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IONS 16th International Conference: The Science Of Consciousness & Spirit

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 I first became aware of IONS (Institute of Neotic Sciences) through the work of Dr. Charles Tart, who studied altered states and as a noted psychiatrist delved into areas that science finds “irrelevant.” Then I was privileged to meet Cassandra Vieten, the current head of the Institute, at last year’s Science and Nonduality conference.

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Cassi opened this year’s IONS conference by describing some of the amazing attendees and remarking that IONS and the conference attendees “make the paranormal normal.”

By way of background, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founded in 1973 by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, is a nonprofit research, education, and membership organization whose mission is supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, educational outreach, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential. “Noetic” comes from the Greek word nous, which means “intuitive mind” or “inner knowing.”

Dr. Edgar Mitchell welcomed us on video by describing how the experience of seeing earth from space palpably made him aware that consciousness is primary, and “we are all one.”

Emanuel Kunzelman, President of Greenheart, described the issue in a way that resonated with me: Imagine if a tornado went through a junk yard and blew the parts together and it assembled an airplane, that’s what science would have you believe created the universe (Chance).  The goal of IONS is to “bring consciousness to the forefront of scientific inquiry.”  In speaking with Emanuel later I found out that his example originated with the famed astronomer Fred Hoyle.

quote-the-chance-that-higher-life-forms-might-have-emerged-in-this-way-is-comparable-with-the-chance-that-fred-hoyle-238945

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The first person I met socially was Allene Symons, author of the upcoming Aldous Huxley’s Hands; we talked about how Huxley’s other biographers stayed away from his “woo woo” side but her father had known Huxley well and she discovered more and more of his work in the nature of consciousness.

A nice touch to the conference was a small card every attendee got to give to someone whom they met that read: “You Inspire Me!” My first encounter with Ms. Symons earned her my card.

Lou Ferrante gave a rousing presentation about being “freer in prison” than he had been as a high ranking member of the Mafia. “In my cell I felt better about myself even though I had to put tissue in my ears to keep out cockroaches.”

He described a dream where he was told he was finally free to go but said, “no, I’ll pass” because he realized he was terrified of freedom and his cell was a bizarre comfort zone where he was free to do what he loved – he read 18 hours a day.

Dancing in the aisles at IONS 2015.

Dancing in the aisles at IONS 2015.

Upon release he wrote several best-sellers and then decided he wanted to write on what he had discovered through his inner work in a book on Dream Theory, but his agent and publisher balked because he had no credibility in that field. “You can’t write a book about the brain, you’re not a scientist.”

Ferrante said that he deserved his prison chains and this made him sensitive to those who didn’t.  He wrote about his need to accept responsibility for his crimes and how his conscience torments him, and that he became deeply aware of the injustices of the Holocaust and Racism.

Still Ferrante kept true to his inner code, he “never snitched.” His first hit book was about what the Mafia can teach a legitimate businessman and he described the ethics of the mob and how in many ways they transcended the lack of integrity he found when getting a loan on the outside.

“When you strip away the violence the mob had a deep code. For example you couldn’t go into a man’s house and hurt his family.”

Now Ferrante has written about about dreams and brain and his work resonated with that of another speaker, Dean Radin of IONS, in taking into account the possibility that dreams refer to “an external stimulus that the brain actually senses before it happens.”  Check out Three Pound Crystal Ball:  How the Dreaming Brain can Sense the Future.

Sometimes the interludes at such conferences contain amazing surprises.  Two IONS members, Dr. Bob Schwarz and Michael Ray, sang duets based on the songs of Bob Dylan and Don MacLean that made me sing along and brought me to tears. Here are the incredible lyrics and this is a sample of their performance at another conference with similar effect. Sing them in your head…

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the classic The Four Agreements, was a major highlight and I had the privilege to get not one but three hugs from him.

Speaking without notes or slides Don Miguel spun an amazing analogy of being the protagonist of your own Dream Story but often allowing the “secondary characters” the power to derail your dreams and convince you of illusory beliefs.

He asked with humility for help in achieving his goal for presenting: “Please help me to change the world. You create the reality of your world. Only you can change your world. Try to control secondary characters and learn to love unconditionally.”

Secondary characters will love you if you meet their conditions but “real love is unconditional.”

One of the first things Don Miguel realized that led to awakening was that “I know that I am not what I pretend to be.”

His message is that love is a life force that moves matter. He said, “It’s energy that cannot be destroyed only changed. Truth exists long before humanity; no proof needed.”

We believe we are the body and our fear of death leads us to try to love with conditions. Even Humanity at large tries to love with conditions: nations, states, groups and so on.

His simple but profound message is that we can change ourselves by changing our story – trusting and loving life and ourselves and not paying attention to secondary characters and not fearing death of the body for our “main” character, because All is energy and life.

My most anticipated breakout session was with my friends Maurizio and Zaya Benazzo of the Science and Nonduality Conference and their colleague Nick Day, a “conscious filmmaker.”

Nick opened with a wonderful overview of the history of cinema and its effects on the mass psyche. He described how the very first film attracted crowds to watch fifteen seconds of a locomotive arriving and how crowds fled in terror because they could not distinguish between film and reality – they had no frame of reference.

Nick also showed an incredibly simple 2D animation with no dialogue – just two triangles, a circle and box, onto which audience members project multiple interpretations. From there he traced the history of cinema up to what today is the threshold of virtual reality, and intertwined the mythic and philosophical themes of Jung and Joseph Campbell as well as the Greek philosophers to trace the emergence of storytelling along with our view of the nature of reality and consciousness.

Nick and Maurizio have known one another since their collaboration on the award winning Short Cut to Nirvana.

Maurizio and Zaya provided an in depth preview of the SAND conference and “outtakes” from past conferences which featured physicists, neuroscientists, and philosophers exchanging ideas on the nature of consciousness and reality.

One of the participants, Dr. Rudy Tanzi, is working on Alzheimer’s and approaches his research now from the perspective of the Mind or consciousness NOT being localized anywhere specific in the brain, but rather existing as a “field” of infinite awareness or possibility.

The video and slides presented by Maurizio and Zaya gave a nice flavor of their amazing conference which complements IONS – Science and Nonduality is in San Jose in the fall of 2015.

Federico Faggin designed the world’s first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (1971), and developed the design methodology and directed the design of all early Intel’s microprocessors. Now this brilliant scientist and mathematician is devoting himself to a scientific inquiry into the nature of consciousness.

Using mathematics and experimentation he has come to the conclusion that the “Universe responded to my desire to know” and that the “Self cannot be known by studying only its outer form. Consciousness is [no thing/nonmaterial] with “the capacity to experience itself.”

According to Faggin we are materialized selves whose purpose is to know [discover] ourselves by interacting with other selves and the environment. The physical universe acts like a Virtual Reality “world” in which objects are temporary illusions.

This “P-Space” is merely a projection of consciousness (P=physical) and “I-Space” (personal ego) exists within P-Space.

Within our own conceptual framework we each “see” a different universe which gives rise to our unique experience and we exist within a conditioned conceptual framework. Faggin is working on mathematical descriptions of how I-Space emerges within consciousness.

According to Faggin, along with I-Space, experience exists in P-Space. This is interpreted through language and its semantic, conditioned “programs,” so that there are hierarchical syntactical rules that govern language – this resonates with The Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz.

“What gives meaning to all existence?” To Faggin, this remains the greatest question.

The audience next heard the poetry and insights of Drew Dellinger, author of A Love Letter to the Milky WayDrew’s message is simply that “we’re living on a planet that is shooting through space and it’s time we acted like it.”

Drew has a unique, almost musical presentation style that blends rhyme and rhythm with unique insights.

Another famed author, Barbara Marx Hubbard described her personal journey from “a housewife in Connecticut” and mother of five to feminist, humanist, and futurist. As I watched this amazing 85 year old dynamo it seemed to me that she literally embodies the Divine Feminine.

To Barbara, “The Universe is a Love Story” and evolution is consciously and lovingly self-organizing – echoing Bruce Lipton she talked about how each cell “evolves” and builds from parts to wholeness.

Her belief is in “Evolutionary Spirituality” – the Christification of Earth – or the evolution toward Christ Consciousness of the Whole Planet but from a secular perspective.

She told the story of how as a young girl she met President Eisenhower and asked him how can this new atomic power be used for good?  The President replied that he did not know and it led her on a journey to discover how the vast power of intellect can be refined for the greatest good.

She went through a description of the “Four E’s”:

  • Eternal
  • Embody
  • Emerge
  • Eros

Which leads to a needed new vocabulary and the word “Telerotic” – combining teleos and eros.

Teleology is akin to Phenomenology in “explaining” phenomena by their outcomes rather than by cause and effect, so that the result of the four E’s, presumably, is a philosophy that sees Love or Eros as the necessary outcome of a fully lived existence.

Ms. Marx-Hubbard suggested that we “shift” from an emphasis on procreation, which was the ethos of when she was a mother and housewife to – “co-creation” and recognition that we are evolving toward a higher purpose in a unity with the planetary consciousness also articulated by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who founded IONS.

Dean Radin, PhD, is Chief Scientist at IONS and the author of the best-selling books The Conscious Universe, Entangled Minds, and Supernormal.

Dr. Radin described how he had attended a conference on thinking the unthinkable with world leaders in Australia, and they included him because they were focused on diseases like Alzheimers and Ebola and even runaway Artificial Intelligence.

Dr. Radin suggested that the answers lie in a realm where we finally address the reality that consciousness is not in the brain, but some”where” outside of Space/Time.

Two Q’s Of The Next Century For Science Replacing Quantum Physics & Relativity

Qualia – how do we experience

Quantia – quantum – how does observation influence phenomena

We don’t know what we don’t know – the bigger questions

Radin described many of the former psychic “technologies” which were generally drugs but also include medtiation and chanting – “things” that change our state.

Emerging in this area he discussed electro magnetic stimulation of the brain, and especially the temporal lobe which presumably is the home of the “Self.”

He mentioned that when these technologies also get the frontal lobe – the area of analysis and logic – out of the way it also opens up as Huxley said, the “Doors of Perception.”

He went on to talk about methods of inducing psychic ability including  Consciousness Hacking, which is the work of Mikey Siegel and Nootropics – new drugs that may make one smarter.

Interestingly, of the more than 100 psychedelic substances known, more than half are artificial.

One drug he mentioned along with several magnetic technologies was Preacetam, and all of these methods essentially act upon the Mind/Matter relationship which in the “normal” state we deem separate.

He also devoted a great deal of his talk to the mass media and film, and how in most if not all cases these abilities must be hidden by those who possess them (or are possessed) because they can no longer function in normal society.

Radin lamented the fact that so much of the popular mythology around these powers make them dystopian and that the SciFi genre generally is overlapped by horror.

He showed clips from films like Next, Lucy, and of course Star Wars to illustrate how these powers are generally treated in cinema.

Marianne Williamson gave a rousing follow up talk that concluded the major presentations on a huge high. She said that while Consciousness is neutral her belief is that it is the human endeavor that chooses always between fear and love and that this is crucially NOT neutral. True spiritual enlightenment is consciously choosing intentionally to serve Love and not Fear (the ego).

She mentioned her early fascination with the artist Edward Burns Jones who created artistic Angels during the rise of the technical age and said that for “every machine he would create an Angel.” Like Marianne and others at IONS he foresaw how technology is outdistancing the spirit.

Marianne mentioned the film Ex Machina and addressed the underlying assumption currently prevalent that machines will one day become “human” – able to meditate and feel. Like this writer she vehemently opposes this viewpoint and urged the audience to open itself to the forces of life (as opposed to wanting “more” and mechanistically achieving it).

As a proponent of the Course in Miracles her call to action was to awaken each day with the recognition that there is an active, intentional Power of Love not metaphorically but actually at work in the universe – and that this is the true force of Evolution.

Her admonition to keep the human race from becoming like the Titanic and knowingly hitting the iceberg of extinction was for each individual to ask at all times, in the present moment, “how may I be used by the Power of Love.”

Marianne’s presentation (or performance) was a wonderful climax to an amazing weekend which I truly feel privileged to have attended.  I am left with a feeling of hope and immense gratitude.

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South African Doctor Cures Deafness With First-Ever Middle Ear Transplant

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The South African Department of Health has announced that a team of South African doctors have successfully completed the first ever middle ear transplant that restores hearing caused by certain types of deafness.

  • Reflect On:

    Does our current economic system truly support innovation? Does it value things that truly make humanity thrive? Or does it seem like there is always a need for us to convince someone to invest in something that is obviously important for society?

The South African Department of Health revealed earlier this year that a team of South African doctors have successfully performed the first-ever transplant of a patient’s middle ear, allowing them to once again hear. The surgery can be performed on people of any age and sets out to cure deafness caused by physical damage, infection in the middle ear as well as congenital birth defects and metabolic diseases.

Once again we see the value and innovation of 3D printing at work as this new invention helps to reconstruct the broken bones of a middle ear. Unlike other forms of transplants, this new innovation is seen as a long-term solution to conductive hearing loss.

It was 40-year-old Thabo Moshiliwa who lost his hearing in a car accident that underwent the first ever surgery dreamt up by the medical team at the University of Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital. This first ever surgery lasted about an hour and a half. The next patient to receive this treatment was 62-year-old Simon Bohale, who had an underdeveloped middle ear. His occupation as a welder also contributed to worsening his hearing loss. “I am excited. I have had two surgeries before but was not 100% okay. I cannot wait to hear people when they speak to me.” said Bohale.

The most influential person behind this new discovery was Professor Mashudu Tshifularo who had been studying conductive hearing loss over the past decade. When his interest turned to 3D printing technologies as a means for solving the intricate physical issues associated with certain types of hearing loss, he realized this highly useful discovery.

In the South African Department of Health press release, Tshifularo stated:

“By replacing only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical procedure.

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We will use titanium for this procedure, which is biocompatible. We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring.”

Tshifularo told local radio station Jacaranda FM:

“This was one of our patients we have been waiting for, for this reconstruction for almost three years now because they are not affordable … [but] we have done something new in the world and people will remember us for that.”

 Tshifulara understands that this new treatment must become accessible and affordable for poor and working-poor patients for its benefits to fully be realized. This includes those who use South Africa’s public hospitals.

Tshifularo continued:

“Because we are doing it in the country and we are going to manufacture here, it has to be affordable for our people in state hospitals.

It will be very accessible because as long as we can train the young doctors to be able to do this operation, then it will be accessible for them as well.”

Now it comes down to funding and support to continue moving forward with making this treatment accessible. The university’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) requires government funding and private sponsors to ensure this innovation continues forth.

More good news, South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi pledged that the Department of Health will “do everything in our power to assist and mobilize resources to make sure that Prof. Tshifularo gets all the help he needs for this far-reaching innovation.”

The Takeaway

There is no shortage of innovative people and incredible creativity on this planet, but does our current economic system truly support this innovation? Does it value things that truly make humanity thrive? Or does it seem like there is always a need for us to convince someone to invest in something that is obviously important for society?

The truth is, we hold back our own healing and thrivability as a species by accepting the belief that our current economic system is the way to go.

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Female Sorcerer’s Fascinating Arsenal of Charms Discovered In Pompeii

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Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    On August 12th archaeologists uncovered a trove of jewels in Pompeii that are thought to have been part of a 'sorcerer's treasure trove' used to bring fortune and fertility, and protect against bad luck.

  • Reflect On:

    As we dive into all of the magic that crystals, amulets, and similar tools have in this day & age, it's even more magical to see this latest finding & remember that we have been utilizing such tools for as long as we can look back all over the world.

My initial reaction to this story was, ‘WOAH. I love and have to share this!’

As someone who has gone on a very specific path in life, my journey has been filled with tools much like these. I am forever fascinated by all things magic (you can tune into my interview with Collective Evolution The Magic Within on CETV to understand this even further if you wish) and when news like this pops into my frequency, it solely reaffirms that there are so many of us out here and that energetic practices are, of course, nothing new.

On August 12th archaeologists in Pompeii discovered an array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms thought by researchers to have belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.

More than 100 miniature objects were found in a wooden crate which had all but decomposed except for its bronze hinges. The findings include miniature dolls, phallic amulets, necklace beads, and a tiny skull among other objects made of bone, bronze, glass, and amber. The researchers have come to the hypothesis that they were likely used for adornment or protection by a woman in the years before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, which later buried the city and its population in volcanic ash.

“They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories and biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption,” said Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, in a statement.

See items from the treasure trove below.

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Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

“The objects… were found at the Casa del Giardino, the same area where an inscription was recently uncovered that made historians change the date of when they think the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii took place, shifting it from August 24 to October 24 79 AD.” – ANSA

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

At this very location, the researchers also discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims, which included women and children. Archaeologists will use DNA analysis to determine if the victims were related. “Perhaps the precious box belonged to one of these victims,” Osanna suggested. “The iconography of the objects and amulets invoke fortune, fertility, and protection against bad luck,” Osanna said. He has suggested to the Italian news agency Ansa that it could have been a “sorcerer’s treasure trove.”

Since there was no gold found in the trove, it is likely these objects belonged to a servant or a slave, rather than the owner of the house, Osanna told Ansa.

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

 

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

The jewelry will go on display soon at Pompeii’s Palestra Grande in an exhibition set to be a follow-up to its recently closed show on Roman jewelry called “Vanity.”

The Takeaway

Though the past potential usage for these items is stressed to be simply a hypothesis at this time, it is incredible to simply see and imagine the time they existed in through these images.

As humans in a material, physical, 3D world, we ourselves are continuously building our own treasure troves in a way. Every piece of jewelry or product we purchase, find, or create flows its way into our homes, cars, pockets, backpacks, etc. and in the end shall remain and live on well beyond us to share a glimpse into our story. What would you like to leave behind? A trunk filled with magical amulets, or a legendary story (or both)?

Though it is nearly impossible to always be thinking of this when adding more ‘stuff’ into our lives, I do believe it serves as a good reflection point that these things are simply that – things – and that the real magic lies within each and every one of us. Remember that the energy and intentions that we at times give to others, things, or tools, is always coming from & through US.

Now, this is not to say that treasures themselves can not be treasured. If you just so happen to love the look, feel, and energy that they give off or wish to utilize these physical objects as an extension of yourself, by all means (and I get it – I’m with you!). As a final note, however, from a real-life gem collector to the hearts of all of you,  know that the answer, the love, the magic IS YOU.

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If you would like to dive into more magical content, please check out our free trial to CETV where you can find more stories and content like this on Waking Realm, a show hosted by me, Dulce Ruby!✨

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Scientists Show How Silence Literally Alters Our Biology

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies have shown that excessive environmental noise not only decreases one's quality of life and cognitive function, but also reduces lifespan. The good news is that spending time in silence can reverse these effects.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you living in an environment that is consistently loud? Do you take much time for intended silence? Have you tried the 5 Days of You Challenge?

If you’re the average person, you wake up to the sound of an alarm. That alarm sends you to the bathroom where you quickly get yourself ready for your workday. If you have the time, you might eat something before jumping into your car to listen to music or the radio while you sit in traffic on your way to work.

Once you get there, it’s all people, customers, co-workers, cars, trucks, planes, lawn mowers, construction, phone calls, and tasks for the next 8 hours. These noises that most of us experience in excess send our bodies into stress states, decreasing our quality of life and potentially reducing our lifespan. It appears that noise, in excess, is not healthy for humans. Silence, on the other hand, can have huge benefits, but let’s explore the damage caused by noise before we get to the benefits of silence.

Before we get into the research, I’d like to note that the word ‘noise’ is said to come from the Latin word nausea, or the Latin word noxia, meaning seasickness, sickness, hurt, damage, or injury. Is it any wonder ‘noise’ is not healthy for us?

The Studies

Outside of your anecdotal reflection, there is scientific evidence that supports the negative effects of noise on our health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) examined and quantified its health burden based on a European study that involved 340 million people living in Western Europe. It found that residents were cumulatively losing about a million years off their lives due to noise every year. That’s like one in every three people losing an entire year off their life due to excessive noise!

A study that was published in 2011 in Psychological Science examined the effects Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Professor Gary W. Evans of Cornell University noted that the children who were exposed to noise developed a stress response that caused them to ignore the noise. These children not only ignored harmful noises, but also regular stimuli that are important to pay attention to like speech. Wonder why people have trouble paying attention these days? Perhaps we are exposed to too much noise and too many sounds.

This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise–even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage–causes stress and is harmful to humans. – Professor Gary Evans

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Going back to anecdotal evidence for a moment, I always find that staying with my friends who live in cities produces a much more uncomfortable situation for myself than when I’m in more quiet situations, or living at my quiet, somewhat isolated home in nature. I always share with friends that the environment of living in a city seems to be unhealthy; not just the air, but the energy, hustle and bustle, and the noise as well. Reading these studies clearly illustrates that it does not appear to be natural or healthy for humans to live or work in loud environments every day.

Noise has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, tinnitus, and loss of sleep. Living in consistently noisy environments will cause you to experience much higher levels of these harmful hormones. Of course, there is something you can do about this should you take action on it, but it requires that–action.

The Benefits of Silence

Again, pointing to anecdotal evidence for a moment, think back to the moments where you were on your own, retreating to the cottage or somewhere else quiet. Did you notice how often you NOTICED the silence? Not only that, but you likely felt a lot better after 3 or 4 hours of being there.

It isn’t just cleaner air or taking some time away from work, it’s the silence and lack of distraction. This can be observed by playing loud music and partying the entire time at a cottage as well. You’ll realize it isn’t relaxing, but simply another distraction. When you contrast the two different experiences, the benefits become more clear.

An interesting study observed the effects of noise, music, and silence on the brain. The study was published in the journal Heart and found that the two minute pauses randomly placed between the ‘relaxing music’  in the study were far more relaxing for the brain than the relaxing music. The longer the silence, the more benefits experienced by the participants. Study author L. Bernardi found that his ‘irrelevant’ blank pauses were the most important aspects of the study. Silence is heightened by contrast.

What You Can Do & The Takeaway

So, what can you do if you experience a lot of noise and are looking to avoid loud noises or simply take a break? Firstly, the good news is that the brain recovers from too much noise over time. According to the attention restoration theory, the brain’s finite cognitive resources can begin restoring when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input. In silence, the brain essentially lets down its sensory guard and restores some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.

The practical end of this would look like making an extra effort to be or spend time in silence. This means no music, movies, friends, conversations, phone chimes, etc, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or an hour each day.

This silence would not only allow your brain to restore its cognitive functions like creativity, but it can give you the opportunity to disconnect, quiet down and connect with yourself as well.

Years ago, I created a challenge called the 5 Days of You Challenge that’s designed to do just that – help people slow down, reduce noise and distraction, and connect deeper with themselves. Over the years, I have sent 180,000 people through this challenge and it has resulted in an incredible number of positive transformations.

If you’re looking to:

  • Clear emotional blocks
  • Connect deeply with yourself
  • Find more peace in your life
  • Develop greater self-awareness and presence
  • Slow down and enjoy life more

Then this challenge is something I highly recommend. I’ve made this challenge available to everyone to experience for free. You can check it out on CETV here.

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