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The Mystery of the Brain: Findings of Modern Neuroscience

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Who am I? It’s a powerful mantra and the centerpiece of many peoples’ search for meaning. From a scientific perspective we are often pointed to our biology –and specifically to the apparent source of the persistent “voice in the head” –the brain.

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Unfortunately, we have presumptions about ourselves that are only partially true if at all, and the way we frame our self-inquiry is also important. For example, what if instead of calling our brain and spinal cord our “nervous system” we instead referred to them as an “Awareness System?” Might that not deepen the level of our inquiry? Because our brain can also seem to “malfunction,” I’ve tried to read what I can about what neuroscientists believe about our nature, and see how it resonates with my experience. Here are some of my favorite writers on the subject:

In some ways, as a computer guy, I was looking for the “user manual” for my mind. One of the first books I turned to was Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza, who was featured in the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” Like many neuroscientists, Dispenza shows how much conditioning first affects our beliefs and then our outlook and ultimately our reality –and how so much of what we think of as “us” is habitual.

However, unlike many he seems to believe in the ability or volition of the human being to change bad habits –whether into “other habits” or through what one might call free choice —by reprogramming the mind as one might a computer. Dispenza’s most compelling example to me, involved a depressed patient where he did what George Costanza once did on Seinfeld, he consciously “did the opposite” of what he would ordinarily do in various situations.

Dispenza describes how such reprogramming can occur when the observer “decides” to take chances (as I did when adopting my cat) and how such new experiences reprogram perceptions of the Self. According to Dispenza, in such instances where one leaves a “comfort zone” the brain literally forges new connections via new neural networks, thereby bypassing the “time worn grooves” of habitual automatic responses and creating now potential choices and OUTCOMES.

Perhaps this also resonates with the way Anthony Robbins talks about “taking action” to reprogram one’s habitual negative beliefs, which Robbins also refers to as an inner mental “technology.”

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But this brings us back to “who am I” really?  Who is the “one” that first can notice this conditioning and even make choices to change it?  From somewhere, seemingly “inside the brain” but perhaps from another source, this mysterious energy emerges…

Just as Dispenza discusses “reprogramming” your habitual tendencies, in I Am A Strange Loop, another prominent neuroscientist Douglas Richard Hofstadter follows a mathematical and computer model to dig down into where and what the individual “Self” may be.

In his follow-up to a Pulitzer prize winning best-seller , Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Hofstadter examines the unique qualities of a mind that expresses itself in language, along with the inevitable gaps and paradoxes that result in believing too much in the logic of our spoken and written descriptions of “what is real.” As a mathematician, neuroscientist and philosopher Hofstadter begins with the primacy of number because whatever symbols you use to represent “number,” has certain truths that persist along with it.

A great linguistic and logical paradox is expressed in:

“The sentence ’This sentence has ten words’ has ten words.” – (I Am A Strange Loop, page 140)

Since the underlying sentence has 10 words it seems to be true but upon “reflection” its “truth” is paradoxical because the “inner sentence” has only four words. So where is truth to be found? Linguistically or in thought? To Hofstadter this paradoxical aspect of language is an obvious manifestation of the inevitable abstraction that results from mind–which only simulates nature on a very powerful level—by analogy it seems to mirror our own inner mental workings—but it cannot “explain” nature.  As Hofstadter suggests a “truer” representation of nature is mathematical – like the Fibonacci sequence or an infinite sequence of numbers or a function like pi.   Language can only explain characteristics. This points to the famous statement by Krishnamurti that once you identify a bird by name you cease seeing it forever.

Language, like our inner “I,” is looped and imperfect—with the inherent limitation of needing to be expressed in words, and consequently reducing the perfection of the absolute it describes (mathematical certainty; number) to what our limited minds can comprehend—fragmented, imperfect analogies to reality. Hofstadter goes through every complex nook and cranny of Gödel’s work to basically argue that the only way to comprehend consciousness is through “story” –or by analogy –and just as the linguistic descriptions of mathematical absolutes fall short, so too does story or analogy never completely “explain” or “describe” the true “nature” of consciousness.

Ultimately he settles on one aspect of language as the pointer to reality and meaning—analogy; so keep in mind our issue with the “metaphor” that is the relationship of hardware to software. Hofstadter’s sense of what is “animate” comes down to the existence of the self-sustaining loops that blow our minds –like the placement of two mirrors facing each other or his example of a video feedback loop of a camera facing a monitor.

He writes:

“…an entity is animate [alive?] to the degree that such a loopy “I” pattern comes into existence, since this pattern’s existence is by no means an all-or-nothing affair. Thus, to the extent that there is an “I” pattern in a given substrate, there is animacy, and where there is no such pattern, the entity is inanimate.” (page 360)

Hofstadter contends that as systems evolve, for example cells organized into organs like the heart and eventually the brain, when feedback loops manifest as “selves”—at this point organic molecules become animate or “alive.” He still assumes, however, that such organization happened by evolution randomly, even if this occurred according to nature’s patterns like the Fibonacci sequence.

fibonacci_phyllotaxis

But let’s look at a specific instance of a loop, “Next i” in computer programming – where the variable “I” (pun intended) takes on additional values as the program executes.

“In a loop structure, the program asks a question, and if the answer requires an action, it is performed and the original question is asked again until the answer is such that the action is no longer required. For example, a program written to compute a company’s weekly payroll for each individual employee will begin by computing the wages of one employee and continue performing that action in a loop until there are no more employee wages to be computed, and only then will the program move on to its next action. Each pass through the loop is called an iteration. [i]  Loops constitute one of the most basic and powerful programming concepts.” (Webopedia)

Both our minds and computers apparently operate in this way to calculate outcomes, among other things. But the ultimate loop is – where did the INTELLIGENCE come from to discover, if not originally write, manifest or “compile” the program itself?  From an inanimate object?  That seems unlikely.

So let’s dig deeper. Pink Floyd said, “there’s someone in my head and it’s not me.” This line is quoted in the beginning of a fascinating book by neuroscientist David Eagleman –Incognito:  The Secret Life of the Brain

Eagleman in many ways echoes the work of Eckhart Tolle when he points to the latest brain research that says that there is not one part of the physical self that contains the “I”; indeed he explains that the brain is such a complex entity that its many networks are like a “democracy of committees” which coordinate behavior by consensus and make choices in ways we don’t fully understand.

Eagleman, can’t locate a single physical area of the brain that is “in charge.” And he compares the various networks of the brain and their “subroutines” (patterns of conditioned behavior) to political parties that ultimately lead to behavior based on conflict and compromise. Eagleman writes:

“But we do not find parts of the brain that is not itself driven by other parts of the network. Instead every part of the brain is densely connected with—and driven by—other brain parts. And that suggests that no part is independent and therefore ‘free.’” (Page 166)

Eagleman uses examples of people with impaired or injured brains and also celebrities like Mel Gibson, who was “not himself” when drunk, and turned into a raging anti-Semite, and was conciliatory when sober. The one area where this has far reaching ramifications is the law, and Eagleman suggests a legal system based not on blame, which he considers an outmoded concept, but rather on the prospects for modifiability—if we know a criminal will not repeat (act of passion) or can be rehabilitated (behavior modified) then one course of action can be taken, otherwise he suggests that the person obviously must be separated from society.

Eagleman compares the achievements in neuroscience to those in astronomy which challenged conventional beliefs about the earth at the center of the universe—in the case of the brain the notion of the single responsible and cohesive Self is exposed as a vast oversimplification. Again he writes,

“In the same way that the cosmos is much larger than we ever imagined, we ourselves are something greater than we had intuited by introspection. We’re now getting the first glimpse of the vastness of inner space. .. What a perplexing masterpiece the brain is, and how lucky we are to be in a generation that has the technology and the will to turn our attention to it. It is the most wondrous thing in the universe, and it is us.”

I find this language both inspiring and a bit daunting—it is always humbling to confront the reality of the vastness of what we don’t know (yet) – and in fact may never know. Eagleman says that in the traditional view of perception, information from the outside world pours into the senses, works its way through the brain, and makes itself consciously seen, heard and felt. But many scientists are coming to think that sensory input may merely revise ongoing internal activity in the brain – that there is a vast inner life going on of which we are unconscious of.

He notes, for example, that sensory input is superfluous for perception: when your eyes are closed during dreaming, you still enjoy a rich and visual experience. The awake state may be essentially the same as the dreaming state, only partially anchored by external stimuli. In this view, your conscious life is an awake dream. And this also means, of course, that your entire notion of the smooth passage of time is merely a construction of the brain.

This resonates with many spiritual traditions and the entire notion of awakening…  Perhaps awakening is a “re-cognition” of the true relationship of one’s tiny “self” to the vast Self of which the brain is tuned into. (You can find out more about Eagleman in his article for Discover: Ten Mysteries of the Brain)

In his book Self Comes to MindAntonio Damasio states that this miraculous harmonious functioning which results in a sense of self emerges for evolutionary reasons—for the same reason that a microbe will gravitate toward nourishment and away from toxins—for “homeostasis” or basically to maintain its being—it is programmed to survive.

On the human level, with the development of advanced brains, this is merely far more complex, but Damasio asserts that the concept of a Self is merely the result of when this newly evolved brain bonded with the organic systems from the previous eons, forming one new complete extremely complex system = the Mind/Body or what we call “human.”

Just as Eagleman talked about the various neural networks as political parties, Damasio sees the “Autobiographical Self” as the conductor of a symphony that does not exist until the orchestra begins to play [harmoniously]. Of course if there is disharmony, then we have a malfunction –or in computer terms –a conflict between programs. And this potential for harmony and “orchestration” of neural systems is the result of the underlying nature of life itself – he says,

“Managing and safekeeping life is the fundamental premise of biological value.” (Self Comes to Mind, page 25)

“Consciousness came into being because of biological value, as contributor to more effective value management. [natural selection] But consciousness did not invent biological value or the process of valuation. Eventually, in human minds, consciousness revealed biological value and allowed the development of new ways and means of managing it.” (Self Comes to Mind, page 28)

In other words, what we deem as our unique intelligence and more significantly who we are is a tiny part of a far higher intelligence (that preceded the development of our own brains) enabling us finally to notice our “selves” and begin to comprehend nature itself, all for our continued survival? But of course, this comprehension is bounded by our sensory capacity and is very limited. One can wonder what sense of self a whale or dolphin may have in a “world” created by sound and ocean, and with a larger brain than our own.

So who are “we” individually? Basically we are a collection of stories that come together out of experiences formed electrically through the firing of neural networks and stored in the soft tissue of the brain’s “hard drives” or what we call memory. According to neuroscientists like Damasio, the Self “emerges” from a level of cognitive complexity that yields consciousness –similar to the critical mass attained in a computer network –such as the Internet. Having now experienced the reality of how inanimate systems (like the Internet) can mimic our own inner mental functioning and even defeat us at Jeopardy, can we now open up to the possibility that our own fascination with our own “uniqueness” as sentient beings is a fantasy?

As Eagleman suggests, just as our egocentric cosmology of the earth being the center of the universe has now given way to the reality that we exist on the periphery of an average galaxy literally in the middle of nowhere, so too maybe we need to come to terms with the fact that what we deem to be us, and what we think is “conscious,” is a mere tip of an enormous iceberg of sensory capacity of which we are just barely aware.

So perhaps the next “Copernican Revolution” is the recognition that our brain is basically a receiver of higher energies, and that the relationship of our mind to a far greater Being/Mind is the necessary next stage of discovery for what we deem to be science.

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Declassified CIA Document Shows How Astronauts Conducted Telepathy Experiments In Space

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A document found inside the CIA's electronic reading room goes into detail regarding several telepathic experiments performed successfully, decades ago by both US and Soviet astronauts.

  • Reflect On:

    With decades of statistically strong results in the lab and so many real world examples, why is this topic still shunned by mainstream academia? And why is it studied by at the highest levels of government in multiple countries if it's fake?

“The Soviet Union is well aware of the benefits and applications of parapsychology research. In 1963, a Kremilin edict apparently gave top priority to biological research, which in Russia includes parapsychology. The major impetus behind the Soviet drive to harness the possible capabilities of telepathic communication, telekinetics, and bionics is said to come from the Soviet military and the KGB. Today it is reported that the USSR has twenty or more centres for the study of parapsychological phenomena, with an annual budget estimated in 1967 at over 13 million dollars and reported to be as high as 21 million dollars.

Soviet parapsychology research was actually stimulated by the 1960 French story concerning the US atomic submarine Nautilus. The French journalists splashed the now rather infamous Nautilus story in headlines “US Navy Uses ESP on Atomic Sub!” Ship to shore telepathy, according to the French, blipped along nicely even when the Nautilus was far under water. “Is telepathy a new secret weapon? Will ESP be a deciding factor in future warfare?” The speculating French sensationalized, “Has the American military learned the secret of mind power?” In Leningrad the Nautilus reports went off like a depth charge in the mind of L.L Vasilev.”

The above information comes from this declassified CIA document.

It goes on to mention that in  April of 1960, Dr. Leonid Leonidovich Vasiliev addressed a group of high-ranking soviet scientists stating:

We carried out extensive and until now completely unreported investigations under the Stalin regime. Today the American Navy is testing telepathy on their atomic submarines. Soviet scientists conducted a great many successful telepathy tests over a quarter of a century ago. It’s urgent that we throw off our prejudices. We must again plunge into the exploration of this vital field.

As you can see, telepathy and parapsychology, which include remote viewing, ESP and psychokinesis, have all been studied in-depth within black budget special access programs in multiple countries. These programs are often highly classified, and so whatever has been revealed in official documentation is only the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes, the declassification of documents is used to halt more questioning into the phenomenon. The STARGATE program is a great example of that in the United States. Although the documents that were declassified show some startling findings, like the fact that remote viewing is real and that it was used for intelligence collecting purposes, it’s safe to assume that many details of this program remain highly classified.

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Russel Targ was the co-founder of that program. Here’s a video of him sharing everything he knows about ESP.

The crazy thing about parapsychology is the fact that studies have yielded statistically significant results. I’m talking about hundreds if not thousands of studies that have been conducted worldwide have seen positive results.

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 than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

Many of these results are just as strong, if not stronger, than a lot of the results that come from hard sciences like physics and mechanical engineering. The Department of Defence has openly stated that the phenomena within this realm is real, despite the fact that they are still somewhat inexplicable. As far back as 1999, the head of the statistics department at UC Irvine, Jessica Utts, published a paper showing the results dealing with parapsychology and mind-body connection are a lot stronger than the results used to approve some of our medications!

Again, most of what’s known is still protected and locked up by the black budget world.

The documents referenced above are also decades old, so just imagine what’s happened or what’s been discovered since then!

The documents also outline how these experiments were not limited to earth.

Soviet research into biocommunications phenomena does not appear to be earth-bound and limited to inner space, but apparently extends to outer space as well. The so-called Father of Soviet Rocketry, K.E Tsiolkovsky, stated that:

“In the coming era of space flights, telepathic abilities are necessary. While the space rocket must bring men toward knowledge of the grand secrets in the universe, the study of psychic phenomena can lead us toward knowledge of the mysteries of the human mind. It is precisely the solution of this secret which promises the greatest achievements.” (source)

There are reports that the Soviets are training their cosmonauts in telepathy to back-up their electronic equipment while in outer space. One of these back-up schemes is known to involve coded telepathic messages. This method was previously demonstrated in March 1967, when a coded telepathic message was flashed from Moscow to Leningrad. The involvement of astronauts or cosmonauts in telepathy experiments is not necessarily unprecedented. In February 1971, during the Apollo 14 flight to the moon, astronaut Edgar Mitchell made 150 separate attempts to project his thoughts from inside the space capsule back to an individual on earth. The results of the Apollo 14 experiments have been well-documented in detail and are published in the Journal of Parapsychology. source()

Mitchell used 25 numbered cards in the experiment, in which he attempted to send a thought message to four people regarding the symbols on each card. He said two of the four got 51 of the 200 correct, and the other two were less successful. (source)

Dr. Elizabeth Rauscher, a world-renowned physicist, researcher, and presenter who has done a lot of work for NASA, among several other organizations, has admitted that quantum entanglement experiments have also successfully been carried out from Earth to space.

Much Stronger Examples

Some materialistically inclined scientists and philosophers refuse to acknowledge these phenomena because they are not consistent with their exclusive conception of the world. Rejection of post-materialist investigation of nature or refusal to publish strong science findings supporting a post-materialist framework are antithetical to the true spirit of scientific inquiry, which is that empirical data must always be adequately dealt with. Data which do not fit favored theories and beliefs cannot be dismissed a priori. Such dismissal is the realm of ideology, not science. – Dr. Gary Schwartz, Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Surgery at the University of Arizona (source)

Although the above mentioned phenomena is very intriguing, especially the Soviet part, we have to remember that there is still a lot of information that has not been disclosed yet. This is not really studied openly in mainstream academia yet, it’s only really studied at the highest levels of government.

I published a well-sourced article providing multiple examples from a CIA document that confirm the existence of humans with ‘special abilities’ who are able to do ‘impossible’ things. You can access that here. It’s very interesting and goes to show just how strong results in the field of parapsychology are, and what information may still be kept hidden from us.

Today, hundreds of scientists are coming together to emphasize that physical matter is not our only reality. They’ve created a manifesto, and you can find links and access more information about this initiative, which started a few years ago, in an article we published here.

There is an entire non-physical world out there for us to study.

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” – Nikola Tesla

The point is that this stuff is very real, and has been studied for a long time.

Here’s an interesting quote from the literature regarding remote viewing, one subject within the realm of parapsychology that allows a person to view other people or objects in different locations, regardless of the distance:

Here’s a telling quote from some of the declassified literature:

“To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the [remote viewing] phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise. . . . The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions.” (source)

One participant of the program, remote viewer Ingo Swann, was tasked with the job of taking a look at what could be going on off the planet.

Dr. Puthoff explains:

“To determine whether it was necessary to have a ‘beacon’ individual at the target site, Swann suggested carrying out an experiment to remote view the planet Jupiter before the upcoming NASA Pioneer 10 flyby. In that case, much to his chagrin (and ours) he found a ring around Jupiter, and wondered if perhaps he had remote viewed Saturn by mistake. Our colleagues in astronomy were quite unimpressed as well, until the flyby revealed that an unanticipated ring did in fact exist.”

The Takeaway

Why do we still ridicule parapsychology? It’s correlated with quantum physics, and it seems to be the next logical step for science. The fact that this type of study is not included within mainstream media is truly a shame, and it’s not fair that government agencies are the only ones who seem to be actively and heavily engaged in this type of study.

At the end of they day, no skeptic can deny the reality of parapsychological phenomena.

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CIA Document Highlights The Reality of “China’s Psychic Children”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A document archived in the CIA's electronic reading room written by a University Professor details the reality of children, and adults, who have gifted abilities in the area of parapsychology.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has this kind of phenomenon been ridiculed in the mainstream, yet vigorously and secretively studied at the highest levels of government?

Cassandra Vieten, PhD and current President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), which was founded by astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, could not have put it any better. She said, “There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field (science) will be tarnished by studying phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”

The statement above is true, for years discoveries have been rejected simply because they are big time paradigm busters. No matter how much truth, validity and scientific backing they have, the simple fact that they conflict with long held belief systems is enough to brush them off. It’s great to see this changing, because it’s important to expand human consciousness, which is done so by pushing the boundaries of what we think we know and discovering new concepts of our reality that we once thought held no validity, but actually do.

How much scientific validity do topics like psychokinesis, clairvoyance, telepathy and remote viewing (all fit under the umbrella of parapsychology) have? Here is a great quote from Dr. Jessica Utts, the Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine and a professor there since 2008.

“What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls…And so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fact I will say as a statistician I’ve consulted in a lot of different areas of science; the methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked.”  (source)

China’s Psychic Children

Are there psychic children in China? It’s hard to believe that there are not after one dives into the documentation that’s been made available through the long process of declassification, or by Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) requests. One can simply examine the science of parapsychology alone and come to the conclusion that yes, something significant is going on here when it comes to the phenomena within the realm of parapsychology.

Not only is this type of phenomenon being reported today, but it’s been throughout history and across many cultures, this is evident in ancient literature, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, to Jesus, Moses, Milarepa, Mohammed and more. Again, modern day evidence is suggesting that these abilities are much more than folklore.

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One interesting article/document I cam across is titled “China’s Psychic Savants.” I accessed it from the CIA’s electronic reading room. It’s a document that was written by Marcel Truzzi, a former professor at Eastern Michigan University and founding co-chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), and a founder of the Society for Scientific Exploration.

The introduction provides a good background of the lore from China regarding this phenomenon,

Eleven-year-old Tang Yu and his friend Chen Xioming were on their way home from school in the remote mountain village of Dazhu County when they began to wrestle. Tang brushed against Chen’s coat pocket, the story goes, and had the sudden vision of two Chinese symbols. He described the vivid symbols to Chen, who pulled a package of Flying Wild Goose cigarettes from his pocket. The label on the side of the package, the boys reported, consisted of the two symbols Tan Yu had “seen.”

Tang Yu was reluctant to share his discovery with Tang Keming, his fifty-year-old peasant father. He knew his claim would sound like a lie. Instead, he began to play guessing games with the villagers. He asked them to write random characters on pieces of paper, crumple the paper into balls, and let him hold each ball in turn next to his ear. Tang then guessed the message within, his guesses, it was said, always proved right. Word of the boy spread beyond his small town to all the Sichuan province in central China.

Soon the region’s science commission and its bureau of education and culture had asked to examine Tang, and researchers there confirmed his ability to identify words and colours on small wads of paper held to his ear. News reporters and awe-struck officials of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee quickly backed those results, and on March 11, 1979, this remarkable tale was published in Sichuan Daily.

Truzzi goes on,

Reports began coming in about children with powers of telepathy, clairvoyance, X-ray vision, and psychokinesis. The typical child was between the ages of nine and fourteen, but a few were as young as four or as old as twenty-five; and it was estimated by Feng Hua, a traditional Chinese physician, that there were about 2,000 such gifted children within the Chinese population of 1 billion.

By early 1980 these remarkable children had made their way to the pages of China’s prestigious Nature Journal. And that February the surge of interest prompted Nature Journal to sponsor a huge conference – the First Science Symposium on the Extraordinary Function of the Human Body – for participants from more than 20 colleges and medical schools. The proceedings were filmed by the Shanghai Science and Education Studio, and the film, called Do You Believe It? was shown over national television to millions of Chinese.

He then goes on to describe a number of cases and examples, it’s quite interesting, but there are many to choose from beyond this specific document that provide great examples. The facts Truzzi write about here were were also outlined in a declassified US Air Force report on teleportation, which was made available through the Federation of American Scientists. That document also touches upon China’s psychic children, mentioning, in this case, the ones that were able to teleport full objects from one location to another without touching them.

Another one, titled “Research into Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers”  touches upon the same thing, and also provides multiple examples of children and people being video tapped and documented, under double blind conditions, being able to do the same thing. This particular document, which was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA), outlines specific people with very special abilities and how they’ve been studied by thousands of scientists and governments around the world for a very long time.

Pretty intriguing, isn’t it?

The Takeaway

It’s very interesting that studies regarding parapsychological phenomenon have been conducted at the highest levels of government, particularly within the defense department of multiple countries, with successful results. A great example from the United States was the remote viewing program, remote viewing refers to the ability to perceive a remote location other that the one the individual is located in, regardless of distance.

The success of this program is  outlined in a statement made by Dr. Hal Puthoff from a paper published after the program’s declassification in 1995:

“To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the [remote viewing] phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise. . . . The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions.” (source)(source)

Parapsychology is truly a consciousness expanding field that can really open up our minds to aspects of our reality that have, and continue to go largely ignored. There is much more to us as human beings than we’ve been made to believe, and if we stop, think, and do some research, it’s not hard to see how something significant has been overlooked.

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Neuroplasticity: How To “Carve A New Pathway In Your Brain” & Literally Rewire It

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Neuroplasticity shows us the ability to change our own brains by altering our perception of our environment through changing our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.

  • Reflect On:

    It's amazing how aspects associated with consciousness can literally change our biology.

The brain is a very complex organ. It has nearly 100 billion neurons that send signals across tiny spaces referred to as synapses, of which you have nearly 40 trillion. This happens at a rate anywhere from 0.1-2 times per second, which means that between 18 and 640 trillion signals are sliding around in your brain every single second. It’s a mind altering thought, isn’t it?

Well, the good news is that you can literally alter your mind, meaning that you can change the structure of your brain and rewire it. Science is progressing, and it’s showing the implications our thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions have on our brains, and how these actually shape our brains in multiple ways.

This is called the science of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the human brain and its ability to change itself. Obviously there are many factors that impact our brain–how it works and functions and the pathways that are hindered as well as created–but some of the most impactful factors are our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Considering the science that is accumulating every year on this subject, it’s amazing how we’ve gone so long, especially from a young age, without learning about the importance of our thoughts, feelings and emotions and the impact they can have on our physical biology. The truth is, we live in a profit-centered world, and when it comes to the medical industry, treatments that greatly impact our biology in a number of ways but do not provide a profit seem to be the ones that get less recognition. That being said, they are extremely interesting and intriguing, which is exactly why concepts like these are capturing the attention of millions of people around the globe.

The idea that the brain is plastic in the sense of being changeable, adaptable and malleable is the single most important change in our understanding of the human brain over the last four hundred years, according to Dr. Norman Doidge, FRCPC, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and author of The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing. In his books, he explains how neuroplasticity is the property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and its function, it’s a response to sensing and perceiving the world, even in regards to thinking and imagining. Human thoughts and learning actually turn on certain genes in our nerve cells which allow those cells to make new connections between them.

Below is a great little video by Sentis explaining the basics of neuroplasticity. The Sentis Brain Animation Series takes you on a tour of the brain through a series of short and sharp animations. The fourth in the series explains how our most complex organ is capable of changing throughout our lives. This inspiring animation demonstrates how we all have the ability to learn and change by rewiring our brains.

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Does Neuroplasticity Originate In Your Brain, Or In Our Heart?

Obviously, neuroplasticity deals with the brain, but it also deals with our perception, thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions. So, we must ask ourselves: What is the source of our feelings–is it the brain, or is it the heart?

A group of  internationally recognized leaders in physics, biophysics, astrophysics, education, mathematics, engineering, cardiology, biofeedback, and psychology (among other disciplines) have been doing some brilliant work over at the Institute of HeartMath.

Their work, among many others, has proven that when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain.

“One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them are greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision making.” (source)

In fact, the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends in return. What’s even more amusing is the fact that these heart signals (from heart to brain) actually have a significant effect on brain function.

So far, the researchers have discovered that the heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: neurological communication (nervous system), biophysical communication (pulse wave), biochemical communication (hormones), and energetic communication (electromagnetic fields).

“HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive function. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect. It facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.” (source)

The Bottom Line/Takeaway

At the end of the day, findings in this area really emphasize the point that change starts within. As a society, we’ve been trained to reach out and grab external crutches, like medications or other substances, in order to help us change our brains. Whether it be OCD or ADHD or something else, the power of the self shows great promise, we just have to be willing to put in the time and the work that will help us change our thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions and behaviours. It takes willpower and effort, as changing your behaviour isn’t easy, and it requires repetition and constant mental reminders. Self awareness and mindful techniques like meditation can be helpful, but ultimately, if you have the will, there will be a way. I know, because it’s something I have experienced.

For example, if you have a hard time focusing on something or incorporating a better emotional state into your life, you can actually practice gratitude. If you want to change your behaviour and be more active, you simply have to get up and go, be active, and find things to do. There aren’t specific methods or techniques, you simply have to DO. It all starts with you, and that thinking thing inside you, that has to overcome the programmed behaviours that’ve been engrained into your brain that are pulling you in the other direction.

I hope this helps. It’s actually a phenomenon that really shows us that no matter what’s going on around us, we always have the ability to cultivate peace, gratitude and good feelings within us. From that place within us, we can begin manifesting a better experience outside of ourselves. Again, change starts within, and that phrase applies to so many different things, from our own individual lives all the way into the collective human experience.

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