arrived, the shaman danced around the crystal, shaking his rattle, and then ordered the crystal, as his spirit helper, to extract a harmful power intrustion from the image. The distant person, whose image it was, was therby healed.”

Harner’s book goes into much greater detail regarding the uses of crystals in shamanism, among other places. The above is just a tidbit, nothing but a quick snapshot of what you can learn from reading his book.

How to Cleanse & Choose Your Crystal

You can simply visit a rock shop or a mineral store, and pick out one that you feel attracted to. As Harner explains,

Do not immediately put the crystal you choose into your bundle or with your other power objects. First you must cleanse it, since its history is unkown to you. Cleanse the cyrstal by washing it in the water of a natural spring or the ocean. Then keep it seperate from your medicine bundle until the arrival of a winter or summer solstice. Take it to an isolated high place, such as a mountain top. There split a tick at one end, push the unsplit end into the ground, and place the quartz crystal, point upward, in the cleft of the stick. Leave it there eight days in the sun to “re-charge” before putting it in the medicine bundle. Periodically between solstices, you should remove the cyrstal from the bundle and “wake up” its power. This is done by hitting its nonpointed end lightly on a rock protruding from a spring or an ocean.

Interesting, to say the least, isn’t it? These sacred and special objects should be treated with care, and our special connection to them, as well as well all of nature, is something that needs to return to our planet if we are to move forward into abundance and create a new human experience. “The Way of the Shaman” must return to planet Earth, in perhaps a more modern form. Who knows, perhaps this is something in our future as humanity is being called to walk a more spiritual path, one in which we truly realize how everything is interconnected, and how nature provides us with everything we need. Combine this wisdom with human ingenuity, and we have a future that most of us cannot even comprehend.

Source:

The Way of The Shaman, By Michael Harner

How Does Anesthesia Work? We Still Don’t Know: What Happens When Someone Goes “Under”?

When patients ask anesthesiologists what we charge for putting them to sleep, we often say we do it for free. We only bill them for the waking up part.

This isn’t just a way of deflecting a question, it also serves as a gentle reminder to both parties regarding the importance of “coming to.” If we couldn’t regain consciousness, what would be the point in having the surgery in the first place? Nobody wants to experience pain and fear if it can be avoided. If the only way to avoid the pain of an operation is to temporarily be rendered unconscious, most people will readily and willingly consent to that, as long as we can return to our natural state of being alert and interactive with the world around us. We are awake and aware and that–rather than any particular conception of health–is our most precious gift.

How does Anesthesia work ?

From an Anesthesiologist’s point of view, we really shouldn’t charge for putting someone to sleep. It’s too easy. With today’s medications, putting someone to sleep, or in more correct terms, inducing general anesthesia, is straightforward. Two hundred milligrams of this and fifty milligrams of that and voilà: you have a completely unconscious patient who is incapable of even breathing independently. The medications we administer at induction are similar to the lethal injections executioners use. Unlike executioners, we then intervene to reestablish their breathing and compensate for any large changes in blood pressure and the patient thereby survives until consciousness miraculously returns sometime later.

In addition, those in my field have to contend with the reality that we really don’t know what we are doing. More precisely, we have very little if any understanding of how anesthetic gases render a person unconscious. After 17 years of practicing Anesthesiology, I still find the whole process nothing short of pure magic. You see, the exact mechanism of how these agents work is, at present, unknown. Once you understand how a trick works, the magic disappears. With regard to inhaled anesthetic agents, magic abounds. 

Take ether, for example. In 1846 a dentist named William T.G. Morton used ether to allow Dr. Henry J. Bigelow to partially remove a tumor from the neck of a 24-year-old patient safely with no outward signs of pain. The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in front of dozens of physicians. When the patient regained consciousness with no recollection of the event it is said that many of the surgeons in attendance, their careers spent hardening themselves to the agonizing screams of their patients while operating without modern anesthesia, wept openly after witnessing this feat. At the time, no one knew how ether worked. We still don’t. Over the last 173 years, dozens of different anesthetic gases have been developed and they all have three basic things in common: they are inhaled, they are all very, very tiny molecules by biological standards, and we don’t know how any of them work.

Why we still don’t know…

If you have never closely considered how our bodies do what they do (move, breathe, grow, pee, reproduce, etc.), the answers may be astounding. It is obvious that the energy required to power biological systems comes from food and air. But how do they use them to do everything? How does it all get coordinated?

These are the fundamental questions that have been asked for millennia, by ancient shamans and modern pharmaceutical companies alike. It turns out that the answers are different depending on what sort of perspective and tools we begin with. In the West, our predecessors in medicine were anatomists. Armed with scalpels, the human form was first subdivided into organ systems. Our knives and eyes improved with the development of microtomes and microscopes giving rise to the field of Histology (the study of tissue). Our path of relentless deconstruction eventually gave rise to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. This is where Western medicine stands today. We define “understanding” as a complete description of how the very molecules that comprise our bodies interact with one another. This method and model has served us well. We have designed powerful antibiotics, identified neurotransmitters, and mapped our own genome. Why then have we not been able to figure out how a gas like ether works? The answer is two-fold.

First, although we have been able to demonstrate some of the biological processes and structures that are altered by an inhaled anesthetic gas, we cannot pinpoint which ones are responsible for altering levels of awareness because inhaled anesthetic agents affect so many seemingly unrelated things at the same time. It is impossible to identify which are directly related to the “awake” state. It is also entirely possible that all of them are, and if that were the case consciousness would be the single most complex function attributed to a living organism by a very large margin.

The second difficulty we have is even more unwieldy and requires some contemplation. As explained above, western medicine has not been able to isolate which molecular interaction is responsible for anesthetics’ effect on our awareness. It is therefore reasonable to approach the puzzle from the opposite side and ask instead, “Where is the source of our awareness in our bodies?” and go from there.

We do know that certain neurological pathways in the brain are active in awake patients, but if we attribute consciousness to those pathways then we are necessarily identifying them as the “things” that are awake. To find the source of their “awakeness” we must then examine them more closely. With the tools we have and the paradigm we have chosen we will inevitably find more molecules interacting with other molecules. When you go looking for molecules that is all you will find. Our paradigm has dictated what the answer would be like if we ever found one. Does it seem plausible to think we will find an “awareness molecule” and attribute our vivid, multisensorial experience to the presence of it? If such a molecule existed, how would our deconstructive approach ever explain why that molecule was the source of our awareness?  Can consciousness ever be represented materially?

A more sensible model would be to consider the activity of these structures in the brains of conscious individuals as evidence of consciousness, not the cause of it.  To me it is apparent that, unless we expand our search beyond the material plane, we are not going to find consciousness or be able to understand how anesthetic gases work. Until then I know I am nothing more than a wand-waver in the operating room. And that is being generous. The magician is the anesthetic gas itself, which has, up to this point, never let us in on the secret.

What happens when someone goes “under”?

The mechanistic nature of our model is well suited to most biological processes. However, with regard to consciousness, the model not only lends little understanding of what is happening, it also gives rise to a paradigm that is widely and tightly held, but in actuality cannot be applied to the full breadth of human experience. We commonly believe that a properly functioning physical body is required for us to be aware. Although this may seem initially incontrovertible, upon closer examination it becomes quite clear that this belief is actually an assumption that has massive implications. To be more precise, how do we know that consciousness does not continue uninterrupted and only animate our physical bodies intermittently rather than the other way around, where the body intermittently gives rise to the awake state? At first, this hypothesis may seem absurd, irrelevant and unprovable. I assure you that if you spent a day in an operating room, this idea is not only possible, it is far more likely to be true than the converse.

Let us first consider how we measure anesthetic depth in the operating room. We continually measure the amount of agent that is circulating in a patient’s system, but as described earlier, there is no measurable “conscious” molecule that can be found. We must assess the behavior of our patients to make that determination. Do they reply to verbal commands? Do they require a tap on the shoulder or a painful stimulus to respond? Do they respond verbally or do they merely shudder or fling an arm into the air? Perhaps they do not even move when the very fibers of their body are literally being dissected.

There are many situations when a person will interact normally for a period of time while under the influence of a sedative with amnestic properties, and then have absolutely no recollection of that period of time. As far as they know, that period of time never existed. They had no idea that they were lying on an operating room table for 45 minutes talking about their recent vacation while their surgeon performed a minor procedure on their wrist, for example. Sometime later, they found themselves in the recovery room when, to their profound disbelief, they noticed a neatly placed surgical dressing on their hand. More than once I have been told that a patient had asked that the dressing be removed so that they could see the stitches with their own eyes.

How should we characterize their level of consciousness during the operation? By our own standards they were completely awake. However, because they have no memory of being awake during the experience, they would recount it more or less the same way a patient who was rendered completely unresponsive would. This phenomenon is common and easily reproducible. Moreover, it invites us to consider the possibility that awareness continually exists without interruption, but we are not always able to access our experiences retrospectively

During some procedures where a surgeon is operating very close to the spinal cord, we often infuse a combination of anesthetic drugs that render the patient unconscious but allow all of the neural pathways between the brain and the body to continue to function normally so that they can be monitored for their integrity. In other words, the physiology required to feel or move remains intact, yet the patient apparently has no experience of any stimuli, surgical or otherwise during the operation. How are we to reconcile the fact that we have a patient with a functioning body and no ability to experience it? Who exactly is the patient in this situation?

What can Near Death Experiences (NDEs) tell us?

If we broadened our examination of the human experience to consider more extreme situations, another wrinkle appears in the paradigm. There are numerous accounts of people who have experienced periods of awareness whilst their bodies have been rendered insentient by anesthetics and/or severe trauma. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are all characterized by lucid awareness that remains continuous during a period of time while outside observers assume the person is unconscious or dead. Very often patients who have experienced an NDE in the operating room can accurately recount what was said and done by people attending to them during their period of lifelessness. They are also able to describe the event from the perspective as an observer to their own body, often viewing it from above.

Interestingly, people describe their NDEs in a universally positive way. “Survival” was an option that they were free to choose. Death of their body could be clearly seen as a transcending event in their continuing awareness and not as the termination of their existence. Very often the rest of their lives are profoundly transformed by the experience. No longer living with the fear of mortality, life subsequently opens up into a more vibrant and meaningful experience that can be cherished far more deeply than was possible prior to their brush with death. Those who have had an NDE would have no problem adopting the idea that their awareness exists independently of their body, functioning or not. Fear and anxiety would still probably arise in their life from time to time, but it is the rest of us who carry the seemingly inescapable load of a belief system that ties our existence to a body that will perish.

What happens when we wake up from Anesthesia?

The waking up part is no less magical. When the anesthetic gas is eliminated from the body, consciousness returns on its own. Waking someone up simply requires enough space and time for it to occur spontaneously. There is no reversal agent available to speed the return of consciousness. I can only wait. In fact, the waiting period is directly related to the amount of time the patient has been exposed to the anesthetic. At some point the patient will open their eyes when a threshold has been crossed. Depending on how long the patient has been “asleep,” complete elimination of the agent from the body may not happen until a long while after the patient has “woke.” 

By the time I leave a patient in the care of our recovery room nurses, I am confident that they are safely on a path to their baseline state of awareness. Getting back to a normal state of awareness may take hours or even days. In some cases, patients may never get their wits back completely. Neurocognitive testing has demonstrated that repeated exposure to general anesthesia can sometimes have long-lasting or even irreversible effects on the awake state. It may occur for everyone. Perhaps it is a matter of how closely we look.

Interestingly, it is well known that the longterm effects of anesthetic exposure are more profound in individuals who have already demonstrated elements of cognitive decline in their daily life. Indeed, this population of patients requires significantly less anesthetic to reach the same depth of unconsciousness during an operation. This poses an intriguing question: Is our understanding of being awake also too simplistic? Is there a continuum of “awakeness” in everyday life just as there is one of unconsciousness when anesthetized? If so, how would we measure it?

Does our limited understanding of awareness keep us “asleep”?

Modern psychiatry has been rigorous in defining and categorizing dysfunction. Although there has been recent interest in pushing our understanding of what may be interpreted as a “super-functioning” psyche, western systems are still in their infancy with regard to this idea. In eastern schools of thought, however, this concept has been central for centuries.

In some schools of Eastern philosophy, the idea of attaining a super-functioning awake state is seen as something that also occurs spontaneously when intention and practice are oriented correctly. Ancient yogic teachings specifically describe super abilities, or Siddhis, that are attained through dedicated practice. These Siddhis include fantastical abilities like levitation, telekinesis, dematerialization, remote-viewing and others. The most advanced abilities, interestingly, are those that allow an individual to remain continuously in a state of joy and fearlessness. If such a state were attainable it would clearly be incompatible with the kind of absolute psychological identification most of us have with our mortal bodies. It may be of no surprise that Eastern medicine also subscribes to an entirely different perspective of the body and uses different tools to examine it.

Certainly fear has served our ancestors well, helping us to avoid snakes and lions, but how much fear is necessary these days? Could fear be the barrier that separates us from our highest potential in the awake state just as an anesthetic gas prevents us from waking in the operating room? It is not possible to remain fearless while continuing to identify with a body that is prone to disease and death. Even if one were to drop the assumption that the source of our existence is a finite body, how long would it take to be free from the effects of a lifetime of fearful thinking before any changes that reflect a shift in this paradigm manifest? As long as we leave this model unchallenged we may be missing what it means to be truly awake.