There are some “scientists” out there who believe that the mind-body connection is complete pseudoscience. This is very strange, especially given the fact that countless peer-reviewed studies published by many reputable scientists and institutions have shown a direct connection between our mind and our body.
We’ll get to some more examples later in the article, but first let’s draw attention to a group of researchers who say they’ve developed a way to measure the physiological phenomena associated with mindfulness-based stress reduction. They have proven the real-time physiological effects of spiritual practice, specifically the way heart and brain activity actually synchronize.
Keep in mind that there are a number of studies that do show the measurable effect that meditation can have on the body. For example, within the past few years, Harvard scientists have published multiple studies showing the biological/physiological effect meditation can have on the brain, as well as the gut.
Physicists have also shown multiple times that consciousness is directly connected with out physical material world.
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. . . . Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
– Max Planck, the theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918
For example, a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays explains how this experiment has been used multiple times to explore the role of consciousness in shaping the nature of physical reality. It showed that meditators were able to collapse the quantum wave function at a distance.
This study showed: “Observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it. . . . We compel [the electron] to assume a definite position. . . . We ourselves produce the results of measurement.”
The researchers are from the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
In a statement given to Newsweek, Sik Hin Hung, Director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies and the lead researcher of the paper, explained: “We talk about whether your mind and body are in harmony, but there is no systematic way of measuring this. . . . We now can say with some kind of certainty that when you’re practicing MBSR your heart and your mind become more synchronized and that’s very good for you.”
The “one of its kind” paper was published in the scientific peer-reviewed journal JoVE Video Journal, which focuses mainly on study methodology. It’s big on the issue of reproducibility in biomedical science.
Hung’s team recruited 11 graduate studies who signed up for an eight-week long course on mind-body stress reduction (MBSR). They were not experienced meditators. They were connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG), which collected data while they were practicing MBSR as well as when they were breathing normally. One measures brain activity, the other measures heart rate.
This research can now be included in a growing number of publications that are being put out on the mind-body connection. It’s definitely a trend and a newer area of interest for science, and yet another example of ancient wisdom being confirmed by modern day science.
“In our daily life when we become stressed the sympathetic nervous system kicks into action and suppresses the parasympathetic nervous [system]. . . . Through this research we found out the practice of MBSR was able to synchronize these two systems, which is a good thing.“
It’s similar to the studies that have been conducted on mass meditation and prayer. As far as their effects on physical systems, numerous publications have yielded statistically significant results. For a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of this type of phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click here.
The study above showed heart-brain synchronicity, and it’s not the first to do so. Scientists over at the HeartMath Institute have been studying the same thing, and, according to Dr. Rollin McCraty, Director of Research at the Institute:
Research findings have shown that as we practice heart coherence and radiate love and compassion, our heart generates a coherent electromagnetic wave into the local field environment that facilitates social coherence, whether in the home, workplace, classroom or sitting around a table. As more individuals radiate heart coherence, it builds an energetic field that makes it easier for others to connect with their heart. So, theoretically it is possible that enough people building individual and social coherence could actually contribute to an unfolding global coherence.
Their research has shown that when we practice positive emotions, the heart sends out a unique signal to the brain. There are actually multiple ways the heart communicates with the brain, and the signals it sends are triggered by our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
David Paterson, Ph.D. a professor at Oxford University, also works in this field. His research shows that your brain is not the sole source of your emotions, but rather, your heart and brain work together to produce them.
Your heart actually contains neurons, similar to those in your brain, and your heart and brain are closely connected, creating a symbiotic emotional whole. His research has shown that when your heart receives signals from the brain, via the sympathetic nerves, it pumps faster, and when it receives signals through the parasympathetic nerves, it slows down.
As the HeartMath Institute points out:
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 greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision-making. (source)
They emphasize that the heart communicates with the brain in four major ways
- Neurologically, through the transmission of nerve impulses
- Biochemically, via hormones and neurotransmitters
- Biophysically, through pressure waves
- Energetically, through electromagnetic field interactions
Epigenetics (the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression) has shown us that genes and DNA do not control our biology, but rather, DNA is controlled by signals from outside of the cell, which include the messages that stem from our thoughts. One of the leading authorities on how our emotions can regulate genetic expression is cellular biologist Bruce Lipton. He gives a fantastic and thorough explanation in his books The Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution.
It’s just another example of mind-body interaction.
The placebo effect is another great example, and one aspect of epigenetics. According to Lipton:
The placebo effect should be the subject of major, funded research efforts. If medical researchers could figure out how to leverage the placebo effect, they would hand doctors and efficient, energy based, side effect-free tool to treat disease. Energy healers say they already have such tools, but I am a scientist, and I believe the more we know about science of the placebo, the better we’ll be able to use it in a clinical setting.
In a book written by theoretical nuclear physicist Dr. Amit Goswami, titled The Quantum Doctor, Deepak Chopra explains this phenomenon in the forward, outlining one of multiple studies showing some remarkable results:
In one study, a group of patients suffering from chronic severe nausea were given a drug that they were told was an anti-nausea agent. Normally, in a placebo trial half the patients would be randomly selected to receive the drug while other half received a dummy pill. As expected, more than 30% percent of the subjects who took the dummy poll reported that their nausea was alleviated. Only this pill, they had been given an emetic, a drug that promotes nausea. So powerful was their belief, however, that it somehow reduced their symptoms – or to be more accurate, their minds reduced nausea in the face of a drug that should have made them vomit.
Related publication: Placebo interventions for nausea: a systematic review.
Related CE articles that go more in-depth and provide more studies/examples:
As Garth Cook from Scientific American points out:
A growing body of scientific research suggests that our mind can play an important role in healing our body — or in staying healthy in the first place. . . There are now several lines of research suggesting that our mental perception of the world constantly informs and guides our immune system in a way that makes us better able to respond to future threats. That was a sort of ‘aha’ moment for me — where the idea of an entwined mind and body suddenly made more scientific sense than an ephemeral consciousness that’s somehow separated from our physical selves.
This is exactly why we say that change starts with you. Many people on this planet are miserable, which we know is not good for health and can lead to harmful biological effects. This is how powerful the mind-body connection really is. Not only that, but as the HeartMath Institute has shown, our emotions can actually trigger a physiological response in another person.
The bottom line is that our thoughts, emotions, and feelings play a huge role in how our physical material world manifests itself. That role may be as big as shaping the collective human experience and as small as affecting our own biology.
Despite these findings, we are never taught how to manage our emotions in school. These concepts are practically unknown, which is why people are so quick to scoff at them. But the science behind these concepts is stronger, even stronger than the science we deem the most credible.
For example, in 1999, a statistics professor at UC Irvine published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent a heart attack. She also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets, for example. This begs the question, why are psi experiments only marginally acknowledged or even known of by the mainstream scientific community if the evidence for ESP (for example) is stronger than that for the effectiveness of popular drugs?
Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, provides some insight into why this might be the case:
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.
The more we work on keeping an open mind and cultivating a state of inner peace, the more we help shift our planet.
Related CE Article: This Is How Powerful The Mind Body Connection Really Is
7 Sketches That You Won’t Believe Represent A State Of Anarchy
- The Facts:
A 'state of anarchy' is simply a situation in which there is no ruler, controller, or authority.
- Reflect On:
How do we start reducing unwanted and unnecessary authority in our lives? What steps do we need to take as conscious individuals in order to create a whole society and world founded on expanding upon these liberating states of anarchy?
If I asked you what kind of image is evoked by the phrase ‘state of anarchy,’ you might think about a mob or gang in the midst of all sorts of confusion and chaos, a big fight going on with flare guns and smoke bombs, or looting, destruction, and all manner of crimes going down without someone around to protect the innocent. And while this image may go off in many of our imaginations, it is rather difficult to find such a scene when searching Google Images for a ‘state of anarchy’.
What we seem to find is that there is a kind of fight, between the oppressors and the oppressed, the masters and the slaves, the political elite and the regular people. Still, most images show people not in an internal state of aimless, unguided confusion, but rather in a purposeful struggle, where it is clear who the enemy is.
The sketch below, for example, may seem to come close to our mind’s perception of a state of anarchy, although upon further research this image represents the peasant rebellion in the French Revolution as depicted in ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’
In reality, the very meaning and usage of the term ‘anarchy’ has been subverted in our society. By whom? The very authority who do everything to veer people away from ideas, or in this case a single word, that is a threat to their grip on power.
From its etymology, anarchy simply means ‘no ruler,’ and a state of anarchy is simply a state in which there is no authority, or no master. In my last article on Natural Law, I discussed anarchy as the desired state of sovereign individuals, and it got me thinking about putting up some of the following images as actual representations of a ‘state of anarchy’ that may at first seem surprising to you.
1. Playing Pick-Up Games
One of the best examples I could think of is being out at a beach that has one or more volleyball nets. More often than not, complete strangers are able to come and go into the game, play for as long as they want, or just hang around on the sidelines. People that are playing are quick to invite others to join in or take their place. There might be someone taking some leadership in terms of counting the score or evening up the teams, but it is firmly established that there is no authority that everyone must follow. Everyone is sovereign, and in the rare case that there is trouble, the collective inevitably is able to manage itself.
2. Making Love
In its most sacred forms, you might say, making love is a pure state of anarchy, where neither person rules or is ruled, but rather both enter into a symbiotic relationship in which one receives by giving, where freedom, spontaneity and creativity are aroused.
3. Driving On Remote Country Roads
Out in the country in general, one is freer to live by one’s instincts rather than by rules. There are no cops to check your speed, no stop signs where roads meet, and in a sense you move into a relaxed alertness, knowing that you will have to respond in case something happens (i.e. an animal suddenly crossing the road). This is another example of a state of anarchy that our mind longs for and enjoys.
If you would argue that this kind of anarchy would cause chaos in the city where there is more traffic, I would only partly agree. True, there are cases where we can all reasonably agree on some rules to make our lives better, like traffic lights; but at the same time, we have all experienced arriving at a busy intersection when the lights have gone out. Not only is there usually an orderly (if not slightly slower) process by which cars get through the intersection; there is a sense that we are all working together, respectful of each other as sovereign beings, and are able to operate quite fine without the interference of some coercive authority.
4. Having Friends Over
Having friends over for a barbecue, party, or another event is a complete state of anarchy, and usually better off for that. Rarely is there a sense that guests have to follow iron-clad rules, but rather gravitate to an environment where they can relax, be themselves, and share the basic enjoyment of being alive with each other. Bringing a gift or a bottle of wine along is a matter of personal choice, not compulsion. Friends are rarely barred from entering a party if they haven’t brought a gift. The same is true of hosts. While they feel they may have to fulfill certain obligations, these are self-imposed, not thrust upon them by some external force. It’s why we enjoy getting together in this fashion so much.
5. Being Alone
All by oneself, in the presence only of nature and the spaciousness of our own mind and imagination, is the quintessential state of anarchy. It is impossible to be alone and be ruled. In this quieting and stilling of our mind, we can eventually come to a greater appreciation of our innate personal sovereignty.
6. Children Playing
Children playing together gives us all hope for our potential liberation from external authority. Many people will recall the spontaneous, reckless abandon they felt in times they played together as kids, where natural and instinctive order was created from our innocence and purity. Seeing kids run around and hearing them sing and shout can certainly feel to us like a state of anarchy, but one which we often look upon with fondness and envy.
7. Nature Itself
Nature itself epitomizes a state of anarchy, where no organism ‘rules’ over another by any means of coercion. Rather, there is an ecology and a harmony of individual self-expression amongst the organism themselves, and according to principles of Gaia, there is even harmonious and life-supporting communications between different organisms, The communications between trees in a forest are well noted. In some ways, nature embodies the form of collective that advanced civilizations of sentient beings aspire to live in.
In our society, we generally look upon a state of anarchy as negative, which is one of the tools of that our oppressors use to keep us afraid of our natural desire for personal liberty and self-governance. Again, as I mention in my previous article on Natural Law, a state of anarchy is the desired state of truly sovereign individuals. However, before we work to destroy those forces that currently rule us, we must be ready to put something different in place, otherwise some other form of authority will simply fill the vacuum.
The key is that we collectively evolve towards becoming individually sovereign beings filled with love and compassion for each other in order to properly foster an ideal state of anarchy in our world.
Natural Law (Part 3): Moving Beyond Enslavement
- The Facts:
Our capacity to escape the enslavement and control we experience at the hands of our authority today is predicated on work on a personal level to become truly sovereign individuals.
- Reflect On:
How would our lives be different if we all knew and acted like we were sovereign individuals, answerable to no one? What kind of world would we create?
(note: if you haven’t read them already, I highly recommend reading the previous articles Natural Law (Part 1): A Reformed Satanist Illuminates Our Natural Power To Create and Natural Law (Part 2): Spending Our Spiritual Currency Wisely as an essential context for this discussion, as well as the video on Natural Law by Mark Passio referred to in this article.)
So far, our discussion has revolved around the capacity of human beings to create, in adherence with the principles that govern Natural Law. This capacity, when taken in the aggregate, makes us collectively responsible for the world that has been made manifest today. And looking at the world today, it is pretty safe to say that we have been party to our own enslavement, and on a collective level we still continue to sit idly by while our rights and freedoms are increasingly taken away.
This, perhaps above anything, is the reason that Mark Passio did his Natural Law seminar, to alert us to the fact that we have the power to create the world of freedom and harmony that we all say we want, but we still seem to lack the knowledge and the will to do it. By offering the knowledge behind it, Mark hopes that a proper understanding begins to proliferate among us and our will to change our world is sufficiently stoked.
The capacity to change things in our world requires adequate knowledge. We must learn how this process works, and then incorporate this knowledge in how we function internally (i.e. ‘Change starts within’). It is only when we first come to grips with the nature of our personal sovereignty that we are then capable of creating a world in which we are free.
We Are All Sovereign
Passio notes that Natural Law is expressed in human beings in either positive or negative ways. To express it positively, in other words, to create the experience for ourselves that we want, we need to be motivated by Love, grounded in Knowledge, and feel that we have Sovereignty. However, Natural Law is expressed negatively, and hence creates what we don’t want, when the generative emotion is Fear, our foundation is Ignorance, and our internal sense of self is Confusion.
Most people in our current world don’t consider themselves to be sovereign. In fact, in a survey Passio quotes, he said that only 11% of people questioned thought they were sovereign. Hence Passio makes his next point as emphatically as he can:
Why I say every single person here is a sovereign is because there is no such thing, never has been any such thing, and never will be any such thing as legitimacy to slavery. That has never existed, does not exist now, and never will exist. Slavery is an illegitimate concept. None of us are slaves.
The condition of slavery has been imposed upon people, but it has never in history been legitimate. And it never will in history be legitimate. So there is no legitimacy to the concept of slavery, of the rightful rulership of another being, through directly imposing your control through coercion. Doesn’t exist. That’s a big part of what Natural Law is about.
The reason this point is so important is that most of us have been brainwashed since we were young to believe that we need authority in our lives. Most of us still believe that we need a government to rule us by coercion. Many of us fear that otherwise we would be living in a state of–peril of all perils–anarchy!
But a state of ‘anarchy’, according to Passio, is exactly what sovereign beings should be striving for, because anarchy simply means, no ruler to which we have to bow down to, no master for whom we are the slaves. From its etymology, a state of anarchy does not mean chaos, confusion, or disorder. It simply means there’s nobody around to tell us what to do, that we are all able to act freely and without coercion–that we are individually sovereign.
However, this condition does not come about just by knowing we are sovereign by nature. Individuals of a given group or society have to fully embody the qualities of a sovereign individual in order for a society to be able to function in a state of anarchy, or even bring about the removal of all rulership in the first place. For Passio, our work is the development of personal integrity, in which all aspects of our being are in harmony with one another.
The Alignment of Thoughts, Emotions, And Actions
The way Passio terms it, our path to true sovereignty is by becoming our own ‘monarchs.’
A Sovereign is a Monarch (mon-: “one”; archon: “ruler”), a single ruler who only rules ‘the Kingdom of Self’; Sovereignty is a state in which one controls one’s own thoughts, emotions, and actions, and by bringing them into Unity/Non-Contradiction/Non-Duality, attains Mastery of one’s own Consciousness.
Bringing one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions into a state of unity–where have we heard this before? Of course, this corresponds to the Law of Attraction, our capacity to bring into being our desired manifestations based on our intentions–the power to create the world we want, essentially.
And so, it turns out, the way we get freed from slavery is not through violent revolution, as some would say our history books have taught us. Remember, our history book are written by our masters, and they are more than happy that we feel that we are free while they implement ever more insidious and subtle forms of slavery. It is well-known by our authority, and something we will discuss in subsequent articles, that slaves who do not know they are slaves are much more productive, and much less force and coercion is required for their obedience.
And that is why our personal internal work is paramount. The more we have self-rule as individuals, the more we can overcome the dictates of illegitimate authority as a collective. We can literally walk away from it, remove any power it has over us. As Passio notes, ‘If you have internal monarchy, you can have external anarchy.’
Our emancipation from slavery thus awaits the process by which individuals in our society develop self-responsibility, self-control, self-mastery. We will continue this series by discussing some of the people whose current lives are harbingers of personal sovereignty in adherence to Natural Law.
Love May Be Hiding In Plain Sight
People are falling in love all around me.
Yesterday, I met a new friend who said that she had fallen in love. Two days before that, a good friend came for lunch and said the same thing. “You wouldn’t believe it. She lived right down the street from me.”
A week before that, another friend fell in love with a man she met on Tinder. Today, I found out that another friend is dating a man who she finds incredible and she did not expect it!
But what’s really amazing about these stories? THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE RECOGNIZED THIS PERSON.
In every story, their new love doesn’t fit what they thought they were looking for. For some, the person wasn’t physically, or intellectually what they thought they were attracted to. For others, they lived too far away, had animals, children, the “wrong” job, or just a totally different outlook on life.
It’s the bodybuilder falling for a super curvy woman, the dark, goth friend falling for a wedding planner, or the vegetarian who can’t get enough of a hunter.
Every day, I hear:
- “I don’t get it. He/she is nothing like I thought I was looking for.”
- “You probably won’t understand it when you meet them… but I’m head over heels for them.”
- “There is such a crazy connection between us.”
- “They kiss me and I totally melt.”
- “They could have walked right by me on the street and I wouldn’t have given them a second glance.”
- “They are nothing like I was looking for. Yet, they are perfect for me!”
- “And the lovemaking… We make love for hours… Effortlessly… OMG!!”
What’s going on? Why are we falling in love with people whom we couldn’t have imagined before?
It’s a great question. As a tantra teacher listening to students and participants in my workshops, I have some ideas.
1) We are now looking for True Connection
Historically, we were looking for someone to marry, have children with and to fulfill a certain societal status. It’s like a picture was placed in our minds of what we are looking for. That picture could include a white picket fence, perfect family portraits, and Sunday dinners or it might be finding your ultimate rebellious partner with tattoos, a motorbike and concerts every weekend.
Regardless, we had a picture of what this canned life was going to look like. But of course, the picture in our mind didn’t include the feelings between you and your partner. Sure, we assumed that we would be happy and fulfilled. But what about the actual connection between you? This wasn’t necessarily part of the picture.
But today, it’s the passionate connection we seek. We want to feel alive when we are with this person. We want to want to be able to love them completely and we want to feel that love for us as well.
The old days of “looking good for the neighbours and family” (or looking “bad”) are gone. We care more about what is going on behind closed doors, than what it looks like from the outside.
2) The brainwashing about what is “attractive” is losing its power over us
We are becoming aware that we have been fed ideas about what is good-looking and that this is getting in the way of finding true love.
I used to be a belly-dancer. Historically, belly dancers were voluptuous women of at least middle age. Their bodies carried the stories of their lives and these stories were shared in the form of sensual dance. But over time, belly dance has become more mainstream. The dancers began having a Hollywood-like look to them – all thin, young with long dark hair. Soon, the middle-aged women with full bodies didn’t look attractive any longer. The audience’s eyes had changed (not everyone.. but enough).
Our eyes have been changed too. We watch movies where the leading men look like Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington and the women look like Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson. The men are tall and muscular and the women are pencil thin with firm breasts. And everyone looks approximately 25 years old.
Then magazines and advertisers continue this conditioning in order to sell us gym memberships, face creams, protein drinks, and plastic surgery. Our brains have been gradually brainwashed so that we believe exactly what “they” want us to believe is beautiful.
And so, when it comes to finding love, this basically leaves the vast majority of the population out in the cold because we simply don’t look like these images.
But as more and more people strive to look like these photoshopped images, being falsely beautiful, fit or youthful starts to lose its appeal. You don’t have to go on too many dates from online apps with “beautiful, fit” people to find out that what they look like has absolutely nothing to do with connection, depth of the person, or what kind of lover they are.
In fact, many of the greatest tantric lovers I’ve known did not fit our stereotyped image. They would have been considered too fat, too thin, small penis, quirky, too short, too old, etc. Yet they had such an amazing focus on the connection, they were naturally tantric, and all the magic that we seek in lovemaking was effortlessly there.
3) We are truly awakening
The world has changed. Maybe it was the 2013 shift from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. Maybe it’s just that we are evolving. But we can see more in each other than we could a decade ago.
We are more intuitive. We read people faster. We can feel their kindness or their indifference. We can feel their ability to connect or how shut down they are. We can feel their joy or their sadness almost immediately.
We aren’t as attached to being attached. We are more content to be alone – so we are more discerning in whom we choose to connect with. We are in full choice all of the time. We are seeking someone who truly adds to our lives, not just someone to fill in a strange picture in our minds.
We naturally see more than just someone’s physical appearance. Other aspects are shining through brighter than their physicality. They could be tall, short, fat, fit, old, young, disabled, or whatever, yet we see their spirit. We see their happiness. We see their soul. They may even shape-shift before our eyes – shifting from what society sees to the titan that appears to us in intimacy.
So what does this mean going forward?
“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how different our ideals of beauty would be.”
If you are seeking love and true connection, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have an idea in your head that is blinding you to who is right in front of you?
- Who put the ideas in your head of what your love must look, sound, or act like?
- Is there a need for a partner to look, act or sound a certain way for your self-worth? Is pride holding you back?
- Are you open to exploring relationships with people who don’t fit the image that you are holding in your mind?
- Who is right in front of you but you can’t see them?
The times are changing. We are evolving. We want more than what a relationship that looks good on the surface can bring us. We are seeking a deeper experience. We want to go to the next level.
So, if you are seeking love, have hope. None of these friends of mine had any idea that this was going to happen. Many were well on their way of giving up hope that there was anyone out there for them.
When suddenly “he/she” appeared.
And they appeared in the most unlikely places.
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