Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mind not confined to body


After much discussion, they decided that a key component of the mind is: “the emergent self-organizing process, both embodied and relational, that regulates energy and information flow within and among us.” It’s not catchy. But it is interesting, and with meaningful implications.

The most immediately shocking element of this definition is that our mind extends beyond our physical selves. In other words, our mind is not simply our perception of experiences, but those experiences themselves. Siegel argues that it’s impossible to completely disentangle our subjective view of the world from our interactions.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tabloid reporting of EEG + Psychedelics

The article "brains of stoned scientists challenge old stereotypes about drugs" reports on several intrepid travelers, including myself, who experimented with various combinations of drugs and EEG biofeedback.  I am slightly dismayed with the spin and slight misquotes, but I guess that's the way it works.  Close enough, I suppose.

Brains of stoned scientists challenge old stereotypes about drugs - See more at: http://www.therooster.com/blog/brains-stoned-scientists-challenge-old-stereotypes-about-drugs#sthash.Zze9ZTYn.dpuf
Brains of stoned scientists challenge old stereotypes about drugs - See more at: http://www.therooster.com/blog/brains-stoned-scientists-challenge-old-stereotypes-about-drugs#sthash.Zze9ZTYn.dpuf

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mapping the Mindful Path

Mapping the Mindful Path is Vincent and Emily Horn's version of the stages of mindfulness practice first outlined in the Theravada Progress of Insight.

They see it as:
  • Seeking
  • Breakthrough
  • Disillusionment
  • Resilience
  • Completion
This material is presented as part of an apparently free course.  If you click on the top video at the link it will play through 5 short videos describing the stages, about 10 minutes total.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Talk 30 - Working with the Unpleasant

Part of the game is that there are unpleasant phases.  The trick, as with everything, is to fully experience the unpleasantness, the fear, the angst, the anxiety, the nausea, the depression, allow it to be, surrender to it, and in that way become less attached to it, to let go of what can be let go of.

But it can be difficult to stay with such sensations.  We want to escape it, to divert ourselves, distract ourselves.  Meditation is a great opportunity to stay with what is actually happening.  But even then we might divert ourselves into some tranquility that is present instead of dealing with some minor unpleasantness.

There is a sense here of exposing oneself to one's fears as a way of overcoming them, a prominent technique for dealing with phobias.

I recently saw the movie "The Accountant" (not sure I would entirely recommend it) where the central character deals with his autistic tendencies by exposing himself to loud, jarring music, flashing lights, and physical pain in an attempt to desensitize himself.

In my own case when I first started playing around with light and sound machines, mainly for the interesting flashing lights and the potential effects on brainwaves, I found the lights overstimulating.  Sometimes it would affect my sleep.  But over time, and perhaps after making some progress in meditation, the lights no longer bothered me.  I got used to it, I adapted.

In the same spirit, I wanted to recommend some music that I stumbled across.  It is the Realignment Series (free on archive.org) by Sister Waize, a series of somewhat dissonant industrial ambient music pieces.  I find it evocative of the unpleasant states and useful for keeping one's focus to these elements and thus working through them.

Sister Waize's original instructions for listening to the music.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

TED Talk: Griffiths on Psilocybin Research

Researcher Roland Griffiths goes over the extraordinary results of four areas of psilocybin research:

  • healthy volunteers
  • psychologically distressed cancer patients
  • cigarette smokers seeking abstinence
  • long term meditators
Results hint at future research on addiction and treatment resistant depression.

Results seemed partially tied to the degree that an individual approaches a genuine mystical experience, and Griffiths is hopeful about the implications for postive changes in human ethics and altruism.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Finders Course Webinar

Finders Course 10 LIVE Q&A Webinar with Dr. Jeffery Martin and Nichol Bradford (12-2-2016)

The Finders Course is an attempt to come up with a rational approach to enlightenment.

Psilocybin aids Death Anxiety, again

Hallucinogenic drugs help cancer patients deal with their fear of death.

Psilocybin continues to be validated as useful for end of life anxiety and depression, when combined with therapy.
“They are the most rigorous double-blind placebo-controlled trials of a psychedelic drug in the past 50 years”

Also the Atlantic's coverage: